Social Media Week happened last week and on Thursday, themed the Tech and Environment Day, Ghana Climate Innovation Centre (GCIC), an organization supporting entrepreneurs involved in developing solutions to climate change, gave the platform to these entrepreneurs to pitch business ideas in a competition dubbed GreenGo.
The GreenGo competition, basically a wordplay on “Go Green” saw a number of young people, presenting their ideas to win the $10,000 reward as incubation support to grow their business of providing environmentally sustainable solutions and products.
Out of the lot, Papa Yaw Agyekum, CEO of Green Campus GH, an organization that seeks to improve sanitation by advocating proper waste management through the distribution and sales of trash bags stood out and won the $10,000 reward. We spoke to him and had to applaud his idea of manufacturing biodegradable trash bags and recycling waste materials.
What he says, started as a way of dealing with the inconvenience that came with emptying his dustbin, Green Campus GH has grown into an entity that is helping in the fight against the sanitation through the use of trash bags.
Kuulpeeps: How did you get your idea for the business?
Green Campus Gh: So it is basically simple, it was out of inconvenience and necessity. Noticing a problem and having the will to solve it and making a business out of it. Basically, I was as in school and I had to empty my trash one day. You know in school, boys don’t like to empty their rubbish, they will probably wait in the evening to empty them so that the girls will not see them. It happened to me and everybody. When I went to empty my dustbin I realized organic was stuck in my dustbin and I didn’t want to ever wash my dustbin so I decided to come out with a plan and that was to get a trash bag and instead of using it alone, we began to distribute to people on my floor because of the kind of menace we had with waste.
Kuulpeeps: What was your mission on the onset?
Green Campus Gh: My mission on the onset was to improve sanitation in Ghana. We wanted to serve as a waste embassy in Ghana, managing and improving waste.
Kuulpeeps: What services do you provide?
Green Campus Gh: We have services we provide now and what we intend to provide. For the services we are providing now, we are distributing the trash bag and selling them on a large scale and we have done our first production and sold over ten thousand pieces so far. That is the first phase, we want to do the distribution and sale of these bags and create awareness. The second phase is the collection of waste and the assortment of waste. The assortment will be very easy due to the tool we have provided. The final part will be the recycling. Then the cycle will continue.
Kuulpeeps: How do you advertise your business?
Green Campus Gh: We started by word of the mouth and gradually we moved on to social media. We put together photographs carrying the message we wanted to put across. We put together mass images on social media. We have also had a couple of interviews as well with major news sites and now GCIC’s incubator program is going to help me achieve more.
Kuulpeeps: Has your business been a success and if it has what do you owe this success to?
Green Campus: Firstly, I will say my business is a growing success story, I cannot pound my chest and say it is successful yet. The reason why I say that we are a growing success story is that of the wonderful people I work with. What do I owe this growing success to? First to God then my father, Mr. Kofi Addo Agyekum and my mother Mrs. Gifty Asante who have been extraordinary and supported me to stand firm in making business decisions and the angel donor that pre-financed our business.
Kuulpeeps: What are your company goals?
Green Campus Gh: The specific goal and vision are one, to be a waste management embassy in Ghana.
Kuulpeeps: What is unique about your company?
Green Campus Gh: The unique part of our business is the products that we sell. We have this mantra, ‘quality or nothing’ and what we intend doing is providing quality to the client and creating a cool feeling when managing it. When it comes to our trash bags, they are not produced from polythene bags they are produced from specially chosen materials that can be induced to bring about biodegradability. They are leakproof and can carry both solid and liquid waste. They come in three colors white, blue and green which will make the waste assortment easier when we start in the future.
Kuulpeeps: And how does it feel, winning all that cash?
Green Campus Gh: To be honest, becoming a Greengo has boosted my confidence to intensify my sanitation campaign across the country.