All entrepreneurs are inherently risk-takers, but some are willing to go above and beyond for an idea they believe in. NYU Stern alumnus Samir Ibrahim and serial entrepreneur Charles Nichols, winners of the Audience Choice Award at the 2011-12 Entrepreneur’s Challenge fit this description perfectly. The two recently packed their bags and moved to Kenya, where their start-up SunCulture sells solar-powered irrigation products and agricultural services to local farmers.


One year ago, Samir Ibrahim met his friend Charles Nichols for dinner at the John Dory Oyster Bar to discuss entering the NYU Social Venture Competition. Charlie had had an idea to use solar water pumps for agriculture, realizing that this would serve an unmet need for more efficient irrigation systems. Their backgrounds complimented each other – Charlie has a background in engineering and had worked for company developing solar-energy projects, while Samir had a background in finance. After some discussion, the two decided to enter the competition.