Canadian and British
International Full-time MBA, 2013
Founder at Kuunda 3D
Nominated by Joey Johannsen, sustainability co-ordinator, RSM
Utilising innovative technology to create business in Africa
Alumna Elizabeth Rogers doesn’t sit still. Since her MBA graduation, she has been challenging herself to learn and create a scalable business model for immediate impact to serve all of East Africa. She immersed herself into an emerging country's market and founded Kuunda 3D, which empowers and enables East African entrepreneurs to use innovative technology, like 3D printing, to improve their businesses and lives.
Sparking innovation through collaboration
By bringing 3D printing to East Africa, Elizabeth aims to create jobs, spark innovation and new business, and transfer technology and knowledge to those who may not otherwise have access to it.
She collaborates with other organisations to achieve her goals through 3D printing. For example, she helps print educational tools allowing teachers to better demonstrate abstract concepts, as well as devices to improve health, such as 3D printing microscopes to check for clean water.
A long-term impact
Elizabeth’s first trip to Tanzania was during RSM’s Mt Kilimanjaro elective. After the MBA her consultancy internship for KPMG Sustainability led to a longer-term project in Tanzania for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, when she got the idea for 3D printing in rural areas. Elizabeth founded Kuunda 3D to create sustainable long-term impact by teaching people how to develop and implement these solutions themselves. She set up the business in Tanzania, and has recently expanded to Kenya with help from former RSM classmate Cynthia Kahumbura.
As a test, Elizabeth is currently installing a 3D printer in a small village in Tanzania, where people can print agricultural equipment, motorcycle parts and other tools, and for them to create jobs and businesses from 3D printing. “If this model works, then I can foresee getting printers in villages all over, enabling local manufacturing and getting even those in remote areas the tools they need to improve their lives,” Elizabeth says.
Elizabeth aims to open hubs in more East African cities, so each country’s support network can help enable local manufacturing and product development, leading to better education and home-grown solutions.
During her studies and career, Elizabeth’s achievements in sustainable development have gone far. In addition to Kuunda 3D and many other projects, she founded online shop ThreeDamChicks, which sells household fabrics sewn by rural African women, and Elizabeth Rogers Consulting Management. She was also co-president of the RSM MBA Net Impact Club 2012-2013, where she worked on project development, designed a sustainability challenge and built global gold status for the organisation.