The Toilet Accelerator works with promising sanitation businesses for a duration of 12 months through a small business-large business mentorship programme model. Since 2016, the corporate Accelerator has supported sanitation businesses and entrepreneurs serving low-income markets to help them overcome barriers to scale in order to bridge the gap of 2.4 billion people still lacking access to sanitation. More than toilets alone, we are supporting commercially viable businesses at every point of the Sanitation Economy, including sanitation infrastructure, service providers, collection, treatment, transformation (up cycling of toilet resources - waste), digital and preventative healthcare.

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2019 Cohort Call for Applications

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History: After the TBC had identified key technological barriers for portable toilet projects, LIXIL Corporation decided to take on the challenge of innovating in this field, and set up a Portable Toilet Innovation team. The team designed a new sanitation system for low income, densley populated living environments where conventional sanitation solutions such as pit latrines or sewers are nt an option due to space or cost.

Model: Product innovation to be sold B2B to low-income toilet service providers.

Distinctiveness: Innovative technology and new design of the toilet to improve upon acceptance barriers such as malodour, water scarcity, chemistry-friendliness for waste treatment and waste to resource opportunities.

Challenges: Acceptance of new toilet design, cost of materials, connectivity to waste treatment requirements

Investors: LIXIL Corporation. Funding to support field pilots: WSUP (via DFiD) for Ghana

TBC contribution: Co-innovation platform (TBC), cleaning solution advice/innovation (Unilever), malodor solution advice/innovation (Firmenich), field pilots opportunities (Manila Water, WSUP).



History: Safi Sana was founded in 2010 with an office in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Accra (Ghana). The founding fathers are Aqua for All, Shell, Rabobank and DHV who hired Aart van den Beukel (now MD) to set up a pilot, test commercial viability and scale up. Safi Sana has a team of 21 people, responsible for operations and design and implementation of new factories. In September 2016 we opened our first large scale commercial factory in Ashaiman, serving 40,000 people with improved sanitation, green power and compost.

Business Model: The Safi Sana factory treats toilet and solid organic waste from the slum community with a capacity of 25 tonnes daily. The waste is turned into electricity and compost and sold locally. Electricity is sold to the local energy company at guaranteed feed-in tariff (price per kWh). Compost is sold to local farmers. Additionally, we charge a competitive dump fee for intake (and treatment) of the faecal waste. Safi Sana has the intention to develop 8 new factories by 2023.

Distinctiveness: A Safi Sana factory is a utility that is designed to be financially independent. That is a game-changer since most utilities for waste (water) treatment either are 100% subsidised with public funds or, what is most common in the developing world, are operated without any serious income source and without proper maintenance. In our model we involve all players in the sanitation value chain to make sure that the there is a financial and intrinsic value driver that must guarantee long term involvement.

Challenges: To make a factory commercially viable, we need the right market conditions. Meaning, that we need sufficient and good input material (waste) and customers with sufficient demand and the willingness and ability to pay. One of our strategies is to work with bigger corporates with linkages to the local community. Through this type of partnership all parties can benefit. The TBC can help us by introducing us to these bigger corporates like Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and Tata Steel. 


Clean Team Ghana

History: A social business started in the city of Kumasi in 2012, owned by the UK not-for- profit WSUP. It operates in a low- income area of Kumasi, a city of over a million people in South Ghana, where it started its present service provision with the installation of portable toilets in early 2013.

Model: Product to service model. Monthly fee for toilet servicing, including the rental of toilet unit and waste collection three times per week. Waste is disposed at the municipal treatment centre.

Distinctiveness: Households in dense urban areas without sewer network or possibility to build septic tanks are willing to pay for the service, more aspirational and economical than public toilet pay per use

Challenges: demand creation, logistics, product design, operational efficiency technologies

Investors: Unilever, DFID, the Stone Family Foundation and USAID

TBC contribution: Product design (LIXIL Corporation), malodour solutions (Firmenich), sales & marketing (Unilever)


Svadha India

History: Sanitation business founded in 2013 as a subsidiary of eKutir, an Indian social business

Model: Svadha identifies, trains, supports local entrepreneurs that manufacture latrine components, commercialise them and ensure installation and after-sales

Distinctiveness: Svadha is the first to promote comprehensive solutions in the range of $200 including manufactured products which it sells to entrepreneurs to cover its costs

Challenges: Svadha needs to confirm demand at scale, increase entrepreneurs’ sales, maintain corporate discounts on manufactured products, and reduce marketing costs

Investors: eKutir, Unilever

TBC contribution: Unilever, Grand Challenges Canada, and Kimberly provide funding and technical assistance.

Other partnerships triggered: Firmenich and Lafarge-Holcim


Sanergy Kenya

History: Sanergy launched full operations in Nairobi’s Mukuru slum in 2011.

