Social business model with new technologies

At the WeTu Hub in Mbita on Lake Victoria, customers can purchase clean drinking water and borrow solar lanterns.
At several locations, customers can obtain filtered drinking water around the clock via an ATM system.
A so-called "talking wall" in front of the hub illustrates the hygienic handling and transport of water.
The WePower division lends lithium-ion lanterns to fishermen on Lake Victoria.
More than 1,200 of the specially developed solar lanterns are already in use at night.
The e-Cargo Bike in use in Kenya. The off-road electric cargo bike was developed by the start-up
Production of an off-road electric cargo bike (e-Cargo Bike) at the Wetu location Mbita.

WeTu is a social enterprise founded by Siemens Stiftung in Kenya that works on innovative solutions related to energy supply and drinking water in communities on Lake Victoria. In addition, the company is deploying the first-ever electric vehicles specifically developed for rural Africa. By utilizing social and ecological business models relating to e-mobility, the vehicles are intended to improve living conditions for locals, create jobs, and establish new economic opportunities.

Working Area::
Development Cooperation



The company is called “WeTu” – Swahili for “ours” – and operates at the following locations on Lake Victoria: Mbita, Sindo, Nyandiwa, Sori, Ragwe Honge and Uhanya. Its core business is the rental of specially-designed solar fishing lanterns, selling and distributing clean drinking water, and providing e-mobility solutions. WeTu’s goal is to generate enough income to sustain business operations and maintain technical facilities. Any additional profit remains within the company and will be put toward expanding the social enterprise and its positive social impact.

Click for enlarged view

In Kenya’s Lake Victoria region, just under 35 percent of the population has access to clean drinking water. Only 20 percent is connected to a central power grid. Transporting people and goods is often a challenge in very rural areas. Another major hurdle facing the country is its high rate of youth unemployment: it currently stands at more than 20 percent, and an additional 800,000 school graduates enter the labor market every year.

However, startups and social enterprises are effective at creating permanent jobs under these circumstances while also providing basic services for everyday life.

The main WeTu office is located in Kisumu’s new LakeHub business incubator, a place that local digital startups call home. Working with these organizations ensures digital applications for new business models will take root and grow.

The new focus on electromobility will be accompanied by a German-Kenyan research partnership currently being established by Siemens Stiftung.

»In the future, approaches must be developed that combine the strengths of multiple stakeholders.«

WeTu Director
Tilmann Straub

+49 89 540487 318


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