June 23, 2017, by The Ingenuity Lab
Fuelling a future for Sustainable Water
“This week reduces apprehension about a future based on renewable” – Tabitha Wacera
Globally, water scarcity affects four out of every ten people.
If we treat The Ingenuity Lab as a microcosm, that would mean a whopping 76 of our 189 Venture Members would suffer from a lack of water and poor water quality.
Although solar-powered water pumps have been in the market for many years, it is only now that they are being made affordable to the mass market. And that is, in part, thanks to Ingenuity Lab member and University of Nottingham Alumna, Tabitha Wacera.
Introducing affordable water pumps: Sustainable Water
After experiencing gender discrimination in her industry, and the barriers placed on farmers considered too ‘poor’ to pay upfront for solar systems, Kenyan-born Tabitha took the step into the world of entrepreneurship.
Her business model, Sustainable Water, was developed through her MSc in Sustainable Energy Engineering (2016), where she investigated the cost reduction in solar water pumping. Through looking at modular components of solar water pumps, Tabitha was able to find innovative ways to reduce the overall cost.
However, despite a reduction in price, she struggled to engage potential clients with her upfront payment model. Through introducing a PAYG structure to her social enterprise, Tabitha has been able to get many more of her target audience on board. With the help of the £4,000 Enterprise Grant she won at Ingenuity17, she hopes to have installed at least 20 systems by the end of 2017.
From this, Tabitha will be able to monitor their performance and payment consistency, and use the feedback to continue to develop Sustainable Water.
Like any entrepreneur, Tabitha has faced a range of obstacles while establishing Sustainable Water. With her target market based in developing countries, it has been difficult to set up a business account with particular banks.
“Being a part of The Ingenuity Lab community has helped me to validate my idea. Besides networking with other members, collaborations have been born with other Ingenuity Lab members and they have become a sounding board for all the new ideas I have”
Through making connections at The Ingenuity Lab, Tabitha has received training on pitching and been able to access established industry professionals. Her success so far is largely due to her willingness to be exposed to potential investors through competitions and networking events, helping her develop her skills and confidence in Sustainable Water.
Celebrating EU Sustainable Energy Week
This week, across Europe, people have been celebrating #EUSEW17. The event brings together public authorities, private companies, consumers, and NGOs like Sustainable Water together to promote initiatives that can save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power.
“It is important to raise awareness of different strategies that can be employed by individuals, businesses and entrepreneurs during the transition from carbon economies to sustainable/green economies.
From case studies and policies driven from the top-down or the bottom-up, this week showcases the best, and promotes debate based on evidence from accross the EU.
It’s a fantastic way to celebrate local citizens and energy stakeholders in the community”
It is amazing to see the drive and passion Tabitha has for ensuring solar water pumps are accessible to those who need it most.
We look forward to seeing how future events can help her drive awareness of Sustainable Water and the social and environmental benefits her work can encourage.