Elizabeth’s Achievements

  • MBA (International Business) – Rotterdam School of Management
  • MSc (Space Studies) – International Space University, Strasbourg, France
  • BSc (Biochemistry) – University of Victoria
  • Founder of Kuunda 3D which provides quality 3D printing products and services as well as growing the local industry in East Africa. Clients include property developers, architects, event managers, educational institutes, automotive industry, NGOs, medical makers, entrepreneurs and more.

“I have come up with a way to be my own boss, solving problems every day, and getting new experiences every day. I am living the life I wanted to live. SMS gave me a good start, with great teachers, a supportive environment and, because it was all girls, I gained confidence. I have always felt I can do whatever I want — that it is all achievable for me.”

Elizabeth Rogers, SMS ’98

Changing the World with 3D Printing

Travelling through Tanzania, Elizabeth Rogers, SMS Class of 1998, noticed agricultural equipment that had been donated by charitable organizations sitting idle. Replacement parts were needed and the remote, poor rural communities had no way of securing them. “I realized that 3D printing could be the answer,” she remembers.

That was the moment of inspiration for founding Kuunda 3D to create and support the 3D printing ecosystem in Tanzania and other developing countries. The primary focus is on inspiring creativity and innovation at a young age by bringing 3D printing and modeling education to schools and offering community workshops. Elizabeth’s journey from SMS to Tanzania took some intriguing twists and turns. “I remember Mrs. Blazey, the biology teacher, was a big influence on me academically,” says Elizabeth, who earned her first degree, a BSc in Biochemistry, from the University of Victoria. “In general, SMS really planted a seed in me to travel and to do more internationally. Being exposed to students from different countries profoundly influenced my approach to life and I sought more international experience as I pursued my post-graduate education.”

After completing her BSc, Elizabeth earned a Masters’ Degree in Space Studies at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. She returned to Canada to work in high tech DNA sequencing and other scientific labs and in biotech. During this time, she became passionate about environmental sustainability and decided to enroll in the Rotterdam School of Management’s International MBA program in order to better understand the business and financial components of sustainability.

“Over time, my focus shifted from environmental sustainability to social impact,” says Elizabeth. “The most important aspect is people – if people do not have their daily needs met, they will not care if they are destroying the environment.”

During her MBA studies, Elizabeth had travelled to Tanzania and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with a group of female fellow students. “It was very empowering and I was so taken with East Africa, the people and the landscape,” Elizabeth says. “I stayed in touch with the guide and other locals after that trip.” Following her MBA, her consultancy internship for KPMG Sustainability led to a longer-term project in Tanzania for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, when she got the idea for 3-D printing in rural areas. “Kuunda” means to assemble/make/create in Swahili and Elizabeth founded the business to create sustainable long-term impact by teaching people how to develop and implement these solutions themselves. She started in Tanzania and has recently expanded to Kenya.

As a test, Elizabeth is currently installing a 3-D printer in a small village in Tanzania, where people can print agricultural equipment, motorcycle parts and other tools, and for them to create jobs and businesses from 3D printing. “If this model works, then I can foresee getting printers in villages all over, enabling local manufacturing and getting even those in remote areas the tools they need to improve their lives,” Elizabeth says.

In addition to Kuunda 3D and many other projects, Elizabeth co-founded an online shop with her sister and fellow SMS alumna, Christina Rogers, and a close friend. ThreeDamChicks (now called Kubuni) sells household fabrics sewn by rural African women.

“I have come up with a way to be my own boss, solving problems every day, and getting new experiences every day. I am living the life I wanted to live,” Elizabeth says. “SMS gave me a good start, with great teachers, a supportive environment and, because it was all girls, I gained confidence. I have always felt I can do whatever I want– that it is all achievable for me.”

In recognition of her passion for sustainable development, her creative entrepreneurship and her commitment to lifelong learning, SMS is proud to present Elizabeth Rogers with a Service with Love Award.