Former students of Texas A&M University at Qatar launch brand of non-toxic cleaning solutionsPublished Jul 28, 2022
Former students of Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, have developed a non-toxic detergent and cleaning products, “Environ Sustainable Solutions,” that is currently sold across select markets in Qatar.
Developed by Aggie entrepreneurs Arshad Ali and Safeer Hafeez, Environ Sustainable Solutions promises to provide plant-based products which are safe for families and pets, hypoallergenic, healthy, biodegradable and economical. Both of them completed their Master’s degrees in chemical engineering from Texas A&M University at Qatar in 2021 with a Bachelor in the same from the university in 2019.
When Ali and Hafeez explored the cleaning products available in market, they said they found that almost all of the cleaning products had harsh, toxic ingredients that could potentially negatively affect one’s health. Or the product eventually runs down to the marine biome and impacts the environment.
Ali said, “We wanted to develop something that was safe, effective, and environment friendly. Research has shown that the continuous exposure to chemicals in the existing products can contribute to allergies, respiratory issues in children, and can affect fertility in adults. These chemicals then find their way into our oceans and disrupt the marine biome.”
Hafeez said, “During our last few months at university, we began formulating and testing various products with consumer focus groups. And once we had the final product, we approached investors and stakeholders to move our product to the next step. We participated in the lean manufacturing program by Qatar Development Bank to enrich our understanding on how to launch the business in Qatar. With our own investments, we were able to start manufacturing. Our manufacturing unit is currently located overseas, but we hope to have one in Qatar someday.
The roster of Environ’s products includes laundry liquid, fabric softener, floor cleaner, dish soap, toilet cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, and hand wash. The cleaning products contain a propriety blend of plant-based surfactants, enzymes and probiotics that target all kinds of stains, providing powerful cleaning without toxic chemicals. Furthermore, Environ replaces synthetic fragrances with essential oils. Environ also replaces any toxic chemicals found in traditional products with plant-based alternatives to create a safer and healthier cleaning product.
Ali and Hafeez expressed their gratitude to Texas A&M Qatar for empowering them to become entrepreneurs.
“Having the Texas A&M brand behind us helped build credibility in the market,” they said. “Investors and other stakeholders were open to supporting our venture because they knew that we had the required technical knowledge, and that we were also bringing the values that being an Aggie instilled in us. Apart from just making us highly skilled engineers, we have had opportunities to develop skills, including communication and critical thinking.”
The entrepreneurs plan to expand the line to more cleaning products to provide their customers with a more comprehensive alternative to traditional products. They are also planning to start manufacturing in Qatar in the future and expand to other countries within the GCC.