Introducing Chioma Ukonu from RecyclePoints
Chioma Ukonu is an award-winning social entrepreneur and social development professional with over a decade of hands-on experience and international exposure in environmental sustainability, women empowerment, youth employment, leadership, circular economy, government, and community engagement. She is currently the Co-Founder/COO of RecyclePoints which is Nigeria’s foremost waste recycling and social benefit venture that motivates post-consumers to recycle by creating value from their everyday waste.
Although Chioma has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Physics from the Federal University of Technology Owerri Nigeria, Mrs. Ukonu is well known for her strong business acumen, has received business training from various prestigious institutions around the world including the Said Business School – Oxford University in the United Kingdom, Drake University in Des Moines Iowa, and the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Pan Atlantic University in Lagos, Nigeria. Chioma has built RecyclePoints which started in her kitchen into a major stakeholder in the waste management and sustainability sector in Nigeria and Africa at large, creating over 250 green jobs, 9 operational locations servicing over 10,000 households, and recycling over 100,000 kg of waste monthly, whilst sustaining RecyclePoints as the social currency that converts waste to wealth.
Chioma has won various awards and accolades for her work at RecyclePoints that includes the LEAP Africa Social Innovator Award 2017 and the Finalist for the 2018 Pritzker Environmental Genius Award by the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). In recognition of the special talent that she is and her contributions to society in the area of social innovation, she was appointed a Judge for the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Inclusive Innovative Change 2019. As Head of Operations at RecyclePoints Nigeria, Chioma leads the organization to win many awards and recognitions which include the Coca-Cola Forum Climate Change Award 2020, the Chivas Venture Nigeria Award, and the recognition in being the only Nigerian representative at the 2017 Chivas Global Awards for Social Enterprise that took place in Los Angeles. She was also awarded the Aso Villa Demo Day Award where her organization’s representative received an audience by President Muhammad Buhari and Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. RecyclePoints is also a finalist of the 2018 MIT Legatum/Zambezi Prize Award for Financial Inclusion, which granted her social innovation and business training in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Chioma is also responsible for RecyclePoints’ partnership tie-ups that foster social impacts with various international organizations such as Mastercard Foundation, The Schmidt Family Foundation, and the Coca-Cola Foundation to name a few. She also volunteers at CleanUp Nigeria, Habitat for Humanity, The Red Cross, Regina Foodbank, ClimateSmart Nigeria, and Green Women Forum.
A certified broadcaster and an internationally sought-after conference speaker, Mrs. Ukonu Chioma is a pioneer speaker of the first TED event in Eastern Nigeria; TEDx Aladinma, a speaker at the UNDESA 54th Commission on Social Development at the United Nations HQ New York, a speaker at Lioness of Africa’s annual conference in South Africa, a speaker at the Social Media Week Lagos, one of the biggest tech conferences, in Africa and a speaker at Cherie Blair Foundation International Women’s Day Conference 2019 in London, to mention a few.
Mrs. Ukonu is also a member of various fellowships and leadership groups, some of which include; the USA Government’s Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, African Youth Initiative on Climate Change, Chivas Venture Global Alumni Fellowship, LEAP Africa Social Innovators Fellowship, Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program Alumni Fellowship and the Cherrie Blair Foundation for Women.
Chioma Ukonu is proudly African, a Nigerian, and a wife to Mazi Ukonu, her co-founder at RecyclePoints. She is a mother to three lovely kids, result-oriented, and a resiliently hard-working young lady. She stands for sustainable development. Her work is a perfect blend of “for people, for planet, and for-profit”, and she is a firm believer in a better Africa where Africans are integral to the solutions for Africa’s problems.