In 1996, Yousef Yousef (1983) came to the Netherlands from Syria as a refugee along with his mother, brother and sister. For almost seven years they lived together in a refugee camp, fearing that each day would be the day they learned they were going to be deported. The inspiration to become an entrepreneur came from his father Qaury Yousef, who was a successful businessman. His father died when Yousef was two years old, leaving his mother alone to raise three children. She decided to take her children to Europe, and Yousef's dream of being an entrepreneur accompanied him to Europe. To achieve his goals, he began to follow educational programs in the refugee camp, after ten years, Yousef was granted the Dutch residency that allowed him to enroll at the University of Leiden.
Protecting the world's water
In 2011, Yousef became CEO of LG Sonic, a company with the mission of eliminating the use of chemicals in the water industry, achieving by controlling the proliferation of algae with ultrasound technology. Many people doubted this technology, but Yousef and co-founders Lisa Brand and Rick Kaper never stopped believing in their goal: to protect the world's water from chemicals.
With funding from the EU for the FP7 program, they developed a technology that combines water quality monitoring with ultrasound technology to control the proliferation of algae. The company serves industry-leading potable water companies in the United States, the United Kingdom, Colombia and New Zealand. In 2015, LG Sonic was the first European company to be named Certified Innovation Partner of American Water, the largest public service in the United States, and cooperation continues to this day.
Tell us a little bit about your personal story, how did you end up in Holland?
My father, a successful entrepreneur in Syria, passed away when I was just 2 years old. With the changing situation in the country, the fact that Yousef and his family are Christians, and the obligatory military service, his mother decided to leave Syria for her kids to have a safe future. When Yousef was 13 years old he arrived in the Netherlands, together with his mother, brother and sister. Planet-bpm.com asked him a little bit about his European dream and how it came true.
What happened after you have arrived in Holland?
After 10 years I was granted the Dutch nationality and attends the University of Leiden where he graduated in Tax Law. His dream had always been to become an entrepreneur, just like his father was in Syria.
How did you end up with LG Sonic?
I started as an intern at LG Sonic and later become a fulltime employee. In 2011, when the company was struggling to survive, Yousef took over the company and implemented a new business model. Instead of focussing on smaller ponds to control algal blooms, Yousef developed a technology suitable to treat algal blooms in large water reservoirs. Many water utilities were in need for a chemical-free solution to treat algal blooms in their lakes and reservoirs.
What is the technology about?
The solution, named MPC-Buoy, uses real-time water quality monitoring and ultrasound technology to control algal blooms in large water surfaces. We even make use of NASA and ESA satellite data to monitor algal blooms and optimize the treatment. Today MPC-Buoy is used by top-level water utilities such as American Water, Welsh Water, South West Water and EPM. The system is unique and the only solution that can treat algal blooms in large water surfaces without using chemicals.
How can it help us to save this planet?
Within water treatment a lot of chemicals are being used. Chemicals are not treating, but polluting water. Our system offers an alternative to these harmful chemicals. The technology reduces and often completely replace the need to chemically treat the lake or reservoir. For this technology, Yousef and LG Sonic have several international water and business awards, such as the Aquatech Innovation Award, ShellLiveWIRE and Business achievement award.
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