Young Africans pitch their innovations for a greener and cleaner future
Eight African start-ups are taking the virtual stage to pitch their green innovations addressing the challenges and adverse impact of climate change.
The Africa regional grand final of the ClimateLaunchpad Green Business Ideas Competition will take place on Friday 3 November. Two start-ups will emerge as Africa’s green champions and advance to represent the continent on the world stage at the global final.
ClimateLaunchpad is the world’s largest green business ideas competition, dedicated to combating climate change through innovation and entrepreneurship. It is an annual global tournament which takes place virtually to minimise its carbon footprint and live up to the principles of being clean and green.
This competition serves as a platform for eco-entrepreneurs and green innovators to showcase their ideas within key thematic areas, namely: climate adaptation and resilience, blue economy, circular economy, clean energy, food systems, sustainable mobility, urban solutions and the Next Big Thing.
Local organising teams from the 12 participating African countries support the Netherlands-based ClimateLaunchpad team with the shortlisting of applications and training bootcamps, which all the start-up entrepreneurs undergo before competing. The participating nations include South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique as well as the island nations of Mauritius and Cape Verde.
South Africa is this year’s host of the ClimateLaunchpad regional finals.
The Africa regional semi-finals held on Tuesday comprised 36 start-ups that had won their respective national finals. Each country was represented by three finalists, with Uganda emerging as the continent’s giant of green entrepreneurship: all three of their representatives made it into the Top 8 and will be moving on to Friday’s grand regional final.
The finalists competing for top glory and a spot at the global finals are:
Entrepreneur: Sokayna Bellam
Jodoor is an AgriTech Startup willing to democratise controlled environment agriculture in Africa. They provide affordable turnkey soilless farms that can produce +100 varieties of pesticide-free leafy vegetables year-round, while saving 80% water and fertiliser.
Start-up: Gro-gel (Kulisha Dunia)
Entrepreneur: Akello Maria Goretti
Thematic Area: Adaptation & Resilience
Gro-gel produces a cellulose-based biodegradable hydrogel from biomass (rice husks) that holds water in the soil for plants. The raw biomass makes the hydrogel a good soil amendment.
Start-up: Smart Women in Environment and Development Organization (SWEDO)
Entrepreneur: Mariah Kizza
Thematic area: Clean Energy
SWEDO seeks to reduce environmental damage by replacing charcoal with briquettes from organic waste that will be of high value and standardised through mechanisation, resulting in improved storage.
Start-up: Pazelgreen Technologies Limited
Entrepreneur: Oluwadamilola Olowoseunre
Thematic area: Circular Economies
Pazelgreen Technologies’ sustainable and cost-effective industrial cooling process addresses the problem of post-harvest loss of fruits and vegetables caused by climate change.
Entrepreneur: Kevin Henrage
Thematic area: The Next Big Thing
Ecolozik customers are fashion brands and manufacturers prioritising sustainability and seeking eco-friendly packaging alternatives. They value reducing plastic pollution and are eager to make a positive change in the industry. By adopting Ecolozik’s algae-based packaging, they achieve both environmental and economic benefits.
Entrepreneur: Ramy Salah
Thematic area: Sustainable Mobility
Merge is solving the problem of inefficiency and waste in the shipping industry. The traditional model of shipping often results in empty truck space, known as empty miles, which leads to increased costs, longer delivery times, and unnecessary carbon emissions.
Entrepreneur: Nokhilesh Mihir Sham
Thematic area: Circular Economies
EcoPak solves two problems, as the compostable plant-based (banana fibres and other plants) take-away box is both biodegradable and will degrade without any environmental impact.
Start-up: Helton Traders
Entrepreneur: Hellen Munyasa
Thematic area: Urban Solutions
Helton Traders LLP focuses on manufacturing 100% Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sewing threads from recycled post-consumer PET plastic bottles.
The quality of the pitches presented by the start-ups demonstrated that Africans, particularly young Africans, are at the forefront of moving the continent to be on par with the rest of the world when it comes to compliance with international climate policy and climate action through green innovation and smart entrepreneurship.
Rest Kanju, Executive Director of Indalo Inclusive, the national hosting partner of the ClimateLaunchpad, says the timing of the regional finals could not have been better as they come just a month before COP28 where the nations of the world will converge to decide on the future of the planet we share, and it is important that African solutions be recognised and included.
“As we transition to a green, low-carbon economy, what we want are bottom-up solutions that are inclusive — by Africans for Africans — because they understand the needs of their communities,” comments Kanju.
You can watch young Africans finding solutions for a green future through smart entrepreneurship by live streaming the regional grand final of the ClimateLaunchpad Green Business Ideas Competition on finals.climatelaunchpad.org.