The project was carried out by two fifth grade boys. The new company came second at Popri International
Do you like plants so much that you would fill every corner of your house with a little greenery, were it not that keeping the “easy” succulents alive is actually more complicated than they say? During the lockout there was a real rush to indoor plants to make the houses more welcoming, but also a widespread death.
Two guys from Isis Malignani, Francesco Tonelli and Elia Piccoli, now in fifth grade of the high school of applied sciences, supported by their professors, Elisa Del Terra and Renato Polo, have come up with a solution for this problem, and thanks to their idea they have won a series of competitions with their startup “Leaflife”.
An adventure that began when they were in third place and their class had participated in the “Enterprise in Action” project, and which has now led them to an international podium: they came in second place at Popri International, an international competition for business ideas youth organized by Slovenia, current President of the EU strategy for the Adriatic-Ionian Region (Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia).
Their start-up was in fact noticed by Friuli Innovazione, which invited them to participate in the international competition.
«We have designed moisture sensors to be inserted into the soil, which monitor the actual water need of the plants. The sensors will be connected to Ninfa – this is the name of the product – a control station (made with a plastic derived from woodworking waste), from which, by clicking a few buttons, the actual water need of the plant can be monitored. In this way, water and time are saved, and even those who naturally do not have a green thumb are allowed to stay in a more serene environment ”, explains Tonelli.
“Unfortunately, the event could not be held in attendance, otherwise we would have gone to Ljubljana to present our ideas. The online mode, however, gave us a satisfaction: the jury had forgotten to turn off the microphone while deliberating and we discovered that they were very conflicted about who to win.
Unfortunately, the work in the pandemic allowed us to get to the race only with a pretotype; the other team, on the other hand, already had a prototype to show, ”says Piccoli. The young people believe in the entrepreneurial idea: «We hope to carry it forward, a great interest in the product emerges from our market surveys and anecdotal level. Compared to our competitors, we think we can produce sensors that are more comfortable and easier to use. We think it can also be useful for offices: plants have a cost ».