Empowering Latin American & Caribbean Start-ups: 2021-2024

Entrepreneurship support

The Young Water Fellowship is an initiative by Young Water Solutions that supports young entrepreneurs in creating social enterprises aimed at solving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) issues in the most vulnerable communities.

The program provides specialized training, mentorship, and seed funding over the course of a year, focusing on aspects of both WASH and business such as market analysis, business model design, financial management, operations planning, and risk management, among others. The main objective is for graduates to develop, validate, and launch viable and sustainable business models through pilot projects. Throughout the program, entrepreneurs receive up to 5000 EUR to fund their projects.

In Latin America, the program has been implemented since 2021 thanks to the support of COSUDE and the IADB within the framework of the SIRWASH program. Additionally, within the framework of the Fellowship, initiatives that win IDB-funded Hackathons are incubated. These include those dedicated to finding solutions for informal settlements in 2020 and 2022, the water, sanitation, and solid waste management Hackathon in Nicaragua, and the 2023 "Service Provider - Entrepreneur" Hackathon carried out in collaboration with regional service providers. Cewas acts as the designer and facilitator of training sessions, both virtual and in-person, and their experts serve as mentors to the fellows. Below are the editions in Latin America:

The first edition of the Young Water Fellowship in Latin America was launched in 2021 with the goal of validating and launching 10 water and sanitation start-ups led by young people from the region. The selected start-ups participated in virtual and in-person training sessions (including a Bootcamp in Mexico City) and received coaching. Among the 10 start-ups, Wayru from Peru, Manantial Suspendido en el Aire from Colombia, and Ecotech Solutions from Venezuela stood out. After 10 months of work, the Young Water Pitching Night was held to highlight the commitment and potential of these initiatives. For more information, visit: Young Water Felloship Latinoamérica 2021 and Pitching night 2021.

In 2022, the second edition supported the validation and launch of 8 water and sanitation start-ups in Latin America. Among the participants were Hydroplus from Argentina, WS22 from Colombia, Ver-o-Fruto from Brazil, BrixSan from Peru, and Geowaku from Bolivia. Four of these initiatives arose from a Hackathon organized by cewas with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank. The start-ups also received business training and coaching and participated in a Bootcamp in Lima. For more information, visit: Young Water Fellowship 2022 and Pitching night 2021.

The third edition, launched in 2023, focused on young entrepreneurs from Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Eight start-ups participated, including Catecagua from Panama, Cova from Mexico, HidraMejora from Costa Rica, and Witari from Cuba. The entrepreneurs received training and mentorship, particularly during a Bootcamp in Mexico City, organized in collaboration with ImpactHub CDMX. For more information, visit: Young Water Fellowship 2023-Edición Centroamérica, México y el Caribe.

The 2024 edition, focused on South America, includes 13 start-ups such as LIQUID LOGIC and Comsagua from Ecuador, Algabiotech from Peru, Aquared from Argentina, and Llena tu Botellón from Colombia. The program started in December 2023 and will conclude in September 2024. These start-ups have access to training, mentorship, and funding and participate in the Bootcamp organized in Lima in May 2024. For more information, visit: Young Water Fellowship 2024-Edición Sudamérica

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