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INNOVATE 4 WATER Marketplace – Brisbane 2020

Please click on the following links to see the outputs of the Forum

For more information go to https://www.innovate4water.net/brisbane-2020


“Innovate 4 Water” is a marketplace for sustainable development, accelerating innovation and investments at the water nexus in Australia and the Asia Pacific. The event is delivered by International WaterCentre in partnership with Waterpreneurs, Switzerland. The first event in Brisbane will open “Innovate 4 Water” in the Asia Pacific region, following the success of the initiative in Europe and Africa.

The “Innovate 4 Water” marketplace fosters interactions between global and local players from the private sector, the public sector and the civil society to shift financing towards innovative impactful local solutions.

What is the marketplace about?

“Innovate 4 Water” are three days of matchmaking, bringing together solutions and needs, curated into investment focused themes to showcase solutions, contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Private companies, investors, investees, government, NGOs, UN agencies, aid agencies and donor institutions come together to close the visibility gap between water-dependent sectors and social, technological and financial innovations.

The design and delivery of “Innovate 4 Water” is unique and effective because the event:

  • is outcome oriented
  • will have 100% active participation
  • is highly curated
  • has a business-networking focus

What are the expected outcomes?

The expected outcome of “Innovate 4 Water” is a strong reinforcement of the local ecosystems around water resource management, including water, sanitation and water-dependent sectors. The marketplace accelerates commercially sustainable change by:

  • creating visibility to established technological solutions and business models, local solution providers and local investors
  • attracting higher levels of blended investments outside of donor and aid funding
  • transferring water and water-dependent sectors’ knowledge and innovation
  • forming meaningful partnerships and cross-sectoral collaborations
  • driving economic growth and improving access to water and sanitation in the targeted region.

Who should attend?

“Innovate 4 Water” is particularly relevant for:

  • SMEs and multinational companies working in water-dependent sector
    utilities and civil engineering
  • investors (banking, asset management, private banking, corporates, venture capital and private equity)
  • primary and manufacturing industries
  • institutions working in water-dependent sector (foundations, coalitions and associations)
  • non-government and governmental organisations, national and local
  • universities, incubators and research institutions.

Sequence and organisation

Prior to COVID-19 pandemic

The marketplace was fast paced, delivered in two days with 120 participants. The marketplace design was fundamentally different from typical conferences. The “Innovate 4 Water” effective design and the detail in their execution always aimed to facilitate connections and collaborations to bring maximum value to each participant. Its key characteristics were:

  • participation by invitation or recommendation only, to achieve the best matchmaking outcome and maximum impact during and after the marketplace
  • choice of solutions providers focused on financial viability and scalability
  • coaching of marketplace participants prior to each marketplace to deliver effective pitches

Post COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 restrictions require logistical adjustment to the delivery mode of the “Innovate 4 Water” Forum. For the Brisbane event in August 2020, International WaterCentre and Waterpreneurs are embedding the following changes:

  • limiting the number of face-to face attendees to 30
  • introducing COVID-19 Safe measures for physical attendance, including 4m2 per person space provision, and physical distancing, and hygiene protocol monitoring
  • implementing an “Innovate 4 Water” risk management plan with a focus on COVID-19 Safe compliance
  • reducing duration of the forum (during the 3 main days) to 6 hours (9AM to 3PM) and increasing activities in the lead up and post event
  • delivering the forum via an industry leading virtual networking platform, combining live streaming and virtual events software for immersive, close to real time experience, remote participation. The platform is specifically designed for networking and will enable a mix of physical and virtual audience participation.
  • ensuring sufficient technical support on site during the forum for smooth flow of sessions and participant interaction other features of the platform include: real-time video networking, trackable interactions, playback of presentations, post-event access and follow-up networking, virtual reality interactivity, easy connection and networking features (including LinkedIn connectivity)

You can engage as a solution provider: an entrepreneur, an investor, a government representative, or a sponsor. “Innovate 4 Water” is a curated event and participation in the event is by invitation only. To engage, you need to follow three steps.

Step 1

If you would like to participate as an entrepreneur, investor, government representative or sponsor and would like to present a pitch of a solution or need please click here and follow the instructions of the registration form.

