Australian entrepreneur Chris Ball is set to ride 2000 kilometres from Seattle to San Francisco, while living on just $3 per day, to raise money and awareness for Spark International, a charity that aims to combat poverty by supporting entrepreneurs in the developing world.
Spark finds local entrepreneurs in Africa and the Pacific and helps grow their projects, and in doing so, helps tackle poverty.
During the ride, Ball will visit a number of the world’s largest companies like Microsoft and Airbnb, where he will share some of Spark’s success stories.
“The objective is to share this message of how entrepreneurs can end poverty, in developing countries, with the entrepreneurial elite,” Ball says.
“The whole part of the adventure is to try and cut through the apathy that exists on the issue. Through me, as a fellow crazy westerner, living off such a small amount of money every day.”
Ball is the founder of Adventure Honey, a startup backed by BlueChilli, which allows its users to find, share, and book travel experiences. BlueChilli describes it as combining “the local insights of lonely planet with the social curation of Pinterest and the booking capability of a travel agent”.
He’s helping raise $15,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to enable Spark to deliver a program to local entrepreneurs in Papua New Guinea.
Fifteen entrepreneurs will take part in the program, if it’s successfully funded, with an additional entrepreneur per $1000 extra raised.
Through its partners in Papua New Guinea, Spark finds entrepreneurs who have an established idea that is affecting relatively tens of people, rather than thousands, and puts them through a week-long accelerator program.
The program links them with likeminded entrepreneurs and teaches them lean startup methodologies. Spark then provides these entrepreneurs with support in areas like law, accounting and web development. The hope is that they can scale their businesses to impact hundreds of thousands.
“Spark goes on the ground looking for the equivalent of Zuckerberg in his dorm room working on facemash, rather than Zuckerberg who is now in Palo Alto raising Series A,” Ball says.
“Spark is doing something unique, and others playing in this space love Spark, because Spark’s really there at a grass-roots level.
“It’s almost likely a nursery for some of those further up the pipeline. They’re filling a real gap.”
To donate, head over to the Entrepreneurs Ending Poverty Pozible page.