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The founder of a startup sustainability company in Germany used the tools she learned from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business to launch her company.

Alumna Genefer Baxter founded Aula Future to help clients innovate for the “Green Economy” (sustainable economic system prioritizing environmental protection and resource efficiency) by teaching digital technology, social innovation, circularity, regenerative development and biodesign. She serves as chief marketing officer.

Sharing her manaʻo (thoughts) with current students

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Baxter visited her alma mater in April to share her entrepreneurial journey with current students in a marketing course she took in 2015 from the same professor, Constancio Paranal.

Through collaborations with industry leaders, Aula Future has facilitated numerous projects for the Green Economy, demonstrating the impact of innovation in addressing environmental challenges. Baxter emphasized the importance of sustainable development and encouraged students to participate in shaping a greener future. She also shared practical advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, drawing from her own experiences in navigating challenges and setbacks.

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“What was special about this moment was the shared realization, both for them and myself, that despite the uncertainty and chaos of this moment, everything eventually falls into place,” Baxter said. “If you are bold enough to follow your authentic dreams with determination and consistency, you will reach your full potential.”

Baxter highlighted the value of self-discovery and building relationships during college. She encouraged students to explore their interests and not be afraid of failure, emphasizing the importance of resilience.

“My hope is that my story inspires at least one person to follow their hearts. And that when the path gets difficult, they will seek out those little excuses to keep going,” Baxter said.

Baxter’s time in Hawaiʻi influenced her perspective and the values she instills in her company, particularly in community and environmental stewardship. She also candidly discussed the challenges she faced as a person of color in Hawaiʻi and in Berlin, where she now resides, but encouraged students to build their own communities and strive for inclusivity.

She thanked Paranal for his guidance and mentorship during her time at UH—appreciating the practical approach to learning that he instilled in her.

“I am very proud of Genefer and other former students who return to share their experiences,” Paranal said. “This truly emphasizes the lasting impact of education and the potential for each student to make a difference in the world.”

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