From SOCAP21: Ideas for Achieving the UN SDG 6 and Enhancing Zambians’ Quality of Life
Social entrepreneurs around the world are shaping innovative solutions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which represent the world’s toughest and broadest challenges. To realize the potential of their innovations and achieve progress on the SDGs, these entrepreneurs will need support to scale their businesses and build uptake of their solutions.
The SOCAP21 session, EY Impact Hive LIVE: Helping Impact Entrepreneurs Unlock Scale, provided an interactive opportunity for attendees to hear from a SOCAP21 social entrepreneurship scholar and share ideas and thoughts for advancing and expanding their business.
“We’re aiming to harness the power of your collective knowledge and experience,” said moderator Jessie Coates, Global Impact Entrepreneurship Leader at EY. “To help an incredible impact entrepreneur to overcome a key barrier to scale.”
That entrepreneur was Nazir Pandor, Managing Director of Live Clean Initiatives, who shared the opportunity he sees to meet a basic human need for people in Zambia — access to clean, affordable sanitation facilities and safe water (Sustainable Development Goal 6) — and boost the southern African nation’s economy by creating a better quality of life for more of its people.
“Having access to a toilet and water is probably something we just say, of course we have this,” Pandor said. “But a lot of people don’t have that luxury. We built this company not just to make money, to scale, but also to just help people.”
Since its launch in 2015, Live Clean Initiatives has opened five sites across Zambia that serve more than 300 people each day. Pandor said they contract with local governments to operate their sanitation facilities because “unfortunately our government doesn’t have the resources to maintain and operate them.”
As a business-to-consumer company, Live Clean Initiatives charges residents a fee to access the sanitation facilities. That creates the challenge that Pandor presented to SOCAP21 attendees: “For populations not used to paying for sanitation, how might we create a sustained behavioral shift to ensure that customers value a pay-per-use model for safe sanitation services?”
This challenge grows when the product is seen as something that is a human right, and the customers typically have limited incomes. As Pandor said: “How do we get you to part ways with your money for something you don’t see as important?” It’s a challenge — and a cultural and behavioral shift— that Live Clean Initiatives must overcome as it looks to enter new markets.