__#ReImagining resources, rethinking “waste”…
We talk a lot about entrepreneurs on this platform, which is right, but there is another very important ingredient that we should never lose sight of, and that is the role of innovators! When the innovators are entrepreneurs, it is even better! Let me make a bold declaration: Africa’s wealth creation model should be built around #Innovative entrepreneurship.
When I wrote the first draft of this post a few months ago, my mind was focused on #ResourceInnovators, in particular. I was thinking (as I have written before) that we need a generation of entrepreneurs who can innovate around the natural resources of their countries to create products. You know I hate the expression “value added” or even worse, “beneficiation”! The real word is #INNOVATION!
Unlocking the true value of our national resources is all about @RealInnovations! Young entrepreneur in Nigeria, for example, should be asking themselves, “What are the coolest products we can make with oil?”
And in Zimbabwe, at least some young entrepreneurs still need to be asking: “What are the coolest products we can make with platinum?”
But today, as UN Climate Week draws to a close, this has got me thinking of Innovative Entrepreneurship in another way:
__What about the waste “resources” that are being created in our societies as we live day to day?
With 2bn people set to live in our cities within 25 years, the waste business is second only to producing food in urgency and importance.
Now mentioning waste as a “resource” might seem strange at first, but we can say with certainty, that waste of different kinds is something abundantly available in all nations. It is already a crisis. Can it be an opportunity? What is your country doing about it? And with it?
Real entrepreneurs know by now that #Waste products (as much as we must try to avoid them) do not have to be completely “wasted” in their potential to have a positive social and even environmental impact.
For example, “waste” of different kinds was key in business models of at least three of the businesses featured in the recent GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize competition pitch finale in Ghana a few weeks ago:
Banolo Monthe at @MaungoCraft from Botswana transformed #wasted Morula fruits that were being discarded in other manufacturing processes (oil for cosmetics) into indigenous gourmet food products. She got her idea from seeing the fruit lying around the streets, on cars, just rotting.
EcoDudu in Kenya (@EcoduduKe), co-founded by medical student Starlin Farah, took entrepreneurial innovation a different direction… Her production #process uses Black Soldier flies which eat (thereby recycle) urban organic #waste and turn that #waste into organic fertilizer! They also process the mature fly larvae into high protein animal feed… Yes, waste into fertilizer, and into alternative protein food!
The innovative founder of Sesi Technologies (@sesitechgh) from Ghana, Isaac Sesi, also had a business model tacking the problem of #waste… by inventing a moisture detection device for grains specifically to help smallholder farmers reduce post-harvest losses from rotting food.
These are just three examples of the Innovative Entrepreneurship I am talking about…
As I have said before:
# By the time you leave primary school, you should know every #Resource produced in your country.
# By the time you leave secondary school you should know every #Product made with the resources of your country.
# By the time you leave university you should know #How to make every product, produced by the resources of your country.
# And… By the time you finish your homework in the next few weeks… you should also know all about the #Waste produced in your country, too.
That’s not all. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur you should be ready to come up with a NEW product using the resources of your country, including the waste products!
Hey, no pressure now!
You are an entrepreneur. What an opportunity for you! Seize it before someone else does!
To be continued. . .
Image credit: Susan Winters Cook.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa