Kickstart (formerly ApproTEC) is a nonprofit organization that develops and markets new technologies to Africa. These low- cost technologies are purchased by local entrepre- neurs who use them to establish local businesses that create new jobs and new wealth to allow the poor to climb out of poverty. To date, ApproTEC has contributed to the establishment of more than 20,500 businesses that produce $27M+ in yearly profits and wages. New incomes in Kenya derived from ApproTEC technologies account for .5% of country GDP.
In many African countries, for example Kenya and Tanzania, only 14% and 7% have jobs in the formal sector, respectively. The remaining population must work for subsistence. Since many countries are moving from a centrally planned to a market, cash-based economy, many families cannot grow enough to eat nor earn money from generating crop surpluses due to irrigation challenges.
ApproTEC has designed a line of low-cost, manually operated money making irrigation pumps. This technology allows farming families to pump water out of the ground using a "stair master" type apparatus, and thus avoid the hard labor and inefficient work of drawing water from a well with a bucket. Improved irrigation allows farmers to produce more from their crops and generate income required for survival in a market economy.