The Coca-Cola Foundation and Imagine H2O, a global non-profit that accelerates and deploys new water innovations, have partnered to scale entrepreneurial solutions for the global water crisis. The sustainable access solution fund unlocks targeted grants and technical support to help communities pilot and adopt innovation, doubling Imagine H2O’s annual pilot funding budget this year.
As one third of the world’s inhabitants still lack access to safe drinking water, technologies are emerging that can help boost water supply, mitigate pollution and strengthen climate resilience. However, widespread risk aversion and financial constraints prevent utilities, businesses and other end-users from testing and validating these solutions.
The solution fund creates opportunities for innovators and their customers to overcome these barriers, building on Imagine H2O’s ongoing pilot initiatives supported by philanthropic and public sector partners including OceanKind, 11th Hour Racing, Enterprise Singapore, World Bank and Asian Development Bank.
Since 2018, Imagine H2O has awarded US$1.9m for 69 pilots. This support has triggered up to seven times in matching or follow-on funding from other partners. Beyond financial support, the solution fund utilises its global startup accelerator programmes and in-country networks to mentor entrepreneurs as they design, execute, and monitor the impact of these projects. Awards will be recycled back to the solution fund when pilots succeed.
“This partnership marks another milestone to accelerate progress towards the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs); all 17 of which will be affected by how our water resources are used, treated and managed in the future,” said Saadia Madsbjerg, president of The Coca-Cola Foundation.
The solution fund will source solutions that directly enable access to safe drinking water and help communities restore or sustain water resources threatened by climate change or environmental degradation. From biosensors for rapid contamination detection to rural water supply monitoring systems, a range of technologies will be vetted from across Imagine H2O’s network of 175 startups.
“From Johannesburg to Jakarta, the appetite to leapfrog conventional water management approaches is growing,” said Imagine H2O’s president Scott Bryan, “With The Coca-Cola Foundation, we will help underserved communities embrace new technologies by providing dedicated funding and insight to entrepreneurs, local water providers and government partners.”