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Uncharted Ground With SSIR

Aug 2, 2021

Nothing is more essential to life than clean drinking water. Where it’s in short supply—as in much of Africa and other developing regions—there’s opportunity for promoting good health, improving livelihoods, and making money. Jibu seeks to achieve all three through its franchises that treat, package, and distribute affordable water in the major cities of East Africa. For Jibu, selling water is ultimately a means to the end of spreading economic opportunity for the continent’s aspiring entrepreneurs.

A father-and-son team, Randy and Galen Welsch, started Jibu in 2012. The social enterprise is now a leading purveyor of bottled water in four countries and growing rapidly in three more. This episode traces the venture from:

  • their early brainstorming sessions (03:59) to the failure of their pilot project in all three initial countries (05:54),
    the design of compact equipment tailored for developing markets (11:29),
  • their priorities on recruiting women franchisees and employees to promote gender equity (17:24),
  • structuring payment terms to make the franchise opportunity affordable to African entrepreneurs (25:52),
  • and empowering local owners to make decisions that are key to growth and sustainability (29:36).

Additional Resources:

Source articles for this episode include:

The full transcript of the episode can be found at