Accelerator for waste to value enterprises launches in East Africa

Bestseller Foundation, a private foundation, supporting initiatives, and investing in businesses for environmental protection and social progress has launched an accelerator targetted at East African startups tackling waste management. 

The accelerator has selected six startups to take part in an eight month programme

Globally, plastic and waste management is a challenge that many countries face. Within underdeveloped countries, waste management is a key socioeconomic and environmental challenge impacting most East African countries.

With most of these countries utilising old and traditional methods of managing waste, various East African startups have found new and effective solutions for better waste management to catalyse cleaner and more circular economies in the region. 

Jannek Hagen, Managing Director of Bestseller Foundation explains the importance of waste management.  

“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. It’s been said that ‘Waste has always been someone’s problem’. We’re making it our problem; Bestseller 

Foundation is committed to supporting innovative start-ups working at the frontline to convert waste to value with the ultimate goal of creating sustainable businesses and sustainable economies”.

In their dedication to tackling waste management, Bestseller Foundation collaborated with Intellecap and launched the Waste to Value Challenge in December 2019. The challenge was implemented across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. A reported 400 applications were received from various startups and six were selected by an Advisory Committee of industry experts. 

Waste to Value Accelerator in East Africa 

The six selected startups will take part in a Waste to Value Accelerator programme. Within this initiative, the selected startups will receive technical and financial support of up to $100 000 provided in the form of convertible debt. 

The accelerator will be managed by Intellecap, the advisory arm of The Aavishkaar Group, which works to build businesses that can benefit the underserved segments across Asia and Africa. In addition, Intellecap will provide technical assistance to participating startups over eight months from August 2020 to March 2021. Each enterprise will undergo a customised support programme.

Karnika Yadav, Associate Partner at Intellecap, provides insight into the Accelerator programme. 

“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 an 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”.

 The Advisory Committee that selected the six startups will offer mentorship and professional guidance to the companies over the coming eight months.

Selected startups

Three of the six enterprises selected are the following: 

  • 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. 

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Featured image: Supplied 



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