The SA Innovation Summit and SA SME Fund’s ANDZA Pitching Den took place at the 12th SA Innovation Summit in September in Cape Town with the aim of finding the top investment-ready businesses in the country to fast track them to success and provide a platform to help accelerate their innovative ideas to greater heights and further develop the South African economy.
Orion Herman of LiquidGold Africa – an enterprise that produces unique gender neutral dry sanitation technology that collects and recycles urine to protect the aquatic environment and replenish the soils with a biological fertiliser – recently took top honours at the ANDZA Pitching Den, receiving a R250 000 cash prize. He recently spoke to us about his entrepreneurial journey.
Who is Orion Herman?
Proud Husband, Father, Friend, Disruptive Innovator and Fearless Entrepreneur
As a young man, I enjoyed reading through 100’s of yellow border magazines National Geographic’s. Captured in the beauty and misery of our world yet despondent by the behaviour and attitude of society and communities towards our precious resources. Today, I see myself as a designer, a designer that has created solutions for two of the biggest challenges we face in the world. As a photographer in National Geographic, today I offer a new lens, a new perceptive a new attitude. I save clients water and money through a unique waterless urinal waste system, and now we offer a special process to hygienically collect, store and treat the “liquid Gold “-urine to obtain a valuable resource for agriculture and reduce the net waste pushout by our cities. Ensuring good quality drinking water and discharging fewer bacteria into rivers and streams. I’m passionate about the vision of our company, our clients, our city, our environment and our future generation.
What is Liquid Gold?
LiquidGold is an exciting high growth company in the circular economy for sanitation waste with global patents, unique internal processing secrets and manufactures dry urinate only toilets for both male and females.
Our focus is to save our precious water resources and create new products from toilet resources (human waste) in a simple and cost-effective manner.
At LiquidGold we consider ourselves as designers of the world’s most challenging concerns, namely water and food. We believe that we offer the most effective, supreme solution for saving water and obtaining a valuable resource for agriculture in the market today.
Our Goal is to be the number one company in Dry Sanitation technology and biological recovery solutions in the world, impacting on UN sustainable development goals 6: Water and Sanitation; 5: Gender Equality; 2: Zero Hunger and 12: Responsible consumption and production.
What made you participate in the SA Innovation Summit – ANDZA competition?
The sanitation market and economy in South Africa and Africa requires a revolutionary intervention and a new approach. This is the reason why LiquidGold decided to participating in the ANDZA competition, the sanitation market is virtual untapped and needs the right partners, investors and platform to create a lasting and sustainable solution. We believe that participating in the ANDZA would foster health business partners, investor relationships and provide us a compitive edge the the SME eco-system.
Has your participation in the SA Innovation Summit had any impact in your business?
Yes, it has given LiquidGold partners and its new clients’ confidence in our ability to deliver impact and service, it has also lead to out of reach network with some of South Africa’s greatest business influences and investors. Thanks to the SA innovation Summit LiquidGold is now part of the Global Toilet Board Coalition and Cohort for 2020 programme which a major achievement for any global sanitation company.
What are some of the challenges you have been faced with while developing your product?
Our most challenging part of product development was end user acceptance as the product was a complete new design to sanitation especially for females.
A major challenge was first movers in this space, which lead to a lot of pivoting, testing and piloting in order to gain market confidence which inevitability came at an expense.
What’s next for Orion Herman and Liquid Gold?
In terms of myself is to focus on great leadership characters and principles, to ensure I provide my current and future team with the right quality of support to see the fruition of the company vision and mission.
For LiquidGold, our next steps is to aggressively gain local market share and create the scale we need with investors and partners to service and implement our cross boarder strategy to become the leader in the Dry Sanitation and Nutrient recovery solutions in African and Asia. LiquidGold has just been accepted by the Toilet Board Coalition to be part of the Global Sanitation Cohort for 2020.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs or those looking to start their own business?
Starting a business is an incredible journey, but never make a commitment when starting your business with emotions, because when the winter spells come and trust me there are a lot of cold and dry spells when finding your business niche, your commitment to the vision will never allow you to make an emotional decision. “Don’t get emotional just get it done”