Success story: A Polish SME tackles hygiene challenges in Japan and Africa

By: Zdzislaw Iwanejko, CEO, WaSH Innovation LLC
Participant in “Get Ready for Japan” 2021 training programme and the 3rd Japan-Africa Business Forum

With our portable personal hygiene systems that can be used in disaster-hit areas and temporary accommodations such as refugee camps, WaSH Innovation is targeting both emerging markets and the Japanese market. By working together with Japanese partners, we aim to tackle hygiene and sanitation challenges in low-income countries, and improve access to hygiene in post-disaster situations in Japan. Our patented water-saving technology makes our activities particularly relevant in areas where access to water is challenging and during epidemics.  
In the spring of 2021, I took part in the “Get Ready For Japan” programme which was held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This programme fully prepared us to enter the Japanese market and helped us establish many interesting contacts. The Centre’s staff arranged several meetings for us, including with a Japanese company distributing emergency equipment which will hopefully turn into a long-term business relationship. “Get Ready for Japan” was the best market preparation program I have ever participated in.
Soon after, I took part in the 3rd Japan Africa Business Forum through the EU-Japan Centre’s e-pavilion. We noticed an opportunity to bring added value to a hand-washing programme led by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and a large Japanese hygiene company in Africa. With considerable help from the EU-Japan Centre and the African Development Bank, we managed to get in touch with the Japanese company involved in this programme, and we sent them samples for testing. Together, we aim to raise awareness on hand hygiene in Africa. Ultimately, we plan to partner up and open an assembly line in East Africa to reduce transportation costs and improve employment and entrepreneurship education of the local population.