Throughout the 10 years of our existence, we have observed a beautiful phenomenon that repeats in more or less the same way for everyone, who becomes part of our network. It goes like this: a person enters the social impact innovation scene through the WU or BOKU universities, or through one of our many partners. They weave through the common connections, eventually finding their way to Impact Hub Vienna.
One of such stories comes from Alpengummi, an innovative Austrian startup that often is featured in many podcasts, articles, TV or radio shows nationwide. And it’s not surprising – Claudia and Sandra, Alpengummi co-founders, are making big strides in getting their product to reach as many people as possible. Recently, they launched a crowdfunding campaign to purchase two production machines for their business!
View this post on Instagram
Endspurt! Am Freitag, 15.5. endet unsere Crowdfunding-Kampagne auf www.startnext.com/alpengummi, das heißt auch die tollen einmaligen Angebote, die es exklusiv für unsere Crowd gibt 🙂 also schaut rein & sichert euch coole Alpengummi-Sachen! 😀 #crowdfunding #alpengummi #endspurt #lastchance #coolesachen #sustainablestartup
The story of Alpengummi is one of the beautiful environmental impact stories that we like to think about to get motivated. Without further ado, here’s how Claudia and Sandra remember their Impact Hub Vienna moment of connection!
Impact is…Support Network
We had the idea of a natural chewing gum, based on natural and regional resources, during our international studies of environmental sciences at the BOKU University in Vienna. Alpengummi started as an idea for a business plan in a lecture that was aiming at fostering innovations in the forest sector.
After we had created our business plan and had finished our first experiments in our own kitchen – which, we can tell you, was a highly sticky process, as we use tree resin as the main ingredient for our gum base – we decided it was time to share our idea with others.
We started to organize tastings and looked for feedback to improve our chewing gum recipe. At about the same time, in spring 2018, the startup competition innovate4nature started its application round. innovate4nature is an annual startup competition from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Impact Hub Vienna supported by the federal government and the European Union, which offers an accelerator path for ideas that foster biodiversity and promote responsible production practices in Austria.
Although our product development was not finished yet, we decided to apply. We were selected into the top ideas of the competition and thereby won a 6-months program membership, which included free working space at Impact Hub, support by experts and in the form of workshops, as well as 5.000€. This allowed us to improve our business plan and the product itself. In the end of the program, we also won the finals, which has further increased our money pot by 10.000€.
Now we had enough money to seriously start developing the gum recipe and start the preparations for selling our gum. In April 2019, we took part in the Austrian TV-Show “2Minuten2Millionen”, where startups can look for investors and present their ideas to the Austrian public. This was the moment when we started to sell our Alpengummi – first at Billa and Merkur, then at small shops all over Austria. Later, we also opened our own onlineshop at www.alpengummi.shop.
During all this time, we were mostly a two-girl-team, producing all the chewing gums by hand (until today we have produced 50.000 packs of gums), while also organizing everything else that a company needs (from sales to marketing and beyond) – mostly doing so from our co-working-space at Impact Hub, where we constantly got useful feedback and made a lot of long-lasting contacts. At this point, we must mention that we also met our graphic designer at a skillshare breakfast at Impact Hub: Natalia Garcez, a Brasilian freelancer, developed the amazing design of our Alpengummi.
We were lucky that another program opened up at Impact Hub Vienna in 2019 – the RE:WIEN program by Oeko Business Vienna and Impact Hub Vienna. This incubation program supports start-ups and ventures which are based in Vienna and have developed an innovative product or service with great market potential. It was simply perfect for us and allowed us to keep our working space there for another half a year, while getting further professional help and feedback for our business.
We are very thankful for all the great support, amazing contacts, professional help and warm hugs that we have received over the past couple of years at Impact Hub Vienna. The time at Impact Hub shaped our business journey and we felt part of a big family of social- and environmental entrepreneurs.
The Impact Hub Vienna is still using our chewing gums as a thank-you goodie for special events and we hope that we will keep up this flourishing collaboration in the future!
Claudia & Sandra
Founders of Alpengummi
PS. Want to become a social impact supporter?
The novel coronavirus poses a threat to our health, its aftermath will shake up our society and impact our economy for a long time. And especially the field of social innovation is at risk to have its progress thrown back by years, should some of its most promising and impactful actors, as well as the many still small yet beautiful initiatives, be forced to end their endeavors.
Our members are affected by the economic downturn and we want to help them get through the tough times.
We launched a Solidarity Fund, open to all current members of Impact Hub Vienna.