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Amy Helgeson headshot.

Environmental Entrepreneur On The Rise

One of the best ways to measure a startup ecosystem and where it is headed is by looking at its youngest entrepreneurs. First-year student and Schulze Innovation Scholar Amy Helgeson is one to definitely keep an eye on.

Helgeson is part of a six-person team behind Solupal, a water-soluble and eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic bags. The team is a group of young entrepreneurs from Minnesota that are passionate about preserving the environment, starting with plastic bag waste.

The company aims to reduce plastic waste with a new plastic shopping bag that leaves zero waste. Solupal’s bags are completely biodegradable and also dissolvable in water.

Helgeson and team took first place at an area Junior Achievement competition earlier in 2018 and was also a division finalist in the 2018 MN Cup, the largest statewide start-up competition in the nation.

“Being a finalist in the MN Cup was an amazing honor and opportunity,” said Helgeson, an entrepreneurship major. “It’s an incredible feeling to know that our venture is making change in the world and that others see the potential it has to make a positive impact.”

“I am most proud of our ability to discover a major problem in the world and work to find a viable solution that has the power to make a huge impact,” she said.

“When we first started this project, none of us knew exactly what we wanted to do or how we wanted to do it. But, we all felt compelled by a cause and I am so proud of our ability to work towards a common goal and to seek change. I am grateful to be part of a group of students that want to make a difference in making our world more environmentally conscious.”

In her submission video for the Schulze Scholarship, Helgeson talked about what she’s learned as an entrepreneur, including “I can’t do everything and I shouldn’t do everything. What I learned was focus.”
At St. Thomas, she looks forward to learning under “incredible professors who’ll help guide me towards that perfect idea and crafting it into a successful business.”

The Schulze School of Entrepreneurship offers up to 10 four-year, full-tuition Schulze Innovation Scholarships for incoming first-year students.