Tshego is the CEO of WIS Group, a South African company providing environmentally sustainable wastewater recycling solutions. They service the needs of many rural and informal settlements across Africa that are not connected to any sewage systems.
She talks to us about starting WIS Group:
Tell us about growing up?
I was born and raised in the North of Pretoria, in a township called Mabopane. I come from a big family; I’m the third of 4 siblings. My father was a Businessman and my mother a Teacher. I come from a family that is full of vibrant, opinionated and driven individuals. Education played a very important role in my upbringing. That was the condition that my parents put on all of us, that we will all be educated. Not only educated but also give our best in everything. My mother’s favorite saying when we were growing up was that: “They had neither gold nor silver so education is the only inheritance they will leave us”.
How did you get into Water and sanitation?
In my career-path I have lived and worked in other Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. When I was based in Nigeria, where the spirit of entrepreneurship constantly surrounded me I had a strong desire to start my own business. I wanted to make an impact in my continent, I wanted to create something that will outlive me, and I wanted to contribute to the society at large. That’s when Water and Sanitation as Sector became an area of interest, there’s so much development and solutions that are still required in this sector to meet the current demand.
Why start WIS?
Economic disparities, Climate Change, Increasing demand and Ageing Infrastructure still make water a very expensive and scarce resource. And after much research and deliberations in 2012 WIS was established. My business partners and I decided to invest in innovative technologies to source, manage, treat and secure Water through Infrastructure.
Our services offer a ranges from water infrastructure roll-out and maintenance (plumbing services); water and waste-water treatment, water storage; water source mix and metering and analysis.
How was it building WIS?
I think I’m still at the building stage. But it is quiet an interesting journey. There are so many milestones to celebrate and also challenges to overcome. But there’s nothing more beautiful as seeing an idea that only lived in your head come to reality. When you are actually realizing your vision and seeing it manifesting. It’s a great feeling indeed.
What are the challenges of being in the industry you in?
Our biggest challenge concerning water conservation is lack of user education. If we all understood how limited water is as a resource, we would all treat it differently. We would all make it our mission to secure, reclaim and recycle this limited resource and that is our goal as WIS to make the users understand so they can invest in alternative and innovative ways to secure and conserve this precious resource.
What have been your career highlights?
In the short period that WIS has been in existence we have managed to make a significant impact in the industry. Our clientele is mostly blue-chip mainstream companies, thus making us a very strong competitor with companies that have been in existence for over 2 decades. This makes us very proud.
Where do you want to take the business?
Our goal is to own our value chain in Water and Waste-Water Infrastructure and to be a major player in Sub-Saharan Africa in the sector.