Water is one of the most important substances on earth and an invaluable life-sustaining force. In terms of human health, the availability of clean water and good sanitation help economies and communities thrive. While UNICEF reported that Jordan is the second most water scarce country in the world, 98% of the population has access to an improved water source. On the other hand, rural areas in the Kingdom lack access to sanitation systems, and not all available systems are well managed. With the increase in population further augmenting demand on clean water, Jordanian Startup SOLVillion knew it was time to act.
What is SOLVillion?
SOLVillion, a combination of the words “solve” and “multillion", is all about coming up with infinite engineering solutions. Founded by engineers Motaz Al-Thaher and Aia Abul-Haj, this startup provides innovative water and sanitation system solutions. Aiming to provide clean water access throughout the Kingdom, Al-Thaher emphasized that, “It’s more than a service; it’s a step towards change.”
He explained that their systems are developed in a way that makes them safe, easy to use, less costly, ecofriendly, and of high-quality standards. “Building a sustainable future is our main mission,” Al-Thaher further disclosed. He explained that the future starts by building sustainable water treatment solutions, which results in a healthier and safer environmental community.
“Jordan, and more specifically Amman, faces troubles with sanitation,” admitted Al-Thaher as he explained his motivation behind why the startup was created. As an engineer with ten years of experience, he and his cofounder Abul-Haj, intended to come up with decentralized and easy to use water solutions to solve this issue. After a year of research, planning, and training, SOLVillion came to light in January 2019. And after the success of its prototype with The Royal Scientific Society of Jordan, the startup began to address the needs of households across all areas of Jordan.
What Does it Offer?
SOLVillion works with two types of water:
Gray water: wastewater generated in households or office buildings from streams without fecal contamination.
Black water: wastewater from toilets, which likely contains pathogens.
It uses a decentralized wastewater treatment system (DWWS) which is an onsite solution that recycles water and makes it reusable in agricultural activities. This system is especially beneficial for rural areas whereby it protects the environment from pollution, overflowing, and illegal discharge.
SOLVillion, as part of SDG goals, also aids refugees inside and outside camps in Jordan. Through ACF, a French organization, they set up DWWS in refugee camps.
On the other hand, they offer the system for free or on a loan to those that have rented apartments outside camps through the help of funding organizations such as UNDP and USAID. They further offer training and internships to young talents to develop their skills and create job opportunities through a program called, SOLVillion Challenge.
The Role of The Tank
“Where do I start?” commented Al-Thaher. “If I had to use one word to describe the Tank it would be backbone. Because without it, we wouldn’t have come this far.” SOLVillion has participated in several competitions and conferences such as the World Youth Forum, Tech Women, Big Boston, Stockholm International Water Week, and it owes its success story to the Tank. The time they spent at the incubator helped them strengthen their legal, business, and financial skills. The rent contract helped them obtain their license, and the private working space gave them the ability to focus on their work. “Consultant Batoul Benihani has also played a pivotal role in helping us shape our SDG’s strategic plan for our start-up. And I don’t think we’ve thanked her enough for this.”
With future plans in mind to adopt production lines that’ll further boost SOLVillion’s performance, Al-Thaher shared an important message for young entrepreneurs. “Get out of your comfort zone. Enrich yourself with knowledge and be ready to solve hard tasks and fail at them. You’ll learn from your mistakes, and consequently, you will grow.”