Boost-Eco

Boost-Eco

Douala, CameroonCameroon
Year Founded:
2015
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Boost Eco bags are paper bags which will serve as a new medium of communication, for consumer brand companies to target their customers, and also raise awareness about recycling and the importance of protecting the environment. These paper bags will constitute a free packaging solution in Cameroon.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if we could influence the perception of people to fight for a safer environment by providing a sustainable packaging solution free of charge to distributors and final consumers?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Plastic bags have been very harmful to Cameroon. They block drainage systems causing floods and diseases. When the government banned the distribution of plastic bags below 60 microns, previously a free item, this forced shops to start charging their customers for packaging, thus raising the cost of living on the low income class who represent ¾ of the population (22million) and live on less than $2 daily and shop at these outlets daily as well.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Boost Eco bags are biodegradable paper bags which shall be distributed for free at bakeries/food markets/shops to conveniently replace the banned plastic bags and will save consumers money. The name Boost Eco in itself aims at raising the people’s awareness about safeguarding the environment and is considerably going to reduce litter. Branding the bags as Boost-Eco will let us create recycling schemes by putting prizes for returning a certain number of bags. The bags shall serve as a communication medium for partner organizations, and equally a platform for petroleum companies to engage in corporate social responsibility, and also raise awareness about recycling and the importance of protecting the environment.

Awards

None Yet
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

We will import paper bags and brand them as "boost eco" as our primary product, which will be supplied to bakeries and supermarkets we have agreements with for free. By doing this, the bakeries provide us with a platform (boost eco) through these bags which we can use to target their clients. Their clients will be offered these bags for free as well. Our clients on the other hand, will advertise on the bags or sponsor the cause. When the bags have been distributed we will reclaim them by offering prizes for returning certain number , like 50 boost-eco bags, depending on the total number distributed. The bags will be very stylish making it hard for people to easily dispose of. When we get the bags we will trade them to recycling companies.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are placing our order for the first set of "Boost-Eco bags" which will be distributed from December to February. During this period 24 500 bags will be distributed in total, with 350 bags distributed daily through one of our partner bakeries. The bags will be distributed free of adverts and will serve as prototypes for our potential clients. We are developing the Boost-Eco platform by doing this, making the population aware of the product (by making the platform popular and user friendly) and our potential clients aware of the new platform. This bakery/Supermarket, Complex Santa Lucia, is located at the heart of the student area of Douala, the economic capital and is also the largest network of bakeries/supermarket in Cameroon with a total of 8 locations. When we get our first clients we will then expand distribution to our other distributing partners.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

We want to supply all high traffic shops in Cameroon with our bags in the next 2 years. We intend to expand in other African countries in the long run as well. A unit of the Boost-Eco project, Boost-Eco Club, will serve as our online presence. The Boost-Eco Club will be a free membership website whose aim will be to help its members contribute in the sustainable living of the world by connecting them with solutions of how to dispose of their unwanted belongings. Getting our own manufacturing and recycling plant for the bags will be a top objective for the future.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Revenue will come from companies that want to advertise/sponsor the bags. The ideal scenario will be to always have at least 4 companies who want to advertise on the bags at the same time. With 4 companies, all the costs associated with the production and delivery can be proportioned among them to make it cheaper to use, plus a markup as a function of the value of the bag (traffic of the distributing shop).

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Companies producing plastics such as dee-plast and okplast have addressed the issue in their own way, by producing plastic bags denser than 60 microns and selling them. Boost Eco bags are not only free compared to this solution, but they are biodegradable and raise awareness on the importance of protecting the environment.
Team

Founding Story

I was initially working on another project which I named cibleshopper.com and I kept thinking of a groundbreaking marketing strategy which will put me on the spotlight immediately. Then one day after the law was passed, I entered a popular bakery in Douala to buy hamburgers and I saw the bakery using papers and staples to form a bag to package my items and that is when the "Aha" moment struck me. I said to myself, if we offer these bags for free to these bakeries this will be a perfect medium of communications for companies.

Team

Pearl Louma is our communications expert and our business developer. She has managed the two most popular young female artists in Cameroon (Gasha and Daphne) and was instrumental in putting them in the spotlight. She currently works at MediaReach OMD as an executive buyer and planner and has been working there for 3 years now. She is a hard worker who has perfect multitasking skills. She works at MediaReach full time, manages Daphne and owns her clothing line but gives 100% to all these. Florent Noutsa is in charge of getting partnerships with bakeries and supermarkets. He has already signed 3 bakeries who are waiting to start the distribution of our bags. Mafeni Mase is our programmer and our data scientist. He graduated top of his engineering class from the University of Buea and has worked at Huwaei as a programmer. He was granted a scholarship for a masters program to study in the UK. When he gets back he will run the IT division. When the law was passed he started a business called OK papers which produced and supplied paper bags to shops in Buea. Love Owan is also involved in getting partners for the distribution. She has already gotten partnership agreements with 2 major distributors who have a combined total of 11 outlets in Douala. She is also in charge of ensuring our online presence through social media when our bags come out. She is influential in the Cameroon social media community with top African Artists following her.
Background
Please confirm how you heard about the Unilever Awards:

colleague/Friend

Please confirm your role in the initiative (eg Founder/co-Founder) and your organisational title:

Founder

Which of the 8 UN Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) pre-selected for this competition does your solution relate most closely to? [select all that apply]

No Poverty, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Responsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action.

Leadership and the Unilever Awards
Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I launched cibleshopper.com in 2013 which was a page on facebook where I posted good local and international deals for my followers to purchase. Furthermore, in August 2015 together with Pearl Louma we launched a new clothing line called SPELL. The SPELL brand is into suits and casual outfits for both male and female. We have had a lot of orders till date worth about $3000 and an average outfit is $130. We have concentrated on the branding which portrays a high lifestyle for the youths. The male suit designs are unique and we have had a lot of orders for them. We got into a runway show just 2 weeks after launching our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Beyond your existing team, who else are you working with to achieve your objectives, eg partners, advisors, mentors?

I am working with the commercial Director of Santa Lucia Douala, Mr Eric Lemdja who helped me secure the distribution of these bags through their network. Santa Lucia is now a partner.
I am also working with Mrs Uphie Chinje who is the Managing Director of Mipromalo, a company which manufactures building materials. She is the one who connected me to her suppliers in China who will produce the bags for me.