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Following Test Drive which was organized in October 2019, Recyclean is one of the 6 projects that has been incubated in the beginning of this year at Turbine. Sharon Lennon shares with us her journey and explains how she came up with Recyclean.

What were you doing before starting your entrepreneurial journey?

I am 32 years old and my entrepreneurial journey started 12 years ago when I had to take over the direction of a family business. After 10 years of ups and downs, I took the decision of shutting down the company mainly due to financial issues. I had a dream of opening a restaurant one day and I was able to achieve it in 2018 along with my mother. However we had to put an end to it for some medical reasons.

But being an entrepreneur at heart, I had to find a new business idea and I came up with Recyclean.

What is Recyclean?

In April 2019, while surfing on the internet I came across an environmental solution that exists in Namibia. With the growing concerns for environmental issues, it was clear to me that there was a business idea to develop for Mauritius as well. I created Recyclean to provide to households a weekly doorstep collect of their recyclables to sort and deliver to recycling factories in exchange of a monthly fee.

It will not be wrong to say that Mauritius has an uneducated population when it comes to recycling and going to segregation points which are generally located in supermarkets’ parking lots takes a lot of time.

Recyclean was born to address 2 issues that are convenience and gain of time. We therefore decided to be the link between those who want to recycle but either don’t know how to do it or do not have the time to recycle.

What was your experience of getting started? How did Test Drive help you with this?

Having learnt from previous failures, I did not want to make the same mistakes. I had to find a solution that would provide Recyclean with the right structure, professional expertise and coaching to help make the wisest decision. Following interview with one of Turbine’s coaches it was rapidly clear to me that Test Drive was exactly what I was looking for.

Three weeks of workshops and coaching have proved the Test Drive to be even more than what I expected. It is more than just a shared workspace, more than just coaches guiding your decisions, it’s a family. A family with every member ready to help at any time. Be ready to be challenged along the way and to have your business challenged from workshop to workshop.

What advice would you give to someone with a business idea?

The best advice I could give you if you have a business idea and you really want to do things correctly right from the start, is to enroll in the next Test Drive Program. You definitely won’t regret and the worse that can happen is that you’ll be making friends while sharing pizzas.

 

 

 

 

In October 2018 Turbine,  ran the first edition of the Test Drive Program. Katapult was one of the 30 projects pre-incubated at Turbine and one of the 4 of them that followed through into the incubation program. Today, Katapult is an award-winning start-up that’s making ripples in the African region. Jade Li chats to us about this fantastic journey in becoming an entrepreneur.

What were you doing before starting your entrepreneurial journey?

I was working as a medical device engineer. I designed and developed medical devices from conception to implementation in production. This involves defining specifications for the product, along with the CAD design, prototyping, testing and finally setting up procedures for manufacturing.

What was your thought process when you saw the ad for Test Drive in 2018?

At that point, I had been wanting to do this for a long time, but I didn’t really know where or how to start. When I saw the Test Drive ad, it was exactly the opportunity I was looking for.

 

What was your experience of getting started? Was it more difficult than you thought it would be, or was it different?

When I started in January 2019, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into and I think that’s probably why I took the plunge. Thinking back now, it was a lot harder than I could have ever imagined. Over the course of the year, there were weeks when I thought: “Oh I’ve got this, I know what I’m doing” and then there were weeks where I felt like everything was out of control and I was overwhelmed. The one thing I’ve learned this year: Don’t sweat the small stuff. I am sure that I am only at the beginning of my roller coaster journey and there will be more twists, turns and dips ahead.

How did the Incubation at Turbine help?

Where Turbine really helped for me was the support that they provide. Meeting with my coach Aysha every week has been so helpful. The entrepreneurial journey can be very lonely when you don’t have the right people around you. Aside from the weekly meeting, the people at Turbine are always here to help.

 

What went wrong?

Things did not go according to plan. At the beginning, I had assumptions about the market that turned out not to be exactly what I thought. So, I’ve had to change my business model a few times. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m getting closer.

 

 

What were the milestones you were able to celebrate?

There were so many milestones to celebrate this year!

