Two Special Award Winners Epitomize What it Means to be Social Entrepreneurs

At this year’s empowering people. Award (epAward), two social enterprises were awarded with special awards that truly highlight their impact on the developing world. To recognize a Water & Sanitation initiative that fits the bill as a smart, technical solution, Knorr-Bremse Global Care presented a €20,000 Special WASH Award. Furthermore, Siemens Stiftung presented the €10,000 Community Prize to the organization that received the most votes in our online community voting prior to the ceremony in Cairo. Both received their special awards in addition to the epAward, which was endowed with €10,000. Here are the profiles of our two special award winners that highlight the impactful projects currently being worked on and what is in the pipeline, how they expect to benefit from the epNetwork, and what they can offer their Network fellows.

AUTARCON – Special WASH Award Winner

AUTARCON is the developer of SuMeWa|System & Innovative Business Models, a water treatment solution which makes clean water more accessible to those in need. The enterprise is currently developing new projects in Uganda and Tanzania where they are testing their solution in real case scenarios; there, they are working to provide safe water to residents that have previously gone without. Furthermore, AUTARCON is planning a re-design of their current system to make it more reliable and cost efficient.

Since the epAward ceremony in Cairo, and subsequent media coverage, AUTARCON has been contacted by several institutions interested in their products and projects. The organization has found the epNetwork workshops and networking to be very promising for their future goals and learnings.

Photo: Christoph Günter from Knorr-Bremse presents the Special WASH Award to AUTARCON

“We have already met so many interesting people, passionately involved in even more interesting projects,” said Philipp Otter of AUTARCON. “We have been a part of the epNetwork for quite some time now and it is nice to see how some initiatives have started to fly.”

The folks at AUTARCON know that being involved in a far-reaching network, such as epNetwork, will help them expand their reach. They also know how important it is to stay focused and persistent; so, with their Special WASH Award winnings from Knorr-Bremse Global Care and prize money from Siemens Stiftung, the company plans to implement their business model in Sub-Saharan Africa and attract more attention to their various products and projects worldwide.

Watch AUTARCON’s pitch on stage in Cairo here.

Sesi Technologies – Community Prize Winner

Sesi Technologies (Sesi Tech) of Ghana is the maker of GrainMate, an affordable and easy-to-use grain moisture meter, which helps farmers determine moisture content in harvested grains to reduce post-harvest losses. Beyond this, the organization is working on a new soil monitoring solution, called FarmSense, to help farmers better know which inputs to use when cultivating the land. Sesi Tech is looking to identify other challenges in the agriculture value chain so they can continue developing affordable solutions suited for farmers and agribusinesses.

Being a part of the international network that is epNetwork, Sesi Tech has already seen an increase in visibility; the enterprise has been contacted by potential partners in other countries with respect to possible expansion opportunities. Also, they feel that training and knowledge, technical support, and funding opportunities are the biggest assets of being involved in such a network.

Photo: Isaac Sesi with Sesi Technologies on site with his solution, GrainMate

“Our involvement with the epNetwork will connect us to experts in the fields which matter the most to our work so we can leverage their expertise in areas we are lacking,” said Isaac Sesi of Sesi Tech. “It will also unlock opportunities for partnerships with other organizations with common goals and possibly create other prospects to raise even more funds to support our work.”

With their expertise in engineering and hardware development within the African agriculture value chain, the team at Sesi Tech believe they could assist fellow epNetwork members should they venture into the industry. As well, the organization knows that being a member of epNetwork comes with great benefits, which they say are critical in helping them scale and thrive. Leading up to the epAward 2019 ceremony in Cairo, Sesi Tech received the most votes in our international epNetwork online community voting, and were – in addition to the epAward – subsequently crowned with the Community Prize (€10,000). With their financial winnings, Sesi Tech plans to further their product development efforts and add to their growing team.

Unfortunately, Issac Sesi was not able attend the epAward ceremony in Cairo in person but contributed a video clip that was shown on stage.

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