Gaza’s water purification startup wins $10,000 in seed funding
Perfecting the art of sustainable water purification
Salah El Sadi, the founder of Blue Filter, left Gaza to travel to the Netherlands and pitch his startup at SPARK’s IGNITE Conference in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is a leading force in sustainable water management and sanitation, so Salah’s presence in Amsterdam to pitch his innovative approach to water purification struck as strongly symbolic.
Leaving behind the familiar sights and sounds of Gaza, Salah For someone who had never left his homeland before, every step of the way was a blend of excitement and trepidation.
Only 4% of ground water is safe to drink
“The inception of Blue Filter during my Master’s studies was driven by the urgent need to combat water pollution in the Gaza Strip,” says Saleh. But working in Gaza presents several challenges for entrepreneurs like Salah. One significant obstacle is the lack of funding and investments in the besieged area. Additionally, restrictions and blockages limit access to essential resources, hindering the import of materials and expertise vital for innovative projects.
The mission of Salah’s startup, Blue Filter, is to purify ground water, ensuring access to clean water for families and farmers in Gaza, where only 4% of the groundwater is suitable for drinking. His approach harnesses the natural properties of plant seeds to remove nitrates and salts from the water, which are the major contaminants.
Salah’s pioneering solution has proven remarkably effective. Through the use of chia seeds, Blue Filter has achieved an impressive 94% reduction in nitrates in water samples, providing hope for communities grappling with water pollution. The startup’s system also significantly decreases chloride levels, ensuring the water is safer for consumption and irrigation.
As part of SPARK’s Tech for Inclusivity programme, financed by Google.org, Salah took part in the Startups on the Move competition, which helped him refine his business through training and coaching sessions with Startups Without Borders. In 2022, Salah was one of the ten entrepreneurs invited to pitch their business ideas at SPARK’s annual IGNITE conference in Amsterdam, with prizes of up to $10,000.
IGNITE: Elevating Salah’s Startup
Through his participation in the competition, Salah gained the necessary expertise and global connections to transform his business idea from a vision to reality.
The competition provided the perfect platform for Salah and his team to showcase their innovation and secure crucial global support. Their remarkable achievements caught the attention of judges and experts, leading to Blue Filter’s victory and the award of $10,000 in prize money.
“Participating in the competition and receiving the prize through SPARK was a groundbreaking experience for me,” says Salah. The financial reward helped him to officially licence the project, purchase the necessary equipment and devices, and conduct experiments and tests outside of the Palestinian territories.
As the project has progressed, its scope has expanded beyond its initial objective of eliminating nitrates. Salah shares, “This was the initial objective of the project, but now we have expanded it to include chlorides, heavy metals, dyes, and other salts.” The evolution of the project’s objectives has demonstrated Salah’s dedication to addressing multiple water pollution challenges and ensuring a comprehensive solution for cleaner water.
“My goal is to achieve the project’s objectives step by step, with the ultimate aim of providing clean and environmentally friendly water to every household and farm,” Salah emphasises. His dedication to the cause goes beyond the pursuit of success; it is rooted in a passion for contributing to a healthier and more sustainable environment.
Looking to the future, Salah wants to establish a company solely dedicated to water purification and treatment using environmentally friendly methods. He envisions this company as a first of its kind, incorporating all the innovative concepts he has encountered throughout his journey. Salah plans to set up numerous branches of the company across the globe, in Arab countries and beyond. His dream is to have an impact globally, extending the reach of his business far beyond the borders of the Gaza Strip.
Combining SPARK’s support with Salah’s determination, Blue Filter has blossomed from an idea into a functioning startup with the potential to revolutionise the way water is treated. With each step he takes, Salah moves closer to accomplishing his vision of a cleaner, greener future for generations to come.