Mombasa County to work with Youth enterprises tackling plastic waste

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The Mombasa County government has pledged to work with youth enterprises tackling plastic waste to upscale their products.

Speaking during the Mombasa Plastics Prize Incubator Entreprise Showcase on Thursday, Mombasa’s Education County Executive Committee Member Dr. Mbwarali Kame said “We are all proud of the impact MPP has had on our young people, environment, and also the economy. It is uplifting to see the kind of innovation coming from our young people and we are inspired by the potential we have within our counties.”

“Seeing the product from Twende Green Ecocycle, the Eco-desk, for example, is a novel idea that can transform our classrooms. As the CECM education Mombasa County, I pledge to assist our entrepreneurs have these desks in each of our ECDE classrooms,” he added.

His commitment came even as different investors made similar ones to help the young ecopreneurs upscale their businesses.

The MPP Incubator Enterprise Showcase came after a six-month Incubation program that saw the nine MPP youth-led enterprises develop their innovative prototypes into sustainable enterprises thus promoting green entrepreneurship within the county.

“It has been a rigorous process, one in which we had to work one-on-one with each of the businesses to identify the gaps in their business cases and also within their impacts and social cases,” said Ngosa Mupela, the Chief Financial Officer at Close the Gap.

“Six months ago they did not even have registered businesses, so going forward we hope they will experience exponential growth with the exposure they are getting from MPP and with investors coming on board to help them scale up,” he added.

The Incubator Phase had the innovators go through master classes with different coaches to help them navigate the industry and get investors.

Lavender Odeny from Proporting Global was one of the coaches.

“They were taken through human-centered design thinking, were able to brainstorm, validate their ideas with communities, and refine the ideas. They also did surveys to understand what the real problem on the ground is,” said Lavender.

“They were able to refine their businesses from working prototypes to businesses that have impacted the community,” she added.

Since the inception of the Mombasa Plastics Prize Challenge in January 2023, the groups have collectively collected 23 tonnes of plastic waste through beach clean-ups and collection initiatives. They have also created 545 green jobs.

“It has been an extraordinary success, to be honest, and I couldn’t be more proud of how far they have come,” said Naomi Whitbourn, Program Lead at Challenge Works.

“We hope this is the beginning of many more phases to come, not necessarily funded by USAID but we are hoping this is the beginning of a new chapter in Mombasa and beyond. We are now in the process of identifying potential future funding,” she added.

Apart from networking with investors at the Incubator Showcase, the innovators had a graduation ceremony.

“Swahilipot’s role in the MPP program was to ensure visibility of the enterprises on social media platforms and access to machinery like shredders and extruders. We also provided support through networking and learning events,” said Arafat Mukasa from Swahilipot Hub Foundation.

Also read: Plastic waste take center stage during Zero Waste Fest in Mombasa

To celebrate this incredible journey, Deputy Governor H.E. Francis Foleni Thoya, said: “The transformative outcomes we are witnessing today are a testament to the hard work and innovation of the youth in Mombasa. Their commitment to green entrepreneurship alleviates unemployment and is a big leap toward shaping a sustainable future. The Mombasa County is looking forward to building on the legacy of the Mombasa Plastics Prize through supporting future related initiatives.”

The Mombasa Plastics Prize program was funded by USAID.

Anna Ghnouly is from the USAID Kenya’s Environment Office.

“USAID’s commitment to initiatives like the Mombasa Plastics Prize reflects its dedication to fostering sustainable development and empowering future generations. It underscores the agency’s recognition of the transformative power of community-driven action in addressing complex global challenges,” said Anna Ghnouly.

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