Patricia’s dancing heels contribute to the bioeconomy
Forest bioeconomy is about using the forest in new ways to contribute to the transition to a fossil-free society. “I have dreamed of making shoes from the Swedish forest for a long time,” says innovator Patricia Edvardsson.
Sixteen years ago, Patricia Edvardsson started Patricia’s Dance Center and has since then attracted thousands to the world of dance. At the center, Patricia uses custom-made dance shoes from Peru. One day she had the idea to make them more environmentally friendly.
“Sweden is a small country, but we are among the ten worst in the world on consumption and emissions. If everyone contributes in their own way, I hope it can make a positive impact. You must start somewhere and for me it felt right to start by replacing the silicone material in the heels of salsa shoes.”
Financial support to get started
Patricia heard about the project “Green Ideas”, managed by Paper Province and the industrial clusters Triple Steelix and Processum. The project financially supported individuals with green ideas to kick-start the innovation process at an early stage. The funding was provided by Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency
Printed by The Wood Region
Thanks to the support of 50,000 SEK, Patricia was able to let The Wood Region in Sysslebäck, Sweden, manufacture the heels. The development center focuses on additive manufacturing with natural materials. Here, sawdust is mixed with bioplastics to make a material called biocomposite. The material can be used for 3D printing and ten pairs of heels were printed with different material compositions.
“It is fascinating what you can create in a 3D printer. My goal is to make a whole shoe with raw materials from the Swedish forest, but I will start with the heels to see how well it works.”
Manufactured in Peru
The heels were sent to Peru to be nailed and glued together by a company that provides opportunities for women to enter the labour market.
“I unite my two countries by using raw material from Sweden and labour in Peru. But of course, this means transportation. You could make the shoes locally. But I see this as a first attempt. Now it remains to be seen how much energy and resources that have been used.”
Now the heels are being tested and evaluated by ten dancers at Patricia’s Dance Center in Karlstad.
17 ideas supported
Patricia’s idea was one of 17 that were granted support through the project.
“Wer received applications for about 90 ideas for different services and products. All were in the very early stages of the development phase. We saw that 17 of them had a chance to reach commercialization,”says Gunnar Hellerström, project manager at Paper Province.
The project as such is now closed. But if you are an innovator engaged in the forest bioeconomy and need help accessing the market, feel free to contact us.
“There is a good chance that we can help you with advice and contacts to take your idea to the next level,” says Gunnar Hellerström.