Best Projects 2018 features all the nominated entries submitted to the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition under ‘Submit your Project’ category. All the entries consist of innovative projects run by existing enterprises in the form of businesses, NGOs or informal programs. If you want to know the 10 finalists in this category click HERE
Diamonds in the rough
Explain your project in details:
My project focuses on diamonds in the rough. The diamonds are the improperly disposed used plastic items clogging waterways, littering highways and polluting the oceans thereby affecting marine life. They fill up dumpsites and our landfills and thereby take up to seven hundred years to decompose and the demand for these plastic products keep increasing which makes their improper disposal an environmental perennial problem. I will collect them in my immediate environment for recycling and reusing them in my recycling company (Ralph Recycling) to make useful household and industrial items and by doing these help in saving our ecosystem from the hazards these discarded plastic materials could cause. Ralph Recycling is a proposed standard recycling company based in Ilorin with a mission to provide standard recycling materials that will assist the relevant industries in saving cost and energy and also to contribute our quota in helping save our world from unnecessary degradation. We want to build a recycling plant that can favorably compete with other leading brands in the recycling industry.
Impact of your enterprise on sustainable development
Through this enterprise of recycling and reusing plastic items, I will be able to contribute towards the reduction of human impacts on the planet and it is a step forward towards the implementation of sustainable development. My enterprise will help in reducing the need for virgin resources and it will promote the use of recycled contents in manufacturing new products which helps conserve energy. The energy required in the manufacture of products from recycled materials is substantially less than the energy required if the same product was manufactured from virgin materials. In addition, products made from recycled contents forgo the pollution or environmental degradation that would occur during the harvest of virgin materials. Plastics make an immense contribution to the environmental sustainability through their energy saving potential and intrinsic recyclability and energy recovery options. My enterprise will contribute to Nigeria economy by serving as a source of export revenue, offering of wide range of worthwhile career with considerable room for career development, progression and training. The success of my enterprise could be measured through reduction of carbon footprint of disposed plastic items in my environment since my plan is to put them into reuse or recycling.
Sustainability and future plans
The future of my enterprise lies in the number of loyal customers that I have the capacity and competence of the employees, my investment strategy and the business structure. One of my major goals of starting this enterprise is to reduce the negative environmental impacts of used plastic items, conserve the ecosystem, reduce greenhouse gas emission and save our planet from degradation as a result of non-biodegradable nature of plastic items. I want to start an enterprise that will survive off its own cash flow without the need for injecting finance from external sources once the business is officially running. I know that one of the ways of gaining approval and winning customers over is to sell my reused and recycled plastic items a little bit cheaper than what is obtainable in the market and I am well prepared to survive on lower profit margin for a while. I will make sure that the right foundation, structures and processes are put in place to ensure that my staff welfare is well taken care of. My companys corporate culture is designed to drive my business to greater heights and training and re-training of my workforce is at the top burner. I hope to generate part of my start-up capital from personal savings, from friends and other extended family members, from the bank (loan facility) and from grants, aids, awards or intervention from government or NGOs. I intend to source for these plastics through the conventional means of enlisting the services of people to pick them up in bins, event centers, restaurants, fast food joints and public function places and I will also give cash rewards or gifts in exchange for PET bottles brought to me. I am developing a system that can sustain itself by using bring schemes whereby individuals will bring PET bottles.
Your profile as an entrepreneur
Babalola Raphael Kehinde is a 35 year old graduate of Anatomy from the University of Ilorin. He is a budding entrepreneur with an unquenchable passion for recycling and reusing biodegradable and non-biodegradable substances particularly plastic products. He is an activist of ecosystem conservation and always speaks against pollution and environmental degradation. His love for reusing and recycling of plastic items was borne out of his desire to save our planet from degradation, protect our ecosystem from destruction and to reduce greenhouse gas emission resulting in global warming. He emerged as the overall winner of the 2017 global entrepreneurship week competition organized by Kwara State University, Malete, Ilorin through the presentation of his project Diamonds in the Rough which centers on the reusing and recycling of plastic items.