Cian Fogarty is currently studying for his Leaving Certificate and is CEO of Aquacica.
When did you take part in YSI and what was your project about?
I took part in YSI in 2014 with a project entitled “Greener Globe”. Our goal was to try preserve the world’s most valuable resource, water, and to promote water conservation through two products that we created specifically with the intention to enhance environmental sustainability. The team and I designed and developed two products to reduce water wastage in domestic, industrial and agricultural situations. Our first product was Aquacica, an LED shower head. We integrated LED lights into the face of the showerhead so the light illuminated the water was illuminated as it flowed out. Our product was designed to work inside a seven minute time frame. As the shower is started the LEDs turn on automatically illuminating the water green. The LEDs stay green for five minutes. Following the five minutes, the LEDs change to orange for two minutes. The orange light is a “warning” period letting you know that time is running out. After seven minutes of shower time the LEDs will turn red. The showerhead uses an International colour-code system: green for go, amber for prepare to stop, red for stop. Aquacica is also an energy free product. No battery is needed for the showerhead to work. The system is powered by the kinetic energy of the water passing through. This means that the entire system uses no electricity or money.
Our second product was LDS, a leak detection system which as the name would suggest detects leaks in pipes. We designed a system using pulse-units to identify the amount of water coming in and out of the pipes. If the quantity of water coming in didn’t correlate with the quantity coming out the system knew that there was a leak in that pipe. This triggered a GSM (Global System for Mobile) unit which sends a text to your phone notifying you of the leak. It also triggers an automatic valve which shuts off that particular pipe to stop any further leakage while still allowing water to flow in all other pipes
What impact did your project have on your local (or the wider) community?
Our project targeted a very pressing issue that every citizen in our local and wider community could relate to. With water charges imminent everybody was looking for ways to cut down on their water usage. Many people in our community got to try our products and receive the benefits of them. Not only did our project raise awareness of water wastage and provide a way to reduce it in our community, we also brought home plenty of silverware to add to the community reputation. Over the course of a year we received over ten national awards for our project. Our biggest achievement was winning the SAGE World Cup of Entrepreneurship while representing Ireland over in Moscow. This brought pride to our nation and our community which was shown to us by a Civic Reception from our local County Council and a Presidential Reception from President Higgins. Travelling around the country and the globe also gave us the opportunity to advertise some of the wonderful local businesses and organisations that helped us along our business venture.
What impact did taking part in YSI have on you?
I believe that YSI had a massive impact on me. Without YSI, my Transition Year experience wouldn’t have been half as exciting or influential. This extraordinary module provided a base to explore many talents and skills throughout the whole year. Taking part in YSI meant that we had to use our creativity and work with others to try and make this world a better place to live in. It taught us how to dream of the impossible, seek the unknown and then create an innovative project to help solve the problems in our society. It taught us how to work in a business capacity and engage with our community to expand the project. YSI develops skills that are not taught in school but are essential to become an active citizen and work in the real world. Fundamental skills such as communicating, working in a team, creative thinking, punctuality and delegating, are a few of the skills that are nurtured in YSI. It shows us that coming up with ideas is easy, it is the implementation which is the real challenge, but if you apply yourself to the job at hand you can make change happen.
How has your YSI experience influenced the person you are today?
YSI has 100% moulded the person I am today, for the better. It has shown me how much of a difference I can make to the world. It’s incredible to think that one little idea that I came up with in the back of a classroom could have changed the course of my life so much. I come from a household with a very strong science background, with two scientists for parents and a soon-to-be scientist of an older brother. Before I took part in YSI, I was sure that the science life was for me too but now after getting a taste for the business world I am completely hooked. Working on the project showed me how exciting and ever-changing the world of business can be and I certainly want to be part of it now. I’m considering studying business at third level and I will definitely continue to innovate and create, no matter what I do. It has shown me that I have a passion for public speaking and interacting with people. In turn this has taught me that I wouldn’t like an office job, that I need a job that involves meeting with people and communicating.
People always think of the glass as half empty or half full but I’ve learned that one drop in the glass, and self-determination is all you need. The project has given me the opportunity to travel internationally. So far, a year a half into our business venture, we have visited Russia, England and Germany for business meetings. Working on a product that helps people save a vital resource has really humbled me and inspired myself and the company to continue to find new innovative ways to help others.
“What holds most people back isn’t the quality of their ideas but their lack of faith in themselves. You have to live your life as if you are already where you want to be.” Russell Simmons
Why do you think this is important for young people and for the world we live in?
The world is forever changing and the children of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. We have many problems in the world such as global warming, drought, hunger and war. Empowering young people to realise their potential as change-makers will enable them in their attempt to change the world and solve these global issues. The greatest weapon a man can have is an education and if we teach the youth to make a positive impact on the world then we can have faith that they will follow our example and do so. YSI shows us how one person can make such a difference to the world and inspires us to be that person.
You can read all about our business journey on www.greenerglobe.eu