Elton using the foot operated Tippy Tap

Elton co-founder of Tippy Tap – a foot operated hand washing device – was the 4th place winner of the 2020 Virtual Start-Up Tour Bus competition. Handwashing with soap under running water is a key intervention for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and handwash stations have become a common sight outside public spaces.

The Idea

Tippy Tap is based in Gokwe, a small rural town in the Midlands province. The product idea was conceived in 2016 by two entrepreneurs with a passion for innovation and its first prototype was launched in 2018 in response to one of Zimbabwe’s worst Cholera outbreaks. 

Over the years, the initial prototype of the Tippy Tap has evolved to a version with less contact points which is more effective in reducing the spread of infections between individuals.

“The first version of the Tippy Tap was made with an actual tap, which you had to open to access water. We have improved it to the foot operated version which has no hand contact eliminating the potential spread of diseases such as COVID-19 through cross- contamination.”

Being a start-up tour bus finalist

“Winning the competition has been a milestone for me and the business. The funds received from Youth Connekt have helped us increase our production capacity and sales” 

As one of the finalists of the Youth Connekt Start-Up Tour Bus competition, Elton received funds to help scale up the business operations. So far, he has purchased raw materials including; metal bars for the frames of the Tippy Tap; an angle grinder; a welding machine; paint; containers for the water and welding rods. 

“With the additional materials we have been able to produce more units of the Tippy Tap and can meet the demand which we were previously struggling to do. The purchase of a second welding machine has doubled our production capacity from 10-15 units a day to 30.” 

Two employees welding a Tippy Tap frame

 

With their increased capacity they have recently taken an order for 140 units from and organisation in the agricultural sector.

“Earlier in the year, we were having issues with fake versions of our product being sold in the market as we could not produce enough units. Other organisations noticed this and were selling imitations to fill the gap’’

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic there are still many opportunities for them to sell their product, 

“With schools, churches, business all reopened, there are more places for us to sell our product. We are working on enhancing our marketing so that people know where to buy genuine Tippy Tap products”  

 

Elton painting the Tippy Tap frames

Working with the Community 

Tippy Tap currently employees four full time employees from the Gokwe area. They also work with form 5 and 6 students (ages 17-18) who are interested in metal work and need to earn practical experience for school credit.  Before the lockdown period, Tippy Tap had worked with 5 students from schools and vocational centres in the area and are hoping to work with more once the COVID-19 situation permits. 

Looking Ahead 

As a growing business Tippy Tap is working on improving their operations with assistance from IBUHUB where participants from the Start-Up Tour Bus are being incubated. 

“IBUHUB has been assisting us with training on how to run a manufacturing business effectively; improve business operations; marketing and effective team management” 

For more information on Youth Connekt visit the website youthconnektzim.org 

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