Aleks Poldma and Spencer Kelly, Hydrated World co-founders

Aleks Poldma and Spencer Kelly have started their own business but they aren’t in it for the money.

The fourth-year mechanical engineering students are co-founders of Hydrated World, a clothing company that donates money to the Safe Water Project in Africa for every fifth item sold.

The company’s slogan - five for fresh water - means one person gets access to clean water for every five items purchased. Hydrated World has partnered with Enviro-Stewards, an Ontario-based engineering firm. Through this partnership they work with the Sudan-based Safe Water Project, which uses a bio-filter system, that lasts up to 30 years, to clean water.

“It creates jobs, it creates wealth for the African economy and it also supports Africans with a business that provides solutions for clean water. We think it’s the best way to go about it,” says Kelly.

Hydrated World clothingEnviro-Stewards supports entrepreneurs in Africa who are building businesses that make high-quality products while tackling important global issues. “I think that’s the future for business,” says Kelly. “That’s what we’re trying to work toward.”

Hydrated World founded during enterprise co-op term

Hydrated World was established during Kelly’s Enterprise Co-op term at the Unviersity of Waterloo. E-co-op, a program run through the Conrad Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology Centre, lets Waterloo students earn co-op credits by starting their own businesses.

The team has won a Norman Esch Enterprise Co-op Award and the Nicol Entrepreneurial award. Hydrated Water was also a finalist for the Velocity Fund.

“The E co-op program was by far the best experience I’ve had for co-op,” says Kelly. “Because even though you’re working for yourself, the school still has all of these resources available.”

Although Aleks and Spencer will soon be graduating from Waterloo, Hydrated World remains dedicated to working for safe drinking water globally. “We’re going to carry it on after university, once we graduate,” says Kelly. “It’s exciting, but we’re just kind of taking it day by day, and seeing what happens.”