Unsatisfied by corporate work, self-proclaimed ‘head water boy’ Guy Futi has been selling MAJI Water to Canadians, and with the sale of each bottle, he helps instigate change in the water sources of the less fortunate across the world. Inspired by his upbrining in Africa, he strives to give everyone an equal chance at life. Find out more about this YE in today’s feature…
Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am founder and Head Water Boy at MAJI Water (MAJI is Swahili for water), a social business whose goal is to help make the world a little bit better by providing clean drinking water to places where such a good is a luxury. MAJI Water is able to sustain this endeavour by selling bottled water in Canada.
Why did you start your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I was born and raised in Africa, experiencing first-hand the effects of extreme poverty. My parents moved us to Canada in hopes for a better education. I began a promising career at a top Canadian bank, which was satisfactory at first, but there was this passion inside me to do more. I wanted to do something that was different, fulfilling, and meaningful at the same time. I started thinking about all the things back home that people struggled with and water, a resource in extreme abundance, was always at the top of the list. At the same time the idea of social entrepreneurship started gaining notoriety in America. I was drawn to this revolutionary approach to business. Everything just clicked and next thing I knew, I was completely immersed in water. It made sense and, in a weird sort of way, I felt whole.
What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of MAJI is the selling. Knowing that every time MAJI sells or whenever someone drinks a bottle is a rewarding feeling because it allows me to go on a mission that will provide water to those who have no access to it. The most challenging part of MAJI is definitely selling it. Having to create awareness about a new product on a limited budget in a hyper competitive field. Hopefully, the missions that I’ve done to date and in the future will serve as awareness and marketing.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Probably still Head Water Boy at MAJI, maybe with a heavier focus on missions due to stronger sales.
What does success look like to you?
Success feels euphoric to me. There’s nothing better than visiting different countries, giving fellow human beings something they absolutely need to survive. Not to mention the countless experiences and stories you acquire along the way.
What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
My first field mission to Nicaragua was a mix of bliss and sadness. It was an overwhelming emotional rollercoaster. Happy that you’re giving, sad that people have to live in absolute poverty. I’ll never forget that experience.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Don’t give up! You’re too young to fail.
Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
MAJI WATER supports any worthy cause from the CHU St. Justine to the Farha Foundation to Big Brothers and Big Sisters. It’s important to support charities with funds as well as in-kind donations, but I also love donating some of my time, like wrapping gifts during the holiday season for the Montreal Children’s Hospital or serving food at the Old Brewery Mission.
What to you is notable?
Anytime that someone does something a little risky with passion and/or love, it’s worth noting.
Blackberry, iPhone, Android, or Other?
None! I have a simple little phone, just for calls and texts. However, you rarely see me without my iPad.