We usually feature charities on Milkshake, but Drinkwell is one for-profit company that we can get behind. This innovative startup is increasing access to potable water in developing countries using high-tech filtration systems system developed by Dr. Arup SenGupta of Lehigh University. Does that sound complicated? It is! But here’s the quickie version:
The problem is arsenic in drinking water. The solution is water filtration systems. In 2012, Minhaj Chowdhury
, founder of Drinkwell, figured out a way to turn the water crisis into an entrepreneurial opportunity for people in rural Bangladesh. First, they need to select a group of local entrepreneurs and hire employees (thus providing jobs for people in rural communities). Next, Drinkwell comes to the village to build a water filtration system, which takes approximately one month. Once the system is in place, local entrepreneurs sell the clean water.
“The people who are affected,” explains Dr. SenGupta
, “they can generate a revenue while solving the problem.” The ultimate success, he says, is when “they have no need for us.”
doesn’t just drop off their tech and run. The company trains employees to service and maintain the filtration systems. They also routinely check in on the water systems through unannounced site visits to ensure that the system is up to World Health Organization standards. For their work, Drinkwell has already received some big accolades, including the MIT Clean Energy Prize
, the Dhirubhai Amabani Award, and the Fulbright award.
Water is a big issue for many countries. It’s something that we are still figuring out. But thanks to Drinkwell
, we just got a little bit closer to the ultimate goal: Potable, clean water for every man, woman, and child.