Gloria, 2nd Runner up, Total Startupper of the year
Gloria is the 2nd Runner up of the Total Startupper of the year competition in Uganda. She is also the team leader at Eco-Technologies. She is passionate about renewable energy and environmental protection. Her submission in the competition is about the Eko-Jiko, an eco-friendly stove that uses biogas and pumice stones which are durable as they can last for a year before they require replacement. It therefore eliminates the use of either charcoal or firewood thus reducing the rate of deforestation that is currently happening to sustain the demands of everyday cooking fuel. The word ‘Jiko’ means a stove in Swahili. The Eko-Jiko produces no smoke, no fumes (carbon monoxide) and can be used indoors. The Eko-Jiko will be sold at UGX 200,000.
Gloria, congratulations! How does it feel to be the 2nd Runner up of the Total Startupper challenge?
Well, it feels exciting to know that I beat seven other strong competitors and to be the only female finalist in the competition. Much as I did not get the first prize which I sought, I’m happy and grateful now that I have startup capital for my venture.
Why is this project important to you?
It’s an innovation that reduces the effects of climate change and can reduce up to 50% of household expenses on the purchase of alternative means of energies for cooking.
It’s also going to create employment for the youth; from marketers, accountants, to product assemblers, biogas production operators and distributors.
Tell us about your experience in the Total Startupper competition?
The Total Startupper competition has taught me a lot about entrepreneurship. Being an architect, I’m more of a technical person and I had always concentrated on the technical aspects of the product. But after the boot camp, I learnt that the most important thing I should always consider in my business is ‘How my product will benefit the customer’. I had to put myself in the customer’s shoes and ask myself 'Why should I buy the Eko-Jiko?'
The other important thing I learned at the competition is that the financial aspect of a business is the backbone of the business. As an entrepreneur I should know how much my business needs to start running, how much it needs to keep running and how long will it take me to start becoming profitable and sustainable. Starting with a big amount of money is not always necessary but learning the skill of counting the pennies will make the dollars take care of themselves.
And finally the Total Startupper challenge has taught me that, 'It’s important to give back to society.' Every business idea has to benefit society in terms of creating employment, creating solutions and creating a positive impact in the economy of the society in which we live.
What does winning in this competition mean for your project?
Winning in this competition means that I have the first stepping stone on my ladder to success. As Eco-Technologies, we want to make a big impact in Uganda as well as Africa especially in the manufacturing industry. We want to commercialise the use and availability of sustainable energy like biogas. We want to improve the manufacturing and assembling standards in Uganda because we will be fabricating and assembling the Eko-Jiko locally.
“In this world you have two options: you’re either a wheel barrow or an engine. If you choose to be an engine you have the power to drive wherever you want to go.”
2015 - Present
Team Leader, Eco-Technologies
2015 - Present
CEO, Greenville Fresh Farm Products Ltd
2012 - 2014
Architect, Technical Masters Ltd
2011 - 2012
Architect, Asspro Group Ltd