Pineapple Shoe Venture Shines in Kenya Climate Launchpad Competition

Pinekazi is run by four young Kenyans who saw an opportunity in changing consumer behaviors and pineapple waste to create a social business.

A social enterprise making stylish shoes and bags from pineapple waste has emerged the winner in the just concluded Climate Launchpad national finals after impressing judges. The virtual competition was hosted by Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC), an organisation that incubates and finances clean tech enterprises around agribusiness, water management and green energy.

“I am so happy to receive this recognition and thank the KCIC team for the help and coaching. I look forward to the regional (Africa) and global finals.  I know we’re up against great competition ahead but I believe we are up to the task,” said Olivia Akinyi, the founder.

Pine Kazi uses pineapple waste to craft eco-friendly fashion products like shoes and bags.

Pine is derived from pineapple while ‘Kazi’ is Swahili for work.

In the second place is Ecobora – a venture equipping rural marginalised schools with solar powered cook stoves that are helping eliminate use of biomass and kerosene for cooking.

Clean Air Ke – an innovation that aims to purify the air by reducing outdoor air pollution came in third. Out of the 13 participants, the three will sail through to the continental stage, from which one will be picked to represent Kenya globally.

Last year, a Kenyan startup, Leafy Ke, was the overall winner across the world, bagging €10,000 in prize money. It converts used diapers and pads to a clean cooking gel as an alternative to charcoal and kerosene among households in informal settlements.

The Climate Launchpad is the largest green business ideas competition whose is aim to unlock the world’s cleantech potential to address climate change.

KCIC chief executive Edward Mungai congratulated the participants noting that the projects presented had big potential of moving into the commercial phase.

The Climate Launchpad is held annually and independently judged by a panel of industry experts. This year’s global competitions will be held in Amsterdam, as was the case last year.

It is the brainchild of Climate-KIC – European Union’s promoter of a low-carbon and climate-resilient world.

Read also: Using competition to inspire a generation of climate-smart innovators

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