EARTH Inc. at Global Business Challenge 2019

I worked for 20 years in superannuation and insurance in Brazil, and saw a need to develop a way to assess financial assets and their climate risk, impact, and responsibility.

The idea behind my startup

I witnessed the pressure that corporations were beginning to feel from regulators worldwide, development banks, governments; and, organised financial institutions, such as the PRI (Principles of Responsible Investors) and UNEP-FI (United Nations Environmental Program-Financial Initiative).

At the same time, as the awareness of the need to implement sustainable practices in organisations grew across industry, corporate financial experts struggled to incorporate sustainable principles into their core business. This need sometimes lead to marketing initiatives advertising their brands as “green” when they were not. 

I realised there was an opportunity to implement a transparent and uniform means of assessing corporations’ sustainability practices.

This opportunity to positively impact the financial industry and to work on something meaningful motivated me to come to Australia to make a career transition.

Arriving at UQ

In 2019, I arrived at UQ and started my Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (majoring in Sustainable Energy) to become an entrepreneur and to meet like-minded people. Once my master’s was underway, I also developed my idea through UQ Ventures. The entrepreneurship courses I took helped me to clarify my initial idea for EARTH Inc.

It was during this time that I heard about the Global Business Challenge and that 2019’s Challenge was to develop solutions to improve trust and customer value in the delivery of financial sector services. This challenge was perfect for my idea. At an information session I met enthusiastic people who would later join my team for the Challenge.   

Making it to the finals

Participating in the Global Business Challenge allowed my team to develop and strengthen EARTH Inc.’s business model, market validation, and our knowledge about ourselves individually and as a team over four months. We made it into the top seven, which meant we could pitch at the finals. We pitched at the final event in October and placed second out of 620 applicant teams from 62 countries. 

What placing 2nd did for me

Reaching second place provided the startup with funding for initial expenses, such as registering as a business and ensuring a web dominium. Currently, the venture is named ARTEH: Asset-Research-Technology-Environment-Humanity. It is still under construction, and other team members have followed other paths. But, placing second also helped me to meet fantastic people who have been helping me, like Ventures Community Partnership Coordinator Emily de la Peña, mentor Stewart Dellar, and coach Jacqueline Jordan. Both Stewart and Jacqueline are part of the Business, Economics and Law mentoring program ecosystem.

Earth Inc. team (L-R): Saphira Rekker (Coach), Juliana Meneses, Natalie Hurtado, Silvie Ketelaars, Takefumi Yoshida.

My focus for 2020

ARTEH-EARTH Inc. is currently building a prototype. Our focus for 2020 is to engage potential early adopters, such as superannuation funds, and to incorporate social impact, as well as sustainability impacts into the solution.

Our prototype can be used as a test tool in assessing how aligned financial assets are to the Paris Agreement’s target of 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 from pre-industrial levels – to keep global warming at or below 1.5 degrees C.

I want to help the business sector contribute to saving the planet, basically.


The 2020 Global Business Challenge is hosted by UQ and currently open to applicants

You can follow Natalie Hurtado and EARTH Inc. on LinkedIn


Last updated:
19 May 2020