WasteAid Announces Winners of Zero Waste Cities Challenge
- Two local entrepreneurs in Johannesburg have been awarded €10,000 to support businesses to transforming food waste into valuable products and to combat illegal dumping
- As the population of Johannesburg grows, so does its waste. Currently 10% waste is recycled and there is potential for this to be much higher*. Preserving resources and reducing reliance on landfill can create jobs and improve living conditions in the city.
WasteAid, a UK-based international NGO, announced the two winners of its Zero Waste Cities Challenge in Johannesburg yesterday. Local entrepreneurs from Bokashi Bran and BoombaDotMobi each won €10,000 and six months of business mentoring to help make their ideas a reality. One innovation aims to reduce food waste and create green employment opportunities in the city and the second will help reduce the challenge of illegal dumping in Johannesburg.
Thabo Selai, WasteAid’s Project Manager for South Africa, said: “It has been truly brilliant to watch Bokashi Bran and BoombaDotMobi grow throughout the challenge. Food waste and illegal dumping are both pressing issues around the world, but especially in South Africa. Food waste when it is left to rot in landfills produces methane which results in harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Bokashi Bran manufactures bokashi, a product used to treat food waste and keep it out of landfill. It allows people to compost cooked food, meat products and dairy. BoombaDotMobi combats illegal dumping of food waste through collecting organic and mixed waste from its more affluent customers and providing a place where the wider local community can bring their recyclables and food waste free of charge thus combatting the issue of illegal dumping. WasteAid is excited to support these entrepreneurs and to help develop sustainable resource management and green jobs in the city.”
Winning entrepreneur, Bronwyn Jones from Bokashi Bran, said: “Winning the WasteAid Zero Waste Cities Challenge is such an honour and a privilege. We, at Bokashi Bran, can’t wait to form the foundation to make diverting food waste from landfill a reality. This is a massive win for South Africa and the environment. Thank you to WasteAid, Huhtamaki and the Circular Economy Network.”
“This is not a win but a milestone because we will only win when we all live in a clean and less hazardous environment. This is for the next generation, and we are grateful to WasteAid and Huhtamaki for being the pillars of this milestone”, said Sbu Shongwe from BoombaDotMobi, one of the winners.
Between April and July, WasteAid’s Zero Waste Cities Challenge received 100 entries from across the world. From there, 12 entrepreneurs were selected as part of a shortlist for Johannesburg and enrolled in a free eight-week business mentoring programme with Seed Academy of Seed Engine. During this process, the entrepreneurs refined their business ideas, developed a more robust business plan and polished their pitching skills.
Five finalists were then selected to compete in the grande finale held on 21 October, pitching their business innovations in front of a judging panel of industry experts: Ntokozo Majola, Executive Manager for Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda); Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director, Plastics SA; Anele Sololo, Chairperson, National Recycling Forum and Camilo Ramada, Senior Advisor, Business Finland.
Ntokozo Majola, Executive Manager for Seda said: “It was a pleasure to see local entrepreneurs showcase their ideas for improving resource efficiency and reducing waste in Johannesburg. WasteAid’s Zero Waste Cities Challenge is shining a light on the value in wasted resources, the opportunities in the circular economy and providing much needed support and investment to help scale grassroots innovations.”
The global challenge is part of WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network, funded by Huhtamaki, which is running events across three cities: Johannesburg in South Africa, Guwahati in India and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
The two winning entrepreneurs will now begin to implement their proposed innovations, supported by a further six months of business mentoring. The ultimate goal is to showcase demonstratable impact in waste reduction and resource efficiency in Johannesburg by April 2022.