  • Leaving my job to work on Katapult full time
  • Doing my first workshop
  • Doing my first workshop at a school for the after-school activities
  • Hiring my first team member
  • Winning the 2nd prize for Total Startupper Challenge
  • Winning the Peer Review competition at an accelerator called Yher in Johannesburg

 

 

What would be a piece of advice that you would give to anyone with a business idea in mind?

 

If you have an idea, make a prototype and go out there and test it. And apply to Test Drive to get the support you will need!

 

 

We currently live in a world led by communication and new technologies that are being developed at a dazzling rate. Mobile applications, which emerged in the 1990s, have become an unavoidable global phenomenon. These even compete with websites and attract millions of users. Each year, companies who want to access this market delve into marketing strategies that focus primarily on apps. So, what makes apps so appealing and what can they bring to your business?

Mobile apps: a way to improve your brand

The way your customers view your company matters. By getting an app for your business, you will develop a modern and innovative corporate image. This will help in the branding process and will later appeal to the majority of global consumers. You will also specifically respond to the needs and desires of consumers in terms of communication, modernization and accessibility.

A way to retain and acquire new customers

Speaking of accessibility, apps allow you to remain closer to your customers. They provide your clients with an easy and fast way of contacting your company. Unlike a website or a phone number, the application is always within their reach on their phones. This will also reduce chances of your customers going to competitors. Mobile apps increase your company’s credibility through reviews and comments, which will attract potential clients.

Enhanced communication with your regular customers

Access to mobile apps is easy. You can download an app within seconds and use it at home, at work or while on the move. In addition to being accessible, they allow you to communicate with your clients in a way that websites do not. Notifications, for instance, are incredibly useful to remind your customers about events and sales. They appear directly on your clients’ smartphones and make for great advertising.

Mobile apps increase productivity

Apps are also popular among entrepreneurs for management purposes. They help to optimise sales, increase communication among employees and improve productivity. Aside from an app for your business, you can consider creating one to manage and relay information. From booking to accessing product information, everything is more readily available to your staff. Your customers may also find apps easier to navigate, thus reducing the risk of dissatisfaction.

Intelligent apps to offer better services

Why carry out surveys among your customers when your app can do it for you? Intelligent apps are very useful to collect and analyse information. This includes:

  • the number of times the application is used
  • the frequency of use of certain features
  • the location of your clients
  • the products they prefer

The list goes on. Apps allow you to understand your customers, their tastes and their needs better to offer a customised service. In addition, mobile apps have perfect synchronization with social networks. This enables consumers to share content from the app directly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. By doing so, they are providing free advertising for your company, leading to increased sales and popularity.

In short, it does not matter whether you are a large company or a local business. Acquiring a mobile application will allow you to meet the expectations of the current market. Decide on the services that you wish to offer via the app and encourage its use among your clients. The results are bound to be positive.

Turbine had the pleasure to host Red Dot ‘s second Innovators meetup on Thursday 31st May 2018, a meetup for innovation seekers.

The innovators meetup

This unconference style event gathers like minded people who seeks innovation and change. Turbine team also took part in this event along 50 more innovation driven people. This event organized and animated by Red Dot started at 6 pm, a full 3 hour event and yet it seemed short. Innovation geeks can discuss for hours; stating issues, brainstorming on what is being done, finding alternatives to better address the issues and commit to take initiatives.

The brainstorm to seek innovation

Min Xuan Lee, the founder and CEO of Red Dot and the animator of this innovators meetup, clearly explained the objective of this meetup. We were to identify pertaining issues we want to talk about and break up into several small groups to brainstorm. Few topics that were covered are: building a dynamic and robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, moving from a middle-income to high-income country, how mobile app visibility actually “works” in Mauritius, how corporations can come together to recycle and reduce waste, among others.

The brainstorming sessions were very dynamic. Everyone shared their knowledge and views, listening and agreeing with others, finding “soul mates”. The more we shared, the more passionate we all grew. After more than 1 hour of intense discussion, we all committed to take some initiative and the session came to end.

The commitment to innovate

We all shared our findings with the rest of the participants, committing to our respective initiatives. It is indeed very interesting to see people coming forward and determined to make changes so as to improve the current situations. We thank Red Dot for this great initiative of bringing people together to promote innovation. Turbine is very proud to partake in such initiatives and commit to keep being an organization working for entrepreneurial innovation.

Red Dot ended the session, committing to another innovators meetup in June! So stay tuned!