Operating in the United States and Rwanda, Atikus is a startup focused on expanding capital for qualified underserved individuals around the world.
Atikus entered the entrepreneurship world as a finalist in Global Entrepreneurship Week’s 2014 Startup Open competition. The company first learned about GEW through Kigali Entrepreneurship Week and has since learned a number of key lessons about entrepreneurship as a whole. In fact, Kate Woska, the startup’s founder, has said that Startup Open provided great exposure for Atikus. Since last fall, the company has received requests from lenders, insurance companies, and insurance brokers in over 23 different countries eager to have Atikus bring its solutions to their market and inspire change.
Kate Woska became an entrepreneur by accident
Woska never thought she would venture into a career in entrepreneurship. As a child, she aspired to be a writer. “I’m not sure I ever “decided” to become an entrepreneur, it more or less just happened. I was working at a large financial institution, and was simply curious about opportunities in developing markets. What started as research and exploration, ultimately developed into the identification of a specific problem and a potential solution”, Woska explains. She defines success as having the freedom to read whatever she wants, wherever she wants.
Atikus’s name was inspired by classic American literature
The startup’s name was inspired by Harper Lee’s character Atticus Finch. In the novel, Atticus was a defense attorney who represented a young black man who had been falsely accused of a crime. Atticus’s work as a defender of the underserved has always inspired Woska. She believes the character embodies all of the qualities for which Atikus, the startup, stands for.
Atikus is a for profit company with an element of social impact
The startup is a for profit company that includes social impact as a key component of its commercial and developmental perspective. For Woska, the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur is the sense that the team is creating something that is “intelligently-designed, delivers social impact, and has the power to really change a market for the better.” She has learned that it is important to work smarter, not harder and that relaxing and consciously moving forwards yields better results 150 percent of the time.