Turning Dreams into Reality: Amaia Rodríguez Solá’s Journey to a Plastic-Free World
December 27, 2023
All Knowledge Areas
At Schiller International University, we pride ourselves on our commitment to experiential learning, where the journey of knowledge goes beyond the classroom to make a tangible difference in the world. This ethos was vividly brought to life during a recent event at our Madrid Campus, hosted by Professor Jose Pinto’s School for Dreamers. We were honored to welcome Amaia Rodríguez Solá, a beacon of social entrepreneurship and an embodiment of the relentless pursuit of impactful change.
Amaia Rodríguez Solá, the co-founder and CEO of Gravity Wave, shared her inspiring journey with our students, highlighting the transformative power of social entrepreneurship. Gravity Wave, a groundbreaking venture founded in 2019, focuses on extracting plastic from our oceans and repurposing it into valuable products, exemplifying the circular economy concept. Amaia’s educational background in International Business Administration and Management, coupled with her global exposure, including a formative year in Zhejiang, China, laid the groundwork for her impactful career.
Recognized as one of Forbes magazine’s 23 Changemakers for 2023, Amaia has garnered numerous accolades, such as the BASF Circular Economy Award and the FEDEX People’s Choice Award Europe, among others. Her journey, however, wasn’t without challenges. She recounted the early days of Gravity Wave, marked by ambitious ideas like manufacturing mobile phone cases from collected plastic, and the initial setbacks that shaped the company’s evolution.
Today, Gravity Wave’s operations in the Mediterranean Sea, especially their collaborations with traditional fishermen in Greece and Spain, are a testament to innovative solutions to environmental challenges. The initiative not only cleans our seas but also turns the recovered waste into sustainable products like furniture and decorative materials, showcasing the endless possibilities of recycled materials.
A significant insight from Amaia’s talk was her suggestion to foster entrepreneurship in Spain. She advocated that start-ups, like in other countries, should be taxed only when they start making profits. This approach could significantly encourage entrepreneurial initiatives and innovation in the Spanish market.
Adding to the richness of the event, we had the privilege of having Javier Goyeneche, Founder and President of Ecoalf, as a special guest. His presence underscored the symbiotic relationship between Ecoalf and Gravity Wave, two pioneering companies in the sustainability arena. Ecoalf, known for its commitment to transforming waste into high-quality recycled products, aligns closely with Gravity Wave’s mission, highlighting the collaborative spirit in the fight against environmental degradation.
Amaia Rodríguez Solá’s story resonates deeply with Schiller University’s philosophy. It exemplifies how ideas, when pursued with determination and a willingness to learn from real-world experiences, can lead to significant environmental and social impact. Her journey from witnessing the devastating effects of plastic pollution in Southeast Asia to leading a successful social enterprise aligns seamlessly with our experiential methodology. It underscores the importance of stepping out of the academic realm to engage with and solve real-world problems, a principle we hold dear at Schiller International University.