WINNER SEIF AWARD FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL INNOVATION 2016
Mosan has developed a transportable dry toilet and ecological sanitation service for densely populated settlements and challenging environments worldwide. They believe that a safe sanitation is the most effective way to improve the quality of life and the health of people. Mona Mijthab, founder of Mosan, will be one of the speakers at the SEIF Awards Ceremony on June 28. She is a visionary thinker and sees people as part of the solution. We were happy to talk to her about what has happened since Mosan won the SEIF Award in 2016.
Mona, can you tell us about your biggest achievements since you won the SEIF Award?
2016 was a key year for us. We won the SEIF Award, which allowed us to register Mosan as a company and move to the next level. That year we worked a lot on our business model and established key partnerships in Central America. Today, we are operating our sanitation service in the Mayan community Santa Catarina Palopó at Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. What I am most proud of are our users, who are much more than users of our technology and service, they are ambassadors for us and our cause, they believe in us and promote Mosan and the benefits it offers for themselves and the environment. For me, their trust and support are our biggest achievements.
What are you currently focusing on?
We are in the scaling stage, which means we are doing awareness and promotion events in the community to add more users to the Mosan service. At the same time, we are evaluating technologies and machines with higher capacities for our recycling process and promote our service to additional municipalities. It’s an exciting time as we are building on all our learnings from the past months.
What has been your biggest challenge, and what important lessons did you learn during your journey?
Implementing our first project in Guatemala we faced several delays with the toilet production in Germany, shipping and import into Guatemala. I think it is very important to know your suppliers and all involved stakeholders in the product process very well. If possible, get written agreements beforehand or plan more time for the risk of delays.
What would you say to entrepreneurs considering taking part in the SEIF Awards next year?
Be yourself and share your personal story! Stories are powerful, make us human, and allow us to connect – and that is what matters. If investors believe in you, they are more likely to support you.
“Stories are powerful, make us human, and allow us to connect – and that is what matters. If investors believe in you, they are more likely to support you.”
You work in an international environment: How do you see the Swiss ecosystem in terms of opportunities for growth and scaling compared to other countries? Is there anything missing?
I think Switzerland is a fantastic place to start and develop a business. There are many opportunities. Especially the social business scene is like a family, where entrepreneurs help each other, instead of competing. I really appreciate this atmosphere and support. In terms of scaling and growth I think Switzerland could do more for startups beyond the idea and prototyping phase. When we started to bring our product into series production and began to enter a market, there were less opportunities. The SEIF Impact Academy with selected coaches is a positive example, more support like this could help startups in that phase.