In Egypt, three passion-driven and dedicated women, Hadeer Osama, Eman Alaaedin and Mai Youssef Mostafa, are the founders of startup “From Organic to Mash” (FOTM), which merges the world of science and entrepreneurship. Unlike other businesses, biotech entrepreneurship is entirely academia-powered, and aims to solve scientific risks to preserve the environment, encounter diseases, and eliminate hunger.
Organic waste amounts to around 53 million tons annually, and costs the state around 500 million pounds in collection and safe disposal. The project began by looking at the most serious problems Egypt faces, particularly population explosion and global warming, which requires an increase in food production by about 70% over current production – a significant pressure on plant and animal resources that humans use as food.
As such, the startup aims to overcome the problem of wastes and its effect on the environment, converting organic waste to a high-protein component – which is about 60% of chicken feed – using biological technology, a new technology in Egypt that competes with imported feeds in terms of price. Insects are fed on the organic waste, and then the resulting proteins are harvested. In the end, the ton of feed produced from the insects is around 150 thousand pounds, and organic fertilizer is produced as a by-product.
Originally came to life as a graduation project, the three women – including their supervisor – decided that they wanted their project to develop into its own business. “We didn’t want to stop from here, but continue with it even after graduation. It was something we believed would have a great impact in Egypt,” Hadeer Osama tells Egyptian Streets.