You've got a great business idea in sanitation or water management, like ...

... implementing and scaling-up an innovative sanitation technology you invented?
... recycling nutrients from waste water and turn it into a great product?
... advocating and awareness raising on sustainable water management in rural communities?
... improving knowledge management in water and sanitation?
... offering innovative consulting services so water companies can become more sustainable?
... revolutionising the way how we manage natural resources?


Support to develop a strong and sustainable business model?
Practical advice and guidance from experienced water and business experts?
Clear information on finance, accounting and how to get started?
Access to our large sector-specific network?




Our course content gives you the knowledge you need to develop your idea, create a strong business model, perfect your pitch and launch and manage your business.



Our expert coaches are here to help make your business happen! They can provide practical advice, facilitate introductions and connect you to funding opportunities.



The cewas community connects you to a broad range of sector experts and like-minded water and sanitation entrepreneurs to collaborate, exchange and develop your business.


8. - 11. August
(3 training days), Willisau


Get inspired and develop your start-up idea


This module will introduce you to the programme and share insights into the market and sector trends. Through interaction with coaches and fellow participants, you will nail down the business idea that most motivates you. This may be the idea you came with - or even a totally new one! In addition we organize a field trip to Domodossola, where you will have the opportunity to meet the OCF participants from the partner programme. As this module draws to an end, you will have a clearly defined business idea that you are eager to develop in Module 2!

13. - 17. August
(5 training days), Willisau


Define your winning water and sanitation business model


Module 2 will help you transform your idea into a concrete business model. Using the business model canvas, you will identify your value proposition and develop a Minimum Viable Product, ready to be tested and developed in Module 3.

23. & 27. - 30. August
(2 training days + coaching), Willisau and Stockholm


Test your business idea with real customers.


You have a great idea and now it is the time to test it on real customers. At the Stockholm World Water Week , the sector’s most important event, you will pitch in front of vast array of potential customers and future partners and get a feedback (and maybe a contract). On the last day of this module, we will host a public event enabling you to present your idea to an audience of sector experts.

5. - 14. September
(8 training days), Willisau


Prepare your launch: from marketing to finances, operations and documentation.


Building on the information gathered in Module 3, this Module provides a concise introduction to the key elements of a comprehensive and convincing business plan. The content of the training sessions will include market analysis, marketing, operations, finances and financing. Upon completion of the module, you will have both a draft business plan, ready to pitch to partners and investors, and the knowledge and skills needed to launch your start-up.


Good things don’t come for free! Thanks to our partners, we can offer the cewas start-up programme at subsidised rates:

Fees for the entire programme (modules 1-4)
(including coaching)
CHF 4000
as an individual
CHF 5000
as a group
Fees for modules
(excluding coaching)
CHF 2500
Module 1-3 (as an individual)
CHF 3000
Module 1-3 (as a group)
CHF 2000
Module 4 (as an individual)
CHF 2500
Module 4 (as a group)

Costs include all course materials, excursions, coaching, access to the shared workspace, free coffee, wifi and entry to cewas events. The price of the Programme doesn’t cover travel, lodging and access to the SIWI in Stockholm.

Trouble paying the course fees all at once? Apply anyway and contact us and we will get in touch to discuss your individual situation and find a solution together.


Q: What is the cewas start-up programme?

A: The cewas start-up programme is an innovation lab and entrepreneurial community. It provides individuals and groups with the knowledge, skills and networks to transform their business idea into a working start-up!

Q: Who can take part?

A: Anyone with an idea, strong motivation and an entrepreneurial spirit to make it happen!

If you want to recieve ECTS Credits, you need to have a Bachelor or Master Degree or extended relevant work experience. Ah yes: as the course is held in English, you should have a good knowledge in it (oral and written).

Q: When does the next programme take place?

A: The training modules of the next programme in Switzerland will start August 9th 2017 and will run until September 15th 2017. One-to-one coaching is provided to all participants from throughout the course until July 2018. This can be carried out either in person in the programme’s shared working space, or over Skype.

Q: Where does the progamme take place?

A: The programme’s training centre is based in Willisau, in Lucern in Switzerland. Affordable accommodation nearby can be made available, if needed.
The training centre can be used as a shared working space by all participants throughout the programme and beyond. It provides an ideal place for collaboration and interaction with other community members and a venue for the programme’s pitching events. Linking urban and rural needs, the location echoes our approach towards creating a sustainable water and sanitation sector.

Q: How do I apply?

A: Applying for the programme is quick and easy. Just visit this page and follow the following three simple steps:

  1. Read our Terms and Conditions, Code of Conduct and the Privacy Policy to make sure you understand the way we work.
  2. Fill in the application form and let us know about your great idea.
  3. Decide to become an entrepreneur and click submit.

We’ll then be in touch to discuss your participation personally. We look forward to meeting you!

Q: Q: What is this year’s application deadline?

This year’s application deadline is the 18th of June 2017. Final decisions can be expected by the 12th of July 2017.

Q: Are there any fees involved?

A: Good things don’t come for free! But thanks to our partners, we can offer the cewas start-up programme at subsidised rates:
The fees for the start up programme (August 2017 – August 2018) are as follows:

CHF 4’000 as an individual.
CHF 5’000 as a group.

For the block of Modules 1-3: CHF 2’500 as an individual and CHF 3’000 as a group. Module 4 can be paid seprately: CHF 2’000 as an individual and CHF 2’500 as a group. If you decide to praticipate only in single Modules, subsequent coaching is not included int he price.

Costs cover all course materials, excursions, one to one coaching, access to the shared workspace and free wifi and free entry to cewas events. The travel, lodging and participation in SIWI in Stockholm is not included in the price
If you think you might have trouble paying the course fees all at once, don’t let this be a barrier. Apply below and we will get in touch to discuss your individual situation and find a solution together.


The cewas start-up programme is ECTS accredited by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU).