Throughout our Green & Social month this April we are platforming examples of brilliant green and social entrepreneurship from across our global network. Jason Anjichi is the Training Coordinator for our member Somo in Nairobi, Kenya. Somo is a business accelerator that supports social entrepreneurs in low-income communities through business training, funding, access to new markets, tailored advising and mentorship.
Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) have increased by almost 50% since 1990, with the past 7 years being the hottest on record. Climate change affects both developing and developed countries, and a growing world population is causing increased pressure on resources resulting in their depletion and degradation. This requires us to take urgent action.
At SOMO we believe that green and social entrepreneurs are key to creating a better planet: creating businesses that support both people and our environment. Youth in business are constantly coming up with innovative solutions to deliver sustainable development within their communities through a combination of social, environmental and business goals, and identifying partners who share the same vision.
To meet these objectives, they are addressing more complex and deeper systemic problems such as population pressures, food shortages, overfishing, infectious diseases and poverty. Many are effectively becoming specialists in local sustainable resources management, food security, institution building, and policy influencing.
Dominic Tanui is a social entrepreneur supported by us at Somo. Dominic started his business Canopy Garden Center, a social enterprise that aims to plant 20 million bamboo seedlings by 2030. He started this business upon realizing that the increase in demand for timber products was causing Kenya to lose about 18,000 hectares of trees annually. He wanted to create a solution that acts towards mitigating climate change, and he knew this would be easier through getting the local community involved in the business which he has done through employment and capacity building. So far Dominic has trained three community groups on nursery management and bamboo sustainable management, and is looking forward to establishing a bamboo value addition workshop.
Why bamboo? Studies show that bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon than the average tree due to its biomass, making it one of the most sustainable plants on the planet. It has more than 10,000 documented uses: from producing charcoal, alternative biomass for generating electricity, concrete reinforcement, making electric transmission poles, and producing fibre to make furniture and household utensils. Dominic has created a bamboo food warmer product that does not require electricity to keep food warm, helping households in low-resource communities to save on fuel costs while utilizing clean energy.
Canopy Garden Center is just one example of the innovative ways in which youth are using local resources to come up with innovative and sustainable solutions towards a cleaner and better planet for future generations. Green and social businesses like Dominic’s can work towards creating a better society that is equitable and inclusive. They will be key to strengthening our resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters. Somo will continue to support young entrepreneurs in starting and sustaining business that are good for the people and the planet, while making a profit. That is the future of business as a force for good.
Find out more about the work Somo do supporting entrepreneurship on their website.