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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
04 oktober 2008

How Dutch entrepeneurs see sanitation as a business case

The day started out with a question by the facilitator, Pierre Hupperts, about the local value of sanitation. It is not just about hygiene, it is also about comfort and status. Paul van Koppen, director of the WASH Secretariat, kicked off by giving an overview of the sanitation sector, including the statistics, the business methods and the people involved. Next, Fuad Lokhandwala of Fumes International, gave an inspiring speech about the lessons learned from his business in India. He commercially operates public conveniences in Delhi by selling the advertisement space on the outer walls. The 40 public conveniences in Delhi and the 90 upcoming toilet complexes in Mumbai taught him one important lesson: Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.

After the break the business case for Dutch businesses was discussed with Brendo Meulman of Landustrie and Frederik Mabesoone of Royal Haskoning. Their main conclusion is that there are abundant opportunities in the sanitation sector, but during implementation many challenges must be faced. People are not always willing to pay for clean sanitation so, in a good business plan, value must be created to sustain it.

The last part of the seminar was all about these opportunities for starting entrepreneurs in de sanitation sector. The new ‘Water and sanitation business development toolkit’ was launched. Rob Schuthof pitched his Urban Recycling Unit, a substitute for existing pit emptying latrines, to a panel of experts, Sander Smits van Oyen of Sovec, Laura Rooseboom of Start Green, Antoinne Engelaar of Westt and Paul van Koppen. The last speaker of the day was Dirk de Roos, with his portable irrigator, a device for personal hygiene, using water instead of toilet paper. His pitch met some challenging questions, but none the less half the public said they would consider an investment in his business.
P+ webtip: BiD Network about sanitation