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Alhaji siraj Bah

Rugsal Trading
Sector
Manufacturing
Year Selected
2018
Age at Selection
18
Country
Sierra Leone

Alhaji was born in a small town in the Eastern Province of Sierra Leone. After struggling to find money to pay for his school fees. Through his factory job he managed to raise the equivalent of US $20 which he saved as seed capital for a business he hoped to start.  

With only this $20, Alhaji started Rugsal Trading –a company that produces handcrafted paper bags as well as briquettes for cooking fuel. Aware of the negative environmental impact of plastic, Alhaji began making paper bag alternatives from sustainable materials. He also came up with an innovative concept to make briquettes made from coconut shells as an alternative to firewood and charcoal, which are significantly more harmful to the environment. Since he started the business, Alhaji has accumulated a steady stream of clients for his paper bags and briquettes, selling between 1500-2500 paper bags and around 600 briquettes a month to hotels, a local shopping complex several individual clients.

Alhaji hopes to scale his business to other countries in the region and continue to help mitigate the impact of deforestation and environmental degradation by promoting eco-friendly alternatives to plastic and charcoal.

Media & Milestones

2019

How a deadly mudslide inspired a teenager to protect his environment

CNN

25/11/2019

The teenager decided to invest his last $20 into tackling the plastic waste problem. He started working 16-hour days making recyclable bags from 70 percent banana leaves and selling them to local businesses, with their logos laboriously screen-printed onto them.

How We Made It in Africa

24/10/2019

“We believe in you more than we believe in politicians.” This was the message from Sim Shagaya, Nigerian entrepreneur and business mogul and founder of one of West Africa’s largest electronic commerce websites konga.com, to young entrepreneurs on the African continent.

Tips from four young African entrepreneurs on running startups

ventureburn

09/07/2019

Running a business, no matter how old you are, is no easy feat. As an entrepreneur not only do you have to deal with the day to day problems that come with owning a business venture — like dealing with financials, employees, and investors — but one also has to deal with personal issues as well.

Young innovators eye Sh10 million funding programme

Standard Media

12/02/2019

Kenya’s youngest innovators are looking at Sh10 million funding for their ideas after nominations open for this year’s Anzisha Prize by Mastercard Foundation and partners.

2018

Africa's Young Entrepreneurs Win USD 100 K Anzisha Prize

Wee Tracker

26/10/2018

After a 10-day entrepreneurship boot-camp at the African Leadership Academy campus on the outskirts of Johannesburg, three young African entrepreneurs beamed with joy as they were announced as the top three finalists of Anzisha 2018.

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