Connie Lu, Alumni
- United States
- Waste Management
2012 M.Eng., Environmental and Water Quality Engineering
"By connecting with entrepreneurs who had started or were in the process of starting businesses in developing countries, I came to realize that one can provide life-improving products and services, and simultaneously achieve financial independence."
Slums in Kenya currently have no economically viable system to manage organic waste, and as a result, waste is dumped or burnt around residential areas, creating a public health hazard. Connie’s project, GrubCycle, seeks to transform this situation into an opportunity to franchise businesses that profitably convert organic waste into high-quality animal feed. This solution both provides economic opportunity where it is needed most and addresses a health issue that affects the entire community. Once optimized, each kilogram of organic waste can be converted to 29 cents worth of animal feed, and every link in the process will generate income for both the business and local entrepreneurs.
When she was an undergraduate at MIT, Connie studied Environmental Engineering and Urban Planning, with a focus on sanitation in developing countries. Through her work abroad in Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua and China, Connie noticed how waste management directly impacts quality of life, but also observed how unsustainably designed solutions could lead to more harm than good as physical infrastructure deteriorated and communities were left disillusioned. She combined these observations with her emerging market experience in the Guatemalan startup Quetsol in order to design her current enterprise, GrubCycle.