SAO PAULO, Sept. 3, 2020 (Press Release) -After seven months in competition, the three winners of CMPC's Softys Water Challenge were finally announced, an initiative led by Softys in alliance with the UC Innovation Center and the Amulén Foundation, issued a call to entrepreneurs with solutions to provide access to drinking water in Latin America. The competition, which seeks to improve access to drinking water in Latin American communities that do not currently have it, received 85 projects from 31 countries, of which 19 went through an acceleration process.
First place went to Isla Urbana, a Mexican solution that designs and installs rainwater collection systems on the roofs of houses, providing an efficient and sustainable alternative source of drinking water to vulnerable communities. Softys will provide this enterprise with additional financing to implement its solution in a Latin American community lacking drinking water.
In the opinion of Nabani Vera, Isla Urbana director of communications, the simplicity and effectiveness of the ecotechnology that gives each family the ability to supply itself with water without having to depend on any external agent or actor was the differentiating element that made them worthy of the first place. "We're really happy. While our project is not aimed at receiving awards and recognition, they are of great help to confirm that we're doing things right, in addition to inspiring us to continue working with the dedication, passion and joy," he said.
Vera says that their solution not only allows for immediate deployment, but it is also designed to last for a long time. With proper maintenance, it can operate for over 30 years without problems.
Remote Waters came in second, a startup that provides a seawater or groundwater purification technology that turns it into clean and safe drinking water for communities with limited access to this resource. It consist in a purifier that is easy to operate and move and treats contaminated water or salt water, which provides an effective response, for example, to communities that are currently supplied by wells, where the water often water requires additional treatment.
Meanwhile, third place went to Watergen, an Israeli venture that has been present in Chile for two years and whose solution consists of a device that produces drinking water from generators that take advantage of the ambient humidity to turn it into purified drinking water, capable of supplying water at the domestic and/or community level.
Strong interest in first version
Thus, the Softys Water Challenge concluded its 2020 version with a virtual awards ceremony broadcast by streaming after receiving over 500 applications, with 85 projects from 31 countries meeting 100% of the competition terms and 19 semifinalist projects accelerated with the support of the Center for Innovation UC.
The jury was composed of Softys Latam Legal Manager Cristóbal Somarriva, President of the Amulen Foundation Jorge Matte, Executive Director of the UC Innovation Center Conrad Von Igel; Ignacio Lira, Assistant Manager of Public Affairs for Empresas CMPC; Marcello Basani, Water and Sanitation Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Executive Director of Startup Chile Maria de los Angeles Romo; Hiroshi Wald, CEO of Austral Capital Partners;,and Zoraida Sánchez, Coordinator of the Water Access Program at the Avina Foundation, Peru.
The Softys Water Challenge is an initiative that connects the efforts that Softys - a subsidiary of CMPC that produces hygiene and personal care products – is making to achieve water efficiency, manage risks associated with water and to work with the supply chain, among others. In the same way, it is directly related to the objective of promoting the development of local communities, a commitment that is part of the Softys Sustainability Strategy 2020 - 2023, which also contributes to the targets set in the Empresas CMPC Corporate Strategy.
"It was months of intense work, after which we were able to identify the three solutions that best pursued the goals of the Softys Water Challenge, which is to bring drinking water to places that lack it, more so in these times in which hygiene and health are so important. This is the purpose that inspires us at Softys; we provide the best care that people need every day and in every stage of their lives," said Nicole Sansone, Softys manager of Personal Care and Sustainability for Latam.
For his part, UC Innovation Center Executive Director Conrad von Igel added that "the entrepreneurs who were part of the first generation Softys Water Challenge did a remarkable job; we were able to get to know 85 technology solutions from the five continents that are applicable to different contexts of drinking water shortages. By promoting a culture and an environment that favors innovation and entrepreneurship, the university private sector and civil society together can have an impact on the daily lives of people with technology, providing them with access to this vital resource."
Verónica Puga, executive director of the Amulén Foundation, explained that "we are proud to be part of the Softys Water Challenge, a unique opportunity to convene innovations from all over the world to resolve this reality affecting thousands of families in Chile and Latin America. The initiative is also a powerful tool for exploring and implementing new technologies, as the country urgently needs to incorporate innovation to solve the serious water crisis affecting us."
Softys is a subsidiary of Empresas CMPC and specializes in the production and sale of hygiene and personal care products such as toilet paper, napkins, kitchen rolls, towels, diapers for children and adults, and feminine protection products, in addition to being a major supplier of some of these products to hospitals, clinics and other health centers. Softys is a leader in Latin America, reaching over 500 million consumers with operations in 8 countries: Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay. Its brands Elite, Babysec, Ladysoft, Cotidian, Higienol, Sublime, Kitchen, Confort, Nova, Premier, Sussex and Elite Professional offer innovative and sustainable solutions for the hygiene and well-being of the people of the region.
To find out more about its products and initiatives, visit:https://www.softys.com/