Hunt Institute representatives observe solar powered water systems in Kenya

Project will allow entreprenuers to make money by selling clean, safe water in emerging markets

 

BOZEMAN, Mont. — HabiHut, LLC., has successfully installed and deployed three HabiHut solar water kiosks in Kenya. The pilot units were installed in cooperation with Umande Trust, a Kenyan based non-governmental organization (NGO). The demonstration units were installed in one day versus the six months that it takes for other competitive water kiosk solutions and at a third less of the cost. The units were also installed with solar panels that both provided light for the kiosk and cell phone charging capabilities.

While in Kenya, representatives from The Hunter & Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity visited the installations. Kevin Lavelle commenting on his first impression of seeing the HabiHut solar powered water kiosk said, “There’s lots of talk of social entrepreneurship, it’s a blossoming theme these days, but to see it first hand. They’re making money but selling clean, safe water to villagers.”

The pilot installation of HabiHut water kiosks goal was to prove the financial sustainability of the solution. After three months of operations, each kiosk on an average served 2,600 customers per month. Total revenue was divided by 85% water sales and 15% cell phone charging service sales. Now in the fourth month of operation sales are still growing. The kiosks operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. They have an added advantage over other water kiosks since they have solar lights illuminating the neighborhood in which they are installed. This provides an extra measure of safety to the area.

The pilot has proven financial viability based on multiple streams of revenue available to the micro-entrepreneur. Buz Weas, President of HabiHut, commented, “There are 500 million cell phone users worldwide who don't have access to the grid, and over 1.1 billion people who don’t have access to clean water. Imagine thousands of African small businesses acting as the communal source for water and outside communication (cell phone charging). These two services have a natural synergy and their strong complement can go a long way to having many sustainable businesses in Africa and the world.”

Based on the above success HabiHut is pleased to announce the HabiHut “Hot Spring Micro-Franchise” initiative. HabiHut, in collaboration with The Hunt Institute, will package a “turn-key” business to be sold as franchises to micro-entrepreneurs in the developing world. The franchises will offer four different revenue streams: Billboard advertising silkscreened on the HabiHut, cell phone charging services, pre-paid cell phone card sales, and water sales. As in all successful franchises the franchisee can expect a tightly branded business opportunity delivered with a systematic approach. The initiative will work with cell phone service providers, cell phone trade associations, water NGOs and micro-finance organizations in crafting the turn-key solution.

Commenting on the Hot Spring initiative Stephanie Hunt, Co-founder of The Hunt Institute, said, “We are dedicated to using the power of engineering, collaboration and the free market to develop and implement solutions for those most in need, both here and abroad. The Hot Spring initiative promises to deliver a sustainable business solution to the developing world drawing together the best practices from the most successful franchise model traditions."

About The Hunter & Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity

The Hunter Institute is housed within the Lyle School of Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and is committed to identifying and creating technologies beneficial and affordable to the world’s developing communities, while also educating engineering and non-engineering students in the design and distribution of those technologies to accelerate global development.

About HabiHut, LLC

HabiHut, LLC (www.TheHabiHut.com) is located in Bozeman, Montana specializing in the design and manufacture of a rigid modular shelter that are secure and strong. Our product, The HabiHut™, was created to replace existing infrastructure where valuable natural resources are limited and the need for quick, durable and sustainable housing is required.