KickStart was founded by Martin Fisher and Nick Moon to design tools that would enable Africa’s poor to launch and sustain profitable businesses. Its first product was a line of manually operated irrigation pumps — branded “MoneyMaker Pumps” — that would help subsistence farmers transform their farms into profitable family businesses.
When the first MoneyMaker pumps were brought to market, they were accepted by rural African farmers as affordable, versatile, durable, easy to maintain, and culturally appropriate. Although their design constituted a success, KickStart subsequently faced significant challenges manufacturing MoneyMaker pumps in sufficient volumes and at a reasonable cost. Africa was a difficult environment for mass production due to the inconsistent strength, dimensions, and availability of requisite raw materials, shortage of skilled manufacturing labor, minimal supply of advanced capital equipment, and limited experience with modern quality control processes among manufacturers. In addition, the company’s manufacturing costs were negatively affected by the rising price of steel, which eroded the already thin margins KickStart earned on the sale of its MoneyMaker pumps in its efforts to become self-sustaining. This mini-case study examines how KickStart addressed these challenges to established high quality, affordable manufacturing for the long term.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.