The Vumela Fund, established by FNB Business and Edge Growth, has announced a new investment in Kusini Water, a cleantech enterprise that provides clean drinking water to local communities and corporates by manufacturing mobile, solar-powered water purification systems made from locally sourced macadamia nut shells and nanotechnology.
The investment will enable Kusini Water to expand its operations and broaden its ability to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in rural, peri-urban and informal settlements throughout the African continent.
Through the manufacture and assembling of water filtration and treatment systems equipped with IoT technology, Kusini Water is able to provide clean water to underserved communities by partnering with public benefit organisations, as well as providing water use optimisation and green building solutions to corporates.
“Kusini Water is an innovative and highly impactful business. We were impressed by the team’s skillset and experience and by their passion to drive practical solutions for the African context that deliver both commercial and social outcomes,” says lead deal-maker at Edge Growth, Philani Mzila. “The results they have already shown are exceptional and we look forward to partnering with them in their local and international expansion plans,” he says.
Kusini Water was founded in 2017 with its first system built in Shayandima, Thohoyandou in Limpopo. The business now runs over 30 sites and provides more than three million litres of water a month to communities and corporates.
The company’s key goal is consistent with that of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal of clean water and sanitation for all. This investment will create positive environmental outcomes as well as the creation of permanent South African jobs.
“Over the last three years we have worked with our corporate partners to improve water security and provide better water management tools in South Africa,” says Kusini Water founder and CEO, Murendeni Mafumo. “With this funding and partnership with Vumela, we aim to increase our reach throughout South Africa and across the African continent to provide water security and ensure our communities have access to safe drinking water regardless of location.”
“Our investment in Kusini Water gives us the opportunity to create positive social impact through the provision of clean water and the implementation of water-savings solutions in rural and urban settings,” Mzila says, explaining that Kusini operates in a space which has historically been underfunded, with this investment creating the opportunity for innovative solutions to be implemented.
As a graduate of FNB’s Social Entrepreneurship Impact Lab™ (SEIL) programme, Kusini Water has benefited from a blend of business development support as well as grant investment to catalyse the growth of their business.
Heather Lowe, head of SME development at FNB Business, noted that “Kusini Water’s success is testament not only to the entrepreneur’s resilience and innovative mindset, but the ability to capitalise on practical support from the SEIL programme and grant funding – later culminating in further investment by the Vumela fund.”