Mark Hemsworth

Rent to Own

Big Idea: 

Why we chose Mark as a Fellow

In 2003, Mark discovered Engineers Without Borders and began raising money for the cause. In 2008, he went with the organization to rural Zambia and volunteered with Africa's largest honey exporter. There, he found that most entrepreneurs couldn't grow their business because they didn't have access to capital or to equipment that could improve their productivity. That's when he started Rent-to-Own.

In every corner of Africa there are capable rural entrepreneurs who could build thriving businesses if they could get they right technologies – irrigation equipment, plows, even bicycles – financed in the right way. Rent-to-Own creates a vetted inventory of great products presented in a usable catalog, finds reliable entrepreneurs through a network of agents using their own social networks, and provides borrowers the financing they need on terms they can meet.

Rainer Arnhold Fellows