Fōcaris & Taanaj wins best entrepreneur award from Tec de MTY

For these entrepreneurs, the most important thing is not to commit to the solution or development, but to the problem to be solved and transform it to provide real solutions.
Gerardo Calderón and Laura Aldana, students at Tec de Monterrey CEM, were recognized as Best Entrepreneur of the Year.

Gerardo Calderón and Laura Aldana, students from the Tec de Monterrey State of Mexico campus (CEM), were recognized as Entrepreneurs of the Year nationally for their project Fōcaris & Taanaj.

This award was granted on November 15 as part of the national competition ‘Cueva de Lobos’ held within incMTY.

This tournament, which includes the best entrepreneurship projects from all campuses of Tec de Monterrey, saw Gerardo, a finance student in the first semester, and Laura, a biotechnology engineering student in the fifth semester, join forces to create Fōcaris & Taanaj.

After a rigorous pre-selection at CEM, both students traveled to Monterrey to present their project.

“All participants have social entrepreneurship projects that have economic and environmental impact and a prototype,” explained Gerardo.

The origin of their initiative dates back to October 2022, when Gerardo visited San Antonio Tikuch in Mérida, Yucatán, and was inspired to address the need for stable homes for families with limited resources.

This drive led Gerardo to design ‘hexablocks‘, an alternative to traditional bricks. Meanwhile, Laura identified a problem in her community that led her to create a sustainable paint.

“The sustainable paint came about because, in my community, there were several cases of children being intoxicated by lead in the park’s playgrounds,” recalled Laura.

Gerardo and Laura’s meeting at the Venture Labs event, organized by Tec due to the progress of their projects, marked the beginning of a collaboration to address housing shortages.

After five months of collaborative work, they aspire to offer a solution in the housing construction market.

“We want to solve the housing problem in Mexico, which includes the issues of specialized labor, which is very expensive.

“There’s also the issue of the paint used, as it contains high levels of lead and chemicals that are harmful to health and in the long term can cause cancer and fertility risks,” explain the entrepreneurs.

Their initial approach involved using organic waste from farmers to develop a paint made from potato and pineapple starch, 100% natural materials and risk-free for health.

The ‘hexablocks’ are hexagon-shaped building units that interlock, featuring a biopolymer capable of capturing rainwater and ambient humidity.

Despite facing challenges in the production stage and difficulty securing contracts with suppliers due to their lack of experience, Laura and Gerardo are motivated by aligning their shared vision of providing an innovative solution to improve people’s lives through dignified, functional, and sustainable housing.

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