WCW: Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola

Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, former IBM programmer and MIT student born in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied Law for a time at the University of Lagos, Nigeria also known as UNILAG, but had to leave due to security reasons and ended up studying computer science at Fisk University in the United States of America, at 17. From Fisk, she went on to Vanderbilt University, where she obtained a masters’ degree. On completion of her degree, Bilikiss got a job with IBM and worked for 5 years as a computer programmer before moving on to greater heights in her career to the MIT Sloan School of Management (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to get a Masters in Business Administration.

But technology was not for her, as she preferred waste to computers and so she left the ICT world and ventured into the recycling business. Bilikiss Adebiyi Abiola is the CEO of WECYCLERS, a recycling company in Nigeria that functions as a profitable social enterprise that has revolutionized waste in Nigeria and transformed urban waste low-income neighborhoods into a profitable recycling enterprise, providing a reliable supply of materials to the local recycling industry.

At just 35, She has won several awards like the Cartier’s Women Initiative for Sub-Saharan Africa in the year 2013, The Sustania Award, Seif Awards, and The Tech Awards and has been showcased and recognized in various countries like the United States, The United Kingdom, Germany, and on popular media outlets like The Independent, The Huffington Post, CNN, The Economist, and lots more.

An inspiring Nigerian social entrepreneur and founder of WeCyclers. Her company offers waste collection and recycling services to the Lagos informal settlements, where an estimated 66% of Lagosians live. As a part of the process, residents are offered an incentive for collecting their household waste which is picked up for free by Wecyclers using specially adapted bicycles. To create incentives among low-income households to participate, rewards are given to them for every kilogram recycled, via points sent by SMS. These points are then redeemable against goods they value, such as cell phone minutes or basic food items. The rewards have been funded in partnership with big brands such as Coca-Cola and GlaxoSmithKline.

Currently, Bilikis is the Director-General, Records and Archives Lagos State Government.

And that ladies and gentlemen is our Under40CEO for this week, an innovative young woman who decided that one man’s trash is another man’s wealth and decided to turn it into a profitable venture, profiting not only her but all those involved and keeping the environment clean.