2021 has been quite a ride for Polycare. We have set ourselves a lot of goals from financing our future growth to getting deals signed in new markets, as well as strengthening our own capabilities and delivery power.
Early in the year we started to recruit a lot of new talent to grow up and get ready for our ambitions; we ended up more than doubling our team to a total size of 25 amazing people, all committed and driven to improve our technology and to accelerate the adoption of a circular economy in the construction and building industry. Today we feel very proud to have all these different faces in our organisation (the picture above shows just a few team members). Follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram to get to know our new team members!
In Namibia our production and distribution venture was able to double their output in 2021 which was a big milestone for the local team. SJ, our production manager, managed the most complex and biggest projects we have conducted so far. New partnerships have been established and the grown interest is now being managed by Ushi, our business development manager in Namibia since September. Francia is taking care about finance and HR. A new general manager will be onboarded early next year. Oh and by the way, you should check out our new local website presence: www.polycare.co.na (go-live in late December 2021)
Research and Development
Our R&D team was able to announce many breakthroughs this year. With the receipt of the general building permit for Germany we are now able to develop the German market. The team has been working intensively on that goal for many years so this is worth a celebration :)
On the other side we are pushing the boundaries on the material science side and were able to produce the first Geopolymer Polyblocks. This brings us many steps closer to a material value chain that consists 100% of recycled materials, even the binder. Strategically this technology is key to achieve even better KPIs for a sustainable and circular built world.
As we are creating more awareness in the market, more and more corporates and medium-sized companies approach us to develop specific solutions to make their value chains more efficient and sustainable. This year we did by far our two biggest industry projects. The key challenge was to find new recipes for the use of different industrial waste streams such as foundry sands or construction demolition waste from Malta. On the other side we completed a research project on the recycling of waste from glass fibre reinforced plastics (mainly coming wind turbines).
Further feasibility studies with teams from Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Mauritius have been conducted with many more to come looking at our pipeline.
Our quality management system got a fundamental overhaul and is already integrated into our preparations of the factory South Africa that we plan to erect in mid-2022.
In the past year we focussed on building up more partnerships and cooperations with like-minded companies, organisations and institutions. Here we present just a few of our favorite projects from 2021.
The new house for Boisbuchet’s Garden x dmvA
One of our strategic goals was to partner up with leading architects and partners in the fields of architecture & design to see how our product is received from this angle. We met the founders of the Domaine de Boisbuchet in mid-2019 at a design fair and we were immediately hooked up and felt this space is the right spot to do this. In 2021 we could finally conduct the project together with dmvA, the architecture studio from Belgium.
The way things are happening on the Domaine de Boisbuchet is always connected to open and public workshops so people from all around the world have the opportunity to join, discover and learn. Read more about the project outline here and see our building team in the picture below. What an amazing experience!
It was great to see that everybody picked up the logic of our building system in no time. Benedikt from Polycare made a very good introduction to the building team about everything you need to know in order to build up the walling system. The same day we watched two autonomously working building teams erecting the first two rooms. The feedback we received from the participants is highly appreciated as we never had such an international group together having their hands on our product.
The project will be finalised in May 2022, and you can get an idea in the renderings below how it will look like. It then will serve as the new house for the gardener of the Domaine de Boisbuchet — but also for workshops and guest house, a truly multi-functional space.
Kindergarten Project in Namibia
As part of the vision for empowerment, Polycare Namibia along with sponsorship from O&L and Mr Schade, built a Kindergarten for the Oshinamumwe Combined School in Omuthiya, Namibia.
This Kindergarten now allows the pre-primary level students of the school to obtain a good foundation to their education at grassroots level — a luxury that wasn’t available previously for many children due to lack of space and resources.
There is a comprehensive video about the project here so check and listen to the feedback from the people enjoying the new space:
BOXA Possibilities projects in South Africa and Mozambique
Boxa is our leading partner (and award winning construction tech company) in South Africa. You probably have came across this company in the past. They are mastering the design and architecture of buildings to turn them into “smart green spaces”. After building the Changemaker Center in late 2020 in Johannesburg they took the next step and delivered another amazing project for Skateistan, an organisation that empowers children through skateboarding and education. Please check out the video about the project:
The other project we are very excited about is happening on an island of Mozambique. The Fire Island community and conservation projects aim to empower local communities with education, so they have a better understanding of the essential balance of life and the concept of sustainability. They commissioned Boxa to deliver eco lodges and facilities (14 units) on the island to deliver their best concept of buildings that leave a minimal footprint and impact on this beautiful island. This is a rendering of the result that we are excited to see in early 2022.
Our first project in Zambia together with the Fountain Gate Crafts & Trades School and Creso University of Lusaka
Towards the end of this year, we embarked on a project to provide much needed ablution stations to a school in Lusaka, Zambia.
