Sometimes, when we listen to the topics being discussed on mainstream media, as a young person, you’d wonder the kind of future you’d have. The despair alone is enough to make you give up.
But then you come across Eunice Mawuena Kloe’s story and your faith in Ghana and the promise of a better tomorrow is renewed once more.
Eunice is a 20-year-old level 300 student of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology who is reading BSC Aquaculture and Water Resource Management.
You might wonder what is so special about Eunice…
Well, besides living the busy lifestyle of a uni student thus going to lectures, turning in papers, taking quizzes and writing semester exams, Eunice and a group of friends of hers have also started their own eco-friendly Kumasi based company called BidiGreen.
At BidiGreen, Eunice and her team that includes Selorm Hodonu, Michael Osei-Gyeabour, Sussana Ayeh Kwakye, Adedara, Edmund Ofori, Samuel Nii Adjei Adjetey, Jennifer Kwakwa-Sarpong, Emmanuel Sekyi and Eva Kukubor turn crop waste or agro residue into charcoal.
This genius of a student entrepreneur decided to introduce this new eco-friendly product to the Ghanaian charcoal consumer because she wanted to save lives and put an end to deforestation – the cutting down of trees.
Currently, trees are cut down and used to make charcoal… that is greatly contributing to the carbon emissions that countries all over the world, including Ghana, are trying to reduce.
According to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 13, countries need to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
In her own way, Eunice is helping Ghana to achieve this.
Trees are key in reducing carbon emissions since they consume carbon dioxide, the more we cut down trees, the more we emit carbon. As a result, cutting down trees to turn them into charcoal is directly making the planet less safe for all of us.
Moreover, medical doctors have raised the concern of growing smoke-related health issues among certain groups of women who do not actually smoke.
This is predominately among women who work with fire such as fishmongers since on a daily basis they are inhaling smoke emanating from the wood and wood-based charcoal sourced fire that smokes their fish and cooks the food they are preparing for sale.
These women who do not smoke cigarettes and other herbs still have health risks associated with smoking.
Thanks to the BidiGreen agro waste sourced charcoal product from Eunice, we can put a stop to cutting down trees for charcoal and also save lives.
In an interview with Kuulpeeps.com Eunice said BidiGreen, which is charcoal that is made from agro waste, “burns three times longer than tree based charcoal, BidiGreen is smokeless, it has no emissions, and it’s cost-effective as 1kg of BidiGreen is GHS 1.00.”
“It is not everyone who can afford LPG and for those who can afford, some either believe LPG is not safe and/or will certainly need charcoal for BBQ, as a result, we have more than half of Ghanaians using charcoal produced from trees that were deliberately cut down.”
Currently, BidiGreen which comes in 1KG bags and 25 KG bags for GHS 20, has become popular among khebab sellers and some local charcoal retailers in Kumasi who are using it to much delight.
Eunice and her team have done an amazing job building a customer base that has kept them running for the last two years since they started this project.
After winning The Total StartUpper Year Award for a cash prize of GH₵ 90,000, Eunice is committed to scaling up her business so that it becomes commercial with more clients.
Drumroll….🥁 the Grand winner of the Startupper of the Year Challenge 2019 went to Eunice Kloe of Bidigreen.🏆🏆
She won a cash prize of Ghc 90,000, Publicity, One Year coaching, a plaque and a certificate.
💡It solves the problem of deforestation in rural urban communities pic.twitter.com/41FkBKbIdz
— Total Ghana (@TotalGhana) March 2, 2019
Eunice is aware that going commercial won’t be an easy task. Just as Eunice struggled to get people to accept BidiGreen as an alternative to the wood sourced charcoal that we’re used to, she is ready to fight that same battle on the national level as she prepares to scale up.
According to Eunice her major challenge so far has been changing the mindset of people. “Change is very difficult and it’s a very gradual process, people had to shift from using the normal charcoal which is damaging the environment to what we are giving them, and that is a big ask.”
“I’m grateful that now people are more welcoming to try BidiGreen,” she told Kuulpeeps.com
“I want BidiGreen to become the next alternative source of fuel replacing the tree sourced charcoal.”
For someone who has never done any form of formal work in any company, Eunice has developed an envious work ethic which has seen BidiGreen grow from just a small team on campus to about 50 employees who work from 7 communities in the Ashanti Region.
Grateful Eunice credits Professor Samuel Nii Odei, Jennifer Qwaqwa-Sarpong, Emmanuel Sekyi, the Enactus KNUST alumni and others for the success of BidiGreen.
With BidiGreen already enjoying some level of success for a startup, Eunice said after two years of running the company what she has come to realise is that though one may have a lot of ideas and plans “implementing them is very challenging, however, when one preserve gradually everything will work out in the end.”
One trick she has up her sleeves is to read motivational books when it seems the challenge is so great and her world is crumbling. Eunice says she also relies on her mother, entire family and her team for encouragement.
She plans on BidiGreen to become the go-to charcoal supply for restaurants, commercial food vendors and households who use charcoal to prepare food.
That is a step in arriving at her overall life goal of becoming “one of the big entrepreneurs in Africa and symbol for women and what they can achieve.”
We wish Eunice and her team the best of luck. We hope BidiGreen becomes a huge success that changes how we cook.