Belgrade student entrepreneurs are flying the flag foryoung Serbia. Strawberry Energy is a pioneering business that is generating international acclaim for its renewable energy devices that teach about the benefits of clean energy technologies and, by highlighting actual benefits, help people appreciate the importance for our future.
“We share a dream in which energy is gained from the sun and the wind, in which air is clean and rivers unpolluted, and new technologies are used for the preservation of our environment,’ said Strawberry‘s CEO Miloš Milisavljević. “We want to develop devices that make renewable energy available to all, to bring home the advantages of green technologies, so people become familiar with renewable energy and realise its potential. Our future depends on sustainable energy. We want to encourage understanding of the good that it can bring.”
This team of ambitious young engineers has achieved something that many others would have failed to deliver – they have created a thriving business and an innovative product with practical use.
|Milos Milisavljevic demonstating the Strawberry Tree|
“Mobile phones are a part of everyday life and many of us need to recharge our phone when away from home. We identified that need and saw our challenge to come up with a viable solution. If we can show the benefits of renewable energy, our message will resonate.”
Their solution: Strawberry Tree, a free solar powered charger for mobile phones, cameras and MP3 players. The static unit includes built-in benches to sit and chat while waiting the short time to recharge your batteries and stores energy from the sun to work at night. Future versions will also incorporate WiFi, with more portable units being suitable for festivals. “It combines real benefit with education by charging a mobile phone and also pointing out specific advantages that can come from renewable energy sources,’ said Miloš.
“We are promoting renewable energy sources and energy efficiency but also contributing to national awareness about the current state of energy and ecology. We are seeing our device put to good use and we are in talks to site more units across Serbia.”
Strawberry Energy excelled at Europe’s Intel Challenge 2010, a contest to encourage creativity, innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit in students. Judges were so impressed with their innovation in the field of renewable energy, they were ranked top in Serbia and fourth overall.
|Image rights retained by owner.|
Now further recognition has come with the Strawberry Tree device being nominated for the European Commission’s incredibly prestigious Sustainable Energy Europe Award 2011, as Serbia’s only business invited alongside major companies from Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK. Winners will be announced in Brussels on April 12, when Strawberry Energy will take their place in a major ceremony at the heart of Europe – as the only team from beyond the EU.
Inspired by the ecological impact of our energy consumption, an education programme has been initiated by Strawberry Energy, sharing their knowledge with young people, fostering an increased awareness of energy issues and encouraging people to consider their energy (in)efficiencies.
If the future is in the hands of the young, Serbia is off to a running start with Strawberry Energy.
|The Strawberry Tree being used in the centre of Obrenovac|