Free Eco Weekend | young shot
Upon arriving at the the free, we feel Laura Warnant determined and tense. There is something. This is the first time she has given a media interview. “I don’t know the rules well”tells us about the one who, in April, was promoted to head PolarSun, a young start-up founded a few months earlier by two directors of the Belgian group VHC (specialized in air conditioning and ventilation systems).
First interview and first woman, as far as we know, to become CEO of a young company active in the renewable energy sector. Laura Warnant, a 31-year-old electrical engineer, is not her first professional experience. Until the end of last year, she was project manager at Rolls-Royce Solutions Liège SA (formerly Euro-Diesel). She will have remained a little more than seven years in this industrial society composed mostly of male workers and employees. “I’ve never had a problem working with men. What matters above all is experience and commitment.” With five when he arrived in charge of PolarSun, the team is now formed by about fifteen people (engineers, sales representatives, electricians, carpenters, etc.), with only four women.
Reinventing yourself in a context of crisis
Laura Warnant says she learned to work “hard and good” alongside his father, a farmer in Hesbaye. We said worker. She is also obviously ambitious. If she left Rolls-Royce Solutions Liège SA, it was because she was not given the opportunity to “move up” in the company.
It didn’t take long for another opportunity to present itself. Put in contact with the two founders of PolarSun by a (distant) cousin who is very active in the Walloon business world, Laura Warnant took a risk and won the position of CEO of the start-up (whose offices are located in Barchon, in the Liège region) . “In the face of danger, she explains, we must take the opportunity to reinvent ourselves, this is the meaning of the Chinese symbol that represents the word crisis. It is this strong and positive idea that led me to embark on the PolarSun adventure.” She is even more determined to have obtained, in evening classes, a diploma in management at HEC Liège.
Laura Warnant got off to a good start. In five months of commercial activity, PolarSun already has more than 150 projects for an order book worth 2 million euros. “We are targeting a total of 300 projects this year and 600 from 2023 onwards. The ambition is to quickly become a benchmark player, the most efficient, in Wallonia in our field. first few months shows us that we can do this.”
Energy optimization and autonomy
PolarSun’s business – whose name refers to the Princess Elisabeth polar station, which works with wind and solar energy thanks to a battery system designed and implemented by employees of the VHC group – is to design, sell and install “global energy solutions” allowing customers to achieve energy self-sufficiency. Solutions that can combine production (photovoltaics), storage (batteries) and optimized consumption (air conditioning and charging stations).
When asked at the end of the interview if PolarSun is not a VSE and not a truly innovative start-up, Laura Warnant deftly responds: “Our mission, she says, is to allow a large number of companies and individuals to start their energy transition in an efficient and sustainable way, with projects that often drive us to innovate. And that can only be done with quality products, delivered quickly and at an affordable price.”
Well done, Madam CEO! Because if we add to that a commercial start with a bang, we can, in fact, qualify PolarSun as a start-up with a positive impact.
New start-up meetings of free echo
Starting this week, we offer three new weekly appointments (posted alternately). We start this Saturday with the section young shot. We will, every three weeks, meet a new face of the Belgian start-up ecosystem. Next week, the meeting What have they become?will make it possible to hear of a confirmed or… missing match. Third meeting: in a context marked by multiple transitions (climate, energy, environment, mobility, etc.), we will highlight Impact startupinnovative and constructive.