African Dream: Lorna Rutto's business advice
Lorna Rutto is an entrepreneur who founded Ecopost, a Nairobi-based company that recycles plastic waste. As part of the latest series of African Dream, she provided advice based on her experiences as a businesswoman.
How do you make money from waste or rubbish?
- Nothing is waste for me. Things that were once made out of timber, we make out of plastic waste
- We use recycled plastic and sawdust waste, which is hugely available. The opportunity was born due to the need for plastic poles. People needed an alternative to timber, a product that does not rot and one that cannot be affected by termites
- Every day more than 10,000 metric tonnes of waste is generated in Kenya. This is gathered by 15 young people and women who sell it to us for processing.
What are the main issues for a woman starting a business in an African country?
- Female entrepreneurs may suffer systematic discrimination while trying to access resources needed to grow their businesses - for example, while trying to access credit from financiers
- I set up a business in the waste manufacturing industry, which is not a common type of business sector that women choose to venture into. Women should be courageous to start their businesses in a broader and more competitive range of sectors
- Women entrepreneurs should network and look for mentors who will advise, encourage and help them in setting up the business and to also provide them with the visibility that they really need. Surrounding ourselves with people who promote our ideas, rather than killing them, goes a long way.