The rise of garbage has led to several hazards, not only civil but also some serious health ones. Thankfully, startups like Hasiru Dala Innovations address this grave issue and the city a better place to live. Team SoS was really curious about the entrepreneurial journey of this startup and hence, we interviewed the co-founder, Marwan Abubaker and found some excellent insights.
SoS: Share with us your business idea and why you chose this specific business to be an entrepreneur.
Marwan: Hasiru Dala Innovations (HDI) is a for-benefit, not-for-loss social enterprise dedicated to creating predictable and sustainable livelihoods for waste pickers through viable circular economy-centric businesses. We currently offer destination-assured Total Waste Management Services for the responsible bulk waste generator, Event Waste Management Services for the eco-friendly host, and Home Composter kits for the environmentally conscious citizens.
Prior to my entrepreneurship journey, I was part of a Radio Active CR 90.4 MHZ, an urban community radio station catering to diverse and heterogeneous groups in Bangalore, licensed to Jain University. I was heading the outreach program and worked with multiple communities. One of the projects I was involved in was connected to animal welfare where I co- founded a project called ‘Stray Pals’ focusing on the street dogs and other animals in Bangalore.
One of the stressing issues in the project was creating awareness to students and residents in various localities on understanding street dogs and sensitizing them on animal behavior to reduce human-animal conflict. The key findings leading to human- animal conflict was garbage and open dumping on the streets, where you would find all animals from birds, to dogs to cows feeding of it. That’s when I decided to help these helpless animals, and the only way was to figure out the nexus behind the waste management scenario in the city, and the rest is history.
SoS: What kind of services do you offer to your clients and list out the key milestones of your business?
Marwan: We provide Total Waste Management services to bulk generators of waste in Bangalore through a decentralized waste picker entrepreneur franchise model that generates 4 jobs for waste pickers per franchise and diverts more than 90% of waste generated away from the landfills. Apart from this, we provide event waste management services and home composting products and solutions.
The key milestones would be integrating the waste pickers to be professional service providers.
SoS: What makes your business unique and how do you define your marketing strategies?
Marwan: The franchise model is a first in the waste management sector which because of its decentralized nature takes care of two major issues in the sector – absenteeism, and upkeep of trucks. The former is dealt with easily because each team including the driver is only 5 people, and only 3 of them are customer facing – the entrepreneur is able to take care of absenteeism very easily. The latter because the entrepreneur owns the asset and therefore looks after the asset better than if it was a company owned one.
- The fixed + variable pricing model, another first in the sector, ensures that segregation at source is incentivized and encouraged.
- Technology enablement makes our operations efficient. 7-day customer care helpline ensures that all issues are dealt with promptly.
- All of these put together has broken the stranglehold of the “garbage mafia” and created a benchmark for our competitors to emulate.
SoS: What are the plans for your business in the coming future?
Marwan: We will continue to strive and provide more job opportunities for the waste pickers of the city. Alongside entering the market by providing in-situ composting solutions, dry waste management and aggregation, gardening services.
SoS: What have been your challenges and the obstacles continuously in your entrepreneurial journey?
Marwan: The continuous challenge even now would be the conflict of the local contractors who are legally not authorized to provide services. Another major obstacle is the slow progress in newer apartments initiating segregation at source.
SoS: What have been the key ingredients that made your entrepreneurial dream a success?
Marwan: I am a people’s person, and my friends and colleagues have been the key ingredients. But I must name three important people in this journey. Nalini Shekar & Shekar Prabhakar, who are also the co-founders of the company and Pinky Chandran, a long- time friend and the Director Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz- Jain University and the Trustee of Hasiru Dala. The other ingredients are of course belief, passion, and perseverance.
SoS: What is biggest source of inspiration that keeps you walking through the entrepreneurial journey?
Marwan: While waste is the biggest motivator – It’s the people who work in waste and with waste that keeps me going. Love what you do and do what you love.
SoS: Do you think it is different to run a social startup. If yes, how?
Marwan: It is different to run a social start up as the impact is mainly on the stakeholders of the business i.e the waste pickers
SoS: What would you want to convey to the budding entrepreneurs?
Marwan: Entrepreneurship is all about passion, if you have the passion and the strength in you, Just Go For it!
— Team SoS