CEO rides from Seattle to San Francisco to fund aid program
EUGENE, Ore. - Chris Ball is on the ride of his life. He's biking more than 1,300 miles from Seattle to San Francisco in a month.
Ball, CEO and founder of Adventure Honey which is based in Australia, is trying to secure funding for an entrepreneurial organization.
An entrepreneur himself, Ball says a trip to Asia inspired him to ask how to support impoverished people who have great business ideas, but don't have the tools.
"There are local people that have the ideas. They understand what the problems are and they have the ideas to deliver the solutions," he says.
Ball says he did some research and found Spark, one of the world's largest free business accelerator programs offerings business support to start-up companies.
He says he's hoping to meet his minimum goal of $15,000 by the end of September 30th.
If he does, Spark will send 15 business professionals to Papua New Guinea, a country where 40% of its population lives in extreme poverty.
"They just don't have the tools. That's what Spark does, they give them the tools."
He says the 15 "changemakers" will hold a week long training course for selected entrepreneurs, followed by three years of support in business methodology and support, and access to mentors.
"There are people in slums and isolated villages who have as much potential as any of us," he says. "They just need a hand up and will offer that to others."
Ball hitchhiked from Florence to Eugene to give a presentation to a dozen UO students and RAIN participants at the Eugene Chamber of Commerce.
By Tuesday afternoon, he was back on his bike.
"I ride 100 miles per day. It's a bit grueling, but I need to do something that makes people stand-up and take notice."
Ball is also living on $3 a day, which is the amount upon which people in half the developing world subsist. "Even three dollars a day is a more than they earn, but I burn 4,000 calories a day, so I need to keep my intake up."
Ball says he's well on track, but if the $15,000 isn't met, the project will drop.
For more information on his ride and funding tracker, visit his website.