Kigali – On Thursday, July 7th 2022, Impact Hub Kigali in partnership with the Digital Transformation Center Rwanda hosted the Circular Demo Day – a culmination of the 6-months long Circular Economy Acceleration Program. At the event, Aflimba, Crop Tech, GreenRev, Kosmotive, Ngozi naturals, and Sanit Wing showcased their journeys to becoming more circular, sharing with the audience the circular innovations they have been testing within the program.
“For us, the journey to designing a program like this one started over a year and a half ago when we did a quick mapping of the Circular Economy ecosystem in Rwanda to understand the challenges and opportunities, and also built our capacities to be able to design and implement circularity programs” Cares Manzi, the Managing Director of Impact Hub Kigali reflected on the start of the journey that led up to this Demo Day.
The six startups in the program attended various workshops and training sessions like circular opportunity identification, circular collaborations, and circular business modeling, and received seed funding to be able to test out their circular innovations with the support of individual coaches. The startups also participated in peer sessions to learn from each other and exchange experiences in adopting circularity and as well accessed masterclasses from the global Impact Hub Network.
The Circular Demo Day served as a culminating event to celebrate the progress the startups have made towards becoming more circular and an opportunity to showcase their products and services to the ecosystem, as well as connect to potential future partners.
Aflimba took the stage first and shared about their ‘kintsugi’ bags made out of recycled jeans, followed by CropTech who have been testing how to replace their diesel-powered thresher with an electric/solar source. GreenRev then proceeded to share with the audience about their use of grow lights for faster harvesting of seeds and seedlings. Kosmotive showcased their innovation of recycling used pads into other useful products such as cushions, fluffy doormats, and mattresses. Ngozi Naturals spoke about recycling and reusing glass jars and wine bottles with their body balms. Lastly, Sanit Wing Ltd then shared about their introduction of biodegradable packaging made from bamboo.
During presentations, it was revealed that four of the startups (Aflimba, Sanit Wing, Kosmotive and Ngozi Naturals) had obtained investments to keep testing out their circular innovations. These investments were achieved through a partnership between Impact Hub Kigali and the BESTSELLER Foundation.
“We are super thrilled to be welcoming several entrepreneurs’ businesses here into the family, which we seek to grow even more in Rwanda and in the region, and also a wider community of circular economy practitioners. We’re excited about everything that’s happening in this space. It really is an interesting time as a circular economy investor to get a foothold here.” said Jannek Hagen, the managing director of BESTSELLER Foundation.
Cares Manzi remarked: “The investments from BESTSELLER Foundation will be very beneficial in providing further support for the startups as they continue their journey to becoming more circular, and hopefully this paves the way for more investments and other instruments of support from other relevant players. We remain committed to creating these partnerships and building a stronger Circular Economy ecosystem.
About the Circular Economy Acceleration program
The Circular Economy Acceleration Program is a program to support startups or companies to become more sustainable. The program was designed to leverage Circular Economy principles in supporting startups or companies to identify and capture new opportunities in their product or service lifecycle that will ultimately lead to the sustainable growth of their circular businesses. The program is implemented by Impact Hub Kigali in partnership with the DigiCenter, with the support of DOEN Foundation and MAVA Foundation.