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Bethelhem Dejene, the founder and CEO of Zafree Papers, has won the Lead 2030’s SDG 5 Challenge and will receive up to 100,000 dollars in investment.

The challenge that aimed to find and support solutions from innovative women-founded startups that address pressing sustainability challenges was hosted by 100+ Accelerator in partnership with One Young World.

Zafree Papers, who was invited to participate in the One Young World 2022 Manchester Summit, will receive mentorship and will be placed in Cohort 4.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

Zafree Papers’ is a company based in Ethiopia that manufactures 100% tree-free paper pulp using agro waste. It was founded in 2017 by Bethelhem Dejene and Bethelhem Fikre, social entrepreneurs passionate about protecting the world from deforestation and the adverse environmental effects that come with it and helping potential customers overcome the key challenges they face.

Zafree is introducing a clean-tech paper solution. Their product is eco-friendly, carbon neutral, recyclable, and non-toxic. Zafree’s unbleached virgin paper pulp can be used to make any type of paper or paper product.

Founded in 2018 within AB InBev, a Belgian multinational drink and brewing company,100+ Accelerator was born to engage startups that could solve key sustainability challenges for large corporate partners. The program was built to help those startups validate their solution within AB InBev’s operations and, if successful, scale the solution globally. In addition, the program offered expert training, mentorship, preferred payment terms, access to tools, and funding.

The 100+ Accelerator funds startups from seed to series B. The Accelerator delivers six months of remote programming and training to accelerate the collaboration and growth of cohort companies, in addition to a pilot/alliance with partner companies. Winners receive support from a global team champion, access to mentor networks, and up to $100K toward pilot execution.


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