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Two Innovative Solutions Win Challenge to Tackle Water and Sanitation Needs of Latin America

The AquaCerta Challenge, aiming to strength water systems and innovation in our region, received 31 proposals through IDB Lab. A new call opens to continue identifying proposals and products developed by the private sector.

In a joint effort to promote innovative solutions in the water and sanitation sector, the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB Group), through its innovation laboratory, IDB Lab, in coordination with the IDB Water and Sanitation Division, and in partnership with the members of the Source of Innovation alliance, has selected two winners of the AquaCerta Challenge. This initiative, focused on ensuring access to safe drinking water and on increasing the resilience of water systems in Latin America and the Caribbean, received 31 proposals that seek to transform the water landscape in the region.

The challenge sought to strengthen the supply of innovative solutions and products within the private sector, including startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and social enterprises such as B corporations that can be adopted by service providers in the region. The objective was to identify and support proposals that address critical challenges in areas such as energy efficiency, non-revenue water management, water quality, water utility systems management, and the sustainability and environmental resilience of these services.

The call wanted to promote more equitable and sustainable development in the region and was aimed at private sector entities in these 14 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

The two winning proposals were selected for their solutions in improving energy efficiency and reducing water losses, as well as in implementing advanced digital technologies for integrated water management. These proposals not only represent a significant technological advancement, but they also offer financial and scalable models that can be adopted by service providers across the region:

  • Ainwater, from Chile, leverages artificial intelligence to optimize the efficiency of water treatment plants with a focus on rural sanitation services. Their approach targets digital twins’ technology, allowing them to monitor and enhance the operation of these plants in Chile.
  • Cuencas Sustentables, from Bolivia, together with Fundación Natura Bolivia, is working on the implementation of a new model of reciprocal water agreements, addressing water management in an integrated manner, merging forest conservation and water access infrastructure development, with a focus on financial sustainability and capacity building in rural communities in Bolivia.

Each of the winning projects will be considered for funding between $250,000 and $400,000 that will allow them to implement their solution in one of the IDB's 14 target countries of the challenge. In addition, the winners are joining IDB Lab's network of global innovators, where they will have the opportunity to exchange knowledge, experiences, and best practices with other leaders in the sector.

Second call for proposals to the AquaCerta Challenge

To reinforce Source of Innovation commitment to strengthen the private sector supply in the sector, IDB Lab, in coordination with the IDB Water and Sanitation Division, announces a new edition of the AquaCerta Challenge. This time the opportunity is open to projects to be implemented in any of the 26 IDB borrowing member countries.

Key Details:

  • Dates: The call will be open from March 22nd to May 31st, 2024.
  • Funding: Selected projects will receive funding of between $300,000 and $500,000.
  • Participants: startups, small and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and social business (i.e. B corporations) with specific projects.

For more details and to submit your project, visit the official AquaCerta Challenge website.

About IDB Lab

IDB Lab is the innovation and venture laboratory of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. Our purpose is to discover new ways to drive social inclusion, environmental action and productivity in Latin America and the Caribbean. IDB Lab leverages financing, knowledge and connections to support early-stage entrepreneurship, foster the development of new technologies, activate innovative markets and catalyze existing sectors.

About Source of Innovation

Source of Innovation is an alliance of the IDB Group with external partners to promote the development and adoption of innovative solutions in the water, sanitation, and solid waste sectors to achieve smart, inclusive, and sustainable services, with a focus on service providers in Latin America and the Caribbean. Source of Innovation is funded by the Government of Switzerland, through its Secretariat of State for Economic Affairs (SECO), the FEMSA Foundation, the Republic of Korea, through its Ministry of the Environment, The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Government of Spain, through its Ministry of Economy, Trade and Business (MINECO), and the Government of Israel, through its Ministry of Finance. The alliance is also complemented by direct contributions from IDB Lab and the Water and Sanitation Division of the IDB, and coordinates directly with Aquafund, the fund created with IDB capital and the contributions of a wide range of public and private sector partners.


Manzano Guillen, Maria De Gador

Manzano Guillen, Maria De Gador
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