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Understanding of the local needs has been vital for Ecoloo’s business with the United Nations

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A strong commitment and a number of field trips to the UN agencies in the Middle East has facilitated Ecoloo’s first business delivery to the region, and there are more to come. By participating in Business Sweden’s delegation to the UN-hub in the Middle East, Jordan, Ecoloo have been able to develop an understanding of local needs on the field and establish vital contacts to close their first deal with the UN.

Ecoloo is a Swedish company that specializes in sustainable solutions to solve water, sanitation and hygiene issues and ensure environmental sustainability by providing high capacity eco-toilets. The sanitation facility has a major role in combating communicable diseases by applying a special formula to treat and convert the waste into organic fertiliser. The product is developed to mainly serve rural areas but has recently also served desolate areas in the Middle East where refugee camps have been set up. Ecoloo has installations in 15 countries in regions such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Targeting UN agencies with field responsibility

In October 2015 Ecoloo participated in a business delegation to Jordan, arranged by Business Sweden, focusing on how to supply the United Nations in the Middle East. Ecoloo aimed to reach out to the UN in Jordan since 17 UN agencies are represented in Amman, Jordan, which is one of the organisation’s largest operations in the Middle East. Amman is the main procurement hub for the UN in the region, annually acquiring products and services for the UN missions in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Palestine to a total value of several billion SEK as a result of the massive humanitarian and refugee crises in the region. Targeting UN agencies with field responsibility has shortened the process to have a direct dialogue with UN stakeholders. Ecoloo has gained valuable insights by networking and establishing relationships with key people in both the public and private sectors leading to successful commercial engagements in some of the targeted markets.

Ecoloo’s participation in the delegation to Jordan included meeting decision makers in the UN system, presenting in a seminar with UN agencies and implementing partners as well as actively participating in field visits to a refugee camp. The activities during the delegation opened the doors for the company’s first business with the UN in the Middle East. The UN showed interest in the product and a few months later, the UNDP in Jordan installed 10 units of Ecoloo’ eco-toilets at UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Petra, Dibbin and Wadi Rum and are currently in business dialogues with other UN agencies to supply refugee camps in the region to support the agency’s WASH programs. Ecoloo have received several request for proposals and orders from the UNDP and UNICEF as a result of extensive collaboration and operational support from Business Sweden following the delegation to Jordan. Furthermore, Ecoloo has also participated in a number of delegations arranged by Business Sweden to different UN hubs in Africa such as to Nairobi, Kenya.

“By tapping into Business Sweden's vast network of important stakeholders, Ecoloo wishes to expand its business horizon across Jordan, Kenya, Uganda and India and more markets” says Ms. Zuraina Dato' Seri Zaharin, Chief Sustainability Officer, ECOLOO

Bulilding op on the Team Sweden approach

Business Sweden, in collaboration with the Embassies in different countries and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs have focused on promoting Swedish solutions; products, systems and services, as well as acting as a door opener for Swedish companies interested in enhancing their business within the UN system in the Middle East as well as other regions. Symposiums and field visits have offered Swedish delegates the opportunity to meet with key UN stakeholders as well as procurement experts, in order to exchange knowledge and experiences.

Promoting Swedish companies within the UN system in the Middle East is a top priority for Business Sweden, and an area where we work closely with other Team Sweden members. From a UN perspective, Jordan is a vital purchasing hub in the Middle East, which makes the country relevant for companies doing business or looking to do business with the UN.

“It’s important to participate in such business delegations and activities in order to get access to the right decision makers and have a platform for mutual exchange of information and experiences with different UN stakeholders. Team Sweden with Business Sweden and the Embassy of Sweden in the front has done a good job in organizing events and coordinating quality seminars, exhibitions and conferences that lead to business opportunities and concrete successes for us. Well done!” says Mr. Imad Agi Chairman & CEO, ECOLOO