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Posts Tagged ‘KickStart-International’

With Skoll Foundation Support, Citi Provides Financing for KickStart International

July 29, 2013 by

Skoll Awardee KickStart International, part of our Smallholder Productivity and Food Security focus area, made the following announcement today:

NEW YORK–Citi Microfinance and Citi Commercial Bank today announced US$2,000,000 in financing to support KickStart International, a non-profit social enterprise that designs, manufactures, and sells high quality, low-cost irrigation pumps for use by smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa. With support from the Skoll Foundation, the loan will be the first from Citi directed to the social enterprise sector and will specifically support smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, where farm yields are among the lowest in the world.

“KickStart employs an innovative and powerful model, and we are proud to support its efforts to promote entrepreneurship and create economic opportunity throughout Africa.” read more


One-Third of Skoll Awardees named to Top 100 NGO list

January 26, 2012 by

The Global Journal,  a new publication aimed at opinion leaders and policy makers in the development sector, has just put out its Top 100 Best NGOs in the World, and 31 of them are Skoll Awardees. They started with a list of 1,000, then narrowed it down to 400, then these. Read about their criteria and metrics. Congratulations to all:

Partners in Health, Barefoot College, Water for People, Pratham, APOPO, Ceres, Digital Divide Data, Teach for America, Landesa, Root Capital, Saude Crianca, Population and Community Development Association, Gaias Amizonas, Tostan, Escuela Nueva, Aflatoun, Gram Vikas, Search for Common Ground, Center for Digital Inclusion, One Acre Fund, Kickstart, One World Health (founder Victoria Hale, is a 2005 Skoll social entrepreneur), Room to Read, Free the Children, IDE-India, Friends International, ICTJ, Witness, International Bridges to Justice, Injaz Al-Arab, and Global Footprint Network.


One-third of Forbes Top Social Entrepreneurs are Skoll Awardees

November 30, 2011 by

Forbes just released its list of Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs, and a third are Skoll Awardees or grantees. Congratulations to Martin Fisher and Nick Moon of KickStart, William Foote of Root Capital, Jordan Kassalow of VisionSpring, Wendy Kopp of Teach for America, Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen Fund, Rebecca Onie of Health Leads, J.B. Schramm of College Summit, John Wood of Room to Read, and Andrew Youn of One Acre Fund.

This new list, the first of its kind in Forbes’ 94-year history, is called the Impact 30: the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. Read all about the winners in this piece by Helen Coster, and get inspired. We know we are.


KickStart introduces layaway program in Kenya, featured in Fast Company

July 25, 2011 by

KickStart has introduced an innovative layaway program to African farmers so they can invest in low-cost irrigation pumps,  highlighted in Fast Company.

An excerpt:

Microfinance…has long been the only game in town when it comes to offering developing world entrepreneurs a viable and sustainable form of funding. But other financial instruments may work just as well–if not better–at supplying small farmers around the world with capital and a path out of poverty. KickStart, a nonprofit that sells human-powered irrigation systems for entrepreneurial farmers, has successfully introduced an SMS-powered layaway program in Kenya, forcing buyers to set aside tiny increments into an electronic bank, rather than store cash under a mattress where it’s prey to poor business practices, demands from relatives, impulse purchases, theft, and emergency needs–all of which contribute to the ‘poverty trap.'”

Read more about it here:


Lessons in Leadership: Young Women in Rural Africa Reflect on Route Out of Poverty

May 23, 2011 by

Camfed reports on progress on a major collaborative mentoring, training and economic empowerment project for young women in Africa.

Late last year, 150 ambitious young women from across Africa gathered in rural Zambia to learn lessons in leadership from some of the most inspiring social entrepreneurs in the world. Last month, these young women gathered once again to reflect on their incredible achievements so far. read more


Jeff Skoll #4 on Barron’s 2010 List of the World’s 25 Best Givers

December 9, 2010 by

Jeff Skoll was named #4 on Barron’s 2010 list of the World’s 25 Best Givers. Last year, at #2 on the list, Jeff was one of “the six philanthropists ahead of the Gateses… getting large and immediate bangs for their bucks.” This year the Gates Foundation, whose $34B endowment make it the largest foundation in the world, took top prize. Jeff was recognized, in particular, for the immense and immediate impact of his philanthropy and storytelling through the Skoll Foundation and Participant Media. The short blurb, published in the December issue of Barron’s magazine and online, highlights Waiting for Superman and the screening of the film this fall at the White House, and the Foundation’s “Flagship” Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, referencing the work of Skoll grantee KickStart‘s work in Africa.


KickStart-International Top Project of New Charity Website Featured in The New York Times

December 1, 2010 by

KickStart-International, founded by Skoll Awardees Martin Fisher and Nick Moon, is featured as a Top Project on This new online charity community was highlighted this week in The New York Times, A Facebook Founder Begins a Social Network Focused on Charities, leading to a crush of traffic that has overwhelmed the site. The goal of Jumo, which was created by a former Facebook founder and the chief digital organizer for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, is not only to raise money but to, “deepen ties between its users and their favorite causes.”

