|Student social entrepreneurs provided with resources to commercialize water quality test|
|February 06, 2012|
A new method of detecting bacteria in water and on food and hands may soon help reduce the global burden of infectious disease after a team of students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill receives professional help to commercialize their product.
KM Water Solutions, a team affiliated with the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been selected as one of UNC's first Social Innovation Incubator teams that will be housed in the Campus Y and receive resources such as seed capital, equipment and expert advice for student entrepreneurs working to initiate social change on local and global scales.
The Social Innovation Incubator, which opened on Jan. 23, was established to support Innovate@Carolina Roadmap, the University's plan to help Carolina become a world leader in launching student-produced ideas for the betterment of society. The selection of KM Water Solutions as a resident team further demonstrates recognition of the campus-wide theme of "water" announced on Dec. 9.
KM Water Solutions was formed on a mission to improve global access to safe, clean water and basic sanitation. Team members include Alice Wang, doctoral student in environmental sciences and engineering in the public health school; Crista Farrell, program assistant in the Department of Chemistry; and Nimit Arora and Alan Lefebvre, Master of Business Administration students at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
The team was formed as a result of the Gillings Innovation Lab titled "Water-testing for Contamination Goes Portable," which developed the ideas for a Compartment Bag Test (CBT) and validated the performance of this technology in the laboratory and field. The CBT is a detection-quantification test for fecal bacteria in water and on food and hands that consists of a compartmentalized plastic bag with a color-changing agent that can be easily read and scored by those in need.
With the aid of organizational resources provided by the Incubator, KM Water Solutions plans to commercialize the Compartment Bag Test, and to secure USAID and UNICEF as their primary customers. Partnerships have been initiated with these organizations that could make use of the Compartment Bag Test in their national household surveys around the world. With legal and marketing guidance, the team hopes to develop and personalize their business to become more engaged at the community level.
"I have been working on the performance validations of the Compartment Bag Test both in the laboratory, as well as in the field, and I know it works well and can benefit many," said Wang. "I am excited about translating my research into utilization and I believe that commercializing this innovation can help the billion people that lack access to safe water."
Several teams of student social entrepreneurs applied to be part of the Social Innovation Incubator. The other teams selected for residency include SEA Brand LLC, HOPE Gardens and Musical Empowerment.
Incubator resources have been made possible through partnerships with the Minor in Entrepreneurship, the Center for Global Initiatives, the Community Development Law Clinic at the UNC School of Law, and the Center for Sustainable Enterprise at UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School.
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UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: Ramona DuBose, director of communications, (919) 966-7467 or email@example.com.
|Last updated February 08, 2012|