The TRUE AFRICA 100 is our list of innovators, opinion-formers, game-changers, pioneers, dreamers and mavericks who we feel are shaping the Africa of today.
Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola is the CEO and co-founder of recycling social enterprise Wecyclers. Working in partnership with the Lagos Waste Management Authority, Wecyclers allows households to accumulate redeemable points from collecting recyclable materials like aluminium cans and plastic bottles.
Bilikiss studied in the US and worked as a computer scientist before obtaining an MBA from MIT. She came up with the idea of Wecyclers during her time studying at MIT as a way to help and reinvigorate communities in Lagos. Collectors on tricycles collect the materials from low-income households in the slums of Nigeria. They then get points via SMS which can then be exchanged for valuable goods like food items and household goods. Wecyclers aggregate the materials and sell them on to Nigerian recyclers.
Bilikiss’s work in high density and low-income areas in Lagos is part of building a more environmentally and economically stable Nigeria. She has received a number of accolades for her work and was a recipient of the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to set up an independent startup in Africa?
Now is the best time to start a business and focus on building a great team.
What’s been the most defining moment working on Wecyclers?
Winning our Sustainia Award. It’s the most prestigious environmental award worldwide and winning it affirmed the huge environmental impact we’re making – even as such a small startup.
Who’s your African of the year?
The Nigerian people for voting in a new political dispensation. Things can only get better!
Follow Bilikiss on Twitter @bilikiss
Find out more about Wecyclers on wecyclers.com
Come back tomorrow for the next TRUE Africa 100 and keep up to date using the hashtag #TRUEAfrica