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The First Circular Economy Hackathon in Nigeria

The Circular Economy Hackathon (CEH) is an initiative of The Kingdom of Netherlands, powered by the Dutch Consulate, resident in Lagos, in partnership with the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center to co-create a circular Hackathon by inclusively and carefully selecting the best circular entrepreneurs across Nigeria for a virtual two -week Hackathon tailored towards providing viable and sustainable solutions for the challenges presented by selected Dutch Companies in Nigeria, who participated in the Hackathon as Participating Companies.

The Hackathon also stressed the collaborative intent of the Dutch Government through its consulate in Lagos to work with Nigeria in providing sustainable solutions for Nigeria’s circularity challenges, especially in the areas of managing waste which has plagued Nigeria as the highest waste generation country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Hackathon was designed to showcase the level and quality of solutions created by circular entrepreneurs in Nigeria and how these innovations can be applied in real-life situations to curb circular challenges faced by organizations from their daily operations.

A total of 304 applications were received across Nigeria for the CEH and 20 entrepreneurs were selected to participate in the program. After a thorough review of the applications a total of twenty entrepreneurs were selected to hack the problems presented by the participating companies. The Businesses selected were Trens-Cycler Clean Energy, Fembabs International Agency, KALTANI, Planer3R, African Creative Hub, Alluvia Unique Concepts Limited, WasteCoin, WasteCycle, Pliris Waste Management Ventures, OkwuEco, Rumines Limited, PolyBriq Technologies, Vetsark Limited, Realri Intergrated Dev Ltd, AgriMax, SchimaticBlue, Vectar Energy, Osquareteck Ltd, EcoBlvd, Zang Technologies Limited.

After two rounds of elimination and the decision of the judges, Oluwayomi Alder the founder of Pliris who worked on the challenges presented by Farmforte was declared the winner of the first Circular Economy Hackathon in Nigeria. Pliris is an organic waste management solutions company operating across South-West Nigeria. The company champions Composting As A Service (CAAS) and advocates food waste diversion from landfills through effective waste segregation at the point of generation.

The Hackathon was designed to primarily explore the circular ecosystem in Nigeria through a selection exercise of entrepreneurs playing in the sustainability space to seek disruptive and innovative circular solutions for the purpose of developing and deploying sustainable interventions to mitigate circular challenges faced by selected Dutch companies in Nigeria. In addition, the program also seeks the possibility of a non-mandatory contractual agreement between the participating companies and the finalists of the hackathon in working together by helping these startup companies scale their ideas into sustainably solving the circularity challenges of the participating Dutch companies.

 In addition, Circular Economy Innovation Partnership (CEIP) has been approached to further facilitate capacity building workshops and incubation programs for the entrepreneurs which is tailored towards sharpening their skill set as a venture development tool to scale their respective enterprises. This will go a long way in creating access to markets, finance, and opportunities to these entrepreneurs. The Dutch Consulate has positioned itself to continually explore innovative ways in engaging the circular community in Nigeria by building viable circular businesses through leveraging strategic partnerships and collaborations.