Bilikiss Adebiyi – Explorer of Treasures from Trash

By: Wole Olajide

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Bilikiss Adebiyi is an innovative entrepreneur who found great treasure in trash. She is the CEO of, Wecyclers, a recycling company in Lagos. Bilikiss holds an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an MS in Computer Science from Vanderbilt University and a B.Sc. in Computer Science from Fisk University. This amazing entrepreneur was a software engineer in IBM for 5 years.

In her quest for innovation, Bilikiss Adebiyi proceeded to MIT’s Sloan School of Management to acquire an MBA. During her second year at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), she had a project in her MBA class on recycling. This is where she discovered the idea of recycling business. Her project team explored the opportunities in the Nigerian recycling industry. Understanding that Lagos state produced up to 10,000 metric tonnes of waste every day and had a population of over 16 million people, she realized that the recycling industry in Nigeria was only waiting to be fully tapped by the most enthusiastic entrepreneur with the guts to take on the industry and build an empire out of it.

Her initial idea was to increase the quantity of waste she could collect from households by offering them raffle tickets in exchange. When she discussed this in Nigeria on a vacation, she was surprised at the enthusiasm that was offered for her ideas. Waste is a particular nuisance in Nigeria as only a small percentage is collected regularly.

With a vision to harness the waste management industry to its full potential, she quit her job at IBM and returned to Nigeria to setup her recycling business. In 2012 Bilikiss co-founded Wecyclers which collects recyclable rubbish from households. Wecyclers is a for-profit social enterprise that promotes environmental sustainability, socio-economic development, and community health by providing convenient recycling services in densely populated urban neighborhoods. The objective is to give households a chance to generate value from their waste and provide a reliable supply of raw material to the local recycling industry.

Once the rubbish is sorted then her company sends back SMS messages to the person who supplied the rubbish. The SMS message tells that person about points they have earned from the rubbish they donated. The company works in partnership with the Lagos Waste Management Authority. Wecyclers use modified tricycles which enables rubbish to be collected where normal vehicles could not go. Wecyclers collects recyclable wastes from thousands of households. The company has created value from that rubbish and it has several Nigerians.

 

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