Erb Entrepreneurs Cynthia Koenig, Erb ’11 and Colm Fay, Erb ’12 launch award winning social venture helping people to transport safe drinking water in areas where it is not readily available.
“There’s beauty in simplicity. Just ask entrepreneur Cynthia Koenig, MBA/MS ’11, who with assistance from Colm Fay, MBA/MS ’12, and Christopher Mueller, MBA/MPP ’11, has launched Wello, an award-winning social venture. Wello manufactures and distributes the WaterWheel, a 20-gallon drum that easily transports four to five times the amount of water possible using traditional methods of collection. The product is ideal for people who live in locations where safe drinking water is not readily available. “It saves people from having to carry such heavy weight on a daily basis over a distance that can sometimes be several miles,” says Fay.
Following a summer of intensive field testing, Wello is poised to begin manufacturing in India. The team will pilot their distribution model with nonprofits Seva Mandir and the Barefoot College later this fall. In addition to receiving a warm welcome in India, Wello’s business model also has been well received. Wello won the Dow Sustainability Challenge Grant and finished second in this spring’s Princeton Entrepreneur’s Network Pitch Competition. The venture also earned the Social Impact Award at the 2010 Michigan Business Challenge, sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. In May Koenig’s work was recognized by former President Bill Clinton during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative University.” — Ross Dividend, Fall 2010