Entrepreneurial Profile: Kathy Ku: SPROUTS of Water
Kathy Ku, a graduate from Harvard University, applied the knowledge she gained during her college education to solve a pressing social problem. Uganda has more than 10 million people without safe water to drink. Ku launched SPROUTS of Water to provide affordable clay water filters to improve water quality and thereby help reduce waterborne illness, which is the leading cause of death among Ugandan children. The idea for the business came to Ku when she was a nineteen-year-old volunteer at a clinic in Uganda. Ku started her non-profit with $15,000 grant from Harvard and a donated piece of land in Kumi, Uganda where she built a ceramic factory to make water filters. SPROUTS of Water sells its filters though local grocery stores, which agree to set up financing plans to help customers purchase the filters. Ku is considering expansion of distribution of her non-profit’s water filters to other countries with severe water quality problems.[i]
[i] Lane Anderson, “Social Entrepreneurs: Startups Set to Change the World,” Deseret News, July 31, 2014, http://national.deseretnews.com/article/2015/social-entrepreneurs-startups-set-to-change-the-world.html; Sara Castellanos, “Harvard Student Aims to Improve Health in Uganda with Water Filters,” Boston Business Journal, November 14, 2013, www.bizjournals.com/boston/blog/startups/2013/11/harvard-student-aims-to-improve-health.html.