April 24

Flip the Switch Ep. 23: Building a Customer-Centric Business in Africa w/ Samir Ibrahim

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In today’s episode, we’re going outside the sports & entertainment industry. We’ll be talking about designing an entire business around customers’ deepest needs. Hopefully the wildly different context will give you new inspiration to become more customer-centric in your own organization. 

Today’s guest is the CEO of a solar-agriculture company, based in Kenya. So while I do the usual and try to connect the dots for you, I want you to focus on the underlying principles we talk about and less about the details.  

Our guest today is Samir Ibrahim, the co-founder and CEO of Sun Culture. He’s also been one of my best friends since I was ten years old. 

Samir and his co-founder launched Sun Culture 8 years ago, built entirely around the needs, goals, and motivations of one of the most under served populations in the world. They provide products and services that solve the biggest daily challenges for the world’s 570 million smallholder farming households. More specifically, they make it easier and more efficient for small farmers in underdeveloped countries to get more water, quicker. This allows the farmers to farm more effectively, allowing them to produce more food for their families, and more food to sell. 

But they don’t market their widgets, or product features. They sell “independence.” 

They’ve been so successful over the years because they are completely customer-centric as opposed to product-centric. That’s allowed them to get into a ton of other services as well, like working with the banks and the government to allow for better access to financial services. 

And it’s partly the reason why SunCulture has been featured by TED, the Financial times, the Economist, BBC, and more. They’re partners with Microsoft, Shell Foundation, MIT, and EDF. 

Among some of Samir’s personal accolades, he’s been named Forbes 30 under 30, a Top Conscious Business Leader by Conscious Company Magazine, and many more.


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