The World Bank chose Wisconsin as the location of its Water Industry Workshop and Procurement Seminar, held on March 21 in Milwaukee. The fact that this location was chosen for the only seminar of its kind in the U.S. reflects Wisconsin’s status as one of the world’s leading hubs for water technology.
Organized by the U.S. Commercial Service in partnership with WEDC and The Water Council, the event brought together Wisconsin companies in the water technology sector to learn directly from World Bank officials what the organization looks for when awarding contracts.
“Wisconsin’s water technology leadership is a key economic asset we promote in our global business development initiatives,” says WEDC vice president of international business development Katy Sinnott. “The fact that the U.S. Commercial Service and the World Bank brought this event to Milwaukee is a testament to the rising influence Wisconsin companies have in building sustainable water solutions worldwide.”
In the seminar, the World Bank emphasized how important water-related innovation is to its projects, which include $114 billion in global infrastructure development, with the reduction of treated water loss as a major focus.
“Of all the things the World Bank has to tackle—energy, roads, food, health—the fact that they put an emphasis on water technology speaks to the importance of this resource in countries across the planet,” says Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “The World Bank is making water technology a priority and recognizes that Wisconsin can be the leader in delivering solutions.”
In particular, the event highlighted the way the World Bank’s procurement process now looks beyond simply finding the lower price to also consider quality, relying on industry experts to understand how technology is evolving and which solutions make the most sense to invest in because they will last well into the future. “Companies should not assume they’re competing on price alone, but rather, should be prepared to explain their value proposition and why their solution stands out among the competition,” says Sinnott.
Following the seminar, Amhaus was invited to speak about Wisconsin’s water innovation ecosystem at World Bank Water Week, which took place in early April 2019 in Washington, D.C. This invitation further demonstrates the World Bank’s desire to learn from and engage with Wisconsin’s water technology leaders.
“When it comes to water technology, clearly Wisconsin is now on the radar of World Bank leaders,” Amhaus said. “They had certainly had some knowledge about Wisconsin’s water technology cluster, but to be here and see firsthand and meet with some of our water technology experts, they definitely now know who they can count on.”
With 189 member countries, staff from more than 170 countries and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership of five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries. The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. In 2016, $45.9 billion in World Bank lending turned into procurement opportunities.