From college courses to cultivating local agribusiness in Kenya
PBS NewsHour - 11/14/2013
It’s not an overstatement to say it gets frigid in Boston. So the company Mike Behan started while attending Northeastern University began by selling slouchy knit hats and scarves. It has since grown to support its main mission of helping women farmers in Kenya.
Behan, CEO and co-founder of Njabini Inc., graduated from Northeastern this year. While enrolled in the school’s Social Enterprise Institute, he traveled to a village called Njabini near Nairobi, Kenya, for six months out of the year for multiple years to focus on his business.
Njabini Inc. has two different enterprises: Njabini Apparel, which was started in 2010, and an agriculture-centered enterprise called Wakulima Pamoja (or Farmers Together in Kiswahili), which began in 2011.
Behan said he was fortunate to attend a university that enabled him to alternate going to classes for six months and working full-time on his project for the other half of the year.
“It allowed me to put a lot of time and effort into this organization. And a lot of what I learned in the program I was able to transfer into what we were doing in Kenya.”
As a freshman, he first traveled to the southern village of Njabini, where a friend had started an orphanage. After volunteering there, he began his company the following fall.