Syna Case Study
Sylvia’s inspiration to address this issue arose from a conversation with a parent of a disabled child, which opened her mind to the challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing proper sanitation facilities. She later discovered that her own grandfather, who lived with them, faced similar difficulties. Through extensive research, Sylvia realized that this problem affected people in various settings,including both rural and urban areas, and across middle- and upper-income households. The lack of accessible toilet facilities not only impacted the disabled but also the elderly.
In 2017, the idea to develop an inclusive toilet was conceived, and the first prototype was developed in 2019. The initial prototype which was 3D printed and small in size and served as a tangible model to aid local fabricators in understanding the prototype concept better. Subsequent versions of stainless steel were developed, but manufacturing costs proved prohibitive. Eventually, a fourth prototype made of fiberglass was created, but the Kenyan manufacturer was unable to complete the toilet assembly. As a result, Sylvia and the team decided to import the necessary parts and assemble them locally.
At a juncture where Syna Technology was poised to leverage its technical innovations for social good, the accelerator stepped in as a catalyst for their journey. Syna Consultancy took part in the inaugural Innovate Now Accelerator program, specifically in Cohort 1. Innovate Now accelerator program is Africa’s pioneering Assistive Technology Accelerator, powered by the Global Disability Innovation Hub. Syna Consultancy's participation aimed to achieve a variety of strategic objectives. The company had a strong interest in receiving mentorship to optimize their production expenses and mitigate the challenges posed by high production costs.
Additionally, they were eager to validate their products among individuals with disabilities as a crucial step towards product launch. This validation process would not only confirm the viability of their business model but also expedite their entry into the market.
Syna Consultancy was equally keen to receive support and secure essential financial backing to ensure a successful and scalable product launch. Another important aspect of their participation was to establish and nurture connections within the disability community, reflecting their dedication to fostering relationships and a strong presence within this demographic.
Syna Consultancy completed an extensive and engaging Innovate Now program that emphasized the user, product, market, and business aspects. The company also took an active role in practical live lab sessions aimed at validating and enhancing their innovative solution. These live labs offered a valuable opportunity for clinical partners, including individuals with disabilities and the elderly, to assess and experiment with their assistive technology offerings.
The insights gathered were instrumental in improving their accessible toilet design and ultimately culminated in the creation and launch of an enhanced Utulav toilet. The accelerator program proved instrumental in providing Syna Consultancy with a comprehensive ecosystem of mentorship, resources, and networking opportunities. With its tailored guidance and strategic support, the program enabled Syna Technology to refine their product offerings and business model, addressing the unique needs of persons with disabilities and the elderly. This alignment of mission and resources allowed Syna Technology to accelerate their development process and expedite market entry.