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Trevor Gopo

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Trevor Gopo
Tawanda Water Initiative (Pty) Ltd T/A LWI
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Company Snapshot

Up to 90% of South Africa’s 850 wastewater treatment plants are dysfunctional or completely redundant. This problem has been left unattended for the past 15 years, resulting in contamination of natural water resource (rivers, dams, lakes). The direct result of this is hazardous effects to aquatic life and increase of water borne diseases like cholera, typhoid etc. Tawanda Water Initiative trading as LWI Pty (Ltd) came up with an innovative way to build Wastewater treatment plants cheaper, faster and more sustainably. They have modelled their solution to directly match the cost of the plants to the revenues they generate, making what was essentially a cost centre into a profitable business unit. The company has also invested in a solution for domestic and private sector wastewater treatment referred to as De-central wastewater treatment. This solution provides for treatment of wastewater on site and reusing up to 90% of the water for cleaning, gardening and even toilet flushing.

Trevor Gopo (Founder), grew up in Zimbabwe in an underprivileged household. His inventiveness was evident as a child when his one whish was to have a bicycle, which his family couldn’t afford. He made a plan by collecting bicycle parts from a nearby junk yard. Trevor emerged from his circumstances and completed his Undergrad in BCom Accounting. He worked as a finance professional for various organisations in Johannesburg and Polokwane. Even though Trevor was successful in his career, he got frustrated because he wasn’t investing his time and talents in growing his own business.

LWI Pty (Ltd) emanated due to a deadly cholera outbreak in Limpopo in 2000. The outbreak was likely due to raw sewage being discharged from nearby Wastewater Treatment plants (WWTP). Trevor collaborated with his cousin, who is a qualified engineer to conduct a quick market study and was distraught by the dire state of the WWTPs in Limpopo. For the first few years, LWI Pty (Ltd) made money as a medium sized environmental consulting company, by solving water problems instead of solving the cause – which was the actual reason the company was started. The company gained traction in the right direction when they joined the trade mission to Europe to find suitable partners to obtain the necessary skills to construct WWTPs.