Lessons learned from VIA Water: Scaling innovations with incubation support

VIA Water
Knowledge hub

Now our first programme has come to an end, we would like to share the achievements of our unique incubation support programme. In our last infosheet, we proudly present the total outcome of 5 years of supporting innovation!

Highlights of VIA Water 2014-2019

-525 teasers received
-98 full proposals submitted
-62 supported innovations
-many new partnerships facilitated
-field visits & learning and training events for innovators
-33 innovations ready to start business

Why incubation support?
When it comes to innovation, small and medium enterprises, start-ups, consultancies and non-governmental organisations are leading the way. As these unconventional innovators start to drive the innovation landscape, this is where incubation support can make a real impact in transforming their ideas into sustainable solutions.

New players
This is where VIA Water came in over the past 5 years. More than 90% of VIA Water-supported innovations were led by these new players. Set up in 2014 with funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VIA Water supported high-risk social water innovations that address pressing urban water challenges in eight African countries.

Four stages
VIA Water’s incubation approach consists of four different stages:

  • Idea generation

  • Application

  • Piloting

  • Scaling

Using several methods, we helped hundreds of local innovators pilot and test their ideas and concepts into a proof-of-concept that is ready for scaling in the long-term.

Guide to incubation approach
This infosheet we share the details of our incubation approach over the past 5 years. We reflect on what worked well and not so well. We hope that this will be a useful guide for everyone who has interest in working in the water innovation landscape!