ZIMBABWE is struggling with keeping its cities clean as local authorities, especially Harare, have failed citizens when it comes to service delivery. But the Ideas Festival hosted by Alpha Media Holdings chairperson Trevor Ncube through his In Conversation With Trevor series came up with possible solutions to this problem. Clean Up Zimbabwe founder Owen Chivandire and The Noble Savage pioneer Msindazwe Ndhlovu shared their ideas at the festival. Below is what they proposed:
Clean Up Zimbabwe
We are a waste management company. We are integrating old industry, that is, waste collection and new technology. Our three core pillars are to provide innovative, reliable and sustainable waste management services.
We came through the value creation challenge. We are only one year old but we were supported by the value creation challenge.
In the last six months, we went through the accelerator programme. Our business has grown 10 times from where it was.
We now have about 20 employees. As a start-up, without the support of big companies like Old Mutual, we would not be where we are today. We are solving the issue of waste management. If you remember in 2008, cholera killed about 4 000 people in Zimbabwe. About six days ago, the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) declared a state of emergency around cholera. It is still killing people.
As Clean Up Zimbabwe, we then come to assist, we know other people and government can do something but as the youth, we can not just wait and watch people dying. That is why we started Clean Up Zimbabwe.
When we started, we saw three major problems. Number one is the issue of sewage reticulation, followed by the issue of water contamination and the issue of waste management.
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At the core for sewage reticulation, as a start-up, we donot have capital and we could not solve that.
For water, we thought that since it is a bit expensive, we will start that in the financial year 2024. We will be delivering clean water to the underprivileged areas and areas affected by cholera. For this year, we thought the low hanging fruit was waste management.
We started with waste management and we are collecting waste from various points and then we do recycling. Our job is to ensure that we do not take that waste and put it in the dumpsite.
In terms of our plans, for now we are doing general waste management, medical waste. We are planning to get into industrial waste where we will be processing different types of waste and we are now doing recycling as well.
In terms of operations, we are operating in two cities, which is quite amazing for a start-up. We are operational in Harare and Ruwa. We now work with about 300 companies and we operate in 55 suburbs in Harare. We have been taught to turn ideas into business and to build a team around that and to model financials to see if the business is scalable.
We have statements that we have been taught to say ‘don’t run a “zhet”, run a business” .
So, that is what we have been working on. I think we also had the Old Mutual team. They brought experts to teach us about branding. We were taught how to build businesses and it is actually humbling as well.
The other thing is around the issues of partnerships. We learnt that when you are starting as a start-up, you cannot do everything on your own. We were taught the value of partnerships. Partnerships with big companies, so we partnered with Technology Company Zimbabwe and we are also working around that.
The Noble Savage
I always think of myself as the glorified garbage man. Well, for us as The Noble Savage, we make innovative fields of materials by utilising waste to produce. Did you know that Zimbabwe produces about 2,7 million tonnes of waste annually? We have a housing backlog of 2,3 million.
With only a 37% electricity accessibility, these are huge problems that affect most of the civilians on a day-to-day basis. As The Noble Savage, we recycle waste plastic and glass to manufacture eco-friendly building materials that are lighter, stronger, durable, and affordable. We make roof tiles, we make pavers, we make kitchen countertops, and our products are affordable.
One of the greatest joys that I feel as the North South is the impact that we are able to help the lowest of the lowest people, the most vulnerable members of our society to generate an income of between US$50 and US$180 a month to feed their families and to have a roof over their head for their families. And all they just have to do is pick waste.
Being part of the Eight2Five Innovation Fund by all means, helped our business significantly. You know, before I ever say that, we are known as Uhudu Holdings, or in Shona people call it, Siaso Enterprises because we did not understand the core principles of running a business that goes beyond me as an individual.
Everything was set out for me. But now, if I am to tell you, I have not been to the office for the last week and a half. Not because I am on holiday. My mom was in the hospital, and I am here but everything is right inside. If you ask me today what has been done,
I will tell you right from the strength that I was given by the accelerator programme of Eight2Five.
One thing which we have been able to do in the last year, we have raised US$90 000. We are seeking to raise an additional US$90 000 for a 15% stake in the business.
That you make your principal in 24 months, then you drop it to 5% and we are looking for strategic partners for those that want to make money.
Through distribution partnerships, people that can help us distribute our products. Aspire beyond generations. That is our promise to you.