Founded in 2010, Rent to Own (RTO) is a social business that seeks to provide high-impact assets to micro-entrepreneurs in rural Zambia. These assets (such as refrigerators, hammer mills and irrigation pumps) help catalyze business growth and improvement in prosperity for clients who do not have access to such equipment in underdeveloped and disadvantaged communities.

In Zambia especially, farmers and rural business owners lack access to affordable, available and appropriate equipment for key business ventures such as farming and food production. Without productive assets these entrepreneurs are not able to realize their business potential.

Rent to Own directly responds to this challenge through a holistic approach: not only do we help clients select their assets but we also provide low-cost distribution, tailored financing and training services so each customer walks away with the assets, knowledge, and skills needed to grow their business over the long term.Zambia Map

In 2008 Patrun Chikolwizu was working for a Zambian honey company when Mark Hemsworth came to join him in working with over 5,000 rural honey farmers. Together they saw first-hand that these farmers and other entrepreneurs had the potential to grow their businesses but couldn’t access the proper assets and support to make their dreams into a reality.

Mark and Patrun combined their entrepreneurial capacity to formulate an approach to connect these entrepreneurs to the assets they needed to grow their businesses. The approach was called Rent to Own and was continually iterated upon from 2010-2013. Jeffrey Scheidegger then joined the business with his corporate finance background to bring the necessary controls and systems to allow the business to scale.

Today Rent to Own has grown to 50+ full-time staff who bring both local and international experience. RTO has provided over USD $4 million in micro assets with over 7000 clients benefiting.

Rent to Own’s Board of Directors:

Rent to Own is supported by like-minded organizations in the development, social and corporate world. These key investors, friends, and advisors have greatly contributed to the growth of our operations as they believe in our mission of helping tap into the entrepreneurial capacity in rural Zambia.

Engineers Without Borders Canada