Between 2017, when the Sanitation and Water Entrepreneurship Pact (SWEP) was just an idea on a tablecloth and today, a lot has happened. We have built a solid nucleus of enabling organisations and engaged new partners (Aqua for All, the Toilet Board Coalition and the Swiss Water Partnership). We have also put water and sanitation entrepreneurship firmly on the agenda of the Stockholm World Water Week and contributed to making this topic more visible, as highlighted by Will Sarni, Founder and CEO of Water Foundry, in the online magazine GreenBiz “The community there moved measurably closer to fully embracing innovation and entrepreneurs as critical to contributing to solving water challenges”.
We are proud of having built this momentum, but the journey ahead is still long! On the one hand, we have been comforted, during the past two years, to see that many other players in the field enthusiastically share our vision of a collaborative approach. Nonetheless, we also realised that we must bring more people on board, chiefly on the investor side, and consolidate our collaborative structures. Only then will we be able to really harness the full potential of collaboration and realise our vision of creating a global value chain (“one-stop-shop”) capable of supporting entrepreneurs at all stages of their development.
The summer months have thus been far from idle for us. We have developed a solid business case for the SWEP; a business case that will allow us to grow from an informal initiative into a structured and goal-oriented global collaborative network.
As such, we will have a stronger voice to influence agendas, expand our horizons beyond our respective silos and stop duplicating efforts. By joining hands, we will also channel funds more effectively, create trust, provide investors with an access to a less-risky pipeline of entrepreneurs and open new opportunities for them to pool funds. As we all know, the funding gap is huge. At the same time, impact-oriented and socially responsible investors are on the rise, including within major organisations (bank, insurances and pension funds). Now is the time to join willing actors together!
We are happy to share our concrete proposal with you; and invite you to challenge us, help us and join us so that together, we take this endeavour to the next level! We are in the starting blocks. Get on board for the SWEP 2.0 journey!