Governments on their own cannot solve the challenges around ensuring universal access to water and sanitation services for all.
The private sector also has a role to play: bringing innovation and developing services which are both financially viable and affordable for the poorest residents.
But, developing effective business models is not easy.
As well as building the capacity of the private sector, there is a need to improve the broader environment for businesses, through close collaboration with the public sector.
We have found that there are four steps to the business development process, some of which may occur in parallel, which need to followed to enable businesses to operate at scale:
- Blueprint: developing the blueprint for future business
- Validate: testing and refining the business model
- Prepare: creating the regulatory conditions for businesses to thrive
- Scale: rolling out the model to reach large numbers of customers and / or suppliers.
Supporting the private sector helps develop innovative, financially viable services in traditionally underserved areas.
It's unbelievable that faecal sludge collection can be a profitable business and is getting such a positive response. Now that WSUP has paved the way, CCC is committed to making more entrepreneurs in this business.
Helping businesses improve marketing strategies
In an environment where many are unwilling to pay for sanitation, how can we promote safe services? In Bangladesh, WSUP is supporting businesses to better market and sell sanitation services to the poorest.
Triggers for growing sanitation businesses
Learn about WSUP’s experience supporting sanitation businesses oriented towards low-income customers in five cities, and our findings that the success of sanitation businesses depends on factors internal to the business as well as those external, and out of the control of, the business.
Refining business models
In Lusaka, Zambia, WSUP has transformed pit-emptying businesses in the peri-urban areas of Kanyama and Chazanga. We supported the initial pilot of the pit-emptying service and have since worked with the businesses to improve their business model and become financially viable.
This work has formed a template that has influenced the design of faecal sludge management services for the Lusaka Sanitation Plan, financed by the World Bank and African Development Bank, that is currently being implemented.
Testing business ideas
Enabling entrepreneurs to take the first step into water or sanitation is crucial. In countries such as Madagascar and Ghana, we have created economic opportunities for young men and women by helping them set up urban water and sanitation businesses. The goal is to help entrepreneurs to develop and market products or services, stimulating demand, improving health for customers and generating revenue.
In Ghana, we’ve set up a standalone social enterprise, Clean Team Ghana, which provides container-based toilets for a monthly fee covering toilet rental and the container replacement service.
Driving national expansion of services
Scaling up successful private sector models is a vital step in achieving service provision at a citywide, or even national level.
In Bangladesh, WSUP is supporting the scale up of the SWEEP business model to reach hundreds of thousands of customers across four cities with safe, affordable sanitation waste emptying services.