A Nigerian entrepreneur who upcycles waste plastic into products ranging from building materials to cosmetics packaging, has won a US $10,000 award to recognise the business’ Outstanding Achievement in the 2018 Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators Awards, supported by Shell Retail.

Bakumor Yolo’s business, De-Rabacon Plastics, based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, is helping to address the negative impact that waste plastic has on the environment and on health: plastic waste impedes drainage systems, causing flooding; disposal in landfill produces toxins which pollute soils and groundwater resources; and burning waste plastic is a source of harmful air pollution.

De-Rabacon’s solution is to collect and recycle tons of plastic waste each day, transforming it into a wide range of commercial products including: pavement blocks; construction bricks; pipes; drinks packaging; furniture; shopping bags; and, jewellery. The company’s aim is to create wealth and employment opportunities within society, and since its inception it has worked with the local community and the Ministry of Environment, running workshops to enable young people to start their own enterprises creating products from recycled waste.

Since starting the business four years ago, supported by business training, mentoring and seed funding from Shell LiveWIRE Nigeria, De-Rabacon has grown to employ 26 staff, and has created meaningful employment opportunities for a further 32 people through its start-up training programme. In addition, the business has enabled some 700 homes to benefit financially from recycling their plastic waste, and has sponsored environmental sanitation clubs in secondary schools to enhance the vision for a ‘greener and more sustainable environment’.

Expressing his delight at winning this prestigious award Bakumor Yolo said, “This is a big deal for my business and I’m grateful and humbled by the award. It’s a fantastic endorsement that puts De-Rabacon on the map! It also inspires me to work even harder to advance the business and create even more milestones.

“I thank Shell for the opportunity they provide for Nigerians to be successful, globally recognised business owners.”

Commenting on the Outstanding Achievement award, Igo Weli, General Manager External Relations, Shell Nigeria, said, “Being named as one of Shell LiveWIRE’s Top Ten Innovators showcases the entrepreneurial talent that Nigeria is nurturing on the world stage.”

Yolo plans to invest his award in purchasing two new machines, and hiring two new members of staff in order to scale his business. His long-term ambition is to become a power house in the recycling sector globally, developing bright ideas for the smarter use of waste.

Nine other entrepreneurs from six countries will compete for funding totalling US $120,000 at the Top Ten Innovators final in Kuching, Malaysia, on 13 and 14 November. Here, a panel of global business leaders will select the overall winners in three categories: Energy Solutions; Retail Supply Chain; and, Social Enterprises, following an exciting business pitch competition. One winner and two runners up in each of the three award categories will receive US $20k and US $10k respectively.

The businesses taking part in the final of the 2018 Shell LiveWIRE Top Ten Innovators are:

Energy Solutions category:

Alternate Energy Ltd, from Nigeria, provides solar and wind powered community solutions, including for water treatment and off-grid solar farms.

HySiLabs, from France, has developed an innovative solution to facilitate hydrogen transportation, by charging and releasing hydrogen in a unique liquid carrier.

Metronome Energy, from the UK, has developed low cost technology which balances demands on the national energy grid during peak times.

Retail Supply Chain category:

Wonky Drinks, from the UK, make sustainable fruit juices from misshapen fruits, relieving farmers of stock going to waste.

WormingUp, from Malaysia, is a waste management company which uses insect farms as a means of biowaste disposal.

Terravixta, from Brazil, has an initiative called Plástico Precioso which collects and distributes waste plastics to collectors and artisan cooperatives.

Social Enterprises category:

Ai Brique, from Malaysia, is a green technology solutions consultancy for the improvement of business operations and energy efficiency.

Greenna, from Indonesia, provides waste management solutions including the production of fashionable products from recycled plastics.

Mulheres Do Sul Global, from Brazil, economically empowers women refugees by supporting their meaningful employment as seamstresses.

In addition to the funding, each of the Top Ten will receive an awards package including mentoring support by a Shell expert, the opportunity to benefit from market linkages, and the possibility to be considered as a vendor to Shell (Retail).

The event in Kuching represents an unrivalled experience for the Top Ten to develop their businesses and networks from an international perspective, with an exciting and unique opportunity to develop and share ideas for sustainable innovation with Shell Retail, and to sample the approach to innovation in a different country. They will also deliver a live business pitch, which could potentially win them a top award to take their business to the next level!

Don’t miss our live Twitter updates from Kuching on 13 and 14 November, including the announcement of the winners!