By Betsy Ramser Jaime
Emmanuel Piirong shares, ‘My early life has been around an environment full of life and green. My father was a public servant who still loved his farming activities on a piece of land where he had his quarters. He grew everything we ate and used the waste which came out of his backyard farm and left over food for something very important which is linked to his hobby. I then learned from that stage what it means to see value in everything around us including what most people will term as waste. I developed an interest in wanting to see my environment as clean as possible from any kind of waste.’
As a student, Emmanuel studied business courses as a high schooler and later earned a BSc degree in Business Administration.
Emmanuel works hard to balance his primary job with his side business. As his main source of income, he works with a government agency in Ghana called NIA (National Identification Authority). On top of this, as a side business, he has been working in plastic waste management since 2016. Initially, he would buy plastic waste from households and would sell re-sell the goods to recycling plants. Sadly, a flood on June 3, 2016, put him out of business.
After the flood, Emmanuel was able to pivot his business model and now he creates concrete blocks, pavement bricks, and roofing tiles from plastic and sand using the plastic waste that he collects from his business collaborators. He says, ‘Collaborators are motivated with some amounts of monies, house hold items and educational materials for their wards as a form of compensation to keep our relationship.’
Using his business training as a foundation, Emmanuel is continuing to learn and grow as an entrepreneur, as he says, ‘ I am an entrepreneur who sees opportunities in my environment and takes advantage of them. I have a passion for a clean and pollution free environment. I love nature and I believe that there is nothing called waste here on mother earth. Ghana, the country in which I live has potential opportunities for both citizens and the entire continent of Africa but the the poor management of resources has landed the country in abject poverty. My dream is to contribute to the clean Ghana campaign which has been started for some time so that my children can grow up in a country in which they believe and are proud of.’
When he’s not eagerly pursuing his dreams, Emmanuel loves sitting along the lovely coasts of Ghana and enjoying nature.
Throughout his short time with Zidisha, Emmanuel has been able to raise 5 Zidisha funded loans, allowing him to grow and expand within his business. With each of the loans, Emmanuel has used his funds to buy plastic waste collections bags that his distributes to his collaborators.
Through his work, Emmanuel appreciates that he is able to serve two important purposes. The first is obviously to keep the environment clean from pollution. Second, he loves that his work is able to provide some additional income for each of his collaborators.
Most recently, in April, 2020, Emmanuel raised $341 from the Zidisha community and explained, ‘As a continuing business, gradually expanding my territory means that I have to increase my operational activities. One major way of expanding is to increase my inventory. It is even more crucial because in these times since most household members are locked inside their homes. This means that the per person plastic waste disposal in homes are going to really increase. I will therefore buy more waste from my collaborators than before increasing my inventory target, hence my profitability. Waste collection and disposal business is marked as an essential service here in Ghana. This is because the inefficient waste disposal has cost the country a lot, leading to perennial flooding especially in the capital. First of all, my business is allowed to work during this pandemic era. However, there are compulsory standard precautionary measures that everyone working or coming into contact with other people must adhere to. I have therefore decided to get more PPE for myself and the two other gentlemen I work with. Once we have this in place, we are good to work and earn money by continually picking our plastic waste from our various collaborators.’
Upon receiving his loan in April, Emmanuel took to his discussion page to share his appreciation with the Zidisha community as he said, ‘Hello Lenders, I am with deep gratitude with this new loan. It will help me to increase my inventory and ultimately profitability. This also means a cleaner city for the people of Accra. Once again, thank you all.’
Would you like to impact the life and community of an entrepreneur like Emmanuel? Make sure to head on over to our Browse Projects page to read about other inspiring Zidisha business owners all over the world.