Is this the home stretch? Termatière, the business project specialized in the low-tech conception of new bio-sourced local materials, has never been as close to becoming a reality…
While in the vine, winter has (at last) settled and vine shoots still have a few weeks ahead of them before getting pruned, I am continuing my commercial approaches with the parties interested in the first material from Termatière: a 100% bio-sourced vine shoot composite, useful to make wine cases locally.
Large groups from the French vine industry have already shown interest for this material and discussions and negotiations are going ahead, with patience and perseverance. Depending on the type of potential clients (case production, estates, groups), strategies to be put in place differ and this is what makes this step of the project thrilling! Between the Bordeaux region, the Champagne region and Paris, each meeting in November was like a new possibility, making it a whole different ball game.
At the end of this year, the objective is definitely to review strategies and the outcome I want to give them. 2017 will be the decisive year for Termatière. My business creation project is being developed, getting more refined, getting stronger as we go along. I am even quite surprised to observe to what lengths one can take a material maker’s garage DIY!
R&D, counsel, design
Now, Termatière is taking shape and structuring itself, not as fast as I’d imagined, but with new offers to reinforce the economic model. Actually, since the conception and development of new materials by Termatière are a lengthy task and planed on medium and long term, I am considering diversifying the business operations and capitalizing on these R&D experiences by offering consultancy and audit work on the upcycling potential of agricultural waste. An opportunity to demonstrate the numerous advantages of my approach as a material maker: economic since it requires little means, creative because it is empirical, fast to implement!
In search of local bio-sourced materials in Africa
This approach also has meaning in Africa, where an issue particularly interests me: agro-food bio-sourced packaging. The offer is virtually inexistent in this sector to meet the needs of farmers, often positioned on organic products: small volumes (too small for industrial manufacturers, too big for craftsmen), local bio-sourced and/or biodegradable materials (for a lesser environmental impact) and containers adapted to their product positioning. All the farmers and transformers I met in Africa feel that need. They are often obliged to opt for plastic or import glass containers from Ghana or Morocco, which generates costs equivalent to half of their total production costs!
On this issue, I intend to apply the “Termatière method”, efficient and innovative at a low cost. Convinced that makers can truly influence innovation processes, I am pursuing my quest for local materials.
On the vine and wine side in France, the project is under way. On the oil palm and brick side in Togo, there is still a lot of work to do! The next important African meeting for Termatière will take place in Abidjan at the end of May 2017 for the first symposium on eco-materials in Africa. The first prototypes made with little means this summer however arouse the curiosity of Togolese architects, convinced by the need to build with local materials and motivated by the idea of entrepreneurship.
The start up in France and in Togo
Starting up… It’s precisely what is bringing me to Togo again this December, on the occasion of the fourth edition of the Forum of young entrepreneurs. I came to share my experience as a European entrepreneur inspired by the way of doing and inventing in Africa. A week-end that was rich in meetings with more than 300 young Togolese leading projects, often at an advanced stage of prototyping, realized with limited means. I in fact came across a young inventor, DIY genius, who won the innovation award last year thanks to his brick machine able to mold 16 bricks at a time instead of 2! Maybe a future machine for the 100% bio-sourced bricks from Termatière?