Innovation, ideas and illumination

Cian Fogarty, a JF General Science student, set up Greener Globe along with a classmate in their transition year. Next year they hope to see their product appear on shelves.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get started with Greener Globe?

Greener Globe began as a Transition Year project back in 2014 in our school in Tullamore, Offaly. It started just as any other mini company; with a pair of students brainstorming in the back of a classroom. We wanted to create a simple product that could potentially have a worldwide impact. We began by winning smaller local competitions and with a little bit of luck, coupled with our simple idea, the business began to gain a bit of traction.

By the end of TY we had won awards at the Young Scientist exhibition, SCIFEST and Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur. The pinnacle of our success was when we went to Russia in August of 2014 representing Ireland in the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) World Cup. Competing against countries such as America, China and Canada throughout the three-day competition, it was tough to say the least. In the end, we won the world cup, bringing home gold for Ireland for the first time ever. This result was a springboard for Greener Globe’s big media campaigns and newfound partnerships with YSI and other companies.

Upon returning to Ireland we were given a Civic Reception from Offaly’s County Council. Considering the last person in Offaly to receive this accolade was world-class golfer Shane Lowry, we were very privileged. A few weeks later this led to a Presidential Reception from President Michael D. Higgins. We received help from our Local Enterprise Office and YSI to grow our business along the way, which was invaluable to our success.

What inspired you to first start working on Greener Globe?

When sitting in class, as many students out there are, we began to dream big with our ideas. We didn’t want to just run a school bake sale, make a bit of money and then forget about our mini company. We wanted to make TY a memorable experience and get the most out of the year. We wanted to go all out and embrace this opportunity we were given to explore the business world. We had very supportive teachers who we knew would support us along our business venture. We always knew that we never wanted to have a day-to-day job. We wanted to be innovative, explore new ideas and be our own bosses. What better way to achieve this than to start our own business with a core ethos of innovation?

Who were some of the mentors you met along the way?

We met so many wonderful people on our business journey and continue to do so every day. Rachel Collier, our YSI mentor, provided us with so many great opportunities such as our trip to Russia. She came with us to the SAGE World Cup and was there every step of the way. We built a strong relationship and to this day still work with Rachel and her team. Fergal Naughton, CEO of Glen Dimplex, was a very important person for us. He set up a meeting with the Glen Dimplex team which went on to become a very beneficial relationship.

What’s your primary piece of advice for people who want to get started with their own business idea?

Put everything you have into it. If you don’t fully believe in your business and yourself, you can’t expect others to do so. One of my favourite quotes is from a motivational speech my dad told me about when I was very young: “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.” Do not think business is easy. Our story sounds great when you read it but there’s a lot of tough chapters in the story that you never get to read about. You have to persist and take every challenge as it comes.

Do you have any role models when it comes to business and entrepreneurship? 

As an aspiring physicist/entrepreneur, Elon Musk is most definitely one of my biggest role models. His larger-than-life undertakings are truly inspired. He never sees a challenge as too big or too difficult to overcome. He is constantly looking to create new products and pursue different ventures,  always looking outside the box at new angles to approach problems.

What problem did you see that needed to be fixed by the Aquacica shower head?

Greener Globe created, designed and manufactured an innovative, water conserving product. “Aquacica”, our product, is a showerhead with a timing and lighting system. We integrated LED lights into the face of the showerhead so the light illuminates the water as the flows out. Our product is designed to work inside a seven minute time frame. As the shower is started, the LEDs turn on automatically illuminating the water green. The LEDs stay green for five minutes. Following the five minutes, the LEDs change to amber for two minutes. The amber light is a “warning” period letting the user know that time is running out. After seven minutes of shower time the LEDs will turn red indicating that the suggested duration of a shower has passed and the user should get out.

Our product aims to save the consumer water and money, which in turn will enhance environmental sustainability as stated in the 7th Millennium Goal. Former World Bank Vice-President, Ismail Serageldin said “the wars of the 21st century will be fought over water”, as it is such a valuable resource. In Ireland, as we know by even looking at the rain outside, we have plenty of water. This natural resource could prove to be as valuable as oil in a few years and we need to conserve it.

It was also created with the Irish “water charges” in mind as a solution for consumers to reduce their water consumption and reduce their water bill. Considering that shower usage, according to the CSO, is where the largest quantity of water is consumed in the household, it is a key area to focus on reduction. The product is a simple idea combined with smart technology that has the potential to save millions of litres of water every year.

What’s next for Greener Globe?

We hope to have our product on the shelves very soon. We are working on different avenues of getting the product to the consumer as well as revamping our website at present. The goal is to obtain enough revenue to reinvest into another product to expand our business and product line. We have recently been accepted into the Trinity Entrepreneurial Society (TES) incubator. We are very excited for this programme as we know it has the capability of pushing Greener Globe onto the next stage and onto the shelves.