Noble Purification, Noble Intentions
Republished with permission from Trent University Showcase: Fall 2015
Trent born business reinvests in the University
Adam Noble and Trent alumna Dr. Andressa Lacerda, the minds behind one of the most dynamic entrepreneurship projects to come out of Trent University in its 50 year history, make it clear that, although they have both have a set goal for Noble Purification, a water filtration company based at [the Innovation Cluster’s startup incubator, known as “The Cube“] at Trent University, they most certainly don’t have set roles.
Though their titles read president and CEO and COO, they both know that being successful entrepreneurs means you wear many hats.
“I was the janitor yesterday and Andressa was the accountant, that’s what makes a successful company,” explains Mr. Noble.
Successful is an understatement for these two entrepreneurs. What started as a science fair project for Mr. Noble in grade 11, growing algae in a mason jar in his parent’s sauna, moved to a lab at Trent University working with Dr. Paul Frost, David Schindler Professor in Aquatic Science, and has turned into a budding business that has grown significantly in its two years of operation.
Partnership sparks a new venture
In order for Mr. Noble to take his science fair project to the next step, he needed to learn how to use a microscope- in stepped Dr. Lacerda, who was completing her Ph.D. at Trent in Environmental & Life sciences at the time. The spark was immediate. Upon meeting, they both realized they were onto something bigger. Armed with a passion for science and vision to change the world, the duo turned to the community for support.
“The entrepreneurial passion was always there but a lot of basic education you might get from a business administration degree wasn’t something either of us had,” explains Prof. Lacerda, who came to Trent to study Biology as an international student from Brazil in 2008. “That’s where the support we got from both Trent University and the greater community was essential. I went out into the community to pull together an advisory board and, because we have such an awesome community, they said yes.”
To this day, Nobel Purification is still using this advisory board of legal experts, professionals in the banking sector to help the business to evolve further.
Bridging the gap between science and business
As the flagship company to be started out of Trent, one would image that its founders be from a business background. Not the case for Noble Purification.
“I grew up in a business household, bit I always liked science,” explains Prof. Lacerda. “You often hear that scientists can’t do business and business can’t do science, that they are different worlds, bout our liability to bridge the gap between was a huge motivation for me.” Prof. Lacerda adds that it was the flexibility she was provided at Trent during her graduate studies that allowed her to pursue this.
“We are an example that you don’t need an MBA to be able to run a successful business,” explains Mr. Noble, referring to $500 000 and in-kind services Noble Purifications has invested in Trent through equipment, mentoring, teaching, and funding of research projects for Trent grad students.
“Our goal is to push research and student entrepreneurship forward at Trent University. We plan to grow here- we want to hire local and have as many Trent students as possible involved in our research.”