2022 Power Up Program aims to create the next generation of energy entrepreneurs
This May, the Clean Energy Zone launched Power Up Program, designed to assist early-stage student entrepreneurs develop their clean-energy ventures from ideation to development of a minimum viable product (MVP). The program provided the entrepreneurs with multiple skill development and industry access resources, such as networking opportunities, mentorship, workspaces, and pitch training. The Power Up Program led the student entrepreneurs through a 4-month process, from applications to the Power Up Demo Day. This year, the Power Up Program proudly supported four student entrepreneurs two innovative ventures, ecotapp™ by Alphacor (Founder: Bofa Udisi) and Breeze Glory (Founders: Elham Shams Zadeh Amiri, Mohammad Rezaei Mirghaed & Karan Singh). Through the summer, participants underwent ideation, MVP and business plan development, and pitch presentations to bring their idea to life.
The Clean Energy Zone spoke with Bofa Udisi, the founder of ecotapp™ by Alphacor, to learn more about the development of a startup through participating in the Power Up Program. The responses have been edited for clarity.
What was the most valuable experience that the Power Up Program has provided you with?
Bofa: The most valuable experience of the Power Up Program was the mentorship meetings. I learnt a lot from the mentors, as their feedback made me think of problems and solutions from different perspectives. Another valuable experience was the feedback I received from industry partners and the opportunity to network with them.
How did your startup evolve from the formal pitch presentations in July to the Demo Day event in September?
Bofa: Since July, we have developed a minimum viable product for ecotapp™. We also have a better understanding of the challenges and some of the solutions required to build an application of this complexity.
How has mentorship helped you bring your startup to life?
Bofa: We’re still in the process of bringing our startup to life. However, the mentorship program has helped lay the foundation for success by making us consider things we wouldn’t have thought about at this stage—for example, legal considerations such as patenting and trademarks and other revenue opportunities. The mentorship program has also helped us better articulate our value proposition through constructive criticism and participation in the 100 steps to startup.
How did the idea for your startup form? Was there a specific moment of inspiration where you saw a technological need for your product, or did the inspiration come over time?
Bofa: The inspiration for ecotapp™ happened over time. Initially, we built an app targeted at just the tenants. After speaking with property managers, we got feedback on what they would want from a comprehensive energy management application. This feedback took us back to the drawing board and we started working on ecotapp™ from scratch. My experience working in the property management industry and using energy management apps has always been influential in the development of ecotapp™.
What is the most valuable lesson that you learnt from the Power Up Program?
Bofa: The most valuable lesson I learnt from the Power Up program is that we need to launch our product as soon as possible, and iterate based on user feedback.
The Clean Energy Zone would like to sincerely thank our 2022 sponsors and partners at Magna International and Alectra GRE&T Centre. Their generosity and support have directly contributed to the success of the Power Up Program student entrepreneurs and helped promote innovation within the clean energy sector.