Ambientalmente and the 100% Colombian Pectin project – 5 years later and still growing

2006Winner

Ambientalmente is one of the BiD Challenge 2006 winners. Back then, Alberto Mejía Restrepo – one of the founders – presented the project ‘100% Colombian Pectin’. The proposal was to reduce waste in the coffee industry by generating pectin, a highly sought-after product in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry but 100% imported in Colombia. Having existed for 5 years and having learned many lessons, Alberto and his team are committed more than ever to keep working towards environmentally-friendly and sustainable solutions.

The company 
Ambientalmente offers consultancy services and develops Research & Development (R&D) projects in areas of sustainability and environment. During these last years and with more than 80 projects and 60 different clients, the team has gained vast experience in the consultancy world as much as in project development. With projects as Renova Design, an eco-design brand that uses industrial waste as raw materials to manufacture accessories, Ambientalmente has shown positive results in waste reduction and economical development. Renova Designs, partnered with names such as Coca Cola and Bavaria have, up until now, recycled more than 1100 kg of textile in accessories. By doing so, they support programs in environmental awareness. Other successful examples of what the company has achieved are related to agro-industrial and organic waste reuse, rainwater harvesting and atmospheric emissions.
The 100% Colombian Pectin project
Pectin is a substance commonly extracted from the residues of the coffee beans used to produce coffee. In Colombia, one of the largest coffee producers in the world, 100% of the pectin is imported. Ambientalmente wants to start an industrial plant in rural areas where pectin can be produced. With this new industry more jobs will be generated and the environmental impact of the actual coffee industry will be controlled by reusing what nowadays is considered waste. The project was initiated in 2006 and after the BiD Challenge, the project received support from Colciencias to work on the Research and Development stage. During the following years Ambientalmente developed ideas and did research on both the market and the pectin industry. At the moment they are ready to start their pilot project on the industrial plant. With around 10 families being direct beneficiaries of the project Ambientalmente can now count on more than 400 coffee farmers who will profit once production is up and running.
Looking forward
5 years ago as one of the winners of the BiD Challenge, Alberto received an economic and inspirational impulse, for his 100% Colombian Pectin Project.“BiD Network has been a great platform for us to find support and coaching. Thanks to that, and to the BiD Challenge 2006 prize, we received support from the Colombian organization Colciencias in two opportunities”. After this period of hard work and perseverance, Ambientalmente’s future looks promising. They remain optimistic about the results and growth possibilities. They expect in the next 5 years to have their “consultancy services spread all over Colombia, and starting to get well known in other Latin American countries”. At the same time, they plan on having the pectin industrial plant with about 20 employees and a well-developed market. Last September during the Growing SMEs event in Bogota Colombia, Alberto met a couple of interested Angel Investors to contribute to Ambientalmente’s activities. Further steps are being taken together with our Matchmaking team for the development of these alliances. BiD Network would like to wish Alberto and the Ambientalmente team success in their future plans and hope to have again great news to share in the next years!