All of my neighbors were small-holder farmers and I learned what the world looked like through their lens.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. Swap out farmer for man and fish for water pump in this well-worn Chinese proverb and you arrive at the modus operandi of Nick Moon. The carpenter-turned-social entrepreneur cofounded Kickstart in 1991, which manufactures and sells affordable products, like The Super MoneyMaker Pressure Pump, in Kenya, Tanzania, and Mali to rural farmers, who must agree to pay for them over time. Any crops not consumed by the farmer’s family can be sold for profit. “When people make money, they do what you or I would do for it: they make sure there is food on the table, that their kids are educated, and that they get healthcare,” says Moon. As of 2010, KickStart has sold 140,000 pumps, which have been used to create 91,000 profitable businesses. These, in turn, have generated $92 million in profits, thereby lifting 455,000 out of poverty.
TakePart travelled to the Skoll World Forum in Oxford, England, to pick the brains of the world’s biggest thinkers. These Innovators in Action are changing the face of the future with bold new ideas and profound enthusiasm. Motivated by personal experience and fueled by the hope that things can get better, these innovators—each of them true social entrepreneurs—are improving our world, one brilliant business idea at a time.