John Sawo- Koroma, founder and creative director of craftybee fashion world.

CRAFTYBEE- Replacing Single Use Plastic in Sierra Leone

  1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR STARTUP/BUSINESS. WHAT’S YOUR 30 SECOND ELEVATOR PITCH?
    Craftybee fashion world produce different types of bags and accessories. We have up to twenty different items in our collection but still ready to create new items as the need arises. Making different items to sell and raise money is fine but we also believe in human empowerment; as a result of this we run short skills training programs to help vulnerable people in different communities. At this time of world pandemic (covid-19) we are also contributing to save lives in Sierra Leone by producing thousands of facemasks which are being used by office workers, students, bike riders etc.
  1. What need or problem are you solving?
    Craftybee seeks to reduce the high percentage of plastic waste in Sierra Leone. Plastic bags are found on the shores of our rivers and beaches, on streets and drainages; which actually causes threat to different species of animals, causing pollution and flooding. Giving an alternative to single used plastic bags and youth empowerment through skills training.
  1. How did you come up with the idea for the business?
    Seeing that plastic makes a bulk of the waste in the country and causes environmental pollution our brand thought it fit to make an alternative that is environmentally friendly and cost effective.
  1. How did you validate that your solution was viable?
    With my idea, I won the European Union pitch on the Theme: Replacing single use plastic bags. The European Union sponsored visit to Dokmai factory- Rwanda also helped me to validate my idea. Rwanda is using similar products to reduce plastic waste and keep Kigali clean.
  1. What stage are you at and what’s next?
    We are currently on determination and evaluation of resource requirements. The next step is to create a training center for youths and girls to learn and create a source of income for themselves and also scale up my production.
  1. What is the biggest win you’ve had so far?
    The biggest win so far is the European Union delegation Sierra Leone in partnership with Freetown Pitch Night sponsored a trip for me to develop my idea in Rwanda and being reorganized as an entrepreneur in Sierra Leone by entrepreneurs connect, under thirty C.E.Os. & Purposeful production.
  1. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as a start-up founder?
    The biggest challenge I’ve had to overcome as a startup founder is not having finance to implement ideas/projects and changing the mindset of people from traditional practice (Use of plastic bags).
  1. What need do you have to grow and take it to the next level?
    Now that we have the skills and passion for what we are doing, our primary need is to access finance and acquire the required machines to scale up our productions.
  1. What’s your take on the local start-up scene/entrepreneurial community?
    What has been helpful?
    Networking and trainings has been instrumental in the entrepreneurial community. We have gained a lot from networking with different organizations and other entrepreneurs from different entrepreneurship summit and trainings.
  1. What do you think as an entrepreneur would be more helpful to have here in the region?
    We struggle for the proper equipment to use in carrying out our activities. It would be more helpful to have a Centre where we can access machinery and also conduct trainings for vulnerable youths and adolescents girls.

Contact details: https://startupsierraleone.com/business-directory/: https://startupsierraleone.com/business-directory/craftybee-fashion-world/

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