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Start up: Acuacare


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Juan Carlos Guáqueta

Industrial engineer from Xaverian University in Bogota, with an MBA focusing on construction companies from the Catholic University of Chile, a Georgetown Fellow with the Global Competitiveness Leadership Program, and a Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum.

AcuaCare began by implementing solutions to treat water with earthworms, allowing for savings of up to 70% in the process. During the sales process, the company developed portable biological treatment kits for families, and realized this could have a major impact on health care in Latin America. But as company officials traveled to rural areas they realized that it was not enough to simply improve health care. Rather, it was necessary to change people’s lives and housing situation in a sustainable way. The idea was to help them take ownership of where they lived and create systems that let them save money and even generate income.

AcuaCare has a partnership with Benhabitat, which for more than 30 years has been building housing in rural areas. The companies formed a team of experts to focus on creating housing solutions that were adequate, sustainable and adaptable to different needs and climates. It all began with the following question: what if we designed a home that a woman who is the breadwinner in a family could put together without expert-level skills.

The Habitat business line is a simple system of build-it-yourself houses. Each part of the house is conceived so that it does not require more than two steps to assemble. It features systems to capture and store rainwater and a system to treat water with earthworms (an award-winning technology). Also, each component of the packaging that the pieces of the house come in have a use as well, such as growing food or improving the local flora and fauna.

The Habitat system generates savings of up to 40% compared to traditional houses, and provides a new construction method based on the IKEA do-it-yourself model. It also creates the possibility of integrating community, environment and economy. The kind of construction used in the Habitat line has been used two develop two houses, and the water treatment technology has been installed in more than eight homes.

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