Cleaning Up Well: Five Top Innovative Kenyan Companies That Are Saving the World

By  |  October 12, 2019

When it comes to our environment, it seems we have more problems than solutions. Pollution, solid waste management, energy crisis and lack of drinking water are problems plaguing the African continent. However, they also present a business case. As the saying goes “problems are only opportunities in work clothes”.

Saving the environment is a responsibility for every human being. But for some, they have taken the initiative seriously and put up companies. Here are five firms that have rolled up their sleeves and decided to clean the environment while eyeing good returns for their efforts.

Asticom Kenya

Image Courtesy: JiveNaija

This company has big plans for the big dumping sites across the country. It hopes to build an incinerator in Nairobi that will use rubbish to create energy. The incinerator in Kibera, Nairobi is set to release 10MW to the national grid, by using the dumping sites spread across the slum. It is waiting for the National Environment Management Agency (NEMA) approval.

In 2018, the company received approximately USD 1 Mn for its project in Kibera from the African Development Bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). The Kibera project will work as a pointer to projects in Homabay, Kisumu, Kakamega and Bungoma.

PayGo Energy

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This company is not new to the market. The pay as you go gas cylinder project has been on development for a couple of years, but its results could prove beneficial to many Kenyan homes who cannot pay upfront for the full liquid petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders. The innovation includes a smart metre gauge that will only unlock itself and release gas once payment is made through mobile money. So users can pay daily for gas use and save money on days they do not need it.

This IoT technology will enable low-income users to transfer their daily cash for dirty fuel such as paraffin, charcoal and firewood to a much cleaner source such as LPG.

The company has raised USD 3.5 Mn to fabricate the specialized gauges and are in talks with leading LPG sellers for the project.

Gjenge Makers

Image Courtesy: Twitter

What is the correlation between plastic waste and affordable housing? The answer is Gjenge Makers. This notable company is transforming plastic waste into building materials, reusing single-use plastic to make durable affordable homes. The project has already supported 114 jobs and has caught the eye of British catering company Elor UK, which will fundraise to support the company’s efforts.

It is founded by a 27-year-old graduate from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology Nzambi Matee, and it is set to change the construction industry while eliminating plastics.

Majik Water

Image Courtesy: Kenya Climate Innovation Center

Believe it or not, this company wants to harvest water out of thin air. Having seen the water contamination issues while working for a water purification startup, Beth Koigi saw an opportunity to turn air into water, through disruptive technology and supply water to underserved communities.

“Due to climate change and other reasons, the world is becoming more water-stressed and the UN estimates that 1.8 billion people in regions will be living with drought,” she said.

This led her to create a device that can harvest water from the atmosphere, purify it and make it ready for consumption.

Koko Networks

Image Courtesy: Twitter(@Koko_Networks)

The need for energy in Kenyan homes has seen forests being depleted of their trees at a faster rate than ever. Many homes have little alternative from firewood and charcoal while consider LPG too expensive. Koko Networks have introduced a revolutionary option for many low-income families.

Dispensed from an ATM-like point, the company provides ethanol manufactured for cooking and paid for using mobile money. The company also sells its ethanol storage tanks and two burner cooker to its customers. It had over 1,000 clients by the time of its launch in July this year.

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