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Strathclyde Business School

Solar collector start up takes off

By Dana Schwendtner - Posted on 1 March 2023

Dana Schwendtner and Jonny Lindsay have been selected for an entrepreneurial training experience in Valencia as part of Santander Explorer thanks to their fledgling business. Here, Dana explains how the opportunity came about. 

Jonny developed LSS. during his MSc Entrepreneurship Innovation and Technology at Strathclyde Business School, and he has been working on the project ever since.  

He needed someone with a contrasting skillset to him, specifically looking at marketing, performance marketing and project management - and someone to keep him on track! We knew each other from the MSc and had worked together successfully on projects before, so it seemed like a natural match.  

We are developing an affordable multipurpose solar collector that is almost 100% recyclable and is priced under £250. A solar collector uses sunlight to heat water, and this water is then used to heat your home. We came up with the idea as, due to the current energy crisis in the UK, currently 45 million people feel they can't now afford renewable forms of energy in the UK. That, to us, is unacceptable; this idea is not just about helping the energy transition, but also a just transition; energy needs to be more affordable. The motto for our product is ‘Everyone’s chance to go green’. 

Natasha Lobley from Strathclyde Inspire brought the Santander opportunity to our attention in September 2022, as Strathclyde University is part of Santander University's collaborations. We decided to unite our strengths to take LSS. forward for this opportunity. 

First of all, we took part in a 12-week programme which was held online on the Santander Explorer platform. 

We spent the 12 weeks shaping our project into a solution that works towards meeting the 2030 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). It was an invaluable experience being in such a creative and encouraging environment. We had the opportunity to exchange ideas and thoughts and be part of a community. However, we would have liked to have received even more feedback on our deliverables as this would have allowed us to build confidence and be braver during the next stage of our project's growth.  

The experience overall was very hands-on. We had to be available eight to 10 hours a week, which included following a training programme set up on the platform as well as attending community activities – such as talks, Q&As and group sessions - and submitting deliverables which provided us with a certain number of points and made our progress amongst other projects in the UK and eight other participating countries. 

The online programme gave us a target to work towards and allowed us to be in an ecosystem full of other budding entrepreneurs from around the world. As someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, you are always looking for exciting new technology or opportunities; this programme gave us an idea of what other university entrepreneurs are working on. When you see the businesses we have been selected alongside, it excites us and drives us forward in successfully bringing this to market.  

The Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship has played a pivotal role in the development of this business. It's where the idea started, and the network and ecosystem it provides you with as a student is phenomenal. Having left education now and having time to reflect on my time there, it is a fantastic department to be associated with, and it has opened so many doors for myself and LSS.. 

Strathclyde Inspire has also offered great support. Strathclyde Inspire's competitions have been invaluable in terms of the prizemoney and networking. I recommend that anyone with an idea get involved; this is how we have ended up being selected for the trip to Valencia. 

As a result of our work, we are the only team in the UK to have been selected for this one-week intensive immersion and training experience which takes place at an innovation hub in Valencia. The trip is an international entrepreneurial experience where we will be provided with guidance and advice from professionals from prestigious companies worldwide. 

We are very grateful and excited to join a community of Explorer Fellows to network and enjoy the sunshine, sightseeing and delicious food! We also look forward to returning to Glasgow with our experience and new network connections from the week-long trip to build on the received knowledge and expertise.  

We are grateful to Strathclyde University and its facilities for this opportunity to represent ourselves, the University and the Business School on an international stage.  

Contact details

 Undergraduate admissions
 +44 (0)141 548 4114

 Postgraduate admissions
 +44(0)141 553 6118 / 6119


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