When: 12.2010 / 02.2011
Who: Dren Pozhegu, Ryan Raplee, Joshua Resnik, Corey Mack
Where: Pristina, Kosovo
Dren Pozhegu created the idea for Tokzi which is a private composting company in Kosovo. This is one of two projects I was assigned when I went on a trip to Kosovo. The trip was a part of a pilot program at American University in Kosovo, which is one of RIT’s satellite campuses. I worked with RIT students Ryan Raplee and Joshua Resnick. My responsibilities were to over branding and the business plan. Josh covered the technology. Ryan created a website and developed and entry strategy.
There exists a large volume of organic materials in the waste stream that are currently underutilized. Due to geology, geography and war most of the land in Kosovo is either barren or otherwise un-farmable.
This project’s goal is to collect organic wastes and convert them into rich soils to be applied to fields. The business serves two functions in one process: the disposal of organic waste in locations other than the over-taxed and unsightly landfills prevalent around Kosovo; and creating a final product with great agricultural value. This project helps both Kosovo’s environment in the field of waste management and its agricultural community, by lowering the cost of necessary soil improvements (compared to the huge imported prices).
Initially, the plan was to collect organic waste from places such as restaurants, but later, the group decided to find a local company that had a large organic waste stream. This was done as a cost cutting measure; there would be no need to spend money convincing multiple small business owners to give us there waste and no need to rent small trucks to collect from a variety of places across Pristina. The group found a local potato chip company that generated tons organic material in the form of potato skins and rotten potatoes. An additional benefit was that the company was located closer to the few existing farmers which means we could save on transportation costs.
In order to bring the product to market, we recommended that the students use themselves in the marketing campaign. Many Kosovars do no believe in the quality of products made in Kosovo, but knowing that it was invented by local college students at the American University in Kosovo (AUK), would be compelling argument to buy TOKZI soils. Additionally, we took a look at the packaging of existing soil products. We noticed that all of them were in clear bags with rather generic labeling. We recommended that the TOKZI team use a white bag with a unique and large font-type in order to better differentiate their product.