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Social Capitalists: KickStart

43 entrepreneurs who are changing the world
Social Capitalist 2008 Winner


Martin Fisher, CEO
San Francisco, California
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KickStart presents a new way to fight poverty. KickStart sells inexpensive technologies, such as human powered irrigation pumps, to farmers in poor communities in sub-Saharan Africa who wish to start or improve small-scale businesses. Most of KickStart’s customers live on less than one dollar a day. Our technologies help them transition from subsistence farming to commercial irrigated farming. With irrigation, they can grow three or four crop cycles annually rather than just one, and they can sell in-demand fruits and vegetables throughout the dry season.

KickStart’s biggest seller, generating 70 percent of sales, is the Super-MoneyMaker foot-driven irrigation pump. On average the pump can raise a farm's income from $110 to $1,100 annually. KickStart sells a smaller, less expensive Hip-Pump that will irrigate smaller plots of land.

Since 1991, KickStart has helped 60,000 families start businesses that together generate over $65 million in new profits and wages each year. To date, KickStart has helped nearly 300,000 people get out of poverty. KickStart turns every one-dollar donation into $18 in profits and wages for farmers using the pumps.