Malikca Cummings: Profiting from a better environment

Malikca Cummings and workers taking apart machines to find recyclable material (Courtesy of Malikca Cummings)
Malikca Cummings works alongside her employees at her e-waste company in Barbados. (Courtesy photo)

It’s true Malikca Cummings had a lot going for her when she was starting an electronic-waste recycling company in Barbados. First, her background: She came from a family of entrepreneurs. Second, the managerial experience she had gained at a recycling company before starting her own firm. Third, no competition — at the time, recycling e-waste was unheard of in the Caribbean.

In 2008, when she launched Caribbean E-Waste Management Inc. in St. Michael, Barbados, with limited savings and help from friends, everything seemed to line up well in her plan to reduce toxic waste.

But soon some customers failed to pay and precious materials were stolen. “That was the beginning of the learning curve for me,” she says.

Pile of circuit boards and other internal computer hardware (© AP Images)
A lot to recycle (© AP Images)

A local entrepreneurship program helped her get through those early setbacks, and today, her startup is thriving, as it offers a range of services. The company collects e-waste, refurbishes computers, educates and consults with stakeholders and even sells precious metals harvested from the waste.

Cummings said satisfying customers — businesses, government, households and schools — is a key to her success. It’s with customers in mind that she tinkers with innovative ideas and keeps tabs on business integrity.

She plans to expand her company throughout the Caribbean. “I would like to become an industry leader in the next five years,” Cummings says.

Cummings was selected to attend the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley, California.