The story of Nzambi Matee, the CEO of Gjenge is one about resilience and passion.
During a recent interview she stated that after quiting her job at a leading oil firm in 2016, she decided to explore her passion in waste management.
Being a student of physics and material science, she was convinced that she had the necessary skills to venture into waste management.GJenge Founder and CEO Nzambi Matee (second left) showcasing her products
During her research, she had discovered that plastic waste could be turned into polymer concrete bricks, which could then be used for building homes and structures.
However, when she embarked on the journey, it wasn't as smooth as she had thought. In no time, she had ploughed through her savings as 15 of her prototypes failed quality tests.
The group she had assembled for the project began to disintegrate and in the end, she resolved to move back to her parents' house.
She started doing odd jobs and raking back some money to improve her product. Her family tried to talk her out of it but she stood her ground.
After showing dedication, they resolved to support Nzambi and she raised Ksh 30,000 from friends and family.
“My mom never doubted me, it was only she who kept faith in me during the darkest hours,” she praised, adding that her mother let her use the backyard as the manufacturing unit for the product.
Finally, in June 2017, Nzambi created the first successful MVP that ceased any doubts people around her may have had.
Her organisation has been recognised in global competitions with the most recent award coming in 2020.
Nzambi was named among the two Young Champions of the Earth 2020 in Kenya, securing Ksh1 million from UNEP to expand her business.
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