Ten years ago, Jorge Merino Salom, who has his postgraduate degree in water management, was visiting a farm owned by one of his friends on the Ecuadorian coast. He had a life-changing experience there that lead him to start a new business in the hope of tackling the problem of access to clean drinking water in the Latin American country.
I was at Antonio’s Farm in Ecuador. The Farm was situated on a hill, surrounded by tropical dry forest. Antonio´s little child came to me, his eyes were shining. Before I noticed, he was on my shoulders. We played horse riding for a while. Some months later, I met Antonio again, he burst into tears when he told me his little child died of diarrhea.
In countries like Ecuador thousands of children die every year of water borne diseases. Thus, Jorge, with help of his local partners in Ecuador, interviewed about 800 people to put their fingers on the situation and identify the problem he wanted to solve via his startup, Sustainable World B.V. They found out that 70% of those they met used to buy bottled water, as it was the way to get safe water. Once the problem was identified, Sustainable World B.V. created a production and distribution chain of water purifier in the country.
Jorge added that their goal was to make sure those purifiers are both affordable and effective in securing safe water to their users, who have reached 10,000 persons today. According to Jorge, their users now treat the water they already get from wells, springs or even tap water, and they are not forced to buy bottled water or invest time in less-effective water purification methods.
On Sustainable World’s page on bidx Gateway Portal, we noticed that both Colombia and Peru were mentioned as target countries for its business, we also noticed that the company is actively looking for sources of finance. We, thus, decided to ask Jorge about his future plans.
I’d like to see us enabling people to solve their drinking water problems, with the ENEWA water purifier and other complementary technologies. We would like to reach more than 1 million users in 4 Latin American countries.
In the end of our chat with Jorge, we wanted to know how the bidx platform helped the business growth, and also if there are other advices for him to share with his fellow entrepreneurs.
The Portal brought us in contact with inspiring entrepreneurs, business advisers and investors who helped us refine our business model. My advice to other entrepreneurs is to test your business assumptions as early as possible. You can do so by introducing your product in the target markets, and find out how to iterate to improve their model.
Finally, It is always good to know more about businesses started by our users, and how bidx portals helped them persuit their business ideas and solve people’s everyday problems.