We support high-impact enterprises from across Southeast Asia that work with rural and underserved communities. Below is a selection we have worked with.
Vietnam – Hanoi
WALITY is a water kiosk company, it operates machines that make purified water. Our technology is compacted to make clean water available to the poor, for an investment that does not exceed $10 per user. WALITY helps people living with less that $1.25 a day who live in the outskirts of cities and in small towns where there is no water utility. Water kiosks exist in many countries and are a cheap alternative to expensive utilities. It is well suited to the needs of urban poor and isolated rural areas.
WALITY is supported by social enterprise specialists including SPARK Centre for Social Enterprise, a Vietnamese NGO that supports social entrepreneurs throughout Vietnam, and UBERIS, an Impact Investing firm that helps finance social enterprises in the Mekong region.
WALITY is undertaken with 1001 Fontaines, a water kiosk leader that already runs 200 water kiosks in Cambodia, India and Madagascar with over 240,000 beneficiaries.
Water in Vietnam
Vietnam is a country where groundwater pollution has reached excessive heights. After two decades of huge progress in water and sanitation, the country is still facing acute problems due to intensive agriculture and industrialisation. Levels of arsenic and other water contaminants like heavy metals are very high. In some areas of Vietnam like in the Red River and Mekong deltas where the density of population is close to that of Bangladesh, urban poor struggle to find clean water.
WALITY helps people living with less that $1.25 a day, who live in the outskirts of cities and in small towns where there is no water utility. Most urban migrants live close to industrial zones where water is polluted and access to clean water is a problem. WALITY has two main objectives including:
- 1-Supply clean water affordably to the poor, allowing them to increase their quality of life and health at a price less than 2 US$ a litter.
- 2-Empower young women entrepreneurs by providing them with an opportunity to start their own business.
WALITY sell water at $2 cents a litre in jugs of 20L. This price is more affordable that most water sources and – unlike tap water – the water is guaranteed pure. WALITY operates machines authorised and certified by the Ministry of Health.
WALITY’s ambition is to grow to 150 sites or “water kiosks” in five years. To achieve that goal, WALITY wants to help women set up their own water enterprise by operating a water kiosk in a chosen location. WALITY will help them with equipment, maintenance, operations, branding, marketing, training. WALITY is a women enterprise dedicated to empower women with entrepreneurial opportunity.
Khmer Sedge Designs
Khmer Sedge Designs (KSD) is a social enterprise in Cambodia that produces traditional weaved handicrafts made of all-natural sedge grass, with a distinct cultural and economic mission.
The enterprise started in 1980 as a family business that produces traditional grass mats, in the village home of Ms. Sreng Ly Leng, in Ksach Kandal district, Kandal province. From the outset, the business has sought to provide employment for local women and preserve the art and skills of weaving, as well as traditional Khmer designs.
From this start, KSD has succeeded to unite over 300 scattered individuals in supply chain of this handicraft in the Kandal region, amplifying the economic benefits for all involved. By joining the network, independent workers are able to depend on a more stable monthly income. All workers are employed from home or at the workshop located in the village. There is also a representative office/show room in Phnom Penh.
KSD has succeeded in implementing quality standards and formalizing its production processes, which has increased the quality of its products and their value to end-customers. Consequently, up to 90% of its products are now exported, where higher margins can be attained, to the benefit of the entire value-chain and network of local producers.
The enterprise aims to increase the living standards of all the artisans in the sedge value chain in the region, as well as preserving traditional skills and handicrafts.
KSD generates employment for mostly women, which enables them to stay and work from home and earn additional income. Without this opportunity, women tend to leave home for weeks at a time to take up temporary employment in garment factories. Such labour is less remunerative for them and deprives households. With KSD, women can work from home, earn more and keep looking after their children and families.
UBERIS Capital provided strategic and operational advice along with an early-stage loan, as part of a larger investment including convertible debt and equity from co-investors.
Coco Khmer is a social enterprise creating high quality coconut oil and coconut-based skincare products, producing fair-trade based and natural coconut products, while providing economic empowerment for marginalized Cambodians. It was created in August 2013. The facility is based in Phnom Penh. The company provides upward mobility opportunities to marginalized Cambodians. It produces Coconut-based 100% natural products.
The long-term mission of Coco Khmer is to increase demand for coconut based products. To that end the company is building an integrated model where rural coconut farmers and those from marginalized urban areas can learn and benefit from the value of agricultural processing.
Founded in August 2013, Coco Khmer is a lean, bootstrapped, social enterprise that uses triple bottom line principals to provide upward mobility opportunities to marginalized Cambodians. At the same time we are striving to create a closed-loop production cycle by producing downstream products that are 100% natural, beneficial to our customers, and create additional revenue streams from byproducts and waste. Headquartered in Phnom Penh, we’re the first virgin coconut oil production facility in Cambodia and one of the few social enterprise virgin coconut oil producers in the world with export ability. Our low-tech, micro-scale, production system was designed to be easily and affordably replicated in multiple underserved locations in Cambodia or anywhere that has affordable access to coconuts.
At inception, the immediate goal of Coco Khmer was to improve the lives of the marginalized community of the former Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, an area where 4,000 families were forcefully evicted by an urban development project. Now it offers on-going training and technical support as well as helps communities explore other income generating enterprises. The enterprise has successfully equipped and trained 15 women on how to make high quality, hand-pressed, Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) turned into organic “poverty- free” food and skin care products such as deodorants, balms and soaps. Coco Khmer produces 9 unique VCO-based products in 23 different flavors sold in 16 different packaging sizes.
