Startup Advances to Next Round, Will Compete for Slot in Top 100 at EWC Global Finals in October
Freetown, Sierra Leone – EcoWater Solution SL Ltd, a startup that constructs boreholes to provide clean, safe and affordable drinking water for the most deprived communities in Sierra Leone, captured first prize at the national finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup competition held recently in Freetown Sierra Leone. The national host and organiser was Innovation SL / GEN Sierra Leone.
Benson Kandeh, CEO of EcoWater Solution, captured 1st place and advanced to the next round of the global competition against national winners from 200 countries.
“Access to safe drinking water should not be a luxury but a basic human right,” said Mr Kandeh, CEO- EcoWater Solution.
Ecowater Solution SL Ltd uses locally available materials to drill up to 100 meters depth with a diameter of 2 inches. Once the drilling is complete, installs locally designed SL Pump System to provide clean, safe and affordable drinking water for the most deprived communities in sierra leone.
In preparation for the EWC Global Finals, Benson Kandeh will participate in an acceleration program which features virtual training and one-to-one mentoring targeted to their company’s current stage and growth trajectory.
EcoWater Solution emerged victorious from a pool of five contestants who applied – each receiving access to free virtual training services and up to $25,000 in perks to help them take their venture to the next level.
Other finalists at EWC Sierra leone included:
- GoMarket from Freetown, a mobile-based B2C & B2B supply chain platform
- Power Mello Africa (Mello Foods) from Freetown, a startup that provides healthy & affordable vegetable products through automated production: improving availability and affordability; impacting nutritional levels of the diets of households.
- Taptap SL LTD from Freetown, a ride hailing platform that allows passengers to order a ride with just a tap. It’s fast, safe, reliable, affordable, convenient and an ePayment means of transportation in the busy city of Freetown.
- Rugsal Trading, from Freetown, a startup that Preserves the environment and creating value by turning waste into beneficial products.
Judges for the competition were:
- Estelle Van Eeckhout, Country Manager, [Brussels Airlines]
- Peter Lansana, Coordinator, MBA Global Business and Impact Entrepreneurship at UNIMAK Sierra Leone
- Simon Eyram, Tsike-Sossah, Director: Think Africa Institute.
More than 150,000 contestants from 200 countries entered the Entrepreneurship World Cup. The initiative combines a broad-reaching pitch competition, aimed at ventures ranging from idea stage to growth stage, with a virtual accelerator program to help all participants launch, strengthen and scale their enterprises. Global Finalists will face off against one another at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in October.
EWC is an initiative led by the Misk Global Forum, Global Entrepreneurship Network and the Global Education and Leadership Foundation with support from a collection of national and global partners, including the GSVlabs and Entrepreneurs’ Organization.
About the Misk Global Forum
The Misk Global Forum (MGF) is the flagship international platform of the Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discover, develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the future economy. Since its launch in 2016, MGF has extended Misk’s mission to young people across the globe. Through international events, research and global initiatives, MGF brings together emerging and established leaders, innovators, and creators to explore, experience and experiment with ways to meet the challenge of change. MGF focuses on three core areas across its activations: skills for the future economy; entrepreneurship and employment; and active global citizenship. Website: https://miskglobalforum.com/about-mgf/
About the Global Entrepreneurship Network
The Global Entrepreneurship Network operates a platform of projects and programs in 170 countries aimed at making it easier for anyone, anywhere to start and scale a business. By fostering deeper cross border collaboration and initiatives between entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurial support organizations, GEN works to fuel healthier entrepreneurial ecosystems that create jobs, accelerate innovation and strengthen economic growth. Website:https://www.genglobal.org
About the Global Education & Leadership Foundation
The Global Education & Leadership Foundation (tGELF) is a non-profit that seeks to identify and nurture leadership skills in individuals who are rooted in the values of ethics and altruism, and have a bias for action. tGELF was officially inaugurated in 2008 by the then Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh. In the last decade, tGELF’s flagship school curriculum on ethical leadership and entrepreneurship has expanded from just six schools in India to over 3000 schools across 14 countries touching more than 3 million students. tGELF’s community of future leaders and change-makers have also undertaken numerous high impact projects that have collectively impacted the lives of over 500 million people and raised over $6.38 bn dollars in commitments from governments, philanthropists, corporations and multilaterals for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Website:http://www.tgelf.org
Today is a very proud day for Innovation SL and Innovations Axis.
When we started this journey, it was about one thing-creating systemic change in SL by supporting high growth and value creating entrepreneurs. We believed the best way to do this is by enabling an entrepreneurial ecosystem which is crucial to supporting growth entrepreneurs. Since 2017, we have been doing just that.
In July 2019, Isatu Harrison- Izelia came to see me. After 10 mins into the conversation, I asked one simple question- What do you need to realize your dream? She said a space.
In our incubator and accelerator, we have a space. We walked up stairs and she says,”this is exactly what I am looking for”.
We knew in our hearts that with such a space, Izelia would make a transformation. And true to our vision and strategy, we did not hesitate to say to Isatu, we offer you the sapce as part of our incubation and acceleration support.
Today May 11th 2020, she has opened the space with 50 jobs! 50 tailors employed creating garments.
At Innovation SL and Innovations Axis, we are proud. We are proud of Izelia. We believe in her vision, her commitment and her innovative capacity.
We are also proud of all the start-ups under our incubation program- our tech start-ups, our Agri business, our circular economy and fashion and fashion accessories. One that deserves mention is Yembeads, fashion accessories. Yembeads will start to train women with polio in Freetown. Often these women, on their wheelchairs, could be seen begging along the streets of Freetown.
With support from the US Ambassador, we will train 30 of these women in bead-making. They will form part of the supply chain for this start up- Yembeads. I have a personal story that bears on this.
Last November, I was on an Ethiopian Airlines flight and wanted to buy some gifts for my wife and daughter. In the in-flight magazine were lovely beads made by South African grandmothers that were taking care of their grandchildren. Why? The mothers had died of HIV Aids.
Imagine, our start up selling her beads with a similar story- made by women suffering with polio that used to beg along the streets of Freetown.
And through our ecosystem development partners, we will get Yembeads into the airlines flying to and from SL!
Once again, Izelia we are proud of you.