Using professional skills to empower entrepreneurs – The Deutsche Bank case

Using professional skills to empower entrepreneurs – The Deutsche Bank case

As part of our series of blog articles on corporate partnerships, we’re publishing this month the experience of Tariq A., one of the 10 Deutsche Bank volunteers who supported directly some of our businesses. Tariq worked with Drinkwell, and initially committed 10hrs, but delivered a lot more, and managed to hook an ex-Deutsche Bank colleague into it as well!

Below is his experience. Other volunteers worked with Sehat Kahani in Pakistan, AcceleratED in Ethiopia and KGG in Nepal.

“Through Deustche Bank’s UK CSR team I discovered SPRING volunteering programme, and after the matching process, I was assigned to advise one of these businesses – Drinkwell.

Bangladesh and India face the largest mass poisoning in human history due to groundwater contaminated with arsenic and fluoride; 1 in 5 deaths in Bangladesh is due to arsenic. Drinkwell is a water technology company that is transforming the world’s water crisis into entrepreneurial opportunity by using a micro-franchise model to establish local water businesses in arsenic-affected areas. It licenses proprietary knowledge and provide Turnkey solutions to governments, NGOs, and industrial customers so they may provide efficient, affordable, and safe water to the masses. They set up a partnership with Dhaka water services, to service their water pumps and ensure they deliver uncontaminated water to the population of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, drastically improving their health and saving time in not having to boil water anymore.

As part of a team of three, we have been tasked to advise Drinkwell’s CEO Minhaj Chowdhury (based in Dhaka) on how to build out and maintain the company’s cash flow model because of the complexity of their products. Without a clear view of the company’s finances it is difficult to show accurately how the company is performing across all its products and key KPIs.

Through conference calls, WebEx sessions (and over a dinner in London!) we have asked Minhaj questions as part of our due diligence to carefully distinguish between each of the revenue streams and how each product works; before developing the cash flow model.

minhaj-video-stillThe results of this refreshed model is being built into an investors pitch to clearly demonstrate the sources of revenue growth and Drinkwell’s ability to simultaneously bring positive impact through increasing access to drinking water and creating jobs in socio-economically deprived areas. This is an important exercise in bringing financial transparency to potential investors so that the company is able to attract funds to sustain and expand its ability to deliver social and economic good.

Drinkwell has already made significant progress through a new urban initiative with Dhaka WASA, an established government contractor serving 17m people. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed to roll out Drinkwell’s mobile money-enabled water ATM technology across Dhaka WASA’s network. 100 pumps are to be installed by early 2018, and 260 by 2019

This experience has given me the opportunity to combine my skills, that I have been developing as part of my role in Group Management Consulting, with my passion to make a positive impact through entrepreneurial ideas. One thing that worked particularly well was using my network to bring on board the right expertise to ask the right questions. I was able to understand the company inside-out and therefore advise them effectively.

I look forward to continuing to work with Drinkwell and on similar projects through the DB CSR team. Global financial institutions and their employees can support women and girls through educational initiatives, social entrepreneurship, capacity building, and careers advice. In particular with many employees who have studied and use STEM disciplines; they are able to inspire and nurture young women into STEM careers. Through advising social enterprises and participating in carefully designed programmes; the bank can also help grow the capacity of young women to envision and create change in their lives and their communities.”