Student company from Norway earns European award for sustainability

Madrid, July 8, 2011 – The Norwegian team ATECH SB from Ålesund University College wins the Citi Sustainability Award at the JA-YE Europe Enterprise Challenge 2011 in Spain, Madrid. The student company offers a specialized technical system that removes oil from pretreated bilge water on offshore vessels and installations, eliminating pollution of sea water. 

“Today we see an increased focus on sustainability and social responsibility. When we see the increase in activity in the polar regions, it becomes very important to take responsibility for emissions of harmful substances. In the these delicate ecosystems, all emissions remain in the area and contaminate the fragile wildlife, due to the cold climate and low temperatures. When it’s not possible to restrict cargo transport, one must focus on emissions control,” said Oda Ellingsen, 26 years old, the founder of ATECH SB.


Citi Sustainability Award aims to increase awareness in young people of the importance of integrating sustainability into their business strategies. The award is given to the team that best integrates economic efficiency (innovation, prosperity, productivity), social equity (poverty, community, health and wellness, human rights) and environmental accountability (climate change, land use, biodiversity) into their business plan. Manuel Falcó, Citi EMEA Banking Head explains: “We need to help future entrepreneurs to understand the potential for their enterprise to contribute positively to society and to go beyond simply creating wealth. Sustainability is no longer an option for business, it is an imperative. If businesses wish to maintain a societal licence to operate then they must be seen as part of the solution and not part of the problem.”

The team competed with Europe’s best 14 student companies, winners at their national level, who participated in the JA-YE Europe Enterprise Challenge 2011, held in Madrid, Spain between July 6-7, 2011 and hosted by Junior Achievement Spain. The students formed their companies as part of the JA-YE Start-Up Programme and received the support of their professors as well as guidance from volunteer coaches from the business world. Each group developed a company that offers real products and/or services and they have all successfully dealt with the challenges of setting up and running a business.  


The companies represented a wide range of industry areas ranging from a highly specialized bilge water filtration system from Norway to sophisticated mobile techology solutions from Bulgaria. The Dutch “Bus Stop Bakery” were a hit with their hip marketing and trendy cupcakes while one of the teams from Belgium created safety jackets for children that are reflective and attractive at the same time.