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How one startup transforms oil into soap in a minute

22 October 2019 South, Spain, News Sergio and Catalina, SOUJI's founders, have walked a long way since they acknowledged the need to find an optimal solution to recycle oil, and wining the 2018 EIT Food Innovation Prizes meant a big financial push to a newly-born startup.

How one startup transforms oil into soap in a minute

Hi there! First of all, who is behind SOUJI and what do you do?

We are two entrepreneurs: Sergio and Catalina, who launched SOUJI, a liquid that mixed with used cooking oil is able to turn into an ecological cleaner / detergent with only shaking the mixture. Furthermore, this soap has a pleasant aroma and is made  without caustic soda!

About EIT Food Demo Day

What led you to take part in the EIT Food Demo Day? How did you hear about this opportunity?

We discovered this opportunity through Ship2b and we thought it could be a great chance for us to get in contact with a broader network, receive some valuable training and have access to a glittering prize.

Were your expectations fulfilled? What would you highlight out of this experience?

Yes,  to a high degree indeed. Notably, it was really enriching meeting other wonderful projects in the same sector, as well as the pre-training session and the post-prize support.

What benefits has winning in the EIT Food DemoDay brought to you?

It allowed us to get training, build up a larger network, lots of encouragement, creating a brand image for the project and, last but not least, a much needed financial assistance.

About Souji

The continuous dumping of used vegetable oil into the water pipes, rivers, lakes and seas is greatly damaging our environment. Therefore, what can Souji do to improve this issue? What is the idea behind Souji?

Souji transforms that waste of used oil into a non-contaminating cleaner / detergent, thus creating, from a residue, a useful product that does not affect the environment

The idea is to encourage reuse and circular economy from the beginning, in an easy in a faster and safer way in compare with the traditional method.

It is based on the traditional method of making soap, but adapted for all audiences and for the current pace of life.

Which were Souji's first baby steps? How did you start?

Souji began because of a real need. It was Sergio who started it, when he had the need at home to recycle oil and did not find an optimal solution in the market.

Imagining I want to use your product, what should I know about it? Is Souji easy to use for a regular person?

The only thing to keep in mind is that it is very important to maintain the proportions of the mix (soap and oil)  indicated on the containers to make the mixture and to stir the product during the requested time.

Moreover, Souji has no risks and is 96% less contaminate than any other common detergent.

Who is your target market?

There are three interesting markets. First, private households, with people who consume oil in their diet and have environmental awareness. Second, catering containers, hotels, cafeterias that want to incorporate specific waste management systems to follow a circular economy. And finally, food industries that aim to reduce their environmental impact and apply more sustainable measures in their waste management.

As a startup, I imagine that you have had a fair number of challenges, has all been about trial and error or did you hit the nail right from the start?

It has been a long-distance race, with successes and mistakes. In the end, nobody is born knowing everything and when you enter a new market with an innovative product everything is trial and error.

About the future

Finally, what will your next steps be and what do you think we should be fighting harder for in order to transform our food system?

The current development model is no longer acceptable for the planet, therefore the whole food system needs to be changed otherwise the consequences will be brutal.

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