John is the co-founder and Managing Director of The Small Enterprise Foundation. After spending four years running the microcredit operations of the Get Ahead Foundation, from 1987 to 1990, John decided to launch his own organization in one of the poorest provinces of South Africa. He was convinced that the solution for the poverty in his country would be found through one of two methods for increasing income – mainstream employment or small enterprise development. John decided to tackle the latter as he believed that if he helped people to start businesses, they will in turn be able to create jobs for others. As he developed his model, John drew lessons from the Grameen Bank and tailor-made it for the South African context.
John holds a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town and has served as a member of the Policy Advisory Group of CGAP, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest, as a trustee of ChoiCe, a South African health sector NGO which focuses on home-based care for people living with HIV/AIDS and TB and as a board member of the Association of Pro-Poor Microfinance Institutions of South Africa.
John is an Ashoka Fellow. In 2012 he received The International Alliance for Women World of Difference 100 Award in the category Champion of Women’s Economic Empowerment. He has presented lectures at the University of California, San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University, and has chaired discussions at numerous conferences around the world. John is fluent in English and Afrikaans.