WeForGood International, a Lagos-based non-governmental organisation, through the support of IHS Nigeria, has awarded an N18 million grant to viable, eco-friendly, and sustainable enterprises owned by young African entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years.
The grant was given to the participants under the Sustainable Solutions Africa Project, an initiative put together to create avenues for young people to acquire the right skills and opportunities to help them solve problems in Africa, in a sustainable manner.
“These projects usually start annually on World Youth Skills Day (July 15), where a call for entry is launched based on specific criteria which we push out. Entrepreneurs can come in with either their ideas or their businesses,” said Temitayo Ade-Peters, CEO, WeForGood International, in a response to questions.
At the pitch and wrap-up event of last year’s cohort (SSAFRICA 2022 Fellowship) that was held Thursday, June 15, 2023, 10 African entrepreneurs pitched their business solutions and 6 of the fellows, as against 5 in previous cohorts, were rewarded with N3m each as a means to support their innovation/businesses.
“In a world where the consequences of climate change and environmental degradation are becoming increasingly evident, the urgency for sustainable solutions has never been greater,” Ade-Peters said, during her welcome address.
“For this cohort, the focus was on providing solutions that are environmentally-driven, so that we can have opportunities to solve environmental challenges while also looking at it from economic and social aspects,” she said.
The winners: Chikere Breakthrough Onyinyechi, Muhammad Abdullahi, Olanya Richard, Zainab Ishaq, Yolo Bakumor Smith, and Grace George, are using their innovation to address environmental challenges while catering to the economic needs of the continent.
Chikere Onyinyechi, co-founder & operations manager at Clozetsales, Lagos, is addressing the pressing issue of environmental pollution caused by fashion waste in Nigeria.
Muhammad Abdullahi, co-founder of Queen Amina Medical Integration (Trash 4 Health Innovation), Bauchi, is addressing the issue of child spacing, diabetes, and hypertension, by having rural residents exchange their plastic pet bottles for essential drugs.
The plastic wastes are crushed, sold and used to support individuals, particularly women and farmers, who are not able to afford the National Health Insurance Scheme premium.
Olanya Richard, founder & MD of Green Growth Plus Investment, Uganda, is tackling climate change by investing in solid waste management, tree seedling production, and smart climate irrigation in the region of northern Uganda.
The company uses Black Soldier fly technology to produce livestock feeds and Biofertilizers for small-scale farmers.
Zainab Ishaq, founder of Amnah Agro-Allied Farms, is solving the challenge of making protein available for Nigeria’s over 200 million population by creating cattle farm sheds, deworming the cattle against diseases and infection, and producing feeds for the cattle to have healthy nutrition without roaming around grazing in search of feed, eating garbage, plastic, refuse dump and/or causing conflict to the point of people losing lives.
Yolo Smith, CEO, De-Rabacon Plastics, is addressing the global plastic waste crisis by recycling them into high-quality pavement blocks that are double the strength of regular bricks.
Grace George, founder, Engee Collection, is providing sustainable employment opportunities among unemployed youths, girls and women through teaching and empowering them with skills such as baking, sewing, upcycling and manufacturing fashion and luxury products.
Gimba Mohammed, director of government relations at IHS Nigeria, Ikeolumba Jonathan Obinna, chartered accountant and strategy consultant, and Mories Atoki, CEO, ABCHealth were part of the jurors at the event.