SoleRebels’ founder Bethlehem Alemu is hoping to do more for Ethiopia’s recovery with a new business she’s about to launch: Garden of Coffee.
By Bianca Britton (CNN Money) |
Bethlehem Alemu’s shoes have been sold worldwide by Amazon(Tech30), Urban Outfitters ( ) and Whole Foods ( ). When she started her business the Ethiopian accountant had much more modest ambitions.,
“I wanted to do something that would give me job opportunities myself and the people around me,” Alemu said. “I immediately thought ‘I have to start a small business!'”
So she quit her day job in 2005 and founded SoleRebels, which turns scraps of rubber from old tires and other recycled material into stylish footwear.
The company, which sold 125,000 pairs of shoes in 2016, has already delivered its promise of work. Since opening, SoleRebels has created 1,200 jobs and plans to have more than 3,000 full-time Ethiopian employees by the end of 2018 when a new production facility is complete.
The jobs pay well too — three times the average wage, according to Bethlehem Alemu.
Ethiopia’s economy has been enjoying a period of strong growth, in stark contrast to decades past when the country was blighted by war and famine.
Bethlehem is hoping to do more for Ethiopia’s recovery with a new business she’s about to launch: Garden of Coffee.
Continue reading this story on CNN Money
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- Bethlehem T. Alemu: Rising to the Top of the Footwear Industry through Decent Work
- Ventures Africa Features Sara Menker and Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu in Its “42 African Innovators to Watch, 2016”