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  • Ten Ethiopian entrepreneurs to revolutionize the waste and circular economy with support and funding from Reach for Change and the IKEA Foundation

    Reach for Change and the IKEA Foundation are announcing ten social entrepreneurs focused on building waste and circular enterprises in Ethiopia to get capacity building and funding through a customized support program.

    The program - Green Business Incubator - is a part of a three-year partnership where in total, 30 existing small and medium enterprises will be empowered to scale their businesses in the waste management and circular economy, and 75 new enterprises will get support to develop and launch their products in the market. 

    “As we continue our journey to nurture green entrepreneurship in Ethiopia, we are deeply convinced of the transformative power of local social entrepreneurs. From our previous work, we know the impact and need of the right support, funding and knowledge for many innovative and passionate entrepreneurs to become sustainable and grow their enterprises. Through our long-term partnership with the IKEA Foundation we are able to both push the green transition in Ethiopia and also improve livelihood for millions of people and create job opportunities for young people."

    Dawit Tilahun, Acting Country Manager Ethiopia, Reach for Change.


    The IKEA Foundation and Reach for Change have since 2021 worked to support and invest in green entrepreneurs in Ethiopia. Starting from 2024 the partnership will continue and focus on supporting waste and circular enterprises that create employment for young people and reduce the amount of waste in the environment.

    The project - Building Waste and Circular Enterprises in Ethiopia - is a three-year cohort-based project executed through two main program components -  a Green Business Incubator and a Green Innovation Lab:

    • The Green Business Incubator will empower a total of 30 waste management and circular enterprises to develop sustainable business models and improved business processes and practices for optimum revenue generation and business growth.
    • Within the Green Innovation Lab, we aim to support 75 entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to modernize and enhance waste management and Ethiopia’s circular economy to develop and validate their minimum viable products (MVPs). 

    “Our partnership with Reach for Change has been critical to unlocking opportunities for green entrepreneurship in Ethiopia. Building on a successful pilot, we’re excited to support Reach for Change in scaling solutions that work. Together, we can create meaningful livelihoods for young people while contributing to a green, circular and just economy."

    Patrick Obonyo, Programme Manager, IKEA Foundation.


    Selected Entrepreneurs:


    Here are the first ten social entrepreneurs to receive equity-free funding of up to USD 10,000, practical hands-on training, individual coaching, investor advisory, and networking opportunities with peers, experts, and potential partners: 

    • Bethlehem Ayle & Behailu Seboka, ASKEMA Engineering - Production of eco-friendly, organic, and reliable brake pads applicable for all types of vehicles & recycling of industrial waste into valuable raw materials. 

    • Hanan Ahmed Abdi, Han’s Reusable Sanitary Manufacturing - Manufacturing safe, comfortable, eco-friendly reusable sanitary pads together with raising awareness and providing education.

    • Yohannes Wasihun & Hoheyat Berhanu, Husky Energy and Technologies - Processing coffee husks and any other biomass waste (such as sawdust) into solid biomass fuel called pellets.

    • Alemayhu Mulat, Maleda Crafts - Recycling discarded materials such as plastic packaging, fabric scraps, etc. into handmade products. 

    • Zinash Hageru Kirub, Green Sanitary Kit - Manufacturing breathable and chemical-free sanitary kits from organic cotton. 

    • Tesfaye Mekonnen, Eco-paper Manufacturing Partnership - Paper production from banana fiber waste, pineapple waste, and waste papers.

    • Siham Kamil, Rebul Manufacturing - Recycling waste plastic bottles into fiber textiles.

    • Maeruf Omer, Marselam Trading - Manufacturing of charcoal briquettes from waste crushed charcoals.

    • Ewuket Tsegaw & Bamlak Mulugeta, Clenville - Motivating individuals and communities through technology and rewards to increase engagement in streamlining plastic waste collection and recycling.

    • Bruk Tsehaye, Bruk, Selamawit & Friends - ​​​​​​Recycling biodegradable waste into organic fertilizer.


    Learn more at: ethiopia.reachforchange.org/bwce2024/


    About Reach for Change
    Reach for Change is an international nonprofit that unleashes local social entrepreneurs through capacity building and ecosystem development, in order to reduce poverty, inequality, and climate change affecting children and youth. Reach for Change was founded in Sweden 2010 and has since then supported over 1200 local social entrepreneurs in 18 countries, who have reached 4.3 million children and youth. 
    About the IKEA Foundation
    The IKEA Foundation is a strategic philanthropy that focuses its grant-making efforts on tackling the two biggest threats to children’s futures: poverty and climate change. It currently grants more than €200 million per year to help improve family incomes and quality of life while protecting the planet from climate change. Since 2009, the IKEA Foundation has granted more than €1.5 billion to create a better future for children and their families.
    In 2021 the Board of the IKEA Foundation decided to make an additional €1 billion available over the next five years to accelerate the reduction of Greenhouse Gas emissions.
    Learn more at: www.ikeafoundation.org or by following them on LinkedIn or Twitter.