Towards the end of last year, African Entrepreneurship Awards announced the list of winners for its's annual USD $1,000,000. Uganda's Geoffrey Ssekatawa was part of the list, winning $50,000.
His innovation fell under the Innovation category, Geoffrey together with Morocco's Meryam El Ouafi of Green Engineering Mission and Badr Idrissi of Atlan Space® and Christelle Kwizera of VOMA Groundwater Solar Kiosks from Rwanda. They each won $50,000.
Geoffrey's startup is called Brent Technologies and it "recycles motor oil as an alternative to expensive oil using new technology," according to the African Entrepreneurship Awards description. He founded Brent Technologies to stop the harmful dumping and burning of used motor oils, and instead create recycled oil products for sale in Uganda.
He says, “we recycle waste motor oil, which would end up in landfills, water sources, or burnt into the atmosphere.” And, besides helping the environment, Brent Technologies meets a big need for affordable oils.
In Uganda, imported lubricating engine oils are expensive. And, when their effectiveness is depleted, they are dumped. Just one litre of oil can contaminate up to a million litres of water. And when dumped on soil, Geoffrey says it “leads to a loss of up to 90% in agricultural yields.”
Geoffrey is on his way to well-oiled solutions. The entrepreneur developed in-house Surfactant Technology as well as a yet to be patented technology for recycling used motor oil. This technology meets an urgent need in Uganda, where Geoffrey says, “We have only two recycling facilities and their turnover is very low.”
For his efforts, the Presidential Jury award a $50,000 Innovation prize to the entrepreneur. They stated,
“This entrepreneur demonstrated a passion for the transformation of used products into new products. He invented a technology that transforms used motor oil into reusable oils, thus also reducing pollution by way of used oil spillage into landfills.”
Winning the $50,000 prize, Geoffrey says, will increase his “ability to scale up the amount of waste oil extracted from society thereby increasing our impact on the community.” In the near future, he hopes to take Brent Technologies up to 50,000-100,000 litres a day of production.
The winners for the $1,000,000 prize also included Allen Kimambo of Zaidi General Enterprises from Tanzania and Folashade Amusa of VicFold Recyclers and Sylvester Mujakperuo of Saint Michelles and Joey Ltd from Nigeria, Adan Mohammed of Ecodudu from Kenya, Kwame Ababio of Green Afro Palms from Ghana. These fell under the Environment and each won $100,000.
South Africa's Louise Williamson of Sustainability Professionals was the only one under the Education category. She too won $100,000.
Those under the uncharted category were Flavien Simo of Save Our Agriculture from Cameroon and Paul Bartels of WaterBok from South Africa. They each won $100,000.
The African Entrepreneurship Award, powered by BMCE Bank of Africa is a $1 million award launched in 2015. Last year was the third edition. So far the Award has disbursed USD $2M to 21 businesses across 14 countries in Africa in 2 years. Uganda has had winners in all the years.
Last year 40 applicants made it to the finals, out which two were Ugandans. The other Ugandan is Arthur Woniala from Khainza Energy Limited.