“It was very nice to realize that it was real: I created something at home on my knees and it worked.”
Aron Karatayer is the young founder of Sunorak, an innovative and award-winning startup featuring a solar-power-enhanced jacket.
Aron grew up in Kazakhstan and since he was a child, he’s always been passionate about technology. While still at school, he found out about startups and crowdfunding platforms: that’s when he started thinking about creating something of his own. At that stage, he was also very interested in alternative energy sources and saw the potential to include them in everyday life products and make them available to everyone. Aron reached out to a group of likeminded people and started developing the idea of Sunorak jackets.
These smart jackets are equipped with solar panels, battery and wireless charging. “Sunorak is for those who often use mobile devices, but do not always have access to a power outlet. Frequently, they are travellers, archaeologists, other people working on the ground, tech people, and so on,” says Aron. “It is convenient to have your own power station as a wardrobe item, and considering how often we charge our phones, this will help save on electricity bills.”
From the very beginning, Aron could rely on the support of his family. He says:
“Everyone has moments when you want to quit. But thanks to the support of our loved ones and the desire to change something in this world, we did not give up. We are now at the MVP [minimum viable product] stage.”
He continues highlighting that “difficulties may lie ahead, but we’re are ready for them. After creating the first working prototype, it was very nice to realize that it was real – I created something at home on my knees and it worked.”
Now Aron and his team are working on improving the prototype of his project and developing a business model and he’s now joined the Most Business Incubator Acceleration Program.They’ve got ambitious plans for the future: they think that achieving unicorn status would be a “suitable achievement”.
Becoming a unicorn startup (companies valued at over $1 billion) may take a little while, but the Sunorak team is already working hard to get there. Sunorak won the first prize at the national Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) competition held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, over the summer and has secured a place at the EWC Global Final, which will be held in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) in November 2019. In preparation for the finals, Aron has had the opportunity to attend two online acceleration training sessions and receive tailored support from international mentors.
Most Business Incubator supports underprivileged your people in Kazakhstan by providing mentorship access to funding and support to ensure their business become sustainable. It is part of the Youth Business Europe programme, a regional initiative supported by the Citi Foundation to help young entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.