Refuel is an online platform for an aggregated network of solopreneurs to help them easily connect with each other for peer support. In addition, it works in partnership with co-working services, mentors and small business consultants to provide better accessibility to credible entrepreneurial support.
The research considered firstly an exploration of challenges that micro-business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs experience in the early stages of their ventures, and secondly how trends of the future of work and the changing nature of the commercial real estate market could be leveraged for service innovation.
The outcome is a new service concept for solopreneurs that would be delivered in partnership with mentors, small business consultants and co-working service providers. It is an online platform designed to help solopreneurs connect and team up with other solopreneurs for peer support and to develop their entrepreneurial capabilities by having an easy, on-demand access to entrepreneurial coaching sessions led by experts.
School of Design
MA Service Design, 2018
Alex Baer grew up in Porvoo, Finland, a small town outside of Helsinki. He received his bachelor’s degree from LUAS Institute of Design, specializing in Interior Architecture. During his studies, Alex also completed an international exchange program studying Environmental Design at the OCAD University in Toronto, Canada. His interest in systems thinking and holistic approaches to design eventually led him to pursue a master’s degree in Service Design at the Royal College of Art in London, England.
During his final year of BA studies, Alex gained valuable work experience at Studio Joanna Laajisto (featured in Wallpaper*, Dezeen, designboom, Dwell) and later at a Nordic award-winning design agency Pentagon Design. He has experience working with projects ranging from bespoke high-end retail and restaurant concepts to exhibition design, to a service design-led project for one of the largest financial companies in Finland ‘OP Financial Group’. The project “Liikkuva OP”, created in collaboration with Pentagon Design and OP’s service design team, was nominated in Best of Service Design category at the Best Finnish Creative Design 2016 competition.
For his final project at the Service Design MA Programme at Royal College of Art, Alex explored the challenges and needs of the self-employed workforce, trends and implications of their future of work and the changing market of commercial real estate resulting in the design of a new scalable support service concept for solopreneurs named Refuel.
- BA Design, Interior Architecture and Furniture Design, LUAS Institute of Design (Lahti, Finland), 2016