Youth Create Businesses that Are Geared to Protecting the Environment

Brian Kakembo Galabuzi who founded Waste to Energy Youth
Enterprise (WEYE) Clean Energy Company Ltd in Uganda which makes
carbonised fuel briquettes from agricultural waste materials and
organic waste. In Africa, over 640 million people have no access to
electricity, with many relying on dirty sources of energy sources
for heating, cooking and lighting. Credit: Busani Bafana/IPS

By Ahn Mi Young
SEOUL, Nov 27 2018 (IPS)

An organic pesticide safe for farmers and the environment, and
carbonised fuel briquettes made from agricultural waste materials
and organic waste are all business ideas that promote a green
economy.

The entrepreneurs who started these businesses are among the
winners of this year’s ‘Greenprenuers’ Programme, which is
designed by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to supercharge
green growth start-ups. It was run with GGGI, Youth Climate Labs
and Student Energy (SE).

The programme helps young entrepreneurs with innovative business
ideas “take their idea from concept to business plan, for a
solution that positively impacts the future of sustainable energy;
water and sanitation; sustainable landscapes (forestry and
agriculture); or green city development.”

“It was very amazing to be selected among the 10 finalists out
of over 345 applicants from around the world,” said Brian Kakembo
Galabuzi who founded Waste to Energy Youth Enterprise (WEYE) Clean
Energy Company Ltd in Uganda. It makes carbonised fuel briquettes
from agricultural waste materials and organic waste.

In Uganda, 80 percent of solid waste is organic and can be used
to produce cheaper and cleaner cooking charcoal briquettes that can
substitute firewood.

The prize winner told IPS how he addressed the grassroots
challenges he experienced with GGGI’s help.

He said like many young start-ups his biggest challenge was the
lack of adequate finance, and limited experience that resulted in a
process of trial and error.

“In the beginning, our targets were not that high so it was
easy to achieve them, but through the ‘Greenprenuers’ programme
we have learned to set bold targets and stand by them until we can
achieve them,” said Galabuzi

Galabuzi added that ‘Greenprenuers’ helps with the two-most
crucial requirements for the green growth start-ups: “It offers
the right skills and knowledge through its 10-week web-based
programme, and which is accompanied by an opportunity to win seed
funding at the end of the programme.”

Galabuzi also explained that the programme helped him develop a
well-structured business plan. “GGGI has also provided the seed
funding through the ‘Greenprenuers’ programme, which has
availed us finances to test out our business plan in a field seen
as high risk by financing institutions in Uganda.”

Winners of this year’s ‘Greenprenuers’ Programme, which is
designed by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) to supercharge
green growth start-ups.

Students of the programme were also given an opportunity to
receive free consultations and be mentored by experts around the
world who have built and run their won successful companies and
organisations.

“This is something we would have paid a lot of money to get
access to in conferences and training workshops, but we got for
free,” said Galabuzi.

Meanwhile, the award came as a surprise to Jonathan Kent
Sorensen, who is from Bumdest in Indonesia. His company produces
CountrySide, an organic pesticide that is safe for both the
environment and farmers.

Sorensen said through the module training his company was able
to specify their target market and reach out to prospective
customers. “Through this process, we could determine our package
size to fit the local need, then to reasonably determine our
prices,” he told IPS.

Thanks to the programme, Sorensen’s team secured an agreement
for the field test with a local agriculture company. “If it was
not because of ‘Greenprenuers’, we might never [have taken] the
practical step to turn our research idea to a business idea,”
said Sorensen.

Sirey Sum and Aaron Sexton from Cambodian Green Infrastructure
(CGI) Social Enterprise also agreed that the 10-week course was
helpful in turning their idea into a business.

CGI planned to work with the capital city of Phnom Penh to
address stormwater and urban green space issues.

After decades of economic growth, Phnom Penh faces stormwater
flooding and has very few urban green spaces.

“[The] lean startup model helped us to develop, and quickly
adjust our business plan,” Sum told IPS.

Finally, the prize winners shared their future vision to take
the next step.

Galabuzi said that for his company this would be to collaborate
with the GGGI-Uganda office to take his idea to public institutions
first, and hopefully later to  private intuitions.

“Through these collaboration, we can replicate this model to
save the forest in Uganda. Also, it is essential to have access to
affordable financing options,” he said.

“Youth unemployment in Uganda is so high yet the youth have
great business ideas that if supported can create more jobs and
boost the country’s economy. We need programmes like
‘Greenpreneurs’ to give us a platform to grow these ideas
better into bankable projects or businesses,” he added.

Sorensen said that the next step for his company was to conduct
a field test and to build a pilot plant with the seed capital.
“It is essential for our start-up to have the right marketing
method to the local farmers. In doing so, we think that we should
work with local government agencies to convince that our product is
worth to try.”

The post
Youth Create Businesses that Are Geared to Protecting the
Environment
appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News
Youth Create Businesses that Are Geared to Protecting the Environment