The idea for the Swiss Water Entrepreneur Pact (or SWEP) was first sketched out – like many new endeavours – on a paper tablecloth in a restaurant near my office. Indeed, after a formal meeting, three of us decided to continue our conversation over lunch. Our respective organisations all support aspiring entrepreneurs in the water and sanitation sector to develop and grow their business with a purpose, albeit at different moments in their life cycle. So, we had come together to explore ways to collaborate to become more effective.
During coffee, one of the parties at the table pointed out that Switzerland had all the ingredients in place in support of impact-oriented entrepreneurs to help achieve the human right to water and sanitation for all (SDG 6): strong research & development capabilities, large expertise, funding (both public and private) and political support at the highest levels. What if we united these actors to form an ecosystem? What if we joined hands to increase our clout and visibility, so that on the one hand, entrepreneurs who are in need of support can find us more easily and on the other hand, we can achieve more impact together?
A year and a half and ten meetings later, we are delighted to report that this idea has become a reality. Five organisations and initiatives have joined hands and took on an engagement to coordinate their actions, leverage their resources and provide a “no wrong door” answer to impact entrepreneurs in this field. These are: Antenna Foundation, cewas, Swiss Bluetec Bridge, Toilet Board Coalition and Waterpreneurs. The Swiss Water Partnership is accompanying us as a strategic partner.
This newsletter is the first visible expression of our joint undertaking. We hope that you’ll enjoy reading it and find stories and information therein that are of value to you.
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