- As part of an initiative developed by WasteAid, to support informal waste collectors to increase their income earning potential, 18 waste collectors known as ‘wastepreneurs’ pitched their business ideas to a panel of independent judges in a Dragons Den style pitch day.
- The event which took place at the HTA School of Culinary Art in Randburg on 18th October 2022, was the culmination of a twelve-week training programme hosted by International NGO WasteAid in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni in conjunction with the Wot-if? Trust.
- 18 Wastepreneurs were awarded capex funding that will enable them to invest in transport, storage as well as further training to help them grow their businesses.
On 18th October 2022, international NGO WasteAid hosted a Dragons Den style pitch event at the HTA School of Culinary Art in Randburg, where eighteen ‘wastepreneurs’ presented their business ideas to a panel of four independent judges as part of the “Bunzl Waste Entrepreneurial Challenge” pitch fund.
The pitch event was the culmination of a twelve-week tailored training programme designed and developed by the Wot-if? Trust for WasteAid, to support waste collectors in improving their income potential. The training curriculum included business and finance basics as well as understanding waste streams. The training combined both personal and practical skills to inspire the wastepreneurs to think of how they could grow their earning potential. The training also included coaching support to help them map out their ideas and to prepare for the final ‘pitch’ event. The pot allocation of seed funding for the wastepreneurs was £10k and is funded by WasteAid’s partner Bunzl Plc.
Bunzl Plc’s Head of Sustainability in the UK, James Pitcher, attended the event as well as Bunzl representatives from Australia. Four independent judges were also selected to sit on the panel, including local waste management and sustainability professionals Conny Sethaelo, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement Manager for Nestle South Africa; Debbie Du Preez, Regional Manager of Pikitup; Sbusiso Shongwe of BoombaDotMobi, WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network member and winner of the Zero Waste Cities Challenge; and Claudio Buffa Pace of Community Bin Project.
Sbusiso Shongwe of BoombaDotMobi expressed that: “Wastepreneurship is thriving in this country, and South African wastepreneurs are changing the perceptions in this sector. If there was any time to invest in the waste space, now is the right time.”
After deliberation the judging team consulted on the appropriate allocation of funds for each wastepreneur. The business ideas presented by the wastepreneurs ranged from education resources made from recyclable materials to the creation of a community food garden to incentivise separation at source and recycling by households in the community. At one training hub, four individuals formed an association to create a Buy-Back and Collection Centre in their community. At another hub, a cooperative of ten youths strengthened their aggregation potential in Freedom Park in Soweto, by focusing on the development office infrastructure on their collection site. One of the candidates, a young man living with a disability, was granted the design and development of a specific waste trolley and safety shoes.
CEO of WasteAid, Ceris Turner-Bailes, said: “We are extremely grateful for Bunzl’s ongoing partnership and support. The Bunzl Waste Entrepreneurial Challenge has enabled WasteAid to support the economic empowerment of some of the poorest members of the waste value chain in South Africa. Through collaborative local partnerships, circular economy initiatives and a tailored curriculum on the World of Waste, this programme is helping to improve the lives and livelihoods of wastepreneurs and their communities within South Africa’s informal sector.”
James Pitcher, Head of Sustainability at Bunzl Plc, said:
“The informal waste economy in countries like South Africa is such a big part of these communities. What I hope moving forward is that we’ll continue to be able to provide micro-grants to more communities of people, to help grow the informal waste economy and provide them with jobs that they can be proud of.”
WasteAid will continue to mentor the wastepreneurs through the implementation phase and looks forward to training more wastepreneurs in the months to come.
NOTES TO EDITORS
- WasteAid is a leading international development organisation on a mission to tackle the global waste crisis. 2 billion people do not have their waste collected and 3 billion lack a decent disposal site, leading to the spread of disease and polluting the air, land, rivers and oceans.
- WasteAid works with governments and communities in low-income countries to address the root causes of climate change and marine plastic pollution.
- WasteAid shares waste management knowledge and skills; trains people to become self-employed recycling entrepreneurs; and influences decision-makers and the donor community to increase investment in waste management.
About Bunzl Plc
- Bunzl is the largest value-added distributor in the world in its market sectors with operations across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific and UK & Ireland.
- Bunzl is purpose driven to create long term sustainable value for the benefit of all its stakeholders. This includes charities and communities, and Bunzl directs the focus of its charitable support towards environmental activities most relevant to its business.
- Sustainability is a key priority for Bunzl, and a central focus of the company’s sustainability strategy is supporting the transition to a more circular economy through providing tailored alternative packaging solutions and reusable packaging options and facilitating responsible usage.
About the Wot-if? Trust
- The Wot-if? Trust operates in Diepsloot, an underserved and impoverished community north of Johannesburg in South Africa.
- They focus on women and youth, specifically addressing youth unemployment and small business development – with a focus on ensuring access to the economy and economic inclusion for their participants.