The project is a collaboration between three parties; Fountain Gate Crafts & Trades School, Creso University of Lusaka along with the funding from the German embassy, who appointed a specialist to guide the entire building process. The building work being done by a team of 6 women from Fountain Gates and Creso University.
The project is seen by the team as a way of giving back to the community, with the facilities benefiting both the students from the neighbouring orphanage and Fountain Gates School. This was the project in Zambia and we are looking forward to deliver much more to this beautiful country.
Awards & Acknowledgements
Last but not least we won two very significant awards this year that we are very proud of. It reflects the hard work of the team! Next to the awards we have been part of the Newchip and Circular Valley accelerator this year, two high-profile programs that acknowledged our innovations in the space of the circular economy within the construction and building sector.
You can see one of our pitches to decision makers in Germany here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8CEPdPTwSg
UNIDO Global Call 2021
The #UNIDOGlobalCall 2021 aims to identify and promote innovative solutions in clean technology and sustainable approaches, addressing the adverse effects of climate change and ultimately contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic development. Within the event, there are four different categories, namely:
- Decarbonizing growing urban environments
- Clean and efficient energy generation and storage
- Circular production and industrial processes
- Sustainable land management
This year, Polycare took home the prize in the category of Circular Production and Industrial Process, recognising the impact that Polycare’s technology can have on sustainability and circularity in the construction industry.
German Entrepreneurship Award for Development (GIZ / BMZ)
The German Entrepreneurship Award for Development is given every two years on the initiative of the Carl-Duisberg-Gesellschaft e.V. (CDG) on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The award recognises the commitment of companies to make an impact on local people in emerging countries. It’s given in two seperate categories:
- Business for Development
- Innovation for Development
At this years 2021 award show, Polycare was presented with the winning prize for Business for Development, recognising the contribution that Polycare’s technology makes towards the 17 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We are very proud of that as this award specifically acknowledges our work and achievements in Namibia and Southern Africa. Way to go!
This year we started to organize our own events for the time. Here we focused on the German market and joined forces with like-minded companies and organisations with whom we will work even more closely in the near future. Fortunately attending international conferences and fairs was also possible again so we took the chance to show off our solutions at the green building convention in Cape Town and at the German Nigerian Business Forum in Lagos this year.
Webinar with TRIQ and building experts from FDP & Grüne
We were very lucky to get introduced to TRIQ a company that is innovating on modular and circular way of buildings by means of a wooden plug-in system. Together we quickly formed the idea to create an event to communicate together challenges, obstacles and demands that we have as aspiring startups.
Dagmar Hotze was a great moderator asking critical questions to the panel that was formed by Dr. Cecilia Braun (urban & spatial planner), Andreas Kunsmann (COO Polycare), Christian Kühn (Member of the Bundestag, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Hagen Reinhold (Member of the Bundestag, FDP) and Max Wörner (CEO TRIQBRIQ). We counted almost 100 attendees and so it was a great success. Looking at the coalition agreement that the new government in Germany published in December this year, we see that many aspects were picked up and actually integrated into the paper. Yay!
Press Conference with the BDA and close partners in Berlin
Over the year we had the pleasure to partner up with the most ambitious and best performing startups in the building and construction sector in Germany. During the summer it was clear that we have to partner up in order join forces and to reinforce our voice towards the regulators and political decision makers. The Association of German Architects (BDA) hosted the event and Architects for Future joined the discussion. Together we aim to collaborate even closer in the future to accelerate the transition to a circular and sustainable built environment in Germany and beyond.
If you understand German and want to see our (very interesting) diverse inputs, feel free to watch it :)
Green Building Convention in Cape Town
Over the years, the GBCSA has lead the conversation around promoting sustainable changes in South Africa, this years events focus being ONE Planet ONE Chance.
“ONE is a call to action, to stand up and take responsibility as an individual. To unite as ONE in our mission to effect meaningful change and to save the world for future generations.” — Lisa Reynolds, GBCSA
Polycare attended this year`s convention to make use of the platform to expose our technology and ideas within the South African market while learning and networking with other like-minded individuals. The BOXA team joined us and was a great support. Together with Profloat — our local partner for manufacturing — we discussed the way forward and roadmap to get our first manufacturing hub in the Western Cape up and running.
As the Polyblocks only arrived just a few minutes before the convention started we actually turned the building of our booth into a live demo. We really got the most attention — always turn a challenge into an opportunity!
German Nigerian Business Forum
The German — Nigerian Business Forum (GNBF) is organized by the Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria (AHK Nigeria) in collaboration with the Nigerian-German Chamber of Commerce and the Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft (German — African Business Association).
The event had a large base of attendees from both the private and public sector, engaging in market information exchange, technology transfer and building business contracts. This year Polycare was present to showcase our innovative building system as well as interact and network with local and international participants within the construction industry.
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