MBA alumnus and Skoll Scholar, Mike Quinn, receives Social Entrepreneur of the Year award for his work with African fintech enterprise, Zoona.
The end of September saw the Schwab Foundation host 12 exceptional social entrepreneurs, whose work has earned them the prestigious award of ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year.’ The award ceremony hosted an impressive collection of esteemed guests, including: the first Muslim woman from Kenya to receive a law degree, who now runs HODI (Horn of Africa Development Initiative) an organisation dedicated to creating peaceful and resilient communities in extremely poor areas within the region; a Brazilian man who developed a rehab system for prisoners and the COO of refugee point, a woman who has dedicated 24 years of her life to aid refugees in crises.
Mostnotable of the 12 is Skoll Scholar Alumnus, Mike Quinn, CEO of an African fintech business, Zoona. Zoona combines technology and entrepreneurship to deliver financial services to those who need them most. The company has successfully served over three million users and processed more than $2.5 billion in transactions.
Zoona was first conceptualised when Zambian-born founders Brad and Brett envisioned a cashless Zambia. In a country with already limited money transfer capabilities, this originally seemed far-fetched. At the time, Mike Quinn had just finished his MBA at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and was looking to return to work in social start-ups in Africa. He met with the Magrath brothers, decided to invest in their start-up, and became their CEO, helping them to establish Zoona.
Zoona is currently operating in Zambia and Malawi and has ambitious growth plans to expand both their product offering and geographic footprint. The company has already created over 3,000 jobs and stimulated economic growth in both urban and rural communities. They were also one of ten global companies to participate in the ‘Girl Effect Accelerator’ programme sponsored by the Unreasonable Group and Nike Foundation based on their relentless commitment to provide entrepreneurial growth opportunities for young women.
It’s clear to see how Mike Quinn retained such a drive for social impact. His Skoll Scholarship spark has continued through his current work, earning him recognition as a Schwab Foundation awardee. Upon receiving his award, Mike commented: ‘I am incredibly humbled and proud to receive this award on behalf of our terrific team of staff, agents, and tellers at Zoona who have done the hard work to make it possible. We are more excited than ever to deliver essential financial services to those who need them most and this recognition is testament that we are on the right track.’
After the ceremonies, the 12 individuals honoured in 2018, become part of the broader Schwab Foundation community of 350 outstanding social entrepreneurs from around the world.