Cork IT!

Cork IT!: Shoes out of recycled cork to help shoemakers revive

Warsaw, PolandWarsaw
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

We want to empower shoemakers and connect them with today's dynamic world. Our intention is to join a modern, young fashion designer with shoemakers who have lost their sense of creativity.We plan to do this in an eco project- by making a shoe with a sole from recycled cork stoppers.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Shoemakers in Poland are no longer a respected and prestigous profession, they are unadjusted to the new, fast moving reality and have no idea how to attract young customers. As a result of this, the number of shoemakers is decreasing and this profession might soon be almost 'extinct'.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Because shoemakers find it very hard to adjust to the world governed by youngsters, we have decided to build a bridge between them. Young people nowadays love shoes with an idea, eco shoes that help to save trees sound like a good one! To build this connection between the forgotten profession and today's dynamic youth, we want to involve a modern fashion designer to design this shoe. The sole of the shoe will be made out of recycled corks (from wine bottles), which will be obtained in restaurants. Korx, as that's what they're going to be- will be shoes with a soul, packed with ideals and creating a bridge between the good old and the good new.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Once we find shoemakers who would like to embark on this project, we want them to meet their leader into the brave new wolrd- the fashion designer. Shoemakers are artists, only in disguise, and we want them to start believing in themselves once again. We plan a series of trainings to help them recreate their image and readjust to the new reality. Then it will be time to create the shoe. Meanwhile we will be busy collecting the corks needed for the soles. These eco shoes will bring shoemakers closer to what is happening now- it will empower them to change their lives, not to give up on their profession, to create something special and connect two worlds- the good old and the good young.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In the future we would like the shoemakers to produce something fresh and creative, something that can easly compete with market competiton from big companies. To achive that we will teach shoemakers how the market works. We will help them with learning the modern marketing by showing them how to aquire new partners for the business, how to advertise their produkt and create new products. Moreover we wold like to do a makeover of their image and workshops. We hope that shoemakers will become self-sustain edentrepreneurs who are up to the market challenges.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

No one else is addressing the same problem, everyone is just waiting for shoemakers to become an extinct profession. This project is unique! However, there are firms which recycle cork and make various things out of it, but they do it for their own profit.


- We have 3 managers. One head manager and two mid level managers who are responsible for dividing task thougout the team. All of mid managers are on management studies. -Public Relations and Marketing division which counts 4 members from the marketing studies. -The rest of the group (21 members) are staff responsible for various tasks. As the project grows we plan to develop a team of people responsible for contacting potential partners.
About the Lead Co-Creation Partners
Smart Education
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Type of organization (e.g. NGO, association, not-for-profit, foundation, social enterprise)


Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Cork IT



Twitter URL
Organization Name

Smart Education

Total Number of Full-Time Employees


Lead Contact First Name


Lead Contact Last Name



Sales Director



Twitter URL
Organization Website

Basic Info
Project Starting Year


Primary European Country where this Project is creating social impact

, MZ, Warsaw

Additional European countries where this Project is creating social impact


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New products & services: Entries in this category develop and offer essentials product and services that address needs currently unmet.

What awards or honors has the project received?
Project Summary
Co-Creation Model: Tell us about your main strategic partners and how the partnership truly create value. For each Partner please include its type (business/social/public), its name, a short description, its key motivation to participate in the co-creation project, and the key contributions it is making in the co-creation project. Please follow the format displayed below:

-Partner 1
Type: Social
-Shoemakers that have trobbules in today's market
-To increase income and become sustainable businessman
-They will make our shoes

-Partner 2
-Type: Business
-Shoe designer
-Good advertisment of their brand
-They will design our shoes.

Partner 3
Type: Business
- Restaurants and pubs that sell wine
- They will give the unneeded corks away.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact. Please specify using qualitative and quantitative data (e.g. # of indirect and direct beneficiaries); help us understand how this solution truly makes a difference.

The impact up to date is not visible yet- we have found two shoemakers who want to participate in the project, but aren't very trusting, it is our role now to guide them through this process. We are also currently negotiating with a fashion designer to design the shoes. This project will have a trmendous impact- it will change lives of people who have almost given up. People, who once used to have a very reputable profession are currently not very respected in Poland and they are disappearing one by one. We have a chance to stop this- empower these people to create something beautiful and meaningful with the younger generation side by side and show them, that old is good too. The shoes will be ecological, with a sole made from recycled cork and they will bring a philosophy alongside.

Funding: How is your project financial supported? [select all that apply]


Sustainability Plan: Has your project already reached financial sustainability? If not, what is this solutio’s plan to ensure financial sustainability? Do the main partners have enough stake to sustain the solution? If this project requires limited budget, how will other resources be secured to maintain or grow this work?

- We plan to obtain the main material, cork via cooperation with restaurants or pubs - places which sell wine shut with a natural corks. This ensures a little to no cost.
- The other materials for shoes producing will be provided from shoemakers
- For obtaining technology we need an individual founds. It will be just a single investment.
- The continuous activity will be financed from the shoe sales.

Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the Partners to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

When I saw that people can make a real house out of plastic bottles I knew there is someting that we can gain out of some material that is rarely used. Then I looked on my cupboard and looked upon the bottle of wine. Then someting strook me - we have recycling solutions for paper or plastic but what about cork?
Then I remembered that I heard about shoes that use the cork in their sole.
I knew that recycling cork into a shoe soles was possible so why not give it a try?
When I told one of my buisness partner about the idea of the project she saw it as an oppotunity to revive the job of a shoemaker to it's former glory. That's how Cork IT idea was born.

About the Co-Creation
Barriers: What main barriers may you have encountered to co-create during the creation and implementation of the project and how did you try to overcome them?

-Shoemakers do not trust offers that seem blury to them. To ensure that we organized many exercises with various specialist on subjects such as negociations, PR and sales.
-Shoe designers had to know what benefits they will have. To show them what they can gain we created a short and easy to understand offer that shows every benefit they can gain.
-We had to think of some way to recycle cork into a sole. We asked the students from various faculties for a possible solution.

Governance: What is the type of the relationship between the partners? (e.g. joint venture, contractual relationship, joint project...)

For all of our parnters we have a joint project.

Interaction model: How is the project a transformative partnership? How is the interaction transforming the partnering organizations and their employees/ leadership in terms of creating a new vision, new management practices, new skills and new organizational structures? Please provide for concrete examples

We plan on transforming the shoemakers into a modern entrepreneurs.

We can achive it by:
-Expanding their assortment by new shoe model and show them how to partner with shoe designers
- Showing them new ways to sell their products (giving marketing and sales kowledge via schooling)
- Howing them ways of contacting with buisness partners
- Makingover their workshops
- Creating a partnership between shoemakers

How did you find out about this competition?

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