EducateMe's two founders come to the issue of school fees in Africa from a unique perspective. Kris Carter is an American whose work in the microfinance sector has exposed him to the financial burden that poor African parents must bear in order to provide even the most basic education for their children. This burden is so great, and the desire for education so strong, that many families take out high-interest loans just to pay for school fees.
Bigz is a Ugandan who comes at the issue of school fees from a much more personal perspective. You can read more about his story here (One Child's Story), but in short, Bigz knows the pain of being unable to afford to attend school. After completing his education through the generosity of various sponsors, he has spent the last 15 years making connections between other poor children and sponsors who could help with school fees. EducateMe is now bringing Bigz' previous work to scale, connecting even more students with more sponsors.
Below is a bit more about the backgrounds our founders . . .
Kris Carter - Chairman & Co-Founder
Kris is Managing Director of MicroPlanet Technologies, a non-profit technology firm dedicated to serving the technology needs of microfinance institutions in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Prior to becoming a social entrepreneur with the founding of MicroPlanet in 2010, Kris had a long career in technology and finance, first as a venture capital attorney, then as a business executive with various high-growth technology companies. He served as SVP Business Affairs & General Counsel at Hillcrest Laboratories and also as President of Gibson Audio, a division of Gibson Guitar. As a corporate attorney, Kris specialized in venture capital, mergers & acquisitions, and international joint ventures at DLA Piper and at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP. Kris earned his law degree from Harvard Law School and his business finance degree from The University of Tulsa.
Bigz Aloysious Bigirwa - Managing Director & Co-Founder
Bigz came to the United States from Uganda in 2009, seeking political asylum after running for Parliament and being threatened by the party in power. While still in Uganda, Bigz was a Program Coordinator at Cornerstone Leadership Academy in Kampala (from which he also graduated), working with youth from the streets as a mentor and role model. He also co-founded Africa Youth Leadership Forum, which engages youth leaders across East and Central Africa. Bigz is a graduate of the University of Makerere in Kampala, Uganda.