BESTSELLER FOUNDATION has announced three of the six start-up enterprises for the inaugural round of its Waste to Value Accelerator in East Africa. The accelerator, which is the first of its kind, will provide technical and financial support of up to USD 100,000 to support innovative waste management solutions.

Waste management is a key socioeconomic and environmental challenge affecting most countries in East Africa. The traditional methods for recycling and disposal of waste are unable to deal with the growing amount of waste being produced in these countries.

“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," says Jannek Hagen, Managing Director of BESTSELLER FOUNDATION.

Based on its 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. The Challenge was launched across four countries – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda – and received over 400 applications.

From that pool of applicants, six start-ups have been chosen for the first round of BESTSELLER FOUNDATION’s Waste to Value Accelerator, which will run from August 2020 to March 2021. They include:

  • 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.

Intellecap will again be involved, managing the accelerator and providing technical assistance to the enterprises. The final three start-ups will be announced soon.

“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.

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