With an Undergraduate degree in Computer Science from Fisk University, a Master’s degree from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola’s credentials point to a life primed for corporate success in any of the many fortune 500 companies of the world. But the former Software Engineer, who had a 5-year career stint at IBM, has for the past years been on a course that has brought her far more recognition and fulfillment; running Wecyclers, a waste recycling start-up she co-founded in 2012.
Motivated by the opportunity to give households a chance to capture value from their waste while providing a reliable supply of materials to the local recycling industry, Bilikiss conceived and developed the enterprise based off locals using locally-fabricated, low-cost, bicycle-powered collection vehicles to collect recyclable waste that are weighed at collection points, with rewards in the form of redeemable points based on volume and quality of recyclables accumulated by participating households.
The idea for her innovative enterprise came during her studies at MIT. Driven by her concern about the growing carbon footprints left by humans on the planet, she returned to Nigeria supported by Legartum Fellowship to implement what has turned out to be an extremely viable and immensely impactful initiative.
Through this simple desire to make a difference, Bilikiss has bagged a Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, a Tech Award, Echoing Green Fellowship, MIT D-lab Scale-ups Fellowship, MIT IDEAS Venture Grant, Yunus Challenge Prize at the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge Competition, Carroll Wilson Fellowship and a Sustainia100 induction, and has been featured in mainstream media that includes The Economist, CNN, Al Jazeera, The Punch, BBC, Marie Claire Magazine, New African Woman, Huffington Post, The Independent, amongst others.
While a strong advocate and beneficiary of global exposure, she is still fiercely patriotic and passionate about youth finding their niche in and contributing to the development of Nigeria, and is without doubt a testament to the ingenuity and enterprise of the Nigerian woman. Watch her speak about her passion in this 2014 Interview.