Feature

Large Hills of Trash on Egyptian Streets are about to Turn into Business Opportunities

Large Hills of Trash on Egyptian Streets are about to Turn into Business Opportunities

Photo: AFP File Photo

Wherever you are in Egypt, the sight of garbage on almost every street has become the norm. Sewage and industry waste is still dumped in the Nile. With a population closing in on 100 million, the waste problem is not going away soon. While it can be a liability, IWEX turned it into an opportunity and launched the “Leeha 2eema – ليها قيمة” program, a waste management entrepreneurship program that aims at supporting 45 waste management startups, on a nationwide scale.

“Leeha 2eema – ليها قيمة”, meaning “it has value”, offers early stage waste management startups, from all governorates in Egypt, the opportunity to build companies that focus on local manufacturing and value addition products or services by offering them sector specific training, advisory and consultancy as well as access to finance, markets and service providers.

Egypt is a fertile country for startups in this specific sector. Almost 60% of Egypt’s total waste is organic waste, which can be used for numerous other projects instead of simply left to rot. In 2010, Egypt produced around 20 million tons of Municipal Solid Waste; Cairo alone produced 11,000 tons per day, that’s four million tons per year. Egyptian industries produce around 10 million tons of waste per year. The numbers are scary, but can definitely be made use of for both business and the environment.

Every one of us generates about one kilogram of waste per day, which can fuel almost one hour of cooking time on natural gas. Sorted recycables can be sold at a good price, along with many solutions to be presented by “Leeha 2eema – ليها قيمة”.

“Leeha 2eema – ليها قيمة” program will offer means of support to early-stage startups: a 20-day of technical and business training sessions, six workshops on business modelling, market research, prototyping and supply chain management, 10 prototyping grants for the top performing startups, Technical, financial, marketing and needs-based consultation sessions, networking opportunities with potential clients, suppliers, financiers and key entrepreneurship ecosystem stakeholders through a major public event,  and access to debt and equity financing investors/entities.

Seven startups from outside Cairo will be supported to attend the program – travel and accommodation will be covered.

The deadline for the call is on April 14th.

IWEX Green Growth, Industrial Waste Management and SME Entrepreneurship Hub in Egypt, is one of the projects funded by the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Transition Fund in Egypt, through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and implemented by the Industrial Council for Technology and Innovation – Ministry of Trade and Industry – through the Egypt National Cleaner Production Center (ENCPC).

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@AyaNaderM

Aya Nader is an independent journalist based in Egypt, published in Open Democracy, Daily News Egypt, The National, and Al-Monitor, among others. She is an MA candidate in International Relations at the American University in Cairo.

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