2014 Honoree: KickStart



Primary Area of Impact: Poverty Alleviation
Geographic Areas: 19 countries in Africa
Year Founded: 1991
Website: www.kickstart.org


KickStart International is a non-profit social enterprise with a mission to lift millions of people out of poverty quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably, and in doing so, to fundamentally change the way the world fights poverty. We see the untapped entrepreneurial drive in the world’s poorest people and we harness this potential for massive change. We find profitable business opportunities open to many thousands of poor people and then, design, manufacture, market, and sell simple technologies that unlock these opportunities.

Social Challenge

KickStart is working to alleviate poverty and build a vibrant entrepreneurial middle class in Africa. Smallholder farmers use the MoneyMaker pumps to move from subsistence rain-fed agriculture to commercial irrigated farming to establish highly profitable family farms. To date, more than 150,000 families have used KickStart’s unique MoneyMaker pumps to irrigate their land and establish dynamic farming businesses.

KickStart conservatively estimates that 15 to 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa could benefit from their MoneyMaker pumps. There is an incredible untapped potential for KickStart’s pumps across sub-Saharan African, where less than 4% of the farmland is irrigated. KickStart’s market-based model is focused on long-term sustainability and designed to be easily scaled and replicated across Africa to meet this market demand. Providing poor farmers with appropriately designed irrigation technologies is essential to their survival and offers a sustainable path out of poverty for millions of families.


  • KickStart has sold over 220,000 pumps and monitoring shows that over 150,000 farmers have used pumps to start small businesses and increase their incomes.
  • $120 million in new annual farmer profits and wages and lifted over 750,000 people out of poverty.
  • Food grown with pumps is feeding some 11 million people and has enabled 230,000 children to go to school for the first time or attend improved schools.
  • Within 36 months of ownership, on average farmers increase their family net farm income by nearly 500%.
  • KickStart’s largest and most mature programs in Kenya and Tanzania work with 400 agro-vet dealers to stock and sell MoneyMaker pumps and spare parts.
  • KickStart also works through business-to-business partnerships in 15 other African countries.