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Martin Fisher

Co-Founder and CEO, KickStart

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Martin Fisher Biography

As a child in upstate New York, Martin Fisher often spent time in his family’s basement building things, taking things apart, and putting them back together. He wanted to understand how they worked - and how he could make them better. It’s a trait that has served him well as an inventor and social entrepreneur.

Fisher was born in London and moved to the United States when he was eight years old. His father is an academic theoretical physicist, and his mother is a social entrepreneur who founded the Ithaca Festival - an annual three-day music, arts and dance festival in Ithaca, New York.

Fisher earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 1979, followed by a master's and doctorate in mechanical design and theoretical and applied mechanics from Stanford University. While finishing his Ph.D., Fisher traveled to Peru to trek in the Andes and ponder his future. In South America he first encountered poverty in the developing world. He reflected on how the development of new technologies had advanced global societies and wondered if engineering could also play a critical role in solving global poverty. Answering this question became his life's calling.

After he returned to the United States, Fisher earned a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Kenya to study the appropriate technology movement and the relationship between technology and poverty. Based on the E.F. Schumacher book, Small Is Beautiful, the appropriate technology movement opined that small-scale, locally made, labor-intensive technologies could pull a poor rural village out of poverty. The appropriate technology movement ended in the mid-1980s, but studying its demise gave Fisher many important insights about how things could be made to work better.

Fisher expected to be in Kenya for 10 months. He stayed for 17 years. After his Fulbright Scholarship ended, he spent the next five years working for ActionAid, a British non-profit organization. He developed new low-cost building technologies, constructed low-cost school buildings, established a large rural water program, created workshops to produce farm equipment, designed aids for the disabled, and trained youth and women's groups to start businesses. During this time, Fisher met Nick Moon, his future business partner.

Fisher and Moon became frustrated by the lack of sustainable impacts on poverty, and they began to study the root causes of these failures. Development agencies continuously spent large amounts of time and money to better poor communities, only to have the work they put in place deteriorate soon after their workers left. Fisher thought: How was it that well-intentioned and well-implemented projects could fail to create lasting change? Fisher and Moon's inquiries led to the simple conclusion that just like anyone, the number one need of poor families in Africa is "a way to make more money," and from this they developed a new model for fighting global poverty.

In 1991, Fisher and Moon left ActionAid and co-founded ApproTEC, the non-profit that would become KickStart. By bringing together the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor, innovative tools and technologies, and the power of the marketplace, they developed a cost effective and sustainable way to help families lift themselves out of poverty. They started to design affordable moneymaking tools and mass-market them to the poor, who in turn bought the equipment and used it to establish highly profitable family businesses.

Fisher started by designing an oil seed press and a press for making stabilized soil blocks. These and his other early designs have been used to create hundreds of profitable businesses. However, by 1997 he realized that because the vast majority of the poor in the world are small-scale farmers, irrigation technologies that enable farmers to move from subsistence to commercial irrigated farming could have the greatest impact on global poverty. With his team of designers, Fisher developed his first MoneyMaker Pump. Today more than 198,292 pumps have been sold.

By 2001, ApproTEC had proved the power of its model and its designs, and Fisher returned to the United States to establish a small fundraising office in San Francisco. In 2005, the African and U.S. organizations were combined as a single U.S.-based non-profit social enterprise called KickStart.

Fisher continues to design and invent in addition to his role as CEO of KickStart. He believes that design is most successful when approached collaboratively, and he continues to mentor and direct a team of designers and engineers in Kenya. He also works with designers in the United States, both from universities and renowned firms like IDEO.

Fisher is an established lecturer who speaks at top engineering and business schools, as well as at major design, international development, and social enterprise-related conferences.

Fisher has won numerous awards and recognition for his inventions and work as a social entrepreneur, including the IDEA Design Gold Medal, TIME Magazine's 2003 European Hero award, 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Schwab Foundation's "2003 Social Entrepreneur of the Year" award.

In 2008 he was named Engineer of the Year by Design News magazine. Also in 2008, he received the prestigious $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability" for his achievements in transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor Africans though invention and innovation.

FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Martin Fisher?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Martin Fisher for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Martin Fisher, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Martin Fisher or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Martin Fisher?

    Booking fees for Martin Fisher, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Martin Fisher, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Martin Fisher?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Martin Fisher for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Martin Fisher for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Martin Fisher or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Martin Fisher or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

Co-Founder and CEO, KickStart

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Martin Fisher Biography

As a child in upstate New York, Martin Fisher often spent time in his family’s basement building things, taking things apart, and putting them back together. He wanted to understand how they worked - and how he could make them better. It’s a trait that has served him well as an inventor and social entrepreneur.

