The Nexus, situated within Expo City Dubai, recently welcomed Aliyu Mohammed Ali, CEO and co-founder of Ehfaaz, a waste-management enterprise, for an open house event organised by the United Nations Global Compact. As part of the Global Compact Network UAE (GCN-UAE), Aliyu's participation underscores the significance of Ehfaaz within the network, established through a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN Global Compact HQ.

Ehfaaz is dedicated to reimagining waste management through a circular economy approach. Ehfaaz derived from Arabic Word Hafez (to protect) was founded with the sole purpose of creating and simplifying recycling solutions within the UAE to protect and recover our resources.

Aliyu's journey is deeply rooted in familial inspiration, particularly from his father, Muhammad Ali Kumo, a seasoned entrepreneur. Graduating from the American University of Dubai in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Technology, Aliyu attributes his entrepreneurial drive to his father's relentless work ethic and innovative prowess.

The bright presence of his personality compels one to dig into his background, and the obvious question was, “Who has mentored you to be what you are?” and the answer: “My Father!”

"Watching my father build a business from the ground up taught me the value of hard work, resilience, and the power of innovative ideas," Aliyu reflects.

Observing his father navigate the intricacies of waste management ignited Aliyu's ambition for a more sustainable approach.

"Seeing the struggles my father faced navigating the complexities of waste management, especially the limitations of traditional methods, planted the seed of a vision for a more sustainable and circular approach," Aliyu explains.

While his father laid the foundation, Aliyu acknowledges the pivotal role of his business partners, Muhammad and Sadiq, in honing his strategic acumen and global perspective.

“I've been incredibly fortunate to have diverse mentors who guide me. My business partner, Muhammad, has been instrumental in sharpening my strategic thinking and leadership skills. Sadiq, an experienced entrepreneur, offered invaluable insights into navigating the global business landscape,” says Aliyu.

“Looking back, I also feel my employment at Procter & Gamble instilled in me the importance of calculated risks and adapting to challenges.”

When we asked Aliyu to bring out the advantages and disadvantages of having family members as mentors, he says: “Having my father as a mentor has been immensely beneficial. His firsthand experience and understanding of the entrepreneurial journey provided invaluable guidance and a unique sense of trust and shared values. However, it's important to acknowledge the potential for blurring lines between personal and professional spheres. Maintaining clear communication and professional boundaries is crucial.”

Aliyu attributes his success to his father’s mentorship and the UAE. He points out that the UAE's forward-thinking approach to sustainability has been instrumental in creating an environment that fosters innovation.

“We're currently in the second year of sustainability, and the government's commitment to the circular economy, along with their support for startups like Ehfaaz, has been a critical factor in our growth,” says Aliyu.

“The UAE's diverse and vibrant business ecosystem has provided access to valuable partnerships and opportunities to showcase our solutions. The Dubai Science Park, particularly, has been a key platform for our success.”

Aliyu is transforming the industry by giving discarded materials a new life and fostering a more equitable and circular world. His innovative efforts have earned him recognition as a sustainability leader, highlighted by features in international publications, demonstrations of his solutions at COP27 and COP28, winning prestigious Under 40 awards, and numerous other accolades.

Beyond his entrepreneurial endeavours, Aliyu actively contributes to social impact through his work on the Board of Directors of the P&G Alumni Foundation, helping empower individuals in need worldwide.

He is also passionate about mentoring startups and contributing to building a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

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