As part of world renowned INJAZ competition, a group of enthusiastic CAC students have started their own Plastic upcycling company, QNF. After a long journey of research and extensive study of the Egyptian market, Hesham Mohamed and Selim Hanter, decided that one of the most dominant issues that Egypt is facing is waste. We sat down with CEO, Hesham Mohamed and CFO, Selim Hanter to give us more insights about how they started their company, what inspired them, and tell us all about their business model.
“We wanted to do something that helps the environment. So we thought of founding a company that is socially beneficial, environmentally friendly, and one that we can make money out of, because at the end of the day this is a business,” explains Hanter.
“What are problems that we see in Egypt and that we would like to solve? It was sadly, the issue of garbage all across the country. This inspired us to start this business,” adds Mohamed.
The idea was initially to come up with a way that incentivizes people to help collect the trash. In a developing country like Egypt, there is not enough awareness about the kinds of hazards that an issue like this has. For this reason, it is important to find a way to effectively raise awareness while explaining to the public what they are getting back in return.
From there, they came up with the idea of trying to reach a specific demographic within the community, who would be able to collect plastic waste, and also be looking for a steady source of income. They were successfully able to reach a few employees from nearby restaurants and cafes close to the vicinity of CAC, who would collect leftover plastic bottles and give them to the students.
These employees are paid a monthly salary by the students, the plastic bottles are then taken to an organization in Manshyet Naser, one of the poorest areas in Cairo, who then upcycle these bottles and turn them into usable products that they can sell. The first product that QNF has produced is bracelets. However they are planning to expand and start producing other products as well, which can be sold for a source of revenue in order to be able to maintain this business model.
QNF, while being a successful and sustainable business model, is a business with a very important goal. Plastic waste is one of many critical issues in Egypt, and for our students to be able to not only raise awareness about it, but also offer sustainable solutions to combat it, is one of the things that makes CAC proud of its students. Ultimately, this model allows for upcycling plastic, while also providing a steady source of income for a segment of society that is in need of it.