Fisher was born in London and moved to the United States when he was eight years old. His father is an academic theoretical physicist, and his mother is a social entrepreneur who founded the Ithaca Festival - an annual three-day music, arts and dance festival in Ithaca, New York.

Fisher earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University in 1979, followed by a master's and doctorate in mechanical design and theoretical and applied mechanics from Stanford University. While finishing his Ph.D., Fisher traveled to Peru to trek in the Andes and ponder his future. In South America he first encountered poverty in the developing world. He reflected on how the development of new technologies had advanced global societies and wondered if engineering could also play a critical role in solving global poverty. Answering this question became his life's calling.

After he returned to the United States, Fisher earned a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Kenya to study the appropriate technology movement and the relationship between technology and poverty. Based on the E.F. Schumacher book, Small Is Beautiful, the appropriate technology movement opined that small-scale, locally made, labor-intensive technologies could pull a poor rural village out of poverty. The appropriate technology movement ended in the mid-1980s, but studying its demise gave Fisher many important insights about how things could be made to work better.

Fisher expected to be in Kenya for 10 months. He stayed for 17 years. After his Fulbright Scholarship ended, he spent the next five years working for ActionAid, a British non-profit organization. He developed new low-cost building technologies, constructed low-cost school buildings, established a large rural water program, created workshops to produce farm equipment, designed aids for the disabled, and trained youth and women's groups to start businesses. During this time, Fisher met Nick Moon, his future business partner.

Fisher and Moon became frustrated by the lack of sustainable impacts on poverty, and they began to study the root causes of these failures. Development agencies continuously spent large amounts of time and money to better poor communities, only to have the work they put in place deteriorate soon after their workers left. Fisher thought: How was it that well-intentioned and well-implemented projects could fail to create lasting change? Fisher and Moon's inquiries led to the simple conclusion that just like anyone, the number one need of poor families in Africa is "a way to make more money," and from this they developed a new model for fighting global poverty.

In 1991, Fisher and Moon left ActionAid and co-founded ApproTEC, the non-profit that would become KickStart. By bringing together the entrepreneurial spirit of the poor, innovative tools and technologies, and the power of the marketplace, they developed a cost effective and sustainable way to help families lift themselves out of poverty. They started to design affordable moneymaking tools and mass-market them to the poor, who in turn bought the equipment and used it to establish highly profitable family businesses.

Fisher started by designing an oil seed press and a press for making stabilized soil blocks. These and his other early designs have been used to create hundreds of profitable businesses. However, by 1997 he realized that because the vast majority of the poor in the world are small-scale farmers, irrigation technologies that enable farmers to move from subsistence to commercial irrigated farming could have the greatest impact on global poverty. With his team of designers, Fisher developed his first MoneyMaker Pump. Today more than 198,292 pumps have been sold.

By 2001, ApproTEC had proved the power of its model and its designs, and Fisher returned to the United States to establish a small fundraising office in San Francisco. In 2005, the African and U.S. organizations were combined as a single U.S.-based non-profit social enterprise called KickStart.

Fisher continues to design and invent in addition to his role as CEO of KickStart. He believes that design is most successful when approached collaboratively, and he continues to mentor and direct a team of designers and engineers in Kenya. He also works with designers in the United States, both from universities and renowned firms like IDEO.

Fisher is an established lecturer who speaks at top engineering and business schools, as well as at major design, international development, and social enterprise-related conferences.

Fisher has won numerous awards and recognition for his inventions and work as a social entrepreneur, including the IDEA Design Gold Medal, TIME Magazine's 2003 European Hero award, 2005 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, and the Schwab Foundation's "2003 Social Entrepreneur of the Year" award.

In 2008 he was named Engineer of the Year by Design News magazine. Also in 2008, he received the prestigious $100,000 Lemelson-MIT Award for Sustainability" for his achievements in transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of poor Africans though invention and innovation.

FAQs on booking Martin Fisher

  • How to book Martin Fisher?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Martin Fisher for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Martin Fisher, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Martin Fisher or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Martin Fisher?

    Booking fees for Martin Fisher, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Martin Fisher, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Martin Fisher?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Martin Fisher for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Martin Fisher for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Martin Fisher or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Martin Fisher or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Martin Fisher is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Martin Fisher for your event is $20,000 - $30,000. Martin Fisher generally travels from and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are John Wood, Matthew Bishop, Amitabha Sadangi, Alex Nicholls and Gregory Dees. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Martin Fisher for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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Speakers Similar to Martin Fisher

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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