The start-ups ARED and EarthEnable from Kigali are two of the five green pioneers still in the running for the prize of €500,000 at stake in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge, one of the largest sustainable enterprise competitions in the world.
The annual Postcode Lottery Green Challenge since 2007 is organized by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.
It is one of the largest annual international competitions in the field of sustainability innovation.
Each participant must submit a detailed business plan to the preliminary jury, who will establish whether the idea is viable.
Among them, two Rwandan start-ups is ARED, that has developed the Shiriki Hub, a mobile kiosk with solar panels, a WiFi router and mobile phone charging stations while EarthEnable offers a sustainable and inexpensive solution for cement floors, which are very CO2-intensive.
ARED brings sustainable energy and cheap WiFi to the African countryside, offering a clean alternative to diesel generators. Its franchise busines model also provides employment opportunities for people living in remote regions.
Henri Nyakarundi aged 40, founder of ARED said that it’s amazing to be recognized as a green entrepreneur by such a competition in the field of sustainable innovation. The prize money enables us to scale up our business model and further improve the technology in the Shiriki Hubs."
Earth Enable the other start-up from Rwanda that has developed a method for making sustainable floors using locally sourced materials. The plant-based oil finish makes these floors easy to keep clean.
This Rwandan start-up tackles a global problem, as more than a billion people still live on sandy floors, which are often a breeding ground for parasites and germs.
A cement floor is often the only available alternative, but this is expensive and is not eco-friendly. The EarthEnable floors are 75% cheaper than cement floors and reduce the carbon footprint by 90%, offering a cheap green solution for the world’s poorest people.
Goyatri Datar aged 31; co-founder said that being among the last five out of 515 entries is already a great achievement and honour. With the prize money we plan to scale within Rwanda and likely in three other countries.
“The prize money gives us the opportunity to test different scaling models to find a viable scale strategy to improve the health and lives of millions of people who are still living on dirt floors."
The two Rwanda teams are up against three other finalists: Glowee from France, Lightyear from the Netherlands and Pond from Denmark and The finale will take place in Amsterdam on 14 September
The best business plan that fights climate change wins €500,000 (estimated Rwf494,561,270). The runner-up receives €200,000 (estimated Rwf197,824,508)
Winners from previous editions have successfully developed their innovative products.