Since starting commercialization in December 2013, the company has grown to $15,000 sales per month. It broke-even during its first year of operation and now operates profitably. Coco Khmer needs funds to consolidate its position. In particular, it requires working capital to grow suppliers from farmers.
UBERIS Capital aims to provide early funding in the form of a convertible loan. Initial funding will be match funded by our co-investors under a joint management agreement. This first round of capital will be used in Capital Expenditures as well as Working Capital Requirement. It will also help the entrepreneur improve financial management, production and logistics. We aim to help Coco Khmer prepare a second round of investment to attract further capital in a 2 to 3 years’ period.
Achievements thanks to UBERIS Capital: The capital provided by UBERIS Capital will be used in Capital Expenditures as well as Working Capital Requirement. It will also help the entrepreneur improve financial management, production and logistics.
TxT produce and supply high-quality economic empowerment of marginalized ethnic minority communities, through high-value poultry breeding. TxT is covering 5 districts of Western mountainous area in Thanh Hoa province in Vietnam.
TxT was established in June 2010 in Quan Hoa, Thanh Hoa Province in order to help improve the livelihood of the ethnic minorities in the region. TxT aims to promote regional sustainable development through the production and supply of high-quality breeding poultry and waterfowl. Quan Hoa and its surrounding regions are 5 of 63 the poorest mountainous districts in Vietnam, with the majority of the population belonging to ethnic minorities (Thai, Muong).
On account of the rough mountainous terrain and difficult weather conditions, poultry breeding is yet to be developed, requiring the population to earn most of their income from planting bamboo, corn and other crops that grow on slopes.
The Thanh Hoa Province of north-central Vietnam has a 50,000 Ha bamboo plantation of Long “Giant Bamboo”, the largest in Southeast Asia.
Seeing the opportunity to lift these rural populations out of poverty through the introduction of a new way of improving incomes, TxT successfully set up a breeding farm in QuanHoa where they are able to provide the local communities with young fowl, eggs and poultry for consumption. The company also provides the local farmers with the necessary support and training to ensure sustained returns from their livestock.
TxT’s unique initiative not only provides the local communities with an additional form of livelihood that produces higher returns but also provides a platform for cooperation and participation among micro-entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector. These entrepreneurs are to become active agents in TxT’s network of product distribution and technical support for both the local development strategy and the poultry breeding industry in Thanh Hoa. In this way, TxT seeks to realise its long-term objective of rural empowerment and
By 2015, TxT aims to reach following targets:
- Increase incomes of 2,750 households in five targeted districts, wherein 400-targeted households would be lifted out of poverty sustainably through poultry breeding (average additional monthly income is USD 28 or USD 1 per day).
- Create and develop a network of over 90 micro-entrepreneurs belonging to ethnic minority groups to produce and breed chickens, increasing their monthly incomes to USD 300 on average.
- Create jobs and a sustainable life for 20 workers in the targeted group with an additional monthly income of USD 220 on average.
UBERIS Capital got involved in 2011 to help the company transition to commercial competitiveness. In 2013, TxT was elected as one of the first social enterprises in Vietnam in a national social enterprise competition.
Cambodia – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap
ARTillery, is a Food & Beverage (F&B) retail chain in Cambodia. Their focus is to serve fresh, creative, homemade food and drinks to customers at cafes in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, while promoting highly sustainable practices and supply chains. They strive to showcase their work and serve as a model for other F&B businesses in the region.Their work
Within three years the business has expanded to three locations in two cities, and also runs farm produce shops on their premises, employing approximately 50 Cambodian staff.
The mission of the business is to work with local farms and food enterprises to develop organic food production, create market demand for chemical free products, and raise health awareness among consumers. Also, most of its employees are young disadvantaged women, who are supported to work part-time, so as fund their further education.
We assisted ARTillery with their procurement arm, which promotes organic farming practices and sources from local smallholder farmers. Uberis helped put in place a revolving credit facility to help these farmers invest toward higher productivity and more sustainable practices.
Sunlabob Renewable Energy
Headquartered in Laos, and operating accross Southeast Asia, India, Agrica and the Pacific Islands
Sunlabob is an award winning specialist provider in renewable energy and clean water solutions for the developing world. It offers integrated solutions for rural electrification to governments, multilateral development agencies, multinational companies, NGOs and communities. In the last five years, Sunlabob delivered over $15m of rural electrification projects in 12 countries, employing mostly solar and small-scale hydropower technologies.
Sunlabob’s mission is to provide renewable energy and clean water solutions for rural and remote communities that are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. The business works primarily with rural poor communities situated in remote off-grid areas and is committed to providing solutions that are affordable and fair. Over 250,000 households have been impacted over the last five years.
Uberis Captial worked with Sunlabob since 2013, initially through advisory support and a debt and equity investment. Since then, we have been facilitating and structuring further project-finance based investments to support individual projects, particularly in Myanmar.
Renewable and clean water solutions for rural and remote communities.
|Headquartered in Laos, and operating across Southeast Asia, India, Africa and the Pacific Islands|
Sunlabob is an award winning specialist provider in renewable energy and clean water solutions throughout the developing world. In particular, it offers integrated solutions for rural electrification to governments, multilateral development agencies, multinational companies, NGOs and private individuals and communities. In the last five years, Sunlabob delivered over $15m of rural electrification projects in 12 countries.
Uberis Captial has been working with Sunlabob since 2013, initially through advisory support and a debt and equity investment in the parent group. Since then, we have been facilitating and structuring further project-finance based investments to support individual projects, particularly in Myanmar.