Robert Schrimpff Solar for Schools

/09/

SOLAR:
How to provide solar panels
&
climate literacy education
to 75'000+ kids


with Robert Schrimpff
(Solar for Schools)

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If you want hands-on advice

  • on greentech and renewable entrepreneurship,
  • on relentlessness and product development iterations,
  • on how to build a business and a product for a specific market like schools,
  • on how to grow your company with strategic partnerships,

this episode is for you!

Today I have the chance to talk to Robert Schrimpff. 

Robert is a serial entrepreneur. He has been the founder, CEO, or director of six companies, mostly in the energy sector. He has a huge entrepreneurship and business experience. In 2015 he took the bet to start a new company called Solar for Schools.

Solar for Schools provide solar energy to schools, as well as education on energy and sustainability to the kids of these schools. They already provide solar panels to over 150 schools in the UK and Germany. They have educated more than 77 000 kids on sustainability and how to cut carbon emissions with renewable energy. 

In this episode you will learn:

  • How Robert almost gave up this project, and what was the trigger with his neighbor and his daughter that convinced him to double the efforts to make it work
  • How they adapted their strategy to win the trust of schools and their potential partners (councils, community energy groups,…) to be able to sell their solution to schools without being seen as a competitor 
  • How Robert tried 3 different methods of lead generation…two methods who failed and the third one that was successful
  • How they set the financing, business, and legal models of the company to develop the projects in each country they operate, and to make sure it is attractive for all stakeholders (investors, schools, and Solar for Schools) 
  • How they grew their business with different types of partnerships (solar project developers, utilities, community energy groups, councils,…)
  • Which strategy they used to develop a product that was really attractive for their audience, and how he positioned themselves in order to be attractive to the councils of schools, which initially see them as a competitor and didn’t really want to support them.
  • Why Robert chose to make a for-profit company instead of a non-profit
  • How to know when to give up or when to keep on iterating with your idea
  • Why his experience in the solar sector made him decide to launch in two countries even though they were at an early stage, and how that strategy saved him from bankruptcy.

 

As usual, I asked my guest to prepare his list of tips, so this time with Robert, we discussed his list of:

Do’s and Don’ts about how to sell a product to schools and grow your business through partnerships.

 

The link to: 

Solar for Schools

Robert on Linkedin

The resources mentioned in this episode:

Books and good reads: 

Listen to this episode

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Episodes

Why I (really) created this podcast

We are at a critical period for our planet and its inhabitants, and entrepreneurs and companies are going to play a massive influence on our future. 

As always, there are two sides who can pull us in opposite directions. 

On one side, there are entrepreneurs who chase and base their decisions on money, success, and fame. 

On the other side, I believe there are entrepreneurs who truly care about making a positive difference on this world. Money is a mean and not an end to these entrepreneurs: they care about their Mission First, and their goal is not fame nor a quick exit for the sake of it. I call them Entrepreneurs for Future

I want to do my best to support these Entrepreneurs for future. 

On one hand, I do that with my company GT Impact, with which I help mission-driven companies scale up with digital marketing and growth hacking. 

On the other hand, I wanted to start this podcast because I believe the best way to learn is by getting advice from those who have already done what we want to achieve

Finally, maybe a secret reason for me to create this podcast: because it is a real pleasure and inspiration to meet and learn from these entrepreneurs. 

I have indeed been an entrepreneur myself since I am a teenager, always launching projects based on my passions. 

Music, for example, has guided me through my whole life. At 20 I started a non-profit organization to run techno music festivals in Belgium, where I was djing myself, then a few years ago I co-founded my first startup in Berlin, a music tech startup called Feelthebeat (Soundbrenner now). Currently I still do music with my indie folk pop band Lapwings

Preserving nature and its wild animals have also always been one of my passions: I have been mesmerized by the beauty of the wild orang-utans I have followed in Sumatra, or by the wild dolphins I had the chance to swim with in the Golf of Mexico. 

As an entrepreneur, I have bigger plans for GT Impact than “just” making it a great digital marketing agency for mission-driven startups, and secretly, this podcast helps me to learn and prepare the future…but shhh, that will be for another episode 😉  

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    • Receive the list of ‘Entrepreneurship Do’s and Don’ts’ of every guest
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