At the early age of 19, Rwanda born Jean Bosco Nzeyimana came up with the idea to process waste into environmentally friendly and affordable fuel in his community. His company collects and sorts trash to create briquettes, organic fertilizers and bio-gas with the aim to reduce the number of people still dependent on charcoal for energy.
Indeed, as in so much of rural Africa, most of the people in his village were still relying on charcoal for cooking. In fact, around 80 percent of people in Rwanda still use wood as their main energy source, which means that millions of trees are being cut down to satisfy demand, causing devastating deforestation. Nzeyimana was concerned, too, about the waste he saw piling up in Rwandan landfill. But he was convinced that an environmentally friendly alternative fuel source could be available.
He came up with this idea of turning organic waste materials into clean-burning briquettes, thus making an affordable and sustainable replacement for charcoal. With a startup loan from the African Entrepreneur Collective, and convincing his district to let him use a waste management facility for free, he has since created Habona (which means “illumination”). Habona collects and sorts trash to make briquettes, biogas and organic fertilizers for its customers, which include restaurants, hotels, households, businesses, schools, farmers and government offices. The company is also a job creator, already employing 26 people.
Nzeyimana has won many business awards including being named Top Young Entrepreneur of Rwanda and receiving the African Innovation Prize.
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