Press Release: Bestseller Foundation in Collaboration With Intellecap Africa Launches the First of Its Kind Accelerator for Waste Value Enterprises
Based on the aspiration to support enterprises and build the waste sector in East Africa, BESTSELLER FOUNDATION in collaboration with Intellecap Africa launched the Waste to Value Challenge in December 2019. The Challenge was launched across four countries; Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda, and received over 400 applications out of which six enterprises were finally selected.
The enterprises will be part of BESTSELLER FOUNDATION’s first of its kind Waste to Value Accelerator and thus receive technical and financial support of up to USD 100,000 in the form of convertible debt, as needed. Intellecap will manage the accelerator and provide technical assistance to the enterprises over a period of eight months between August 2020 and March 2021. Each enterprise will undergo a customised support programme.
It’s been said that ‘Waste has always been someone’s problem’. We’re making it our problem; BESTSELLER FOUNDATION is committed to supporting innovative start-ups working at the frontline to convert waste to value with the ultimate goal of creating sustainable businesses and sustainable economies.
Waste management is a key socioeconomic and environmental challenge affecting most countries in East Africa. The recycling and disposal of waste is done using old and traditional methods with underdeveloped structures and insufficient capacities to deal with the growing amount of waste being produced in these countries.
Increasingly, innovative start-ups are developing alternative solutions for better waste management to catalyse cleaner and more circular economies in the region. However, these enterprises face multiple constraints, both at macro as well as micro level, that hamper their growth and scale, such as absence of supportive policies and regulations, access to capital and inadequate technical skills, which are critical for building strong and scalable businesses out of their innovations. The implications of Covid-19 have only made these challenges greater.
“We need to be much more circular and efficient in our use of resources and materials and much smarter in managing waste, in reaping value from waste. Otherwise, we cannot sustainably support the exponential population growth over the next decades – expected to especially occur in Africa. It’s been said that ‘Waste has always been someone’s problem’. We’re making it our problem; BESTSELLER FOUNDATION is committed to supporting innovative start-ups working at the frontline to convert waste to value with the ultimate goal of creating sustainable businesses and sustainable economies”, says Jannek Hagen, Managing Director of BESTSELLER FOUNDATION.
Based on this aspiration to support enterprises and build the waste sector in East Africa, BESTSELLER FOUNDATION, in collaboration with Intellecap, launched the Waste to Value Challenge in December 2019.
Intellecap will manage the accelerator and provide technical assistance to the enterprises over a period of eight months between August 2020 and March 2021. Each enterprise will undergo a customised support programme.
“The accelerator will cover topics such as waste sector market analysis, market development, product refinement, business planning & operations, financial management and financial modelling. Intellecap will address the specific gaps at enterprise level with a focus on ensuring that the investment received is transformational to the enterprise while also contributing to the strengthening of the waste sector in the region”, says Karnika Yadav, Associate Partner at Intellecap.
The BESTSELLER FOUNDATION is grateful to the partners that have made the accelerator come to life. In addition to Intellecap, the FOUNDATION thanks Dentons Hamilton Harrison & Mathews in Nairobi and Dentons Uganda for their outstanding support during the investment due diligence process.
The FOUNDATION also thanks the Advisory Committee, which was instrumental in developing the programme and selecting the enterprises. This formidable group of sector experts will continue to offer mentorship and professional guidance to the companies over the coming eight months.
The group is made up of: Karin Boomsma (Director, Sustainable Inclusive Business Conference), Joyce Gachugi (Country Manager, PETCO), Daniel Paffenholz (Founder & CEO, TakaTaka Solutions), Erick Guantai (Founder & CEO, Recykla), Justin Larby (Director, Enviroserve), and Dr. George Kosimbei (Director, Innovation Incubation & University-Industry Linkages, Kenyatta University).
Three of the six enterprises are:
Zijani, a Kenyan start-up that reclaims used vegetable oil from bulk cooking institutions (such as hotels and restaurants) and supplies the cooking oil as raw material to other larger manufacturers of soap and biofuel.
Yo-Waste, a Ugandan smart waste management start-up that connects households and businesses to the nearest garbage collectors at the touch of a button.
Gjenge Makers, a Kenyan start-up that produces eco-friendly paving systems made from recycled plastic waste and sand. Additional enterprises will be announced soon and will along with Zijani, Yo-Waste and Gjenge be featured on several occasions over the coming months.
Photo courtesy of Gary Chan.