Local Owners Driving Lasting Solutions
Equipping emerging market entrepreneurs to create access to basic human necessities, with water as an anchor product.
I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.
Scaling (the solution has passed the previous stages and is growing its impact on a regional or global scale)
Annual budget in 2017 (USD)
Number of beneficiaries impacted so far
Headquarters location: Country
Headquarters location: City
Location(s) of impact
Uganda: Kampala, Entebbe, Mbrara
Rwanda: Kigali, Gisenyi, Huye, Kayonza, Kanamba, Musanze, Muhanga, Nyamata, Rusizi
Inside a Jibu franchise - customer purchasing water from franchisee.
Franchisee producing and bottling water.
Customers holding various sizes of Jibu water products.
Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?
Despite incredible advances in water technology, safe water access has not kept pace with rapid population growth and urbanization. A billion people worldwide do not have consistent safe water access, and this is coupled with lack of economic and employment opportunities - in Uganda alone, over 400,000 new graduates per year are competing for only 9,000 available jobs. Solving these emerging market challenges calls for a new social business model, one that revolutionizes the way critical resources are leveraged.
Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?
Through harnessing international resources and a social franchise model, Jibu equips profitable, independent entrepreneurs to create access to basic human necessities. Unlike a typical franchise system which requires entrepreneurs to have large amounts of capital, Jibu provides local innovators with a full suite of financing, equipment, training, and business support. Through a high volume/low margin approach and innovative technology capable of drawing water from almost any source while consuming ¼ the energy of a toaster oven, Jibu franchises are making safe water accessible and affordable, and with their high-visibility retail locations, are strategically placed to sell many impactful products.
Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work
We evaluate our impact through a measurable increase in three major categories - access to safe water, business ownership, and financial viability – which we track through indicators including liters of water sold, number of consumers converted from drinking unsafe water, jobs created, females and youth employed, profitability, and hybrid capital deployed. To date we have produced over 45M liters of safe water and reached 185,000 consumers, the majority of whom were previously drinking unsafe water. Through the consequent reduction in household charcoal use as customers no longer boil water prior to consumption, we estimate that we have saved 9,700 tons of C02. Through raising and deploying impact investments and grants from international funders, Jibu has launched over 200 entrepreneurs in East Africa, creating 550 jobs, the majority filled by women and youth.
Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?
We are a for-profit entity that aims to reach profitability at the corporate level within 2-3 years, but our #1 priority is to ensure that our local entrepreneurs are profitable quickly, and we are successfully accomplishing this, with most of our franchisees reaching profitability with 3 months. Our model is cash-intensive upfront as we invest over $20,000 USD in capex per franchise launch, but with strong returns over time as franchises share a percentage of profits as an annuity. To grow from an early stage company to one of scale, we have raised a tranche structure of equity (55%) and grants (30%), and are reinvesting the profits (15%) from our established franchises.
Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?
Jibu is the only safe water enterprise that via our brand has established a customer value proposition so powerful that it generates enough profit to organically fuel expansive growth. By enabling entrepreneurs with a profitable business model to create lasting change for themselves and their communities, Jibu's initiative ends the historic reliance on donations as the means to community advancement.
Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.
Jibu was co-founded by Galen Welsch and Randy Welsch, a son-father team empowered by the belief that eye-to-eye partnership between Western resources and emerging market entrepreneurs is the most just and sustainable way to solve the world’s pressing challenges. Galen had recently finished the Peace Corps with a realization that sustainable development is economic and the locus of economic power needs to be shifted. Randy, meanwhile, came away from his career as a high-tech entrepreneur with a passion to leverage his business experience to improve the world. Their partnership was borne through a convergence of passions leading to the Jibu social business model.
Where did you hear about the Nestlé Creating Shared Value Prize?
Program Design Clarity: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
A) We have two sets of beneficiaries: the entrepreneurs who we equip as profitable small business owners (franchisees & microfranchisees), and the consumers who were previously drinking unsafe water and now have affordable access to safe water and other impactful products such as fortified porridge. With entrepreneurs, our primary activities include training, financing and ongoing business support; with consumers, activities include sales, marketing and water & sanitation awareness.
B) We carry out our activities in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, with Tanzania and other countries in the pipeline
C) Entrepreneurial training and launch assistance occur weekly; consumer sales occur daily
D) Entrepreneurs receive 40-60 hours of start-up assistance and ongoing support as needed; consumers have access to water 12-14 hours per day (through walking into a franchise, and via home delivery)
E) Jibu staff provide the training to franchisees & microfranchisees, who in turn provide water and other services to their local communities
F) To-date, we have launched 200 entrepreneurs as franchisees & microfranchisees, who have provided water to approximately 185,000 consumers
We are interested in learning more about your initiative's broad impact on sustainable development. Please reply ONLY to the question(s) related to your above focus area.
Unlike social enterprises who earn tertiary revenues but whose capital expenses are grant-funded in perpetuity, our efficient ultrafiltration technology and structured business approach enables our entrepreneurs to produce high volumes of water at a low cost, and hence to make enough profit to organically fuel growth while still extending low prices to consumers. We believe that only a profitable, socially-responsible initiative like ours can keep pace with the water access needs associated with rapid urban population growth, and Jibu's growth thus far has shown that the best way to ignite a virtuous cycle of economic vitality and improve community health is to equip and finance a network of young, aspiring business leaders. These business leaders launch social franchises in high-visibility, dense urban neighborhoods, with Jibu providing strategic franchise zoning to ensure that every neighborhood has access and that customers do not have to travel far for water. Our operations are also environmentally responsible, with low-energy ultrafiltration systems, and bottles custom-designed to be highly durable and 100% re-usable, so consumers pay only for water with no disposable plastic waste. We are also drastically reducing fuel consumption and C02, as our consumers no longer boil water at home prior to consumption.
Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?
We have found that the most sustainable solution to the world’s toughest social challenges is eye-to-eye partnership with local owners and the toppling of patronizing approaches to development. Franchisees have co-designed the Jibu model and have truly defined and driven the viral adoption of Jibu water. They are fully independent business owners with 100% equity in their businesses. The Jibu global corporate support entity is also owned and led by local staff and leaders. Founded as a hybrid L3C business fully aligning for-profit investment goals with charitable purpose, Jibu’s structure is an unprecedented opportunity for governments, corporate and nonprofit investors to leverage each other’s resources to accomplish systemic change. Jibu’s long-range mission is to create entrepreneurs globally filling the emerging market’s ‘missing middle’ with enterprises that leverage their high traffic retail space to serve customer demand for water and other life-improving necessities.
How is your initiative funded, now and over the next 5 years?
During our Series A round, we raised a combination of grants, equity and public-private partnerships enabling us to simultaneously test our model in multiple markets. After proving the profitability of our model during the initial phase, our Series B round relied on equity, and any future rounds will be fully funded by debt instruments and profit-sharing with franchisees. Franchises on average cover their operating costs within 3-6 months of launch, and the Jibu corporate entity on average recovers the approximately $20,000 capex investment within 29 months of each franchise launch.
How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the CSV Prize?
Our founding principle is to shift the paradigm of how developed market resources partner with emerging market entrepreneurs. Beyond the direct impact of affordable drinking water access, we aim to change the game through non-patronizing, empowering partnerships. We believe a global redistribution of shared equity will best accelerate solutions to the world's pressing challenges. The water sector, we believe, is particularly behind both in building a truly sustainable financial model (generating revenue to cover capex, opex, AND drive growth), and in producing a model that edifies human dignity. The world of franchising, meanwhile, is a sector often missing the power of the business model to do good. We believe we can change that.
How will you leverage an investment from Nestle to expand the impact of your work?
With a vision to capitalize, equip and grow a network of co-invested business owners who will revolutionize the way critical resources are leveraged to meet basic necessities in emerging markets, Jibu has received more than 50 country requests for expansion, and our current franchisees have developed ideas to achieve even higher productivity and community impact within our infrastructure. An investment from Nestle would provide us with the visibility and investment funds to reach not only our immediate goal of launching new entrepreneurs in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe, but also of introducing our model in at least 7 new countries, launching 1000 franchisees, and providing safe water access to 3M consumers by 2022.
Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact? What’s the projected impact for the coming years? Are you planning to expand your programme into new locations? On what assumptions do you build your scale-up plans?
Generating sufficient profit to fuel organic scale and reward investors is central to our purpose of producing systemic impact that will last for generations. We have a 5-year plan to expand our social franchising network within our current countries of operation while launching in at least 2 new countries per year and reaching 3M consumers by 2022. Our forward-looking assumptions were built by analyzing our consumer data and franchise launch rates in Rwanda and Uganda over the past 2 years, and by conducting market and regulatory policy research to determine ideal geographic locations for our business model to flourish. To drive expansion into new countries we have developed an Area Master Franchisor co-investment model which partners with successful on-the-ground business leaders with a demonstrated track record of successfully navigating local regulations, leading market feasibility assessments, and creating localized business plans.
Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, number of full-time vs. part-time staff, board members, etc.)? How will this team evolve as your initiative grows?
We have 5 executive team members, 3 country directors, 30 corporate staff members (water engineers & technicians, business coaches, accountants, marketing assistants), 11 board members, 60 franchisees and 130 microfranchisees. We plan to slightly grow our staff positions - primarily by hiring additional technicians and trainers - but have a strong team with vast international business experience (https://jibuco.com/corporate-team/) and an extensive pipeline of talented and dedicated franchisee candidates. Our team members have been recognized by BBC World, the Guardian, Fast Company, the Franchise Times, and Forbes, and honored to participate in the Aspen Institute, the University of New Hampshire’s Social Sector Franchise Initiative, and the Toniic Impact Investor network.
Awards: What awards or honors has the initiative received?
Jibu has been honored to receive a USAID PACE grant, a SPRING program award, a Sankalp Forum First Runner Up award, an Unreasonable Institute mentorship position, B-Corps membership, and an IFA Franchising Gives Back award. Jibu's CEO and Co-Founder was also chosen as a Forbes 30 Under 30 social entrepreneur in 2017.
Organizational leadership: How are you influencing your field of work in the present?
Our County Directors and franchise support teams in each country are widely connected and have formed strong alliances with the revenue authorities and Bureau of Standards in each city, leading to recognition of social franchising as an impactful business model. Jibu has also been privilege to contribute research and best practice learnings to other small water providers and entrepreneurial networks including Safe Water Network, dloHaiti, Danone Communities, the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the University of New Hampshire Social Sector Franchise Initiative, and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.
Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend the Ashoka Impact Boot camp and Creating Shared Value Prize Live Pitch Event at the World Water Forum 13-16 March 2018
Yes, I am available to attend the events on 13-16 March 2018