Kickstart this, y’all!

Photos by Michael Gordon, Director of MIT's AITI program.

Diane Hendrix has a dream. She wants to make videos of young global entrepreneurs who are collaborating on their innovations to create cool new, profitable enterprises in the developing world. And she’s seeking funds for her company, Young World Inventors, on the venerable site Kickstarter  (the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects and a spectacular place to waste – I mean invest– hours of time looking at the other people’s brilliant ideas).

I first met Diane last year at the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder (one of my very favorite social entrepreneur incubators).  She was on fire to be a conduit and sparkplug promoting the synergy of American and African students working together to develop sustainable businesses. As a PBS and independent film and documentary producer, Diane had seen first-hand the power of those partnerships at MIT and Harvard where she taught Making Media Across Cultures, but she didn’t yet have backing for her big idea.

The young, dynamic Rwandan principals of HeHe.

So Diane took herself to Kenya in January and started shooting anyhow, attracting collaborators and advisors along the way. And now she has 10 videos on remarkable African entrepreneurs like the four principals of HeHe, a fledgling Rwandan mobile application, software, web development and networking company that is working in collaboration with MIT’s Accelerating Information Technology Innovation Program and achieving solid business success. And Bernard Kiwia, developer of Global Cycle Solutions in Tanzania, with Jodie Wu. And Will Mworia, founder of Afrinnovator, whose mission is to put Africa on the map as a font of technological innovation. When you look at the fresh faces of those young innovators, it’s hard to feel desperation for the future.

And that’s where Diane is such a linchpin. Her intention is not to ask for aid for Africa, but to find, film and fund young innovators whose ideas will permanently and positively affect real change in their societies. YWI videos will be shown on U.S. campuses and in African villages to inspire global collaboration, teamwork, and the idealism that young people can make a difference in the world with their big ideas, energy and passion.

And that’s something I can totally get behind! Click here to give Diane and Young World Inventors a hand.

2 thoughts on “Kickstart this, y’all!

  1. Hi Betty,
    I read the first paragraph and immediately thought of connecting her to the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder. Then I read the second paragraph. I should have figured that you , too, were mad about the UI. One of the founders met with me and my fellow trustees of Friendship Bridge in Denver last May. What a dynamo!

    By the way, it would be wonderful if you featured Friendship Bridge in WhatGives 365. Check out the website .www.friendshipbridge.org . The tag line is “Empowered Women Eliminating Poverty. We are currently providing loans and education to more than 13,000 of Guatemala’s most impoverished women. Our plan is to grow that number to 25,000 in 3-4 years. Next time you’re here, I’d like to take you to a Trust Bank meeting. Talk about courageous women. They may not be able to sign their names on the loan document since educating girls was non existent until recently, but they are a determined and inspiring bunch!

    Betty, do keep blogging and sharing stories about some of the great things being accomplished by brave and beautiful people. This hungry world needs all the good news it can find.

    Love and Blessings, Bonnie

    • Hi Bonnie!! I will definitely look at the Friendship Bridge — sounds like a GREAT group! And you know how attached I feel to the women of Guatemala — they are such beautiful people!
      I love the boys from UI and spent two weeks writing about them last March … they do such great work! AND … Diane got her funding, so I’m sure we’ll be able to see some awesome videos of the social entrepreneurs at work in Africa very soon. Yay!!! Happy august, Bonnie darling!

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