Martin J. Fisher

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, KickStart International

Martin is co-founder and CEO of KickStart International (previously ApproTEC). After a PhD in Engineering at Stanford he went to Kenya on a Fulbright and stayed 17 years. He established a large WASH program at ActionAid and led the installation of ~100,000 pit latrines in Kenyan refugee camps. In 1991 he and Nick Moon co-founded ApproTEC, a non-profit SE with a mission to help millions in sub-Saharan Africa to earn a lot more money. As a pioneer in proving how social business models can be used to fight poverty, Martin has designed multiple ‘money-making’ tools for micro/small enterprises including a soil-block press that has been used to build ~1M rooms. Since 1999, KickStart has enabled >390,000 smallholders to pivot from rainfed to irrigated farming enabling over 1.5 million women, men and children to climb out of poverty and adapt to climate change. They design and promote lowest cost irrigation pumps, sell them in 17 countries through private-sector suppliers, work with hundreds of development players to reach and educate farmers and advocate for system changes to promote irrigation. Amongst multiple awards Martin/KickStart has been named a Skoll and Schwab SE, Time European Hero and Stanford Engineering Hero. In his spare time, he is an avid hiker, biker and explorer.

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