Martha Deacon

Founder, The Townships Projects

Topics: Charity & Humanitarian
Interview Date: November-22,2011
Extraordinary Insights: "It is scientifically true that each one of us is unique. It follows from that, that each one of us has something specific that we are intended to do. Finding out who we are is about going beyond our profession to tap into our passions."

Audio-only version:

Martha Deacon is the founder and CEO of The Townships Project, created in late 1998 in response to then President Nelson Mandela’s challenge to do something about the poverty in his country.  The Townships Project, a Canadian registered charity, has worked for 13 years with local microfinance organizations in South Africa to extend small loans to start or expand small businesses, always exploring how to make these loans more effective in the fight against poverty. In August, 2011, it led the first ever MicroFranchising Launch: Trade Show and Workshops in the Township of Khayelitsha outside Cape Town South Africa, with the support of Standard Bank and in partnership with University of Cape Town's Graduate School of Business. Prior to starting The Townships Project, Martha was an entrepreneur, an investment banker with Deacon Barclays de Zoete Wedd and a solicitor with the Toronto law firm of Fraser & Beatty (now Fraser Milner Casgrain) in Canada, her country of residence.