The world’s population is constantly on the rise, and every year, more and more raw materials are extracted to make products for consumption. These raw materials are finite, and to exacerbate the situation, the used products are largely dumped in various landfills, missing the opportunity for extra value creation, and adding pressure to the environment. What if we all took a page from mother nature and her cyclical processes? We can adopt a Circular Economy model that would allow us to extract less raw materials, add more value to our products, and ‘close the loop’, leaving our environment unharmed.
What does adopting a Circular Economy model (circularity) look like for entrepreneurs and startups? What if all startup incubators and accelerators took the step towards integrating design principles that foster circularity. How would this impact ventures going through these programs and the environment at large? These are some of the questions that the Impact Hub Global Network has been exploring over the past year. From the initial questions, the network moved to testing and piloting with local Impact Hubs. At the moment, 12 Hubs across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America are integrating circularity into their programs.
Impact Hub Kigali is very excited to be part of the process and to have recently launched the Circular Economy Acceleration Program, a unique 6-month program to enable startups to become more circular. The CE program is supported by the DOEN Foundation, the MAVA Foundation, and the GIZ Digital Transformation Center.
The pilot acceleration program in Rwanda is supporting six startups to become more circular. The startups will have access to a series of circularity workshops and trainings such as product/material journey mapping, circular opportunity identification, circular collaborations, and circular business modeling. The startups will be coached by sustainability experts and will have access to seed funding to test their circular innovations. In addition, the pilot will aim to raise circular economy awareness in the country through circularity themed events and communities of practice. The program will culminate in a circular Demo Day where startups will have a chance to showcase their progress and pitch in front of potential partners and investors.
Representatives from the six selected startups, and Impact Hub Kigali team at the program kick-off session. The startups shared their expectations about the program, and went through an introductory session on understanding what circular economy is.
At the program kick-off, startups expressed their desire to become more circular through their various business models and stressed how important this program would be in driving change towards promoting sustainable living.
“We only have one planet. If we waste it today, what will happen tomorrow?” – says Nshimiyimana Alexandre from Sanit Wing.
“I thought that I knew so much about the circular economy, but now I realize that I don’t. I like the feeling of not knowing and the opportunity to learn.” – Plante Josue from Aflimba (one of the six selected startups).
Do you want to know which are the StartUps taking part in the Program?
Scroll down to read more about them!
The six selected startups are from different sectors: agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and health with a technology aspect embedded within some of their business models.
Aflimba: AFLIMBA is a creative space for rural artisans based in Rwanda to elevate the craftsmanship in rural communities and improve the livelihood of rural artisans at the same time bring to life finest-handcrafted bags, they call them ‘LIMBAGS’. Their main purpose is to employ all possible strategies that improve and sustain the lives of the maximum number possible of artisans in the rural communities, at the same putting their creative and leadership skills on another level, while maintaining and growing the good reputation of AFLIMBA as a brand.
GreenRev: GREENREV GR is a Youth led agribusiness social enterprise. They focus on reducing horticultural harvest losses, as perishable crops and fight against malnutrition by adding micro- nutrient, to improve livelihoods through high profits and diversified nutrient-rich diets. They are interested in vegetables, tubers, fruits and cereals from seed to their processing to improve and modernize the agricultural sector through technological services.
Sanit Wing: Sanit Wing is a processing and manufacturing industrial company that produces a variety of oils, cosmetics and soaps from raw materials like avocado. Sanit Wing processes avocado into pure avocado oil, avocado hair cream, avocado vaseline and avocado soap. They produce cold pressed Avocado oil for industrial and Pharmaceutical use, and Organic pesticides free cosmetics that are affordable and custom to customer needs.
Kosmotive: Kosmotive produces and distributes breathable, non-toxic and super absorbent reusable sanitary pads that last for two years. They offer to all their end users to bring back all used products they bought from them, and they give them new ones at half the price. They recycle them and make other useful products from used products.
Croptech: Crop Tech Ltd is an agri-tech company that provides modern on-farm harvest handling services to maize growers in Rwanda and aid them in accessing the higher market through provision of transport and logistic services. They have developed a comprehensive on-farm harvest handling service (Maize threshing, maize drying and crop logistic service) through which they take the dryers at the farmers location and dry the maize harvest in a period of three hours instead of three weeks and help the farmer to sell to the high end market .
Ngozi Naturals: Ngozi Naturals is a conservation enterprise that amplifies local plant benefits through manufacturing natural beauty products. They currently manufacture 6 different handmade soaps that are meticulously developed for 4 skin types (Oily skin, Dry skin, Sensitive skin and a combination of skin). All our products are 100% natural, biodegradable and the packaging is 100% recyclable.
Stay tuned as we journey together with the startups, coaches, our partners, and our community towards a more circular future.
To learn more, visit kigali.impacthub.net/ce-acceleration-program/