From acquaintance to friend to business associate, Ojaswi and Loonibha have come a long way as two women with a dream and drive for entrepreneurship with an environmental purpose.
Ojaswi and Loonibha first met at the Greenovation Startup Challenge (GSC) organized by WWF Nepal’s The Generation Green (TGG) campaign in 2016. They were two of the 55 shortlisted budding entrepreneurs mentored on green enterprise principles to turn green business ideas into reality. 50 business ideas were pitched and shortlisted to a final twelve; the corresponding finalists in turn underwent an intense 54-hour startup residential weekend marathon in preparation for the final pitch and winners of GSC.
“After countless hours of brainstorming, ideation and validation, we came up with the idea of Tyre Treasure, an enterprise for upcycling used automobile tyres,” says Loonibha. “We had a business case and it helped solve a major urban environmental problem. Nepal imports up to 300,000 vehicles on average every year. While these vehicles run for decades, their tyres wear out within a span of 3-10 years, ending up in garbage pits or burnt for energy or disposal. Our idea was to give a new life to such tyres.”
Tyre Treasure was one of the final twelve pitches; in the end, it emerged as one of the four winners of the Global Startup Challenge with a seed money of NRs. 150,000 to start business.
With the seed money, Ojaswi and Loonibha launched Tyre Treasure in 2017. The enterprise helps increase the typical life cycle of tyres by turning them into utility products that can be used in homes and offices. Their initial product range includes garden chairs, table and chair sets, flower pots, and beds for pets through product augmentations using hand-woven natural fibers or recycled cotton over the tyres.
For its founders, Tyre Treasure is also a medium to build awareness on personal responsibility towards the environment leaving a green footprint with every product that is bought.
“As new entrepreneurs motivated by a cause, our focus is on the environmental bottom-line which in itself will help us achieve our financial bottom-line, ” says Ojaswi. “Six months into business, our hard work is already paying off with the support of a growing customer-base and the ability to sustain our enterprise.”
With increasing demand, Tyre Treasure has entered into new collaborations with automobile workshops, small enterprises and NGOs for sourcing tyres, raw materials, natural fibers and designs, and new product development.
Ojaswi and Loonibha, both fresh out of college, are now inspired to establish Tyre Treasure as a household brand while promoting the concept of reuse and upcycling. Moving beyond tyres, they aim to recycle more non-degradable waste and promote Nepal-made recycled and environment-friendly materials such as natural fiber and cotton.
Tyre Treasure in essence promotes the ethos of WWF Nepal’s The Generation Green campaign that seeks to build a generation of responsible youth empowered to make smart choices for the environment.
Photo Credits: Rupa Gautam/WWF Nepal and Tyre Treasures