At the beginning of my career I was focused on earning as much money as I could. I was poor and straight out of university. So I did that.
Then something happened that changed how I see the world. I nearly died. On several occasions in fact. Once, I came close to drowning. Another time I was involved in a head on car crash but walked away.
It really felt like I had been given a second chance. And naturally I didn’t want to waste it away. So I left my housemate in London and decided to go back to study for a degree in water and development.
I studied hard. I learned and thought about a bunch of stuff. And with romantic childlike wonder, I threw myself into international aid. Firstly in Guatemala and then in the slums of India. It felt like I was making a contribution. But then I saw projects that weren’t working. Broken handpumps and communities dependent on handouts.
So I sought to find out why. I spoke to a bunch of people and read books. I found that because of a lack of accountability to the people they serve, some charities were not making a difference at all. In fact, some people thought they were doing more harm than good. I was dejected.
But I wanted to carry on with my life of meaning. So I read some more and spoke to a bunch of people again. I nearly gave it all up.
Then I heard about businesses improving lives, as well as making a profit. I understood business and this made sense to me. In particular, I was inspired by a telecoms company in Kenya that developed a product specifically for those without a bank account. It was a way to send money using your mobile phone. The effects were huge. By 2012 nearly half the population were registered users. Finally, people were able to save easier. This was an example of business doing good but also making a profit. So I discovered social enterprise achieving impact through business.
Bottom line is I’ve learned a ton about social enterprise. I’ve built, failed, and pivoted two social enterprises, sat on their boards, and thrown myself into the scene here in Nairobi, Kenya, where I live.
Now I want to help others reach greater impact, faster. I hope you like my site.