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What has become of the ARA Best Study Award winner Oliver Ortis?

Excellent academic achievements not only impress on the certificate. ARA AG grants the Best Study Award to those ETIA students with the best academic performance over the two years of study.

One of them is Oliver Ortis, alumni of the postgraduate program MSc Environmental Technology & International Affairs and winner of the ARA Best Study Award 2002: " The ARA Best Study Award helped me to grasp the opportunity to establish my own surf clothing brand GrumpyScampi by granting the necessary seed money.”

Career steps since the graduation

“With the ARA Best Study Award being introduced during the final semester of our ETIA program, it was more of a pleasant bonus than something you could have worked towards. Eventually, my dear friend Siwei Tan and me were lucky to share it. With this handful of cash in my pocket, I then left Austria with a one way ticket to Jakarta. Research that I had conducted for my ETIA master thesis on rural electrification on remote islands of Indonesia together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had me convinced to return to this beautiful country and continue working on development projects.

However, things turned out a bit different. A coincidence brought me to establish my own surf clothing brand GrumpyScampi, which is still up and blooming. At the same time I started to work for the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the Asia-Pacific Green Jobs Programme. Responsible for the technical supervision of projects throughout Indonesia, I also conducted backstopping and implemented project activities in other countries such as Pakistan, China, and Thailand. Objective of this international program was the creation of green jobs, in particular for women and youth, in sustainable economic sectors through interventions at national policy level, local economic development, and green business support for SMEs. Within the years of my work with the ILO, I continued to carve out my expertise in green entrepreneurship support and employment creation for youth. A personal highlight for me was to develop the “ILO Start Your Green Business (SYGB)” program which is now being implemented in various countries around the world.

While still working as advisor on selected development projects, currently with the Canadian Government, I am also further sculpting my own green enterprises here in Austria. Besides my surf brand GrumpyScampi, I established two street wear clothing brands - Irie Urban and Rocked & Stoked - as well as the textile consulting and production firm FabCut, which aims at driving innovation in eco-fabrics.

The outlook seems exciting. Running my firms as well as advising international development projects gives me the right balance between contributing to better livelihoods for other people and creating something innovative that may help drive sustainable change for the future.”

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