Choto Briquetting Company is the brainchild of Tatenda Muzangwa, a Chemical Engineer graduate. In its brief existence, Choto has been able to acquire a few accolades and several wins in the National Engineering Student Award Competitions (N. E. S. A. C) as well as become a business venture through the mentorship of Econet Elevate, NUST ENACTUS, Innovation Incubations and Youth Connect Zimbabwe mentorship.
The project started as a final year research project for Muzangwa, so it’s amazing just how much has been accomplished in a short space of time. As her idea gained traction, she decided to focus on agricultural waste to produce biomass briquettes.
Choto now offers alternative, clean and affordable energy solutions through total waste utilization. With high-energy value, their products can be used for domestic purposes (cooking and heating) as well as in the agricultural sector e.g. for poultry and tobacco farmers.
Choto’s team is diverse and has individuals who are qualified to drive the enterprise’s vision. The company is composed of chemical engineers, environmental scientists and admin accountants to achieve a wholesome level of operation covering both the business side and product development.
Their value proposition rests on their contribution towards a green economy by doing away with unsustainable energy forms such as coal and firewood, thereby reducing the carbon footprint.
Though fortunate to have been able to acquire various endorsements in their early stages, their road to success has not been all smooth. The main challenge has been an inability to scale-up production to satisfy the demand for their products.
In an attempt to tackle this problem, Choto designed a low-cost machine to help increase their production. Choto has also been able to make their first ever-automated briquetting machine fabricated by Youth Connekt’s fellow beneficiary, Donbosco Masendeke of Delitech Engineering.
Choto’s plans are to collaborate with entities of similar interests. They hope to expand and penetrate more markets by increasing production volumes. In the long term, they intend to make Choto the go-to place for enviro-friendly energy products in Zimbabwe. Choto would also like to venture into water hyacinth capturing with their technology.
When asked how the Youth Connekt journey has been for her, she had this to say:
“The YC initiative has broadened our perspective on the impact of social enterprises on livelihoods. Winning the Matebeleland South provincials gave us motivation to pursue social innovation as a career path, streamlining our focus on sustainable energy solutions. The YC bootcamp and the Rwanda journey exposed us to a world of possibilities, replete with connections and motivation! ”
To get in touch with Choto Briquetting Company visit their Facebook Page here.
What do you believe is the future of sustainable energy in Zimbabwe? What must be done to ensure that everyone has access to clean, affordable energy?
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