David Oluwatobiloba Adeyemi is a final year Microbiology student of Ajayi Crowther University and also the winner of the Judge’s Choice award at the South West regional event of the Student Innovation Challenge (SIC) held in the University of Lagos back in May 2018 (a pitching event for startups). His product Ecozyme is a product of Ecogenic Solutions, a start-up he founded. David’s emergence as the judge’s choice was not just due to the applicability of his product but also his confidence while presenting his pitch deck. He received the prized award out of the 40 start-ups that pitched at the event.
Sogo Ajayeoba of Civic Innovation Lab had an exclusive e-interview with Ecozyme’s CEO on the young social innovator’s SIC experience.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and your company?
I am David Oluwatobiloba Adeyemi a final year student of Microbiology Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo State and the CEO of Ecogenic Solutions (EcoZyme).
EcoZyme is a start-up company that produces cost-effective, eco-friendly, non-toxic and 100% safe Multipurpose Organic Solutions from Kitchen Wastes (Fruits, Food & Vegetables). It has been observed over time that the accumulation of domestic organic wastes produced in both developing and developed countries has become increasingly and dramatically critical each year. According to Agronigeria.com, Nigeria’s food & fruit waste has hit $750 billion yearly meaning, 80% of food/fruit in Nigeria is wasted causing tons and tons of household wastes, and for every ton of food/fruit waste generated, 1.9t CO2 eq/t is emitted.
These waste products are usually considered to be the most dangerous form of municipal organic waste, and it is unfortunate that so much of this waste ends up causing serious health conditions in individuals and environmental degradation.
After these findings, I saw the need to convert these wastes into products that will benefit not only us but also our environment and a need to produce eco-friendly products that will be three times more effective, safer and natural than all chemically induced domestic, agricultural or industrial products in the market.
At specified dilutions, a bottle of Ecogenic Multipurpose Solution has the ability to serve as a Pesticide, Herbicide, Liquid Fertilizer, Air freshener/purifier, Fabric/Toilet/Dishwasher and also a means of reducing overheating in vehicles.
How did you get to know about SIC?
I got to know about SIC through my friends. A lot of them shared the post with me on Instagram, but at first, I was reluctant about it. One day a very close friend of mine and former roommate gave me a call and said: “This is the one opportunity you have to bring those ideas to the limelight”. We were less than five days to the submission deadline and it wasn’t looking possible but he said: “Impossibility is when you refuse to try”. I submitted and found myself pitching in front of hundreds of people and the Vice President.
Is this your first shot at social innovation?
When and how was Ecozyme conceived?
Ecozyme was conceived while I was conducting a waste to energy survey around my vicinity. I accidentally trampled upon a ditch with rotten fruits at Ketu Ikosi fruit market. All of a sudden, I perceived something unlikely and was suspicious. As a scientist, I was very curious and decided to replicate the same condition the fruits were exposed to in the market but failed countless times. One day, I decided to use a more conducive and aseptic condition and alas, it worked. I researched more and conducted surveys by giving out free trials to people for analysis. I had a particular feedback from someone who used it as a replacement to other antiseptics in cleaning a stubborn sore on his leg. He testified that he got healed in weeks. This is aside from other amazing reviews. It was then I got to find out I had developed a Miracle Product.
How has it been combining academics with numerous researches needed for your product design?
It has been adventurous. Well, it wasn’t easy but I learnt to create time for my ideas and projects and have been able to successfully combine the both.
Who has been your biggest source of support with this project?
My mum, Grandfather and a few very close friends who drive me to achieve the best of best.
Are you working on other social innovations outside Ecozyme?
Yes. While conducting a test run on Ecozyme I discovered an eco-friendly method of degrading plastics in 6 months and I can say I am 70% closer in achieving that breakthrough. But Ecozyme remains the major priority for now.
What do you expect for your team moving on from SIC?
I developed a product that would help in promoting healthy living, curb food wastage and support a conducive garbage free environment. The goal is to build something that will become the best of all brands in Environmental, Health and Social Sustainability by inspiring and implementing solution pathways to environmental, health and water crises globally. After SIC, I intend on going into the mass production of this product. I have just gotten my patent right and I’m looking forward to kicking up with furthermore registrations and license that would deem us fit for production and distribution into the market.
How radically do you see SIC changing Nigeria and Africa in the next 5 years?
I see this going a long way. SIC serves as a platform to encourage, celebrate and assist young innovators and intellectuals with fantastic ideas. A lot of youths have given up on their dreams, ideas, and aspirations because they believe there are no platforms to assist them. But now, a lot of them will have a second thought and will be ever ready to create solution pathways to social problems around them. SIC is what every good country with a 100% believe in the youth needs.
A word to the government and partners of SIC.
Thank you so much for believing in us as well as creating a platform where our ideas can be brought to reality.
Student Innovation Challenge (SIC) is an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria, sponsored by the Bank of Industry Limited alongside private partners and managed by Civic Innovation Lab. The competition has so far engaged over 3000 student applications from 240 universities and polytechnics across Nigeria. For more information, send enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our social media platforms on Facebook sic.ng or on Twitter or Instagram @sic_ng.