When a scientist at their school invented a new material from jute fiber, the coarse fiber typically used for making burlap, Bangladeshi business students Muhammad Saimum Hossain and Hasanul Qader Mirza got an idea.

Because the fiber is abundant in Bangladesh, they wanted to use the professor’s method to create a building material. The new application, which they call jutin, is lightweight, heat-insulating and rust-proof. Houses built from jutin are better suited to the local climate and weather conditions than those constructed of corrugated iron sheet or mud and straw.

Getting Started

Hasanul Qader Mirza (Courtesy photo)

Hossain, Mirza, two of their friends from the University of Dhaka and jutin’s inventor launched Greennovation Technologies to manufacture and market the building material. They relied on private savings and monetary awards from business competitions, including one sponsored by the State Department’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology initiative, to get started.

Finding the right production method through a trial-and-error process proved more challenging than they expected. But, Mirza said, they are almost there.

Gimme Shelter

The entrepreneurs’ vision is to promote jutin for the construction of inexpensive, quickly built shelters in impoverished areas or after disasters. Greennovation thus will initially sell its product through nongovernmental groups and aid agencies.

The founders hope to build houses of jutin for themselves in their respective home villages. (For now, though, they live in the capital city of Dhaka, where building new homes is not practical.)

Let Greennovation Technologies and other green innovations inspire you during Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 17–23) and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, which this year is happening in Marrakech, Morocco (November 19–21). These events celebrate people who create economic benefits for their communities.