Building a successful business involves trial and error. Fortunately, there are plenty of books about entrepreneurship that can help you further. In The golden reading tip, entrepreneurs talk about the book that brought them the most. This week Tom Niekamp, who founded water tap company KRNWTR+.
Entrepreneur: Tom Niekamp Company: KRNWTR+ viewing tip: Tapped from directors Stephanie Soechtig and Jason Lindsey Reading tip: The Machine: Under the spell of Booking.com by Joris Kooiman, Merijn Rengers and Stijn Bronzwaer
The quality of tap water in the Netherlands is among the best in the world. Still, bottles of mineral water are hard to come by, especially in the hospitality industry and business. Unnecessary and very bad for the environment, according to Tom Niekamp.
That is why he founded KRNWTR+ in 2010 to get bottled water out of the hospitality industry. He now also supplies water points for schools, catering and offices. He also supplies syrups to imitate soft drinks. The soft drink industry is the next target.
Why did you choose Soechtig and Lindsey’s documentary as a viewing tip?
“I saw this documentary at the International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam in 2009. The documentary is about the environmental pollution caused by the bottled water industry. The use of plastic bottles not only leads to litter and plastic soup, the documentary makers also show that bottled water is used in 40 percent of the cases is just filtered tap water.”
“The documentary makers are mainly targeting Nestlé and PepsiCo, who earn a lot of money from the sale of bottled water. But water is a human right and should be freely accessible to everyone.”
The documentary was the trigger for your company?
“Indeed. I thought it was crazy that we buy (or sell) bottled water in so many places in the Netherlands. We started a movement to put tap water in the catering industry on the map. Restaurants can still charge some money for it if they want.”
“We then started offering water taps. The water is additionally filtered and carbon dioxide can be added to it for fizzy drinks. Now we also want to make the soft drink industry superfluous, with syrups to replace cola and orange.”
Why did you choose the book about Booking as a reading tip?
“One of the points I took from the book is how important it is that you continuously measure the impact of your company. We do this, for example, with sensors in the taps that measure how much water is tapped. This data is important for us and for our customers, who like to receive a sustainability report that shows how they are doing.”
Does it even matter that you are a social enterprise instead of a profit-driven company?
“The starting point is different, but we do run into similar things. In order to grow we need money. We have been raising extra money for a while now. That works quite well because we are a sympathetic company. But it is something that you have to constantly work on.”
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