A senior at Spelman College, Hills’ startup, known as Save Cycle, will help businesses get waste management services and pick up recyclables at a lower price, according to People of Color In Tech.
Businesses can reportedly use Save Cycle to schedule pick-ups and rent dumpsters with the venture. They also can monitor their environmental impact, helping them qualify for tax advantages.
Hills won the grand prize after entering the contest launched by five graduates from Morgan State University in August. The event was reputedly geared to address the inequities in funding between HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities and predominantly white institutions (PWIs). The match was open to 21 HBCUs, purportedly covering 11 industrial sectors and including four rounds.
The $25,000 Hills earned will be used as seed funding for Save Cycle. She plans to use the cash to secure a patent and pilot the business in Atlanta, People of Color In Tech reported.
“This was my first time pitching ever. I’ve never done a pitch competition before, but this idea of Save Cycle was a very raw idea before I started,” Hills stated. “Three months later, to have a whole business plan and business model, it’s amazing to see how the idea has just grown over this short span of time.”
The Save Cycle epiphany allegedly came in 2019 while Hills was picnicking in the park with her friends. When the group was ready to leave, they could not find a recycling bin nearby to dispose of their waste.
They eventually spotted a homeless man collecting recyclables to sell for cash, and Hills thought that more people should make money by recycling.
In general, Black startup entrepreneurs are gaining venture capital funding at record levels. However, the big question is, how long will that momentum last?