Meet the Innovation Prize winner of the international Blue Business Plan Competition

The communication team sat down for an interview with Mr. Jorge Gutiérrez Martínez , from ECOncrete, Innovation Prize winner of the international Blue Business Plan Competition organized by MISTRAL!

What were your expectations from participating in the MISTRAL Blue Business Plan Competition? 

I was hoping to get ECOncrete to be well-known by all the stakeholders and let people know that there is a ready to be applied disruptive technology available in the market that fully complies the construction standards and that can help to save the marine life and biodiversity. In addition, since it was a competition, I was hoping to win it, of course.

What are your impressions from the national competition and the relevant workshops? How did they help further develop your idea?

I got a good impression from the national competition and I learnt quite some things from the workshops. I think it was good to get the feedback from people who was not that involved in Biology and in the Marine Construction, but who had great experience in marketing, sales and communication. I got good inspiration from them and they are willing to introduce me to many stakeholders in the area. 

Can you tell us few words about your business idea? Ηow is it related to the main pillars of blue growth?

ECOncrete was founded in 2012 by two Doctors in Marine Biology (Dr. Sella and Dr. Perkol-Finkel) who realized that most of the coastal defenses and port infrastructure were made of concrete and that all of that was taking the place of beautiful highly productive ecosystems. They got inspired by it and developed a win-win solution that enhances marine life and structural performance of concrete infrastructures. The technology is based in three elements that work in synergy:

  1. The material composition (through a patented blended in house specialty admix for concrete, made almost entirely of byproducts)
  2. The surface complexity of the elements
  3. The 3D design (inspired in biomimicry).

All ECOncrete products fully comply with the marine construction standards and can be implemented in any coastal and port infrastructure. When compared to standard concrete, ECOncrete provides biological enhancement, strengthens the concrete through the admix and through bioprotection, reduces chloride penetration into the concrete, increases the ratio native/invasive species and provides an active carbon sink (through biocalcification from calcitic skeletons that embed into the concrete and photosynthesis from flora that attaches to the concrete). It bridges development and sustainability enhancing marine life and biodiversity. ECOncrete is fully applicable in aquaculture systems (e.g. mooring elements), in marinas and coastal defenses (it can enhance coastal tourism) and of course it enhances marine life and therefore it is aligned with marine biotechnology.

What are your next steps in implementing your idea?

We are further developing the sales and trying to reach as many stakeholders as possible and raising awareness and signing partnerships with global players. Furthermore, currently shifting from direct sales to OEM and licensing.

You were awarded the Innovation award; how do you feel about that?

I feel great about it, we are honored. In my opinion, it is a great sign that the jury realized about the innovation and the potential application at real scale and global market of ECOncrete. In addition, being recognized by a great European Competition co-financed by the European fund will help ECOncrete to be introduced into the European market and will potentially help to develop a EU standard of bioenhancing concrete to be applied in several regions in Europe and across the globe. 

If you want to get in touch with ECOncrete, please contact them via their digital media channels!