We started Bertzman Social Ventures last year with the desire to “provide growth capital and advice to social entrepreneurs implementing market-based solutions at the base of the pyramid.” Following the counsel of early advisors, we narrowed our focus to addressing water and sanitation challenges in support of SDG 6 – Clean Water and Sanitation for All.

When we started this journey, we had only a cursory understanding of the issue but with an intention to spend much of the first-year learning and networking. Over the last year, we’ve researched and  networked extensively . . . meeting many passionate funders and entrepreneurs with decades of experience addressing these challenges.

Through our research and networking, we've analysed many investment opportunities encompassing a the wide spectrum of organizations and potential approaches to the water and sanitation challenges.  We were lucky to make our first investment 
in WaterEquity which nailed all four of our investment criteria:

  • Passionate, well-connected founder
  • Data to support impact
  • Financially sustainable business model (not donor dependent)
  • Ability to scale

These criteria have guided us in the evaluation of several other opportunities which included solutions from water kiosks to air water generation and community toilet blocks to in-home biodigesting toilets. One year later, we still believe these are the right factors to guide our investment decisions.

Last November, we had only a vague goal of contributing toward the attainment of SDG 6. With a year of experience under our belts, we have honed our goal to “bring clean water and safe sanitation into the homes of 1 million people.” Our $500,000 investment in WaterEquity will reach approximately 50,000 people over the next 5 years.

We welcome outreach from organizations, large and small, with market-based approaches to meet this challenge.