A Ghanaian start-up, JVL-YKMA Recycling Plant, was among three companies from Africa that won the 2021 Prestigious SEED Low Carbon Award announced at the UN’s High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
The winning start-up in Ghana, founded in 2020, processes organic waste and faecal sludge to produce compost for commercial farming and affordable, fuel-efficient briquettes for households and industries.
Managed by young engineer, Bernadette Dzifa Agbefu, JVL-YKMA Recycling Plant is an innovative Public-Private Partnership between Jekora Ventures Ltd and the Yilo Krobo Municipal Assembly. It processes up to 1,800 tonnes of organic solid waste and up to 5,000 cubic meters of faecal sludge to produce up to 200 tonnes of compost and 1,000 tonnes of low-cost fuel briquettes annually.
As part of the benefits of the awards, SEED will help the business grow its production value through increasing faecal sludge treatment capacity and running a second briquetting shift.
Other Winners from Africa
Meanwhile, the winners and runners-up, who hail from nine countries across Africa and Asia, showcased their innovative and sustainable enterprises which contribute to climate adaptation and lower carbon use. Overall, nine winners and 39 runners-up are eligible for participation in the renowned SEED Accelerator and Catalyser programmes, to help scale their enterprises and their impact.
In the SEED Low Carbon Awards in Africa, two other waste management companies, Regenize, a Cape Town-based enterprise and Peec Energy from Uganda were also recognized.
Regenize, a South African enterprise founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Chad Robertson, rewards residents with Remali, a virtual currency that can be used to buy airtime, data or grocery vouchers, in exchange for recycled materials.
The Cape Town-based business provides informal waste collectors with community-based recycling hubs, uniforms, transportation, and connections to clean recyclables. Once collected and sorted, Regenize purchases the recycled materials and sells them in bulk to waste processors.
In this way, Regenize has diverted 231 tonnes of waste from landfills. As part of the recognition, SEED will help Regenize by setting up 151 decentralized recycling hubs and integrating 423 informal waste collectors into its model.
Peec Energy from Uganda
Also, the winning enterprise from Uganda, Peec Energy, offers remote monitoring and smart metering solutions for solar mini-grids and solar home systems in local communities, currently benefitting 3,800 households.
Founded in 2016 by entrepreneur Philip Kyeswa, Peec Energy provides PAYG meters to local mini-grid developers, allowing them to sell energy in off-grid locations and to remotely monitor their utility assets and collect bill payments via a central software.
In addition, the enterprise provides women and youth with solar and biogas training and certification from the Directorate of Industrial training in Uganda. Under SEED’s expert guidance, Peec Energy aims to expand throughout Uganda, Rwanda, and Congo to reach 500,000 connected households, impacting more than 1 million people.
SEED Low Carbon Award winners from Asia
In Asia, the SEED Low Carbon Award winners focused largely on enterprises utilising the circular economy model. Indian start-up, PadCare Labs, which creates recyclable materials out of soiled menstrual pads took home the Award, alongside Sampangan from Indonesia which converts waste into high-value, sustainable materials. Also, Thai start-up Moreloop which upcycles dead-stock fabrics to tackle waste in the fashion industry was also honoured.
Meanwhile, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentarian State Secretary in the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU), which is the primary sponsor of the SEED Low Carbon Awards, highlighted the significant role played by MSMEs in sustainable development.
“Micro and small enterprises play a vital role in the transformation to a decarbonised, more sustainable development. Many of these enterprises contribute greatly to this transformation. The SEED Awards are instrumental for scaling such enterprises, equipping the founders with the tools, knowledge and networks they need to maximise their impact within their local communities and beyond”.Schwarzelühr-Sutter
Notably, winners of the SEED Awards will be awarded matching grants of between EUR 10,000 and 15,000 and will receive tailored one-to-one advisory services for up to a year to scale their operations, as part of the renowned SEED Accelerator program.
Meanwhile, in line with the principle of ‘awarding the best and moving the rest’, 39 runners-up will also be supported through the SEED Catalyser program, to refine their business models and optimize their impacts while advancing their investment readiness.
Of the 2021 SEED Awards cohort, 69 per cent of enterprise leaders are 18-35 years-old and 52 per cent are female-led enterprises. Since its inception in 2005, the SEED Awards has awarded 311 enterprises in 40 countries and have facilitated the disbursement of over EUR 1 million in grants. Each individual SEED enterprise has saved an average of 7,300 tonnes of CO2, generated more than 9,399 kWh of renewable energy, and created 28.4 jobs.