Wecyclers, a waste management startup based in Lagos, has won the King Baudouin Foundation’s African Development Prize. The firm was awarded the sum of 81 million naira, which gives it the needed capital support for the expansion of the business.
The waste management start up emerged as the best out of the 244 applications received by the foundation. The company was chosen for its role in community development. The award ceremony will be held on June 12, 2019, in the presence of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium at the Royal Palace in Brussels, Belgium.
Herve Lisoir from the King Baudouin Foundation said “we are proud to recognise Wecyclers for their very effective model. The independent selection committee selected the enterprise out of 244 applications for its innovative approach to engaging the community, Turning recycling into an economic driver for communities and turning citizens into agents of change”.
The African Development Prize will allow Wecyclers to upscale their model and increase their footprint. It will also provide access to a wide network of stakeholders in Europe and the United States, who may support them as they grow.
Wecyclers currently has more than 17,000 subscribers in seven localities in Lagos. The start-up registers around 200 new members each month. The company has also created 200 jobs in 7 years, with a focus on women, who currently account for 60 percent of their workforce.
The startup aims to collect 5,000 tons of recyclables by 2020 and could be serving 500,000 households by 2023. It utilises low and high technology solutions that comprise of SMS technology and a mobile application, as well as low-cost collection vehicles, which collect recyclable waste directly from households to sell to recycling plants before being made into new products.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of Wecyclers, Olawale Adebiyi, “giving back to the community is in the DNA of Wecyclers. We want to expand our business to other neighbourhoods. In the midterm, we want to be big enough to build our own recycling plant. Growing more for Wecyclers means being able to give back even more to the community”.
The company is based in Lagos which is likely to become the biggest city in the world by 2100, as Africa is projected to account for 5 out of the 10 biggest cities in the world by 2100. Today, Lagos residents generate 15,000 tons of waste per day, of which only 40 percent is collected by the Government.