Jakob Sadar (20), founder and CEO of OPS Technologies (Organic Polishing Structure), first came up with his innovative idea after scratching his father’s watch. He needed to find an immediate solution and out of instinct, began to rub the scratch with his fingernail. To his surprise, he saw a positive effect.
After reflecting on this idea for a few years, Jakob finally managed to materialise it during the Company Programme of the EIT Skills for the Future educational project, which supports students aged 14-19 to develop their entrepreneurial skills and find creative solutions to critical sustainability problems. In Slovenia, EIT Skills for the Future’s focus is on bringing innovation to the raw materials sector. During the project, Jakob developed the business idea against the backdrop of the sustainability challenges posed in the learning programme. With the help of industry mentors, he shaped the product and created a mini-company. That’s how OPS Technologies entered the competition and became the winner of the 2021 EIT Skills for the Future National Competition in Slovenia.
Participation in the Skills for the Future project, specifically the mini-company programme, helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses when planning the work of building OPS Technologies. It gave me the courage and determination to tackle any obstacle I may face on my entrepreneurial path.
Jakob Sadar, founder and CEO of OPS Technologies
Today OPS is a student-led start-up producing a micro-powder paste made of bovine horn parts. Competitive steel polishing pastes are currently made of lab-made diamonds, which cost 3 times more than the paste offered by OPS Technologies. Steel polishing improves the metal’s surface quality, helping steel look lustrous and helps reduce the number and size of crevices that encourage rust. In addition, polishing steel can remove contaminants from the surface, which are undesirable for certain applications, even if they’re invisible to the naked eye.
Jakob found a way to develop the paste out of bovine horn that is thrown away as waste in the food industry, adopting circular economy practices while reducing the production costs. The OPS paste is based on an organic structure, revolutionising the field of steel polishing, and offering an eco-friendly solution at a competitive price.
Currently, Jakob is a first-year student at the University of Maribor, where he continues research with the support of his professor to improve the polishing paste. Meanwhile, his company is passing through an intensive business development process. The polishing paste is being tested and used in tool workshops, where injection moulding tools are manufactured. The results have exceeded all expectations! Although the formula of the OPS Technologies paste is already patented in Slovenia, Jakob aims to obtain an international patent to expand the scope of legal protection, and thus attract new investors.
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