Lorenzo Salin (EMBA16)

Nationality: Italian
Job title: Co-founder at
Trust Your Water
Previous degree and university: MSc Environmental Engineering, University of Padova

What is the concept behind Trust Your Water?

“Trust Your Water is a company I founded together with an Italian business partner of mine. Our company is active in process and civil water treatment and offers products for residential use, HORECA and customized water treatment solutions in Dubai. Our focus is mainly B2B, targeting service companies, contractors, building developers for the residential products, and restaurant and hotel managers for HORECA.”

How was the idea born?

“The first time I started thinking about the concept of Trust Your Water was the week after the EMBA introduction weekend. So the two things (EMBA) and this concept were born relatively at the same time. At the  moment, I am not full-time dedicated to this venture, because I work as a Sales Manager at a Dutch water treatment solutions company. As of 1 January, I opened a branch office for this company in Dubai. In that way, I can combine working on both endeavors. Since my current boss is quite entrepreneurial himself, he’s very supportive of my startup venture. I have, of course, thought about dedicating myself full-time to this venture one day.

There are a few reasons why we decided to focus our efforts on Dubai. One of the main reasons is that water management in Middle East is completely different than what we're used to in The Netherlands and Europe. Here we have drinkable clear water directly from the tap. In any country in the Middle East this is not the case. Although the water in Dubai is very well treated by the municipality, due to the high temperature, the poor distribution systems and other factors, the water experience and taste is quite bad. The water is perfect the moment it leaves the water treatment system of the municipality, but then a lot of chemicals such as chlorine are added to it, which causes the unpleasant flavor of the water.  And of course people do not drink it. We came across a survey sent to the inhabitants of Dubai and the Emirates, in which people were asked to rate the quality of water. Ninety percent of the respondents said the water was from “good to excellent”.  Another question in the survey was: Do you consume the water? Eighty-eight percent of the surveyed said they don’t. The reason for this response is the taste of the water, the distribution system, storage tank and so on. Another good reason for us to focus on this specific region is the fact that Dubai is a great hub for business, so it is very easy to access facilities which are, for instance, not available in Saudi Arabia.”   

Why are you so passionate about this venture?

“Water treatment is something I very much enjoy from a professional point of view. Although we face quite a heavy crisis in Europe, we see that water in general maintains the same cost level as before the crisis. You cannot cut costs when it comes to water treatment, so it is a relatively safe market with a steady growth. Apart from that, water has a sentimental meaning to me, since I come from Venice. I’m quite connected with water from the very beginning. Trust Your Water will help our environment as well, because we will reduce plastic bottles usage and consumption (people will buy less mineral water bottles). For instance, when I’m in my apartment in Dubai I consume a few bottles of water a day, because it is very warm. This means I produce a few plastic bottles of waste every day. With our systems and technology, this won’t be the case anymore. Trust Your Water will enable people in Dubai to drink water directly from the tap, the same way we do in the Netherlands.”

How did the EMBA programme help you in your startup endeavor?

“The EMBA programme really equipped me with the necessary tools to undergo this venture. I have dedicated my ICP (In-company project) to my startup venture. I would like to investigate a bit further how to position the company and which message we want to convey to our customers. So my ICP will be very marketing-oriented. What the EMBA programme gives me is in-depth marketing knowledge. We want to market our product in a different way, since the technology behind it is not very disruptive. Another great aspect of the programme is the enriching experience you get by talking to your peers; the exchange of knowledge and experience is invaluable. Apart from that, the EMBA gave me the confidence to say: I don’t know what the issue of tomorrow will be, but I know I’m going to fix it.”