Let’s Go Trade (LGT) funding, totalling over US $30k, has been awarded to 14 businesses from eight Shell LiveWIRE countries, namely: Brazil, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. The successful participants include businesses involved in sectors ranging from solar energy to mushroom farming, and waste management to automotive services. The LGT grants cover 50% of the costs of travel and accommodation, up to a maximum of US $3,000 per participant.

Lucas Chiabi, Founder of Brazil-based community composting company, Ciclo Orgânico, used his LGT grant to visit one of the world’s most advanced municipal composting programmes in New York (US). Employing seven staff, Ciclo Orgânico uses specially adapted tricycles to collect food waste from households and businesses in Rio de Janeiro, transporting them to local composting sites where the waste is transformed into rich soils. Since its launch in November 2015, Ciclo Orgânico has diverted over 90 tonnes of food waste, produced by 450 families and 30 businesses, from being dumped in landfill sites.

Lucas hoped that his visit would enable him to discover innovative composting technologies that could be applied in Rio de Janeiro to make his business more efficient and effective.

Over ten days, Lucas visited 14 projects involved in the municipal composting programme, and gained invaluable knowledge, contacts, insights and access to the technology, tools and operations underpinning this world-leading composting initiative.

As a result of his visit, Lucas will be able to introduce new innovations, technologies and processes which will allow Ciclo Orgânico to improve its efficiency and impacts. Specifically, Lucas says his LGT visit will enable him to:

  • Reduce the duration of the composting process by half, lowering production costs and allowing the company to compost a larger amount of waste in less space
  • Scale-up the company to achieve a five-fold increase in production capacity
  • Improve logistical efficiency by introducing drop-off sites, enabling the company to collect more waste each day
  • Introduce improved techniques and equipment to mitigate odour control issues, which is a major concern in urban areas

Summing up the impact of his LGT visit, Lucas says, “Let’s Go Trade was an unforgettable experience. It gave me the opportunity to learn from one of the world’s leading community composting initiatives, and I now have the knowledge to scale my business.

“Let’s Go Trade has helped to strengthen my business, through all of the experiences during the visits! Being able to share the challenges and solutions with experts in the industry was invaluable.”

Another entrepreneur to have just completed his LGT visit is Raafat Daif, Founder of Art Center, an Egyptian company employing 15 full-time staff which specialises in producing stained glass.

Art Center is already an innovator in the Egyptian glass industry, developing products that a more durable, less expensive and safer than competing products. They have also introduced a facility to enable clients to design their own stained glass.

Raafat used his LGT grant to visit China, and in particular the 28th China Glass Expo in Beijing. The visit enabled Raafat to investigate new technologies in glass making and to identify machinery that would give his company a competitive advantage in the domestic market.

Explaining the benefit of his LGT visit, Raafat says, “We identified machinery that can deliver considerable time and cost savings to our manufacturing processes. This will also provide us with the ability to develop new market opportunities in the Egyptian market.

“The Chinese market is now fully opened up for us to strengthen the business and create more jobs in the future.”

Already operating from Alexandria, Art Center aims to develop a second factory in Cairo, with a third planned outside of Egypt, with Dubai or Saudi Arabia as the likely venue.