Where Business and Circularity Intersect: Meet the ACE Africa Entrepreneurs Pushing the Boundaries of Sustainability in African Cities

Where Business and Circularity Intersect: Meet the ACE Africa Entrepreneurs Pushing the Boundaries of Sustainability in African Cities


Join us as we showcase ACE Africa businesses implementing circular economy solutions in African cities, and further highlight the great deal of possibilities and opportunities for adopting circular economy strategies.

In a world where the negative and limiting impacts resulting from the linear economy are increasingly magnified, the circular economy is gaining traction as a model to promote sustainability-oriented innovation and to accelerate resource sustainability. Accelerating Circular Economy Innovation in Africa (ACE Africa) is an initiative driven towards the growth of circular development in African cities through innovation and collaboration. Our goal is not just to facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for the uptake of circular economy concepts and innovative approaches, but to unlock the potential of the circular economy by supporting and upskilling start-up companies and small businesses that show promising circular economy contributions in African cities. The circular economy offers a great deal of possibilities and opportunities for businesses, and it is noteworthy that businesses are already leading the way in the circularity transition. The session will explore the intersection between business and circularity – how circular models and principles are providing sustainable business solutions, and how businesses are at the heart of, and leading the circular economy transition. In this session, we will showcase ACE Africa businesses implementing circular economy solutions in African cities. Our entrepreneurs will share their uniquely circular business approaches, highlighting their different journeys towards a circular economy. Join us to get inspired about their Creativity, Agency and Urgency towards more sustainable African cities.


À l’intersection du commerce et de la circularité : Rencontrez les entrepreneurs de ACE Africa qui repoussent les limites de la durabilité dans les villes africaines.

Dans un monde où les impacts négatifs et limitatifs résultant de l’économie linéaire sont de plus en plus amplifiés, l’économie circulaire gagne du terrain comme modèle pour promouvoir l’innovation axée sur la durabilité et accélérer la durabilité des ressources. L’initiative “Accélérer l’innovation dans l’économie circulaire en Afrique” (ACE Africa) vise à favoriser le développement de l’économie circulaire dans les villes africaines par l’innovation et la collaboration. Notre objectif n’est pas seulement de faciliter la création d’un environnement propice à l’adoption de concepts d’économie circulaire et d’approches innovantes, mais aussi de libérer le potentiel de l’économie circulaire en soutenant et en perfectionnant les start-up et les petites entreprises qui apportent une contribution prometteuse à l’économie circulaire dans les villes africaines. L’économie circulaire offre un grand nombre de possibilités et d’opportunités pour les entreprises, et il convient de noter que les entreprises sont déjà à la pointe de la transition vers la circularité. La session explorera l’intersection entre les entreprises et la circularité – comment les modèles et principes circulaires fournissent des solutions commerciales durables, et comment les entreprises sont au cœur de la transition vers l’économie circulaire et la dirigent. Au cours de cette session, nous présenterons les entreprises du ACE Afrique qui mettent en œuvre des solutions d’économie circulaire dans les villes africaines. Nos entrepreneurs partageront leurs approches uniques de l’économie circulaire, mettant en évidence leurs différents parcours vers une économie circulaire. Rejoignez-nous pour vous inspirer de leur Créativité, Agence et Urgence vers des villes africaines plus durables.


Host: ICLEI Africa and Stellenbosch Launch Lab

Dr. Daniel Adeniyi

Professional Officer, ICLEI Africa

Alexandra Fraser

Director, Viridian and Cofounder, Dazzle Angels

Kelley Rowe

Board Member, Brownie Points and Founder, Stratlever

Bonmwa Fwangkwal

Programme Manager, African Circular Economy Alliance

Session Summary

This session sought to explore the intersection of entrepreneurship and circularity. The session showcased the entrepreneurs selected as part of the ACE Africa project. Eleven businesses had the stage to present their circular businesses or ideas, all at different stages and aiming to address environmental and social problems.

Daniel Adeniyi (ICLEI Africa) convened the session inviting each business to provide a 3 minute elevator pitch to the esteemed panel of judges and the session audience. Judge Alexandra Fraser, Director of Viridian and Cofounder of Dazzle Angel, highlighted the importance of identifying and clearly defining the problem a business aims to solve and after developing an idea, testing it with stakeholders and potential customers. This was echoed by both Kelley Rowe, Board Member of Brownie Points and Founder of Stratlever and Bonmwa Fwangkwal, Program Manager at the African Circular Economy Alliance (ACEA). Kelley leveraged her experience to drive home the importance of validation of prototypes, and making considerations for affordability, feasibility and scalability of ideas. She also highlighted the importance of achieving sustainability at the systems level to support impact goals when scaling up a business. Very importantly, Bonmwa reminded the room that businesses need to be set up to make profits and that circular ideas and businesses sometimes overlook this aspect driven by passion to solve a pressing issue.

The session closed with an audience jury vote and the judges scoring and selecting three winners. Meant to Bee, a social enterprise business focused on bee-keeping, came out on top with SolarCool and Sisonke Composting in second and third place respectively.