KickStart founder Martin Fisher set to inspire at Tulane

October 31, 2012 2:00 PM

Kathryn Hobgood Ray

Martin Fisher, the CEO and founder of KickStart, will be at Tulane to talk about creating a new model for fighting global poverty. His lecture will be held in the Woldenberg Art Center’s Freeman Auditorium on Thursday (Nov. 1) at 5 p.m.

Martin Fisher demonstrates a pedal-powered water pump for use in farming.

Kickstart founder Martin Fisher demonstrates how to use a pedal-powered water pump that allows farmers to push water uphill and improve their crop production. (Photo courtesy of Lemelson-MIT Program.)

Hosted by the NewDay Social Innovation Speaker Series at Tulane, Fisher will be speaking mostly to a crowd of students, parents and alumni who are on campus for 2012 Homecoming activities. The address is free and open to the public.

KickStart is an organization that focuses on helping entrepreneurs in developing nations start new businesses with small amounts of capital.

"The idea that big solutions to huge world problems can be solved through seemingly simple, but actually very precise, technological breakthroughs is at the heart of KickStart," says Rick Aubry, assistant provost for civic engagement and social entrepreneurship at Tulane. “Martin has the simple but obvious solution that to lift people out of poverty you need to help them generate cash through the creation of business activities which they know best — like farming.”

Fisher has spent 20 years working in Africa developing human-powered tools and creating business opportunities that have transformed the lives of more than 600,000 rural residents.

For example, Fisher realized that by empowering subsistence farmers with irrigation technologies such as a pump that can push water uphill, they could move from subsistence to commercial irrigated farming. Furthermore, they could start businesses by selling the pumps to fellow farmers.

“Subsistence farmers are transformed into farmers who can raise a cash crop that helps put their kids through school, raise the family's standard of living and create sustainable economies," says Aubry.

Fisher has won numerous awards and recognition for his inventions and work as a social entrepreneur.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu