Paseka Lesolang Fellow 2012

Living in: Pretoria — South Africa

Venture: WHC

Our product is an innovative toilet system that will save water for the user and benefit the environment.

Operating in: Sub-Saharan Africa

Impact Area: Environment, Public Health, Waste Management, Water

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Photo of Paseka Lesolang

"I believe Going Green is not an option; it is a necessity - Earthly health is our wealth"

Jump to:   Basics  |  Team  |  Venture  |  Milestones

Basics

Describe yourself briefly.

Born in August 1988, South Africa. Spent most of my childhood in boarding school due to my mother's 3 job requirements. I was hyper active and excelled in soccer which presented 4 scholarships from 4 different countries. At age 18 discovered my new passion – solving problems. Thus founded WHC[Water, Hygiene, Convenience]. Water is our substance focus, Hygiene represents the Green Economy we serve, Convenience; the innovative technologies and services we provide. I have been selected as 1 of the 30 candidates to be part of The Innovation Hub Business Incubation among over 400 applications from all over Africa. 1 of 10 Entrepreneurs to represent South Africa at the Tshwane International Trade Infrastructure & Investment Conference, 2009. Selected to represent South Africa at the EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, China. 1 of 4 University of Pretoria's Entrepreneurs of the year 2010. Guest speaker & Programme Director of the Global Entrepreneurship Day 2010. Also, guest speaker at the African Leadership Academy's first Ideas Festival themed Entrepreneurial Leadership: Empowering the Youth. Now; the Winner of the 2012 Junior Chamber International Social Entrepreneur Best Business Plan Competition.

Describe your Unreasonable Venture in 100 words or less.

Water is a scarce commodity that is quickly diminishing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), South Africa's water consumption will exceed availability by 2025. WHO has also identified a direct link between HIV/AIDS and poor sanitation. The recovery period for someone with advanced HIV who contracts a water-borne disease is longer, and his health outcomes could diminish. As a result, water, sanitation and hygiene education is key to combatting HIV/AIDS, as is empowering communities to manage water and sanitation. Our solution releases an organic detergent that reduces bacteria. Eliminating pathogens, enhancing hygiene, and saves 140L of water a day per house. As a result, we can help governments solve sanitation problems affordably. Our business strategy; sales cover operational costs. Potential customers include the Tshwane Health & Social Development Office, for installation in all clinics and public toilets in the city, and Legacy Hotel & Resorts for their properties. Finally, there are 2.4 million low-cost houses to be built by 2014. If we can service 1 million units at $100/unit, the business will break even in 2 years and generate $100 million in revenue.

Team

Describe your relevant experience (especially entrepreneurial).

I have been part of several entrepreneurial ventures. For example, I co-founded a photo company that served over 500 customers while I managed it. During that experience, I learnt a great deal about entrepreneurship, such as commitment to a purpose, etiquette, focus, sacrifice, prioritization, humility, perseverance, and the value of money.

Due to my eminent passion and sales skills at the age of 18, I was one of 20 in South Africa to receive a Business Administration Learnership sponsored by the Forchini Group. We were idedntified as the next generation of leaders to take the Forchini Group of Companies to the next frontier. I also completed a course in Small Business Management and Advanced Entrepreneurship at the University of Pretoria sponsored by the Tshwane Business Club and Tshwane Local Economic Development. I am now working on a BCom Management Degree at the University of South Africa.

It gives me great pleasure as the founder of WHC, to apply my knowledge and business experience while enjoying the success of our current venture, which I have nurtured with passion and dedication since its inception in 2007.

Why is your team uniquely qualified to run this venture?

