Lorna Rutto was born in Kenyan slums of Kaptembwa. She experienced extreme poverty early in childhood with unhygienic sanitary conditions, blocked sewers, unemployment and high crime rate. Her childhood hobby was to melt plastic and design jewelry from it selling it to a small local market.
Lorna graduated from college with a commerce degree after much difficulty and obtained a decent job at a local bank. She resigned due to job dissatisfaction. She was driven by the passion to eradicate extreme levels of poverty and opening up employment opportunities for her local Kenyans.
She took a nosedive in entrepreneurial industry, founding EcoPost in 2009. EcoPost deals in converting waste plastic into industrial based plastic. She successfully created 300 new jobs generating revenue of $120,000 per annum. Moreover, she was able to save 250 acres of forest and consumed 1,000,000 kilograms of waste plastic from harming the sensitive ecosystem.
Employed at Imperial Bank as a relationship officer in 2009, she knew her true calling was waste management system. Soon enough, she resigned from her job to kick start a business.
With her savings, she set out to do to what she knew would one day be her key to success.
She bought an old machine from an industrialist who was closing down and started manufacturing plastic pellets from waste and selling them to businesses that make plastic products.
She purchased a machine from an industrial professional at an exorbitant price. The first few months were hard with no rent to pay for her accommodation. She was evicted on a few occasions.
But big ideas never die and Ms Rutto saw a business plan competition as her opportunity to get things right.
She applied in Enablis, a competition paying for big business ideas and that was an opportunity she was looking to fund her idea. She won the competition and bought another machine.
Her workforce consists of 15 people and while employing another 300 indirectly.
EcoPost is a fully lucrative business capable of covering its own overheads and production costs. It is a profitable enterprise with no debt yet. Its investment is $0.50 for manufacturing one kilogram and sells the ready product for twice the price. At present, Lorna Rutto’s business is generating $150,000 on an annual basis and the demand is greater than the supply.
Waste plastic was available in massive quantities in Kenya which turned out to be a better alternative than timber wood. Collecting plastic from landfills and streets, her business used the injection molding process to convert melted plastic into eco-friendly posts. Her business products can be used in the following applications:
- Fencing posts
- Sign posts
“Opportunities are everywhere and if I can make money from waste, there is money to be made everywhere. I have a great passion for what I am doing and for me, that is the absolute basic. When the passion is right, the will is there.”
(Courtesy of Kudzai: entrepreneurcrunch.com/from-a-bank-clerk-to-a-waste-management-entrepreneur-lorna-rutto-entrepreneurs-journey/)