5 People Who Became Rich With $1 (Business Ideas)
There are a lot of ways to make money and opening your own business is one of the ways where you can make a lot of money. But in today’s world, it’s hard to compete with so many other businesses and many of them fail before getting off the ground. But what if you could take something that someone just throws out and turn it into cash. You’ll be surprised by some of the ingenious ideas.
So, if you’re curious on, “How you can turn trash into cash and get into recycling for money?”
Then check out these “5 Craziest Waste Recycle Business Ideas”
Andrew Mupuya – “Yeli”, Uganda
This is the story of a 16 year old from Uganda who decides to start a paper bag production company which doesn’t sound like much. But Andrew Mupaya, got the idea when Uganda government put a ban on plastic bags in 2008, because of the environmental damage they caused. Andrew was still in secondary school and at the time both of his parents had lost their jobs.
So, he figured out what he needed to get started on a small scale, which was 36,000 Uganda shillings or US 14 dollars. He got the money he needed by collecting 155 pounds of plastic bottles, which he sold for $11 and then borrowed the other remaining $3 from a teacher. While gathering the money he needed, Andrew visited local shops and other businesses around that needed paper bags. Since the ban on plastic turns out that the demand was huge and to this day still remains a big business.
The next step was learning how to make the paper bags. So, Andrew went online and learned by watching videos. Today Andrews business is doing incredibly well. His paper bag company employs over 20 people and produces more than 20,000 paper bags every week. All the bags are made by hand, since Andrew cannot yet afford a machine but he’s got a long list of clients from a restaurants, retail stores, supermarkets, medical centers and even Samsung buys paper bags from him locally. In fact, his company “Yeli” has made around 1,000 each bags for local electronic stores.
In 2012, Andrew won a $30,000 prize award that is given to young African entrepreneurs. We’re sure he’s got a paper bag making machine now and just to think he started with only $14 and a vision.
Thato Kgatlhanye & Rea Ngwane – “Repurposed School Bags”, South Africa
These two young entrepreneurs who are also from South Africa, did what no one else thought of at the time and are in their early 20’s. They created repurposed school bags and refounded the “Roth Akka Foundation” to help hundreds of school children in their local community. Their idea provides a low cost school bags for children, that has an interesting twist.
Their company collects plastic waste and then recycles it into school bags for disadvantaged students. But the cool thing about these bags is, they have a solar panel built into the flap, which charges during the day when the children walk back and forth from school. At night the bag has a light that can be used to do their homework and study, instead of using candles. The bag could also be used to charge devices in the future.
The team has partnered with local companies that are willing to cover the cost of the bags on behalf of the students. The idea was simple but turned out to be highly effective and has got quite a bit of attention. Thato and Rea have been featured on several shows and international TV media. And in 2014, they were the first runner-up at the “Anzisha Prize”. A pan-african award, celebrating entrepreneurs ages 15 to 22, who have come up with an innovative way to solve problems in their communities.
The best thing is that the recycled product gives a child something they couldn’t, otherwise afford along with some dignity. Being able to carry your homework from school, not to mention the cool solar panel and built-in LED light.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu – “Soul Rebels”, Ethiopia
Bethlehem grew up in a poor village called Zenabwork, in the suburbs of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Now, she is the founder and owner of the company “Soul Rebels“. Which designs and creates some of the most popular and fastest-growing African Footwear in the world. Their Footwear is unique because it’s made 100% by hand using recycled materials like old tires, discarded clothes and handloom organic fabrics.
The company has highly experienced local craftsmen that transformed the recycled products into world-class Footwear. The amazing thing is that the footwear now sells in more than 50 countries around the world, including the USA, Canada, Japan and Switzerland.
The company is highly popular and just a few years ago became the first footwear company in the world to be certified by the World Fair Trade Organization. Bethlehem started Soul Rebels in 2004, with less than $10,000 that she raised from family and friends. Now the company has more than 100 employees and nearly 200 raw material suppliers.
By building this global brand, Bethlehem has become hugely successful and created jobs and improved her local community. She also now has several standalone retail outlets in North America, Europe and Asia. Bethlehem has won several entrepreneur awards, including young global leader of the year 2011 and winner of Africa awards for entrepreneurship in the very same year.
Imagine growing up poor and then getting the idea of taking the trash and recycling it and turning it into something. That is not only useful but its world-class, stylish, cool and very popular.
Lorna Rutto – “ECOPOST”, Kenya
Lorna Rutto had a nice job working at a bank but left her job in 2009 and started her own company called “ECOPOST“. Which is now one of Kenya’s biggest plastic recycling businesses. Her company collects plastic waste from dump sites and garbage cans all across Nairobi. But here’s the cool thing, her company takes that recycled plastic and turns it into fencing posts, which are used to fence houses and forest reserves and are now becoming far more popular over timber.
So far her company has produced over 10,000 fence posts and created more than 500 jobs. Her company is making over $150,000 a year in revenue. The other cool thing is that, her plastic recycling idea saved 250 acres of forest. Those have been destroyed to produce wood for building those fence posts that she replaced with recycled plastic.
She’s doing so well that she recently had to upgrade her factory with better equipment and make it larger. Her business has gained a lot of attention. She has won several awards, including the Sub-Saharan-Africa Cartier award, the Bid-Network Nature Challenge award, The Seed award and the Enablis business award.
Bilikiss Adebiyi Abiola – “Wecyclers”, Lagos
Nigeria’s most populous city with over 16 million people, who produced 10,000 metric tons of waste every single day. Much of that waste is not collected and leads to clogged waterways. And unsightly heaps of trash, which lined the streets. Bilikiss, is the CEO and co-founder of a company called “Wecyclers“, which helps communities reclaim their neighborhoods from unmanaged waste.
She developed the business idea, as an mba student. She was a corporate software engineer at IBM for five long years. However, she decided to instead focus on the waste business. “Wecycles” provides convenient recycling using low-cost cargo bicycles by her company founded in 2012. People are getting involved in SMS based incentives program.
Basically you give your plastic and other recyclables to a guy with a cargo bike and you get something in return. Nigeria’s recycling plants are hungry for recycled waste materials because of local and foreign demand for end
products. So, the potential is huge. If you think about it, this idea could probably work for anyone in any city.
Making Slippers from Used Tires
If you think it would be tough to start your own business. Start making something out of recycled products as these other people did. Then you need to listen to the story, this man from Africa, who takes tires and turns them into sandals. It can be said that Malcolm is the average person born in a poor family and without education. Malcolm’s family was poor. Because the father was gambling and he had an alcohol problem.
One day Malcolm decided to start his own business. With a little money he bought a lot of old tires. Of course, the people in the village were laughing at him. Because they had no idea why someone would buy old used wasted tires, especially when he didn’t have a car. But the joke was on them. He worked day and night and created a pair of slippers. The Idea turned out actually kind of cool and amazing.
Imagine how many miles you might get out of a pair. Now he sells his sandals for $2 to $5 for a pair, which is good money in Africa. The great thing is that they are environmentally friendly. It gives old used tires a new life instead of rotting away in the trash. There is a big scarcity of goods like this in Africa, which makes them even more special.
Now Malcolm has had to expand his business and open a shoe factory and hire a group of workers. Now the people in the village are starting to think differently about him. We’re sure a few girls in the village want to marry him.
We hope you enjoyed these Ideas.
Let us know which one of these ideas you thought was the coolest. Or share your own idea if you like.