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Edible Founder Backs NextGen’s Social Standout


Stella Sigana presented the case for Alternative Waste Technologies at the NextGen competition in February, winning in the social franchise category.​

Sometimes the good guys and gals finish first, and such is the case for Stella Sigana, founder of Alternative Waste Technologies and winner of the 2018 NextGen competition in the social franchise category. 

Tariq Farid is one of the judges and advisers of the program and founder of Edible Arrangements, and he has invested in Sigana’s company via the Tariq and Asma Farid Foundation.

As Sigana explained in her impressive presentation at the NextGen competition in February, she is on a mission in Kenya to produce clean fuel for cooking, while improving air quality in homes. The company produces fuel briquettes through conversion of agricultural and charcoal waste, resulting in a smokeless, odorless, efficient alternative fuel source.

“The meta issue I’m tackling is energy poverty,” explained Sigana at the competition. She calls her business model “a pathway to ownership,” in which people are brought in as trainees on the simple production process, and “we grow them to be managers, and then they buy us out and become franchise owners,” she said. “This reduces the chances of business failure.” 

Alternative Waste Technologies was initially formed “to address the fact that 20,000 people—mostly women and children—die each year because of indoor air pollution,” she said in a statement. “But now that the government is considering a complete ban on charcoal, we have a much bigger need to meet.”

The $10,000 pledge from the Farid Foundation, announced yesterday, will help her purchase the additional machinery needed to meet increased demand.

To date, the company has recycled more than 150 tons of waste into fuel briquettes for cooking and helped 80 out-of-school youth and women entrepreneurs “in slum settlements to build businesses by selling briquettes directly to communities.”

“Stella is a brilliant young entrepreneur leading the way in solving a major issue in her country,” Farid said in a statement. “Having spent most of my childhood in Pakistan, this hits home. Similar to Kenya, Pakistan has a major indoor air pollution problem.”

He added, “When I saw Stella present her business concept at NextGen, I was drawn to her tenacity and energy and knew I wanted to invest and continue to mentor her.” Farid has established a GoFundMe page to help raise an additional $25,000 for Alternative Waste Technologies.

The NextGen in Franchising Global Competition is sponsored by the International Franchise Association Foundation.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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