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Product, Service & Design Innovation
Kimberly-Clark, Kotex to Mentor Startups Focused on Women’s Health, Access to Sanitation

The Toilet Board Coalition’s Women in the Sanitation Economy Innovation Lab has chosen five women-led, early-stage startups focused on women’s reproductive health and hygiene; and improving access to safe, sustainable sanitation options in underserved areas.

The Toilet Board Coalition (TBC), with the strategic support of Kimberly-Clark and its Kotex brand, has launched the Women in the Sanitation Economy Innovation Lab — which seeks to cultivate and catalyze early-stage ideas and businesses within the Sanitation Economy that are led by women and/or focused on women’s health.

Five women-led startups — from the US, UK and Kenya — will participate in the Innovation Lab, which runs for six months beginning this month. Participants will receive support and mentoring from Kimberly-Clark employees, training and webinars on business topics, access to TBC’s network of sanitation entrepreneurs, and guidance in developing custom work plans to bring their ideas to life.

In a 2017 report, Introducing the Sanitation Economy, the TBC shed light on how monetizing toilet provision, products and services, biological resources, health data and information can provide benefits across business and society. That year, TBC and Kimberly-Clark began working together to transform sanitation systems into a smart, sustainable and revenue-generating economy.

Now, the new Innovation Lab initiative expands the reach of the TBC’s current Sanitation Economy Accelerator Program — to address specific gaps in the Sanitation Economy from a technological, business model, demographic or geographical perspective.

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“There is a clear need for more innovation and business solutions to meet exploding consumer demand and to close the gaps on hygiene, including women’s health,” said Pete Dulcamara, Kimberly-Clark’s Chief Scientist and a member of the TBC’s Partnership Council. “This new initiative will address this need by promoting women’s empowerment and helping fill the existing gaps in women’s leadership in products and services within the Sanitation Economy.”

Here are the five startups selected for the Innovation Lab:

  • Be Girl, Inc (US) — a social enterprise that delivers innovatively designed, sustainable menstrual products and education to girls globally.

  • Mama Toto Clothes Diapers Enterprise (Kenya) — an early-stage social enterprise that provides modern cloth diapers and laundering services across all income levels in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • Turn and Flow (UK) — which is developing a service to recycle organic menstrual pads and tampons, turning them into renewable energy and fertilizer.

  • Syna Consultancy Ltd (Kenya) — a social enterprise dedicated to providing access to safe water and sanitation facilities for people with special needs or physical challenges.

  • Usafi Sanitation Ltd (Kenya) — a local Kenyan company that provides eco-friendly solutions to ensure communities, schools and homesteads have access to proper sanitation.

Learn more about the Women in the Sanitation Economy Innovation Lab and the businesses involved here.