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Martin Fisher

Co-Founder and CEO, KickStart-International

Skoll Awardee


Martin J. Fisher is Co-Founder & CEO of KickStart International, an award-winning, nonprofit social enterprise that is tackling poverty and building an entrepreneurial middle class in Sub-Saharan Africa. KickStart designs and markets low-cost irrigation pumps that transform small-scale farms into profitable year-round businesses, and have enabled over 1 million people to take a major step out of poverty.

Martin holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and an MSc in Mechanical Engineering and PhD in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, from Stanford University. After graduating in 1985, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study the connection between technology and development in Kenya. He stayed for 17 years, establishing and running a large rural water program and the Appropriate Technology Unit at Action Aid, and in 1991, co-founding KickStart-International (originally ApproTEC) with Nick Moon. Martin is a pioneer in the ‘business solutions for poverty’, ‘technology for development’ and ‘Social Enterprise’ spaces. He has published articles on high impact development and philanthropy, has designed/patented multiple engineering products (for low-cost construction, sanitation, food processing and irrigation) and has been recognized with numerous awards and honors.