Plastic recycling is relatively low in Africa. There are many reasons why companies recycle, however, for Mohamed Semdoe it’s entrepreneurial.
Mohamed Semdoe is a Tanzanian guy aged 38. He holds a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and works for the local government as District Environmental Management Officer since 2004.
Makamba Online had a chat with Mr Semdoe to understand and share this unique entrepreneurial story in Africa.
In brief, talking about his company, Mohamed said: “I have an enterprise namely ‘Semdoe eco-enterprises’. My enterprises deal with recycling. Organic farming, production of detergents, sustainable energy, production of natural mosquito repellent, and provision of environmental studies and climate change education to secondary schools in Tanzania.”
Mohamed said: “Our Motto is ‘Using local available resources for sustainable development’. As a company, we always focus on using resources effectively and efficiently without compromise.”
Some business ideas are a result of passion, some are a result of experience and some just an opportunity. We asked Mohamed to tell us how he came up with his recycling business.
“From my educational background and point of view, I used to explore existing social and environmental challenges and find simple possible solutions based on available resources in the respective environment. One of social and environmental challenge which I dealt with was improper disposal of plastic bags on the environment and I came up with simple solution of making various recycled products like mattresses.
“So, simple I can say that, through educational background, I managed to pass through various literatures related to sustainability and thereafter I get the idea and I had to practice,” he told Makamba Online.
Why make us of plastics?
This idea of using plastic bag wastes to produce hand plastic bags, mattresses, carpets, flowers, and wipe have been developed as an optional solution for the proper disposal and management of plastic bag wastes in Tanzania. This innovative idea will not only keep our environment clean wastes but will also create employment among youths and women. It is a starting up idea which Mohamed hopes will be positively received and adopted by the Tanzanian community.
Pricing and markets
“One hand bag costs fifteen thousand Tanzanian Shillings, one carpet costs thirty-five thousand Tanzanian Shillings, and one mattress costs from fifty thousand Tanzanian Shillings to seventy thousand Tanzanian Shillings depend on size,” Mohamed gave details on pricing.
On the markets he is catering for, he said: “Currently, I use local market to sell my products, I don’t reach out, but I except to reach out as time goes on. I am not much familiar with other similar innovators in Africa.
“My plan is go beyond and conquer Africa market for my products. I have been starting some strategies including making of documentaries, and publicity through local and international media like BBC, and South Africa Voice of Swahili.”
Entrepreneurship funding system in Africa
According to Mr Semdoe’s experience and view, “Entrepreneurship funding system in Africa mainly depend on loans from micro and macro financial institutions. Funding from partners is very rare and not much reliable source.”
Advice on starting up a business
- Identify needs of respective area
- Find best possible solution
- Go for the affordable solution
- Focus on a business that is easy to understand and that is easily adopted by beneficiaries
Author: Gesture Chidhanguro