Katie Alcott - alumna profile

When asked what key skills she learned at UWE Bristol, Fine Art alumna Katie Alcott responded, "predominantly self-motivation, which taught me to go with my feelings, ideas and develop them on my own." Fortunately, the award-winning social entrepreneur used this motivation to follow her dream and create FRANK Water. Ten years on, the organisation is booming.

Ten years of Frank Water

Katie Alcott

Katie came up with the idea for FRANK Water after getting dysentery from drinking dirty water in India. She saw how popular bottled water was in the Western world and spotted an opportunity for these customers to help Indian communities access safe water. So to raise funds, she partnered with a local bottled water company, and labelled her bottles 'FRANK Water' to reflect her upfront approach to world water issues and the way she ran the business. After just one year of selling the brand to local bars and cafes, she'd raised enough to fund the first safe water project in India.

The organisation continues to grow and now has two strands:

  • FRANK Water Projects, a charity that organises campaigns and fundraisers to support sanitation projects across India. These include their successful Karma Korma, which is held on World Water Day (22 March).
  • FRANK Water Ltd, a social enterprise, which donates all of its profits to the charity. As well as providing water to UK stockists, FRANK Water’s ‘FreeFill’ initiative provides chilled, filtered drinking water at music festivals across the UK.

Honorary MBA

The organisation now works with partners across six Indian states to provide clean water and sanitation for some of the most marginalised communities in the world. And after announcing its ten-year anniversary this March, it expected to have reached more than 300,000 people in 208 communities by April 2015.

At UWE Bristol, we are incredibly proud of Katie’s success. We have charted her progress as she has won numerous awards for her social entrepreneurship and tenacity. To recognise this, we awarded her an honorary MBA in 2013 – the youngest person to receive this award. And we wish her continued success in her future endeavours.

Says Katie: “Being affiliated with UWE Bristol is brilliant – they have been so supportive. They stock our water in the catering department and have given us a few grants to support us in various growth periods."

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