FINISH Mondial Webinar Recap: Business in Sanitation
FINISH Mondial (FM) is based on the Diamond Model – a multi-stakeholder approach to tackle both the supply and demand sides of the sanitation challenge. The Diamond Model includes four main domains: communities, businesses, financiers and governments, who jointly work together towards the (a) development of local sanitation markets and (b) inclusive scale of these markets, leaving no one behind.
This year, many connections have been brought online. We have been organising a series of webinars to foster deeper understandings for team members by providing insight and inspiration for all ‘Diamond domains’ as well as inspiration for innovations and scaling. On September 2nd, a webinar was held to zoom in on the business side of our activities.
The webinar took off with introductory messages from Sophie van den Berg (International solid waste expert & plastic recycling adviser, WASTE) who presented an overview of our business approach and moderated the session. To kick off the presentations, Johannes Heeb (Director, CEWAS) discussed “How to reach investment readiness”. CEWAS has been working with WASTE and AspireLabs to jointly create a business development manual. Johannes joined us to introduce the different pillars and phases required to reach investment readiness, including key challenges often faced by our entrepreneurs e.g. access to funding and the struggle to become bankable.
At FINISH Mondial, we offer technical and business support for both small and big enterprises that offer affordable and sustainable sanitation initiatives that are scalable. In this webinar, three business cases from Kenya and Bangladesh were presented with reflections on the challenges and key achievements of the business coaching provided to them.
Siddique Sanitation is a producer, technical service provider and retailer of sanitary products (toilets, stoves, briquette, pellets) in Bangladesh. Shams Jerin Khan Sharna (WASH and Environmental Engineer, BASA) and Mahobul Islam (Country Coordinator, FM Bangladesh) reflected on the business coaching provided to Siddique Sanitation with the aim of creating a concrete business plan, achieving measurable results and becoming investment ready. There were quite a few challenges such as limited experience in marketing, organisational management, lack of financing for green businesses, less attention paid towards bookkeeping, lack of affordable technology, etc. However, the business coaching resulted in some key achievements, namely, creating a concrete business plan, establishing bookkeeping, implementing business promotion strategies and a value chain analysis. Upon completion of the coaching, they recognised that their investment readiness could still be improved.
ECOH Holdings Ltd. is a Kenyan company focusing on composting and fertiliser production, presented by FM Kenya Business Coach, Mueni Steveh. The objective of the coaching provided by Mueni was to help ECOH create a marketing plan, a bankable business plan and a linkage to financial funding. During this process, there were challenges for the business such as high marketing costs, lack of collateral to access finance, a negative perception of faecal sludge fertilisers, competition from synthetic fertilisers (which are cheaper and government supported), etc. Additionally, there were also some personal challenges such as the wide scope of entrepreneur’s needs, time and inflexibility of certain water service provide (WSPs). Through this experience, Mueni realised the need to understand the entrepreneur and business model, research widely, constantly engage with the entrepreneur, the need for flexibility and to market the business model to WSPs.
Eric Nyakundiwe, an entrepreneur involved in toilet and road construction in Kilifi, Kenya, also joined us to share his experiences. His business faced similar challenges as the others, mainly on bookkeeping and marketing. However, he reported that thanks to the business support and coaching, his financials are better organised and word–of–mouth referrals from the community have helped with marketing. He noted that as he is from the communities in which he operates, it helps that he is able to relate to customers closely and can customise the innovations based on different terrains whilst keeping the larger goal of FINISH in mind.
Wycliffe Mwanzi (Operations Director, Take-a-Stake) joined the discussion as a key figure in FINISH Mondial’s business development programme, to provide observations and feedback directly to the team as well as answer questions on moving forward. Notably, Wycliffe highlighted that sanitation businesses must be supported both financially and technically in order to be successful and sustainable. Furthermore, to ensure access to finance, it is important to work with a variety of financiers such as impact investors, microfinance institutions, banks, etc.
If you missed this webinar on our Diamond Approach Best Practices: Business Domain, you can still access the Recording, Slide Deck and Q&A.