This week, I am joining a webinar discussion about Navjot Sawhney’s experience of running the social enterprise “The Washing Machine Project”. We reflect on what other businesses seeking to put people and the planet before profit may learn from Sawhney’s experience, as well as broader lessons for entrepreneurs working with a very small budget.
This is a free Webinar, organised by my colleague Dr Gurdeep Kohli, and supported by Brunel Hive. It takes place on Wednesday, February 10th, at 3 pm. Register here.
About this Event
What would you do if you had invented a product that could dramatically improve the lives of more than 1bn families, and save 1.2m litres of water – but your customers were some of the poorest in the world, and they lived in hard to reach locations?
That is the challenge faced by social entrepreneur Navjot Sawhney, founder of The Washing Machine Project. He developed a washing machine that is affordable, portable and accessible, and which can be used in refugee camps, war zones and many other deprived areas, in order to improve hygiene, reduce disease, and free up time for education and productive endeavours. In this session we will examine some of the challenges faced by The Washing Machine Project, including attracting funding, scaling up operations, unlocking distribution channels, increasing awareness, engaging volunteers, and serving customers at The Bottom of the Pyramid.
We reflect on what other businesses seeking to put people and the planet before profit may learn from this experience, as well as broader lessons for entrepreneurs working with a very small budget.
Mr. Navjot Sawhney
Mr. Nav Sawhney is the founder of The Washing Machine Project. He was born and brought up in London, but his family are from unpartitioned India. During the 1947 Indian Independence, Nav’s father and his family fled their home from what is now Pakistan, with only the clothes on their backs. Their experienced inspired Nav to help people fleeing conflict. Whether it’s building lifesaving cookstoves in rural India, being a trustee of the international development charity Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK), building clean water systems for an orphanage in Namibia or volunteering his time at a homeless shelter for migrants in London, Nav has always been passionate about helping others, with a particular interest in International Development. With over five years of professional engineering experience at global technology companies such as Dyson and Jaguar Land Rover behind him, Nav combines a desire to help people with strong Engineering skills. He created The Washing Machine Project, a social enterprise which aims to provide an affordable, portable and accessible solution to washing clothes, as a mechanism for improving the health of refugees, freeing up time for education and productive activities
Dr. Ana Canhoto
Dr Ana Canhoto is a Reader in Marketing, and the divisional lead for Marketing at Brunel University London. Her research focuses on the role of technology in interactions between firms and their customers. She has taught across various programmes, including MBA and executive education, and led on the pedagogical use of new technologies (e.g., Google Online Marketing Challenge). Ana holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, as well as an MBA from London Business School. Prior to joining academia, she worked as a management consultant in the telecommunications industry and as a portfolio manager at a leading media and entertainment company, among others.
Dr. Manoj Dora
Dr. Manoj Dora is a Reader in Operations Management, and the Director of Collaborative Projects and Outreach at Brunel Business School. Manoj’s areas of specialisation are Sustainable Value Chain and Quality Managemen, with a focus on Lean Six Sigma in the agro-food sector. He has several years of experience in teaching, research and consultancy, worldwide. He is the founder of the “Circular Food Forum” which brings together academic, industries and policy makers to facilitate dialogue and take forward research agenda. He has been involved in many capacity building initiatives focusing on the circular economy, humanitarian operations, industry 4.0 and food supply chain in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.
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