In the first year of your girlfriend studies at Addis Ababa Collage, Bethelhem Dejene Abebe stopped at the Atkilt Tera market place, the biggest fruit along with vegetable market in Ethiopia, having her mother. The conditions in the market shocked her enough to make a decision that waste management was what she wanted to commit her life to help.
“It was surprisingly dirty, it smelled really harmful. It really was not necessarily healthy, ” she affirms. “It was at that moment that i decided that I should do something in an attempt to make a difference. ”
Bethelhem will be co-founder and CEO involving Zafree Papers, a company that's introducing a 100% tree-free paper pulp made out of agricultural waste. Instead of using wood to create paper pulp, Zafree Papers’ practice utilises wheat and barley hay, preventing smallholder farmers through burning this waste material that triggers air pollution. The company’s processing facility is being constructed in Debre Berhan
Via concept to business prepare
Since the visit to the market organizations a few attempts that would not reach the goals Bethelhem had in your mind. “However, I believe which when one door closes, another opens. One failure leads to another success, ” the lady says.
First, she only recycled the paper waste material from her own family. Then she embarked on research on how you can scale that recycling enterprise to something more private. She eventually decided to go away from recycling, to producing wood-free paper pulp that is certainly provided to paper suppliers, utilising agricultural waste without sacrificing the quality of the eventual end product or service.
Then came the slamming on doors. “I have knocked on many of the doors, ” she laughs. “We have more than 20 private banks in Ethiopia and I've been to each, knowing nothing, simply asking loans with no any collateral. ”
She eventually got project finance with the Development Bank of Ethiopia in addition to procured land in Debre Berhan’s industrial park. All that was required from her, had been 25% equity. “I didn’t even know very well what an investor was on that stage, ” your woman says.
Friends then recommended that Bethelhem enrol for an entrepreneurship training workshop offered by Entrepreneurship Development Centre with Ethiopia. “This was a turning point with luck. I learnt about entrepreneurship, I learnt the dos plus don’ts and I met lots of people that showed me tips on how to start my business along with raise funds, ” the lady says.
Soon thereafter, within 2018, Zafree Papers was selected within BlueMoon, an incubation procedure for startups in Ethiopia. BlueMoon presented seed money and Zafree Documents was on its technique.
And in 2019, Bethelhem was chosen for any Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Process, landing $5, 000 along with nine months of exercise movements and mentorship. She likewise received the Seedstars DOEN Territory Restoration Prize of $10, 000 in this same year.