Engineering Graduate Highly Commended for Bringing Water Direct to Rural Communties in Developing Countries
The Engineers in Business competition, which inspires engineering students and graduates to develop life changing business innovations through university business competitions culminated in the first Champion of Champions Grand Final at the Royal Academy of Engineering on 28 October 2019.
Ten teams that won their university heat of their Dragons’ Den style competitions reached the Grand Final where they competed for a share of £10,000 and mentoring to help them take their business innovation to the next step, be that developing a prototype, product testing or marketing.
Tabitha Wacera, an MSc Sustainable Energy Engineering graduate from the University of Nottingham is aiming to transform the lives of people with restricted access to fresh water. Tabitha has created Sustainable Water which aims to deploy affordable solar water pumps in developing countries.
Tabitha has first-hand experience of such water shortages in a rural area in a developing country. She has carried more than 120 litres of water on her back in a day and during times of drought she had to fetch water for two hours after school before doing her homework.
Tabitha believes it is possible to solve the water crisis once and for all and she has invented a low-cost solar water pump that can be deployed for water supply and irrigation in developing countries coupled with an affordable pay-as-you-go payment plan. With remote monitoring, performance and functionality are ensured over the pump’s lifetime.
The judges felt that Tabitha has an outstanding idea that should be nurtured to the next level and awarded her a Highly Commended trophy in recognition of her considerable achievements.
Speaking at the Grand Final awards ceremony, Tabitha said: “I’m happy that I was recognised and I’m excited that I can now access networks that I couldn’t before. I got to talk to Lord Sainsbury who asked me to write to him about my company and that for me is what I really value about being recognised as part of this competition. All the media exposure we have received will help Sustainable Water going forward; the award is validation of our idea which is great when you're looking for investment.”
David Falzani MBE, President of Engineers in Business Fellowship which runs the competition with universities throughout the UK, said: “Contestants presented a range of high-quality innovations and it was an incredibly difficult decision to select the winners. Tabitha Wacera was singled out for praise by the judges for her ingenuity and passion for developing a product that will increase access to water in rural areas in developing countries and change people’s lives.
“Our Engineers in Business Competition promotes the importance and value of business education for engineers to enable them to create products and services that improve people’s lives, the environment and the economy.
“Research shows that introducing business education to young engineers and technologists makes them better engineers, makes them more employable, more effective in the workplace, and is better for the engineering profession and the UK economy.
“We provide universities with funding for a dedicated engineers prize and this has resulted in a 25% uplift in the number of engineers taking part in business innovation competitions at the universities we sponsor.
“The Champion of Champions Grand Final competitors have shown incredible imagination in the development of diverse ideas, from Sustainable Water’s solar water pumps to environmentally friendly surfboards. We wish Tabitha every success as she moves forward developing her company.”