Mombasa startups win US$50k for innovative plastic solutions

KENYA – Three startups in Mombasa County have been awarded US$50,000 (KES7.2 million) for their unique innovations designed to curb plastic pollution in the coastal region.

The three, Team Twende Green Ecocycle (1st Place) – KES 3.5 million, Oceania Pacesetter (2nd Place) – KES 2.5 million and Team Eco-Redemptors (3rd Place) – KES 1.2 million were picked for having the most effective solutions to tackle Mombasa’s marine plastics problem.

The awards, which showcased the most effective solutions to tackle Mombasa’s marine plastics problem, were the culmination of a six-month initiative funded by USAID and Global Affairs Canada.

Designed by Challenge Works, the prize sought to inspire and up-skill young leaders, especially women, aged 18-25, to develop creative interventions that encourage individuals and communities in Mombasa to address marine plastic pollution in informal settlements.

Kenneth Amanbai, CECM Public Service Administration, Youth, Gender, Sports and Social Services said: “We are proud to lead our country in embracing innovative solutions from young people that can help us reach our nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 11: making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

“I commend Challenge Works for its innovative design of prizes that involve the youth and the entire ecosystem in solving the County’s most pressing problems.

“With these creative ideas that our young people have developed over the past few months, Mombasa is well on its way to achieving its Green Cities goals as outlined in our County Solid Waste Management policy.”

The Mombasa Plastics Prize Awards was built upon the Afri-Plastics Challenge, a continent-wide plastics innovation challenge worth over Sh700 Million (US$4.4M), which saw five Kenyan startups out of the total nine startups scoop over Sh340 Million (US$2.1M) to scale their ideas at the inaugural Afri-Plastics Summit & Awards ceremony.

During the event, USAID Kenya & East Africa Environment Office representative Anna Ghnouly announced that USAID Kenya will be launching a business accelerator program to help the winners of the challenge take their ideas to the next level and continue leading in the fight against ocean plastic pollution.

The Mombasa Plastics Prize is a timely initiative aligned with global efforts to find solutions to plastic pollution.

The Awards and Celebration event precedes the UN’s 50th World Environment Day, celebrated annually on 5th June, with this year’s theme being solutions to plastic pollution in Côte d’Ivoire.

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