Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, a 2012 TEF Alumni, co-founded Wecyclers in the same year, with one mission in mind – to build a sustainable and viable business model that helps the poor communities of Lagos reclaim their neighbourhoods from the scourge of pollution and waste. To further advance in this mission, Bilikiss and her team have recently launched a franchise program with franchisees across Nigeria.
This commendable feat will not only see to the creation of direct and indirect job opportunity through these new enterprises but will equally increase public awareness about recycling and environmental sustainability in the communities where these franchises are established. Each franchisee is provided with logistical, financial education, environmental education, business planning and management support by the Wecyclers team.
Taking into consideration, Bilikiss’s entrepreneurship journey, one thing continues to stand out – she is driven by a desire to positively impact individuals in low-income communities. This undeniable desire earned her the audience of the TEF’s founder, Mr. Tony Elumelu to pitch her idea directly. The Wecyclers team were part of the 20 businesses from the Co-Creation Incubation Hub who received funding from the foundation in 2012.
When Wecyclers was launched, Bilkiss and her team started operations in Lagos using low cost cargo bicycles called Wecyclers to provide convenient recycling services to households across Nigeria when only 40% of the city’s waste was collected and only a mere 13% was recycled. This company has since grown to incorporate motorized tricycles, vans, and trucks to expand their reach across the Lagos metropolis and enable them provide materials to manufacturers who turn the recyclable material into new items such as tissue paper, stuffing for bedding materials, sturdy plastic furniture, aluminium sheets, and nylon bags.
Bilikiss and her team have built a system that promotes socioeconomic development, and community health by providing convenient recycling services in densely populated urban neighborhoods, gives households a chance to generate value from their waste and provides a reliable supply of raw material to the local recycling industry.
The success of Wecyclers is largely reliant on the unique model in which the business is built – a rewards-for-recycling model that incentivizes people in low-income communities to capture value from recyclable waste.
Bilikiss has done a commendable job in not only converting recyclable waste to wealth but also empowering other young people to tow the same path.