Business Model: Sanergy takes a full value chain approach to the provision of hygienic sanitation, by building a network of cartridge-based sanitation units, collecting waste safely and professionally and removing it from the community, and converting the waste into usable high-value end-products, including organic fertilizer, insect-based animal feed, and renewable energy.

Distinctiveness: Recognizing that safe sanitation is more than just access to a toilet, Sanergy works in urban slums to ensure the safe containment, collection, removal, treatment, and conversion of human waste. In addition, by proving a market for waste-derived end-products, Sanergy is developing a sustainable and scalable model for urban sanitation provision.  

Challenges: Sanergy is working with the TBC to develop off-take agreements for the sale of agricultural inputs.


Biocycle Durban, South Africa

History: The leadership of AgriProtein has been entrenched in the sanitation to high value protein cycle for almost a decade and have invested their personal time, money and drive to pioneer the waste2feed technology platforms of the BioCycle. The business only uses the separate brand BioCycle, as opposed to the AgriProtein main business, as it is appropriate in the medium term to keep the association with human toilet resources distinguishable from the clean organic waste streams used in our core operation.

Business Model: Within the ‘municipality pays for sanitation services’ context, we generate revenue from gate fees for the toilet resources that are brought to our plant. Post the biological breakdown of these resources through the natural nutrient recovery technology of the Black Soldier Fly Larvae, a mechanical process is used to produce three safe products. The process uses mostly recycled water, and minimal fuel inputs.

Distinctiveness: Our process recovers the most possible value from toilet resources, providing an animal feed, an oil, and carbon products. The primary nutrient recovery process is biological and largely passive, where insects are given the time and environmental conditions to efficiently break down the substrate.

Challenges: Product development, off-take agreements.


Sanivation Kenya

History: After working globally as engineers, Sanivation’s co-founders, Andrew and Emily, became convinced of the far-reaching impacts of sanitation and how a market-based solutions can achieve scale and lasting impact. Since founding the organization in 2014, Sanivation has developed technologies and launched operations in Naivasha, Kenya and Kakuma Refugee Camp.

Business Model: In urbanizing communities, Sanivation deploys a Design-Build-Operate model for sanitation services. We install toilets in the homes of the urban poor for free and charge a small servicing fee. Then, we collect the waste and bring it to our central waste processing facility where we use our proprietary treatment technology to transform it into an in-demand fuel product, charcoal briquettes. We plan to work with municipalities to be their preferred non-sewered sanitation service provider.

Distinctiveness: With our approach, we are shifting the paradigm for sanitation in two big ways. First instead of asking how can we dispose of waste with minimal impact on communities, we are asking how can waste have the maximum positive impact on communities. Secondly, we are taking a complete 100% market-driven approach to providing sanitation services, ensuring it’s long-term sustainability and replicability. Not only will these put us on our path to be a universal on-site sanitation provider for the millions of urban residents and refugees lacking sanitation services in East Africa, but catalyze others to join this effort.

Challenges: With TBC, Sanivation is working to navigate the multinational corporation procurement process, so we can help large factories save money and procure a more sustainable fuel source, our charcoal briquettes!


Samagra India

Business Model: Samagra Sanitation is the first for-profit social enterprise in India that is dedicated to providing access to clean, safe, and reliable community toilet facilities for the urban slum-dwelling poor.

Distinctiveness: What makes the model innovative is the seamless bundling of other value-added services along with the toilet block:

        -  Financial services (including savings accounts)

        -  Access to digital goods (mobile phone re-charge, TV subscription services, Bill Payment Services)

        -  Access to life improving Products and Services (Assisted Ecommerce)

Samagra effectively partners with municipal agencies and leverages existing community toilet infrastructure to create a community center and a “one stop shop” for slum residents. The model has proven its ability to attract and retain users to the toilet facility, promote hygienic behavior, and still achieve profitability. 

Challenges: There are 3 key areas of need for Samagra as it goes from 15 locations to 500 by the end of 2017.  These include operational support, digital innovation and resource mobilisation points of impact



History: Joint venture between private utility and provincial government, which decided in 2014 to explore how to replicate a portable toilet service in its concession area to reach last mile consumers - building on the success of similar model for water access to the same last mile consumers

Model: Bundling of services to the same consumers (Water & Sanitation). Model enabled by efficiencies gained with cross-subsidies between higher income consumer segment (85% of households) and last mile water service network (15% of households), charged as top up on water bills

Distinctiveness: This model would leverage the assets of a large utility to rapidly and efficiently scale up portable toilets to 300,000 families in Laguna

Challenges: Need for regulatory approval to enforce the payment of an additional environmental fee on top of water bills, technical and aspirational portable toilet design that fits Laguna’s environmental and cultural context.

Investors: Laguna Water, Lixil Corporation

TBC contribution: Product design (Manila Water, LIXIL Corporation, Unilever, Firmenich, Clean Team), consumer insights and marketing (Unilever & Kimberly-Clark), access to financing for pilot testing (TBC)


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