The Situation

TakaTaka Solutions is a Nairobi-based social enterprise that provides affordable end-to-end waste management services to households of all incomes. Generating income by recycling household waste allows the enterprise to provide environmentally-friendly waste management services at a low-cost, making this kind of service available to many households for the first time. Between composting organic waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer and sorting the rest for recycling, TakaTaka is able to recycle 95% of the waste it collects. Since 2011, TakaTaka has served more than 10,000 households in Kenya, recycling as much as 25 metric tons of waste per day.

The social enterprise also provides employment to a marginalized young people, focusing on women in particular who previously have been absent from the waste management industry. TakaTaka has employed one hundred and thirty individuals (60% female) and offers benefits including health insurance.

The Roadblock

In October 2015, the Central Bank of Kenya froze all assets at Imperial Bank, a commercial bank in Kenya, after it was uncovered that some of its directors had stolen approximately $335 million USD. As a client of Imperial Bank, TakaTaka was suddenly unable to access the $170,000 they had recently received in an account there to expand the business. While they were told they would be able to access their account eventually, there was no certain timeline for when that would be.

The assets were meant to fund a new composting facility that TakaTaka urgently needed in order to keep pace with growing demand. The site was not only larger, but also further from residential areas and would be equipped with newer composting technology - equipment TakaTaka had already put a down payment on.

While waiting for the new composting facility, TakaTaka was forced to begin disposing of much of their organic material - which accounted for 60% of the waste they collected - in a landfill; this resulted in the disposal of 91 metric tons of organic waste per month that could otherwise be recycled.

Open Road's Response

In early 2016, Open Road provided a $130,000 recoverable grant to TakaTaka so they could get the new composting facility up and running while their assets were frozen at Imperial Bank.

The loan provided the necessary capital to pay for the remaining amount due for the new composting equipment and get the new site operational. Transferring operations to the new site not only allowed TakaTaka to resume its organic waste recycling, but allowed them to scale their business, therefore creating more jobs, more income-generating compost for agricultural use, and a cleaner, reduced-waste environment in the greater Nairobi area.

To learn more visit: