Over 20 startups to create a step change in the glass business

For the first time in the 25-year history, the Glass Performance Days (GPD) event will feature a first-of-its-kind Step Change program. Involving tech-savvy startup companies from all over the world, the program is a unique initiative to propel the development of the industry and make a step change for the future of glass processing. Victor Jason, Event Coordinator at Glaston, gives his outlook on Step Change program, sharing his biggest hopes and beliefs.

Q: How did the idea of the innovative Step Change program come about?
A: The idea behind the concept was originally created at GPD 2013 by Scott Thomsen, the former CEO of Guardian Industries. Mr. Thomsen pointed out that the entire glass industry has been lagging in terms of innovations and was clearly in need for a step change. IT and many other industries are in a constant cycle of reinvention and change, but the glass industry has yet to catch up. The idea was then taken further by Glaston’s deputy CEO Sasu Koivumäki, who in turn asked me to make the idea a reality.

Q: What kind of startup companies are taking part in the program?
A: Our aim is to find the best and the brightest startups from different sectors to shake up the glass industry to take on a new mindset of innovation.The mix of ideas and technologies that will be brought together this year is impressive. We have companies ranging from nanocoatings to IoT, from signal boosting to smart glass – and on to photovoltaics, architectural consultants and software developers. About 20 startups have applied so far. I’m very excited about this and am really happy with their diversity. I believe GPD participants will have a great deal to look forward to.

We are still looking for startups, researchers and innovators who might not necessarily be directly related to the glass industry but have something to bring into our supply chain. Companies from the field of the Internet of Things is a good example – while not being part of any industry in particular. Many aspects of IoT can be easily integrated into glass industry processes.

Q: What are your expectations from the initiative?
A: I really hope that the Step Change program can carry on as a viable independent entity, where glass industry startups can network and find mentors far after the GPD has come and gone. What this will look like is yet to be seen, but I have a strong feeling that this is a concept with a big growth potential as long as we are able to properly nurture it.

Q: What are the gaps in the industry the Step Change might help to fill?
A: There is a generation gap within the industry. Step Change is addressing this, too. by teaming up GPD Ambassadors, who have an abundance of glass business knowledge, with young entrepreneurs, who have enthusiasm and a desire to make a change but are lacking experience and an angle into the glass industry.
Big things are possible when we combine the best and the brightest minds. GPD’s Step Change program is all about collaboration for the sake of that long-awaited evolution in our industry.

Take this essential step toward joining the ranks of the world’s most progressive glass industry leaders by applying today.

For all registrations placed by April 21, dinner is included in the price.