We asked some of the latest winners about their experiences of the LSE Generate funding competition and as an entrepreneur, and here’s Marco Rovagnati’s response:
Who are you and what does your venture do?
My name is Marco, I’m doing a MSc in Development Management at LSE. Before joining LSE, I studied Anthropology at Goldsmiths and did my research in Kenya among coconut farmers. There, I set up a small scale coconut oil processing facility to help farmers add value to their crops. I have recently started a project called PoaPoa that aims to bring Kenyan coconut oil to the EU market and use it to produce superb natural cosmetics.
What’s it like to compete and win funding from LSE Generate?
Fantastic! Every step of the application process forces you to think about every aspect of your business plan in fine detail. We were also asked to make a one-minute video about the project which was really fun! Winning funding from LSE Generate is great because it not only provides essential funds to turn an idea into reality but it makes you feel supported and validates your project.
What’s your favourite thing about LSE Generate?
I really enjoyed pitching in front of the judges and hearing their feedback in the Q&A session. I also enjoyed working with Bobak and Anne from the LSE Generate team who have been extremely supportive throughout the whole journey. They put a lot of effort into making the competition a great experience for everyone!
What’s the strangest thing that you have had to do as an entrepreneur?
For some reason most of the strange things I do as an entrepreneur involve some form of transportation. My top three probably are the following:
- a long crowdfunding bike ride from London to Italy
- transporting 180 litres of palm wine on a motorbike (yes, wine from the coconut tree)
- moving two 500kg oil processing machines on a pushcart across the 6pm Nairobi traffic (ranked 4th most painful commute in the world.)
You can watch a selection of Lent Term winners pitch alongside Michaelmas Term winners for extra funding and the accolade of LSE Entrepreneur of the Year or LSE Social Entrepreneur of the Year on Thursday 9 June. And after the competition, on the same evening, you can celebrate all of Generate’s success stories and meet the teams behind them at our summer party!