Since 2014, tons of invasive sargassum seaweed has washed up on beaches across the Caribbean, disrupting the livelihoods of fishermen and coastal communities.
Algas Organics was founded that same year, with the vision of developing world class agricultural products from this invasive seaweed species – whilst minimising its impact on livelihoods. Johanan Dujon is the founder of Algas Organics and an entrepreneur in this year's accelerator programme.
We recently spoke to Johanan about his company, the global need for sustainable innovations in such critical times, and what business lessons he can share with aspiring entrepreneurs looking to make a difference.
Algas Organics is the Caribbean's first indigenous biotech company – utilising the region’s biodiversity to formulate environmentally friendly products that maximise local crop productivity and farming efficiencies.
Since 2014, millions of tons of sargassum seaweed have washed up on the shores of 22 Caribbean territories, disrupting the tourism and fisheries industriea – as well as the lives of thousands of people residing in coastal communities. I founded Algas Organics to create a solution to this massive, persistent problem. My mission was (and still is) to develop an innovative management system which:
- Keeps beaches clean by harvesting sargassum seaweed
- Converts the seaweed into a world class, organic, cost effective, bio-stimulant
- Creates employment for women and youth in affected communities in St. Lucia
To date, Algas Organics has processed over two million pounds of sargassum seaweed into its flagship product: Algas Total Plant Tonic. The tonic – currently exported across the Caribbean, US and Canada – improves crop performance through tertiary root mass, boosting water and nutrient uptake efficiency, and saving grower’s irrigation, fertiliser and agrochemical costs.
I am incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made so far, and am excited about what the future holds for Algas Organics. My recent participation in the Branson Centre’s Accelerator Programme has fuelled this excitement and has taught me much about business discipline, and how to best connect my long-term vision for the company with daily actionable steps.
The eye-opening course has also had a significant impact on scaling the company – providing insights on investment readiness and how to build in good governance structures. At Algas, we believe climate smart agriculture is the future and we’re grateful for every bit of support we’ve had to help farmers (backyard gardeners too) grow more with less.