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Creasion: Creating a Sustainable Water Source for Indonesian Communities

Nur Hepsanti Hasanah
Maryam Kanmah

In Indonesia alone, 27 million people struggle with finding access to clean water. Living on an archipelago, most Indonesians have to travel hours outside of their homes to obtain drinkable water. This not only costs these people valuable time but also a large amount of their income.

Having witnessed first hand the struggles of water insecurity in Indonesia, Maryam Kanmah developed the company Creasion whose mission is to provide an affordable solar-powered water purifier to these less-privileged communities.

“I have some experience with the issue, in 2007 I was visiting some islands in Indonesia and saw the problem of poverty and water access and then I came here ( to the University of Illinois) and developed Creasion,” said Kanmah.

The biggest obstacles that Creasion faces is finding a user testing site in which they can work on their prototype and the cultural barriers they would face when integrating their product into the lives of these community members.

Nur Hepsanti Hasanah, a Creasion team member, said “people in the (Indonesian) communities are not used to a product that can turn dirty water into clean water. They are used to getting their clean water from other islands and then they boil the water before they consume it”.

Hasanah went on to explain that their biggest concern is convincing the Indonesian people that their product actually produces clean, drinkable water.

The current plan in place to tackle this obstacle is by partnering with the Indonesian government and national NGOs to subsidize the water purifier for a trial period and then transition to selling the product directly to the consumers. This trial period would allow the locals to adapt to the concept and process of the solar water purifier.

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting my Company

The advice Hasanah and Kanmah have for anybody who is thinking about starting their own company is to first complete a market analysis focusing on the market need for your product. Kanmah said they wished they knew to learn more about the many different Indonesian cultures before starting the project that way they could gage these peoples’ reactions to their product better.

“I feel that if you have that drive, that personal motivation, that will keep you (and your company) running,” said Hasanah, “ if you have that strong motivation then you can create and run your company”.