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Startup wins regional HULT prize for clean drinking water model

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  1. DANCING GIRL

    DANCING GIRL SENIOR MEMBER

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    Startup wins regional HULT prize for clean drinking water model
    By Azifa Ayaz
    Published: March 12, 2018
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    Team PakVitae as they win the regional award for Hult. PHOTO: NATIONAL INCUBATION CENTER/FACEBOOK

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    With 22 million people forced to drink dirty water in Pakistan, the country is a long way behind in finding ways to purify drinking water.

    However, a startup has taken on itself to find a solution for the dirty drinking water in the country. PakVitae, a startup out of the National Incubation Center in Lahore, created a portable model which purifies up to 400,000 litres of water and cleans out 99.9999 per cent of contamination.

    For the idea, the startup has won the regional HULT Prize for 2018 and will compete at the Grand Finale of the competition.

    “In just $50, with our setup, a microentrepreneur can provide 1000 litres of clean drinking water every day. Our goal is to create 50,000 water-preneurs in Pakistan both in rural and urban areas within five years by collaborating with microfinance institutions like Akuwat Foundation and Finca microfinance in Pakistan,” according to a press release.

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    They are the first team to represent Pakistan in the finals of the competition.

    HULT Prize was established in the year 2010 and is a year-long annual competition based on contributions from students on topics related to Business. This year, the topic chosen was “Harnessing the Power of Energy.”

    800 countries represented themselves in the semi-finals where PakVitae won the award.

    Shayan Sohail, CEO of PakVitae stated that as a result of the selection, the team will soon be leaving for a two-month-long fully funded training program in the UK and will then present their final pitch at the HULT Grand Finale in September.

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    The 2018 Regional Winner of Hult Prize PHOTO: NATIONAL INCUBATION CENTER/FACEBOOK

    Speaking to The Express Tribune, Sohail revealed what gave him the idea to work on getting access to cleaner drinking water in Pakistan.

    “When I moved to Lahore for university and started drinking tap water, I was diagnosed with Chronic Diarrhoea, so much so that I lost 40kg in four months.”

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    “I was the more privileged one because I got the best medication and could afford to lose that much weight whereas, in Pakistan, more than 500,000 children die because of this disease each year,” Sohail further revealed.

    In terms of their current contributions, Sohail stated that they work with NGOs, Government organisations, Pakistan Army, educational and health institutes, and micro-entrepreneurs to bring clean affordable water to the people.