The mission of KickStart is to get millions of people out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably. And, in doing so, change the way the world fights poverty. KickStart takes a systematic approach to the end of poverty, led by the understanding that, “the number one need of the poor is a way to make Money.” They do this through a pragmatic five step process that turns each dollar donated into $15 of profit, helping build businesses that bring people out of extreme poverty.


Becoming Superman: Jeff Skoll in Fortune Magazine

October 18, 2010 by

Fortune Magazine’s latest issue includes a feature on Jeff asking, “How did this unassuming Canadian billionaire become a philanthropic superhero?” The article describes Jeff’s background and goes into depth on his work at Participant Media; how he “backs heady causes and finances serious films” and how his entry and success in Hollywood has taken Hollywood heavyweights, including Robert Redford, by surprise.

“Skoll’s films aren’t typical Hollywood fare: They tackle weighty subjects such as eco-Armageddon, petro-terrorism, education reform, and women’s rights. In short they tend to reflect Skoll’s progressive, and ultimately optimistic, worldview that shining a light on the world’s problems will inspire people to band together to bring about change on a large scale.” read more


Responsibility Pioneers

September 16, 2009 by

There’s a good story in Time Magazine about growing consumer awareness around how consumption choices impact the environment, workers and other social issues.   “We are again entering a period of social change as Americans are recalibrating our sense of what it means to be a citizen, not just through voting or volunteering but also through commerce: by what we buy. There is a new dimension to civic duty that is growing in America — it’s the idea that we can serve not only by spending time in our communities and classrooms but by spending more responsibly. We are starting to put our money where our ideals are.”

Among other things, the article talks about how corporate America is ripe for embracing social responsibility, in part because it attracts investment capital. It also talks about social entrepreneurs “who are are starting companies rather than nonprofits to capitalize on the power of the market to create public benefit.”  The article includes a sidebar with 25 “Responsibility Pioneers.”  This list includes Skoll social entrepreneurial organizations Peaceworks and Kickstart, as well as partners Acumen Fund and  Ashoka and Social Edge blogger D.light Design.


Skoll at SOCAP 2009

August 26, 2009 by

The Skoll family will be well represented at the Social Capital Markets 2009 conference in San Francisco next week.  Dan Crisafulli, who heads up ecosystem investments and partnerships at the Skoll Foundation, will be speaking on a panel on forecasting markets, essentially blue-sky thinking about the future of social capital markets – trends to watch and the potential for creative disruption.  You can see a video of Dan here talking about the panel and social finance.  Jill Finlayson of the Foundation will also be on a panel entitled Make the Maps, Mind the Gaps, Build the Apps. This panel will focus on ways to help social entrepreneurs, funders and service providers navigate and find each other efficiently. From the session description:  “From collaborative best practices such as the Social Entrepreneur API, a searchable database of vetted social entrepreneurs, to identifying missing pieces in the funder landscape, let’s work together to fill the infrastructure gaps that are slowing social entrepreneurs down.”

A number of Skoll social entrepreneurs will also be attending, some of whom are speaking, as well.  Look for the folks from Village Reach, Kiva,, Kickstart, Vision Spring, Root Capital and Benetech. (Apologies to anyone I missed!)


Martin Fisher Takes Questions

January 30, 2009 by

Martin Fisher of Kickstart, a 2005 Skoll social entrepreneur, was named person of the year by readers of  Now Martin has done an extensive Q&A online with readers who’ve sent in questions.  His comments provide some great insights into how Kickstart does its work and the challenges social entrepreneurs face in the field.  Martin also counters a lot of conventional thinking on development in this discussion.


More Kudos for Martin Fisher of Kickstart

January 9, 2009 by

Last November, I blogged about Kickstart winning three awards for innovative work on bringing appropriate technology to rural farmers in Africa.  Martin Fisher, co-founder of Kickstart and a 2005 Skoll social entrepreneur along with co-founder Nick Moon, has now landed one more accolade:  readers of, an online hub for global news with a focus on the non-profit space, have voted Martin their “2008 Person of the Year.”  Martin was one of 10 finalists, all individuals or groups doing impressive work around the globe.

Congrats to Martin, again!


KickStart Takes the Prize(s)

November 13, 2008 by

Skoll social entrepreneur KickStart, which focuses on breaking the cycle of poverty by helping subsistence farmers become income farmers, has garnered three high-profile awards over the last few months.

In June, co-founder Martin Fisher received the $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability. The award recognizes inventors whose products help address complicated challenges around poverty and global development. Watch Martin at the award ceremony.

In September, Martin was named the Engineer of the Year by Design News magazine, a leading publication for design engineers, for his work on the hand-powered irrigation pumps that are the core of Kickstart’s business.

Finally, last month, KickStart received the Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation, granted to a social sector organization that “demonstrates Drucker’s definition of innovation – change that creates a new dimension of performance.”  You can watch a video the Drucker Institute prepared on Kickstart here.

A very nice trifecta for Kickstart, which serves as a great example of the key role innovation plays in successful social entrepreneurship.


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