At 25 years old, Rita Kimani of Kenya is the co-founder of FarmDrive, a social enterprise that connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to credit. To date, FarmDrive works with over 3,000 farmers and is dedicated to financial inclusion.
“I grew up in rural Kenya where the people are dependent on farming. My mom was fending for a family of four, and I witnessed other families struggle to support themselves through agriculture, in part because there was a lack of financial inclusion.” Despite these challenges, the 25-year-old computer scientist has seen how sustainable agriculture can be a vehicle for inclusive economic growth and resolved to use her experiences to find solutions. Rita co-founded FarmDrive, a social enterprise that connects unbanked and underserved smallholder farmers to lines of affordable credit in rural Kenya. Using mobile technology, FarmDrive’s platform enables farmers to track their productivity, expenses and revenues to create comprehensive credit portfolios enabling access to affordable financial services, as they are needed. As it stands, 3000 farmers are registered, and loans have been facilitated to 400 farmers. Rita and her co-founder intend to scale-up fast. They forecast 210,000 loans will have been processed by the end of 2018; and half a million Kenyan smallholder farmers will benefit from FarmDrive’s services within five years.