CEO of Wecyclers
Bilikiss Adebiyi is an inspiring Nigerian social entrepreneur and founder of WeCyclers. Her company offers waste collection and recycling services to the Lagos informal settlements, where an estimated 66% of Lagosians live.
Early Life and Education
Adebiyi was born in Lagos, where she went to the Supreme Education Foundation secondary school. She entered the University of Lagos, but she left after a year to complete her studies in America. She graduated from Fisk University and then went to Vanderbilt University, where she earned a master’s degree. She worked for IBM for five years before deciding to study further. She was accepted to study for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Bilikiss worked as a Research Assistant while earning her master’s degree at Vanderbilt, where she developed and implemented a Multi-Agent Architecture System that is used in TAG research software.”
She worked for IBM as a Staff Software Engineer between December 2005 and June 2010. This was her first full-time corporate employment, and she was completely responsible for the design and implementation of critical user interface components. She also assisted clients with deployment issues, oversaw internal product deployment for thousands of users, and performed other important tasks.
In May 2011, she joined CSMG Global as a Summer Consultant, a strategic consulting firm that is changing the game in the communications, technology, and digital media industries.
She came up with the idea for a recycling business during her second year at MIT, where she was studying waste as her specialist subject. Her initial idea was to increase the quantity of waste she could collect from households by offering them raffle tickets in exchange. When she discussed this in Nigeria on a vacation she was surprised at the enthusiasm that was offered for her ideas. Waste is a particular nuisance in Lagos as only a small percentage is collected regularly. Adebiyi took the idea back to MIT where she was able to gather support by entering her idea in competitions. After graduation in 2012, Adebiyi moved back to Nigeria to be with her husband.
Between late 2011 and early 2012, Bilikiss returned to Nigeria. She co-founded Wecyclers Corporation in 2012, a for-profit social organization dedicated to promoting environmental sustainability and economic development through trash recycling, particularly plastics. During Bilikiss’ time at MIT, he came up with the idea for the company. She was taking a waste management course at the time and couldn’t get her mind off Nigeria’s waste management crisis and what she might do to help.
She co-founded Wecyclers, a company that collects recyclable waste from Lagos residents, in 2012. Adebiyi used to ride her bike around doing collections to learn more about her new business when it first started. Her company sends an SMS message to the family once the trash is sorted, telling them of how many points they have received for trading in the trash. Food, cleaning supplies, or mobile minutes could all be exchanged for these points. The Lagos Waste Management Authority collaborates with the company. Lagos generates 9,000 tonnes of waste every day, and the city government is attempting to nearly increase the recycling rate from 18 percent in 2011.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, but the city of Lagos is so disorganized that garbage collection is not always possible. Wecyclers use adapted tricycles that allow them to collect trash in places where standard vehicles cannot. Wecyclers collects trash from tens of thousands of homes. In October 2015, the company estimated that it had gathered over 500 tons of trash, created value from that trash, and employed 80 people.
Adebiyi, whose married name is Abiola, has gotten Coca-Cola and GlaxoSmithKline to help fund his business. Wecyclers discovered that these businesses were responsible for a considerable percentage of the waste, and they were willing to help with the recycling effort. In 2018, Guinness Nigeria agreed to collaborate.
Abebiyi left Wecyclers as CEO in 2018 to take over as Managing Director of the Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency (LASPARK). In her new position, she will be responsible for keeping open spaces in Lagos State beautiful as well as tree planting.
Adebiyi’s efforts have been reported in Nigeria, the UK, US and Germany in 2014 and 2016. Coverage included CNN, Huffington Post, “Die Zeit”, The Independent, Marie Claire Magazine, The Economist, NDaniTV and D+C . She has been awarded grants from MIT and she has won a number of awards, including the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award for sub-Saharan Africa in 2013. Wecyclers were awarded the King Baudouin International Development Prize in 2018/19.
Adebiyi’s networth is Estimated to be $1 Million to $5 Million Approx in 2021
(Wikipedia, nairametrics, lionessesofafrica)