Armando Costa, Partner & Marketing Officer, uses his experience as an inventor and entrepreneur to help WHC innovate and explore new frontiers. As a Micro-Encapsulation (MEC) Specialist, he patented the MEC technologies and processes in 2001 and commercialised them in the involvement of major projects of several entities

Peter Clarke, Project Manager, has been involved in innovative product development and project management since 1990; directly involvement in over 15 companies at strategic positions. A mechanical engineer by training and was formerly a Director at Rock Ridge, which helped businesses grow and generate increased revenue

Brian Steinhoble, Product Designer & Developer, founded the Steinhoble Group of Companies, which developed products for industrial design clients spanning Asia, Europe and the Americas. Brian has won multiple awards and served on numerous Advisory Councils

Heather Atkins, Administrator, MBA in Product Innovation. She held the position of General Manager & Senior Project Manager for RockRidge Consulting since 2001. Her responsibility is coordinating and managing large projects, including sub-contractor management and international market research

Venture

What is the urgent social or environmental need you're addressing?

It addresses water consumption issues and enhance conservation thereof. Water is a natural limited resource and many countries, are facing a looming water crises, if not already. Thus, the urgent need for water conservation, given our rapid economic growth. The World Health Organization (WHO), ranked South Africa (SA) as the 30th driest country in the world and dependent on Lesotho for water. Apparently SA's Water consumption will exceed availability by 2025.

Another addressed issue is hygiene. Many pandemics are manifested from environments that are saturated with bacteria that could be easily eliminated with necessary precautions. WHO has also identified a direct link between HIV/AIDS and poor sanitation. There are 15 lethal water-borne diseases, 12 of which are spread by inadequate sanitation. The recovery period for someone with advanced HIV who contracts a water-borne disease is longer and his health outcomes could diminish. As a result, water, sanitation and hygiene education is key to combating HIV/AIDS, as is empowering communities to manage water and sanitation.

The implementation in numerous households will address other social benefits of urgency i.e. unemployment...

What is your solution to this need? Describe your business strategy.

Our solution is an enhancement of the standard toilet that tends to malfunction and harbours bacteria on the flush handle and pot. It saves 140L of water a day per house in an average family of 4. It releases a detergent with the flushed water, to eliminate the 12 water-borne bacteria in the pot. Bacteria found on flush handles give birth to diseases. Hence, via our solution users do not use the flush handle. This approach eliminates encountered pathogens enhancing the hygiene practices. These hygiene features are so adequate that if used effectively they can prolong the lifespan of an infected HIV/AIDS person.

It also enhances sanitation network flow in urban areas by converting the waste into a lucid format reducing the blockage in the system. It organically converts waste disposals to biproducts (i.e. Fertilizer) for dry senitation preferances.

As a result, we can help governments solve sanitation problems affordably, without compromising communities’ lifestyles or economic growth. Saving 288 billion litters of water yearly, if installed in a million houses to the value of approximately $50 million saved. The implementation phase will employ at least 480 people.

Milestones

Convince us it will work. What milestones have you achieved?

Support Programme for Industrial Innovation gave us a $62,500 grant and Sasol Chemcity will leverage commercialisation.

We were selected to join The Innovation Hub among 400 submissions Africa-wide and 2010 University of Pretoria “Entrepreneur of the Year”. Won “Most Innovative Project” for the environment at the Maker Faire. Gauteng Economic Development Agency, Trade & Investment Natal and Tshwane Smart City endorsed the product as a “Smart Solution”. We are preferred water conservation technology partner to Emkhankasweni Waste Management Services, which manages the green portfolio of Pan-African Capital Holdings Environmental Services with Bigen Africa, who will develop 2000 houses. We represented SA at the Shanghai EXPO 2010, China and the Tshwane International Trade, Infrastructure & Investment Conference. We recently won the 2012 Junior Chamber International Best Business Plan .

Secured Tshwane Health & Social Development department's interest, which would like to install the product in all the public toilets of the city's clinics and hospitals. Legacy Hotel & Resorts are keen to install the product in their properties. Together with continues growing interest from individ

Current Needs

  • An Industrial Designer to refine the product aesthetics
  • A grant writer experienced in the water and sanitation industry
  • Guidance on Intellectual Property protection

Climax Presentation

Climax Presentation

Updates From This Fellow

Date Event / Update
Apr 25, 2012 Won 2012 Junior Chamber International Social Entrepreneur Best Business Plan.

 

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