Circularity Tales: Environmental entrepreneurship in Dakar
In Senegal, the surge in environmental entrepreneurship among the youth is evident through projects addressing sanitation, pollution, and plastic waste. Impact Hub Dakar’s circularity programme, “Wërngël-Bi,” has been pivotal in nurturing these initiatives. Josephine Tine, co-founder of ART-Pesoung, Hadji Malick Sagne, of Cactus Innovation, and Adja Aissatou Diallo, founder of Galle epitomise the transformative potential of sustainable solutions in Senegal’s shift towards a circular economy.
Environmental entrepreneurship has captured the imagination of Senegalese youths, who are increasingly spearheading projects aimed at enhancing sanitation, combating pollution, and mitigating plastic waste. Despite this surge in initiatives, the available technical support and idea incubation opportunities remain limited.
In response to this gap, Impact Hub Dakar has introduced a pilot circularity programme named “Wërngël-Bi,” meaning “The Circle” in Wolof. This programme provides a platform for young Senegalese innovators and entrepreneurs with projects in the conceptual stage to transform their visions into tangible realities and explore the extensive ecosystem of projects aligned with their interests.
Wërngël-Bi supported a diverse range of projects, from eco-construction to ecological toilets, with the top three projects qualifying for funding opportunities following a Demo Day where participants showcased their progress.
Meet the Wërngël-Bi entrepreneurs
Josephine Tine – ART-Pesoung
Josephine identified the sanitation challenges in rural areas and their profound impact on women and the community at large. In response, she initiated a project focused on creating ecological toilets using soil bricks and methanised pits to generate biogas from human waste. Her solutions not only enhance hygiene and sanitation but also make wastewater treatable for household use. Josephine envisions solving rural sanitation issues while simultaneously reducing living costs through biogas and accessible running water.
El Hadji Malick Sagne – Cactus Innovation
Malick Sagne aims to revolutionise agriculture by envisioning a world where cultivation occurs without pesticides or fertilisers, relying solely on the natural biogas produced by plants. His innovative approach involves harnessing the biogas from cactus plants, converting it into electricity through a gas-fueled machine. The generated resources support agricultural properties, offering a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative. Impact Hub Dakar’s Wërngël-Bi provided Malick with not only funding but also a collaborative environment that facilitated new partnerships and a positive climate movement.
Adja Aissatou Diallo – Galle
Adja is dedicated to eco-construction, intending to build houses using renewable, biodegradable materials such as raw earth, straw, and bamboo. These self-sufficient houses incorporate rainwater collection systems, providing running tap water for families. The circularity programme at Impact Hub equipped Adja with refined business models for Galle. She emphasises the invaluable teamwork that emerged, showcasing the complementarity of projects and fostering new relationships among different pillars.
Additionally, two other projects in the idea stage received substantial support to evolve into prototypes: a consultancy agency focused on mineral extraction with minimal environmental impact and a project dedicated to crafting bricks from plastic waste.
These initiatives, born out of a keen observation of real-life challenges and fueled by a desire for positive change, embody an innovative spirit. Thanks to Impact Hub Dakar’s support, these entrepreneurs are not only prepared to advance their businesses but are also poised to contribute significantly to Senegal’s sustainable transition from a linear to a circular economy.
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