After Sudan’s Referendum: A Former “Lost Boy” Turns Entrepreneur
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
On January 9th, Southern Sudanese voted on whether to become a separate, independent nation. While the results of that vote are still up in the air (though early indications reveal a majority voted for secession from the North), one fearless entrepreneur, Nico Ajak Bior, already has his sights set on a new entrepreneurial country of South Sudan, focusing first on an ailing, insecure agricultural industry.
“My idea is to start vegetable farming through the use of greenhouses in Juba and my hometown of Bior in Jonglei state,” Bior tells Fast Company. “This was inspired by the lack of fresh vegetables in my country–currently Southern Sudan imports all the vegetables and fruit from neighbouring countries and this makes it expensive for the local population to get them. I’m determined to make vegetables available throughout most parts of Sudan in the next few years.”
Bior, 28, is originally from South Sudan. He’s currently a University student in Kenya studying Mass Communications in Nairobi. His path out of Sudan was treacherous; Bior was one of 27,000 “Lost boys of Sudan” that were either orphaned or displaced due to raging civil wars.
Last year he participated in a fellow Lost Boy’s startup incubator program, New Scholars, and has since been nurturing his vision of kick-starting a local farming and vegetable industry in South Sudan, as decades of civil war destroyed what industry thrived prior to the war. And now that the referendum has finally taken place, his vision is set to become reality.