Umuntu is more than a movement, more than a socio-ecological entrepreneurship (Ecopreneurship), more than a Swiss water technology company that has developed an innovative and sustainable water filter. Umuntu is a family of like-minded people who have taken on the responsibility of making the world a better place together and ensuring clean water for everyone in the world. In 2003, Fabio Hüther, founder and CEO of Umuntu GmbH, contracted bone cancer at the age of eight and the chance of survival was 50%. But the positive healing process once again sharpened Fabio’s view of the world and made his desire to do good for society and the environment grow. At the age of fourteen Fabio founded his first NGO called “Bee The Change”, in order to live his cause and to influence as many people as possible in a positive way.
A second drastic moment for Fabio was the loss of his African godchild by cholera – caused by contaminated drinking water. That’s when Bee The Change became Umuntu. Under the motto “I am, because we are”, which puts the WE in the foreground instead of the individual I, as well as the clear vision of making clean water available to every human being in the world.
Fabio began to set up his first aid projects primarily in Africa, because he was able to draw on a large local network there. The aim was to support those in need in the purification of drinking water. Quickly there were other aid projects that helped people to help themselves with the topics “clean water”, education or environment. At the same time, with the help of geologists and later on the basis of his own engineering studies, Fabio began to research a completely new filter technology: The Umuntu membrane for the filtration of foreign substances and pollutants from water, which is the heart of the Umuntu vision “Clean water is a human right”.
The Ecopreneurship Cycle
When Umuntu was founded, the change from “Bee The Change” to “Umuntu Movement” was actually the birth of the Ecopreneurship Cycle, which summarizes Umuntu’s current business model in one term.
The focus is on Umuntu’s innovative water filter technology. In theory, it enables everyone in the world to have access to clean water. Through Umuntu GmbH, the business branch of the Ecopreneurship Cycle, Umuntu generates the necessary financial resources to finance, organize and coordinate the many aid projects of the Umuntu Movement worldwide. Thus, these two business areas of Umuntu form an inseparable symbiosis. The business finances the Movement and the Movement ensures awareness as well as a lived change in society on the subject of “clean water”.
This has resulted in the most sustainable business model that we at Umuntu can imagine. And as we firmly believe, this business model has a potential that we do not even suspect.