The new generation of green and social entrepreneurs

COP26 has once again proven that young people are at the forefront of global environmental and social justice movements and are determined to lead us into a more sustainable and inclusive future. As part of this generation, young entrepreneurs around the world are starting businesses with environmental and social missions – reconciling profit with purpose.

Meet inspiring green and social entrepreneurs from four countries, supported through our global network:

Herbert Murungi, Founder of Rural Environmental Sustainability Initiative (RESI), Uganda

Herbert’s Rural Environmental Sustainability Initiative (RESI) promotes the use of Biogas, a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of organic matter such as food scraps, in rural Uganda. Specifically, RESI reaches out to rural mothers and youth to support them to make the shift from using dirty energy like charcoal for cooking to using Biogas. They also produce and distribute climate and environmental literacy books to children in rural areas. Our member Enterprise Uganda supported Herbert to create a sustainable business plan for RESI and provided fundraising training to address financial challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Herbert describes his goal:

“With RESI my goal is to fight energy inequalities by providing biogas to underserved rural homes and promote civic engagement on climate issues through spreading environmental and climate literacy.” 

Fatiha Islam, Founder of JUCOF, Bangladesh

Fatiha’s business JUCOF produces and sells bags, gift items and clothing made from Jute, a material with many environments benefits. Apart from being a biodegradable material, Jute cultivation cleanses the air, requires less fertilizer than other crops and improves soil texture. It also plays a vital role for the rural economy of Bangladesh. Higher demand for Jute creates more employment and development in rural areas of the country. Fatiha started her business to help reduce the use of plastic items by offering environmentally friendly alternatives made from Jute. Throughout COVID-19, our member in Bangladesh, B’YEAH, supported Fatiha with e-commerce training through our programme funded by IKEA Foundation. In the training, she learned how to advertise and sell her products online. She says:

“I sell Jute products to reduce the use of plastic materials – this will be a blessing for the environment. I believe it is our duty to ensure that the next generation can live a safe and healthy life in a clean environment.”

Rokani Social Cooperative, Greece

Rokani Social Cooperative was founded by five young entrepreneurs Stratos, Petros, Panagiotis, Minas and Eleni with the goal of creating a circular economy through re- and upcycling. The cooperative takes reusable materials like wood, metal and plastic to create custom-made items like furniture. In addition, they raise awareness and offer training on the principles of the circular economy, recycling and upcycling. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rokani Social Cooperative have received support from our delivery partner in Greece, Action Finance Initiative (AFI), and our Rapid Response and Recovery programme funded by Google.org to develop their digital marketing and online retail skills as well as soft skills like change and time management. Co-founder Petros Chatzigiannakis describes Rokani’s vision:

“Through encouraging upcycling and reuse, we aim to create a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come and challenge the culture of a throwaway society.”

Marta Vania Uetela, Founder of BioMec, Mozambique

Marta’s business BioMec is changing the lives of amputees in Mozambique while protecting the ocean with her high-performance prostheses made from plastic waste.

Over 90% of amputees in Mozambique do not have access to prosthetic limbs due to high prices, long wait times, or lack of access to healthcare. Determined to change this, Marta started her business BioMec which produces affordable, comfortable and long-lasting prostheses from plastic bottles or fish nets discarded in the ocean – helping to clean Mozambique’s beaches from plastic pollution. She received support from our member in Mozambique, ideiaLab, to grow her business. Marta says:

“BioMec believes in climate change, recycling and harmony with nature by re-purposing harmful plastic materials to improve people’s lives.”

Read more about how our global network supports young green and social entrepreneurs to create inclusive green jobs for the future here.

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