A KWSH beneficiary at Tram Khnar. Three years ago, she relied on truck deliveries of water from unknown origins. But now through KWSH she as access to clean piped water, which is cheaper, safer, and more reliable and convenient. Photo by Leap Philanthropy
The company intends to pursue considerable expansion soon, bringing clean water to more households within its geographic licensing area and investing in additional utility stations. However, KWSH encountered a challenge that proved a barrier to its growth, and which required significant funding and expertise to address. Thus, KWSH was introduced to Regional Investment Impact for Entrepreneurs (RISE) through KWSH’s investor-partner, Insitor Partner as a RISE technical assistance (TA) facility is created to support more resilient growth for high social impact businesses to generate impact for the base of the pyramid.
KWSH encountered a challenge in scaling when its growth began to outpace the technology it had in place to monitor its expanding data points. On the company’s aging computer system, it was becoming increasingly difficult to monitor each utility’s performance and the efficacy of the company’s marketing and sales strategies.
"As a hands-on investor, Insitor Partners worked closely with KWSH over the past year to identify and problem-solve for obstacles that may hinder scaling,” said Nicholas Lazos, Partner & Chief Investment Officer at Insitor Partners. “The need for a more advanced CRM system emerged as crucial for KWSH to achieve its long-term objectives and grow in a sustainable manner.”
Though the company realized its need to install a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, it did not have the capital to allocate to the project as its resources were earmarked for use in building water treatment plants, laying pipelines, and acquiring additional utility stations. Nor did KWSH have the expertise necessary to identify a viable software vendor who could create these new systems and tailor them to meet the company’s specific needs.
RISE TA financing solutions proved ideal to meet the challenges KWSH was facing. The RISE model is a flexible one, reliant not on a complex screening process but on a set of basic criteria that include the investor company’s viability for social impact -- criteria which KWSH’s social mission ensured it met. RISE engaged in a formal partnership with KWSH in March and provided the company with an affordable financing solution for the TA the company required, covering the costs of hiring a consultant to design the new system, training the team on how to use the new solutions, and refining and improving the system as it is implemented.
“RISE has offered KWSH a repayable grant to fund the tech project so that they don't have to divert resources from pipeline expansion projects at this critical juncture,” said Lazos. “RISE's repayable grant is a great innovation in the TA delivery space.”
In addition to providing the funding, RISE also assisted KWSH in the recruiting and vetting of TA service providers. Insitor consultants enumerated the necessary and preferred technical specifications and features of KWSH’s new TA system, and RISE then used this information to draft a ToR and contact local and regional consultancies well-suited to provide these requirements. RISE vetted three different vendors’ proposals, then KWSH and Insitor scored each proposal in order to make the final choice.