Step 2

If you have indicated your interest to present your pitch, follow the links on the registration form to complete your pitch. If you have questions about how to complete the pitch, please contact us at [email protected]

After your pitch is finalised and submitted, we will contact you to complete the screening process.

Step 3

Once you have been accepted into the event, you will be given instructions for purchasing participant tickets

Contact [email protected] for more information or questions.

Originally programmed around water resource management, innovation, entrepreneurship and finance, every “Innovate 4 Water” theme will now have embedded COVID-19 related discussions.

Additionally, a new hybrid delivery format will transform “Innovate 4 Water” into a new and exciting experience with improved relevancy of the following themes:

  1. Sustainable planning for health, food, energy, and water
  2. Embracing the circular economy
  3. Mitigating and adapting to climate change
  4. Efficiency in water infrastructure and management
  5. Off-grid and distributed solutions
  6. Exporting Australian innovation and expertise
  7. Technology investment readiness and hybrid business models
  8. Innovative finance for the water and water-dependent sectors
  9. From resilience to prosperity

Proven legacy

“Innovate 4 Water” has a proven legacy:

  • seven successful marketplaces have been organised globally with various partners (see www.innovate4water.net)
  • delivering systemic impact
  • addressing critical challenges in local areas
  • truly multi-stakeholder

Past participant’s feedback:

This event brought in one place all the stakeholders I need to connect with.

Thierry Barbotte – Vergnet Hydro

A great opportunity for me to meet with companies and investors innovating in the water sector.

Martine Vuillerme – Veolia

As innovation is booming worldwide, there have been multiple attempts at decentralised solutions to water issues by private enterprises and by governments at the state and federal levels. However, too many solutions are fragmented. This highlights the need for a collaborative approach that can truly demonstrate impact at scale, enabling all stakeholders in the water nexus to come together to share knowledge and leverage networks and resources to solve water scarcity and accessibility issues.

While the world has committed to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which call for universal access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, Australia plays a leadership role in the implementation of Goal 6. Australia has recognised expertise on water data, water use efficiency and innovation, which provides an opportunity to expand and export its knowledge for development and commercial outcomes.

The global water crisis presents Australia with an urgent and timely opportunity to share its experience in sustainable water management to improve water security. Brisbane is uniquely positioned in close proximity to the Pacific and South East Asia with a strategic potential to become an Asia Pacific City for water innovations and knowledge exchange for best practices in integrated water resources management.

In order to contribute to overcome water industry systemic gaps and to build bridges between the sector stakeholders, the International WaterCentre and Waterpreneurs are launching “Innovate 4 Water” Brisbane, following the successful development by Waterpreneurs of “Innovate 4 Water” since 2017, in Europe and Africa.

Information about past forums can be accessed on the “Innovate 4 Water” website:

All knowledge acquired through delivery of the past forums has been summarised in an integrated collection of facts, reflections, forum know-how and impacts, outlined in Waterpreneurs’ groundwork document (available on request). Some of the document content includes, but is not limited to, the forum theory of change, program structure, forum toolbox and know-how, participants’ testimonials and examples of past impacts and thematic agendas, such as:

  • nexus: water sanitation energy food health
  • water and sanitation in the circular economy
  • off-grid and smart technologies (data leveraging and monitoring)
  • reinforcing the efficiency of water utilities
  • supporting the scaling-up of entrepreneurs and their impact
  • women and youth entrepreneurs
  • the role of NGOs, development agencies and UN agencies
  • the emergence of innovative and hybrid business models
  • innovative finance for market-based solutions
  • climate change: mitigation and adaptation in urban and rural areas.

Based in Switzerland, Waterpreneurs is a global for-impact organisation, supporting the scaling-up of impact investments financing the growth of “water nexus” businesses, operating in developing countries.

Waterpreneurs brings extensive knowledge of the sector, impact investing and facilitation of marketplaces. In June 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland, Waterpreneurs initiated the “Innovate 4 Water” series of marketplace forums, with a global plan to expand to other regions (over the next ten years) with a focus on cities leading in the fields of water and sanitation, entrepreneurship and innovation, and impact finance.

In 2018 and 2019, 6 other “Innovate 4 Water” forums have been organised in Africa (Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia) and in Europe (Switzerland). Ongoing discussions are taking place to accelerate the expansion of the program globally.

For more details about the event please follow the link:





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