Sustainability Holds Hugely Rewarding Opportunity for Entrepreneurs
Author: Brandon Josi, COO, Doot
My interest in the topic of sustainability, particularly in Africa, was piqued in 2014.
I was watching Cosmos: A Space Odyssey, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. In one segment of the show, Neil describes an inspiring project idea from a couple of decades ago that never came to fruition.
The idea was to make Africa green again - particularly in North Africa, in the Sahara Desert.
The concept involved using solar energy to run a water-delivery system into the desert's region to regrow the flora and fauna of the region. The show used this really cool 3D animation to show North Africa changing from a yellow-ish brown into a healthy dark green image that was slowly spreading. It was marvellous, and would have a great impact on the climate change situation we're facing globally.
Unfortunately, the project never happened due to the insane costs associated with it, and it hadn't been attempted since. It became my wonderful fantasy; to one day bring the greenery back to the north of our continent.
I knew that was a huge dream, but I wanted to get involved in environmental sustainability within Africa.
Alas, my life was pulled in another direction. No complaints at all - I ended up founding a travel experiences startup called Doot. We're a dining experiences platform for travellers to meet with local foodies at places only they know. We tied a small social sustainability aspect into it, mostly around redistributing tourist spending into smaller local restaurants, giving locals the opportunities to practice English, and facilitating cultural exchange. It's fun, and we're happy we could add to social sustainability in a small way.
This entrepreneurial path had me exploring the sustainability startups within the African environment. One in particular that caught my eye is a Kenyan-based startup. They go around to restaurants and collect their old dirty cooking oil that the restaurants are unable to reuse. They then turn that into bio-diesel, which is used to power agricultural machinery - contributing to goals 7 and 12 of the UNDP's sustainable goals for 2030.
This recycled-cooking-oil-bio-diesel is one of my favourite examples of innovative startups in sustainability. It takes a resource that would be otherwise discarded, and puts it to great use - creating jobs, profit, and reducing pollution at the same time.
This is just one of hundreds of examples, particularly in the African sphere, where entrepreneurs can create fantastic sustainability solutions. The fun isn't only in blockchain, AI and the IoT. Sustainability and green solutions is a growing field with loads of support, and it's going to be massive. The EU is already supporting youth initiatives in Africa by Africans. There are amazing opportunities, and I'd recommend you find a way to get involved - either through an existing business/initiative or starting your own. It's a noble pursuit with great payoffs for you, the community and your employees. I may not be the one to bring the green back to North African soil, but I plan to contribute somehow in the near future.
It's easy to start learning more about the field. It starts with subscribing to Medium.com articles around sustainability, reading answers on Quora, and subscribing to email newsletters about sustainability. That should be enough to get started, and you can accelerate your involvement from there!
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