Mfonobong Nsehe – Forbes – Monday, 09 January 2011 (originally published 05 Jan)
Every now and then, I profile outstanding African women who’re making giant strides in business, politics, technology, entrepreneurship and leadership on the continent and elsewhere around the world. This week, I profile the spectacular Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, an Ethiopian entrepreneur and the founder of SoleRebels, a thriving eco-sensitive footwear brand that pundits hail as Africa’s answer to brands such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas.
Entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu was born and raised in Zenebework, a small, impoverished rural community in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia. As a child, she discovered that people of her community were living in abject squalor because there were very few jobs available.
While the most of the locals were unemployed, Bethlehem discovered that several of them possessed remarkable artisan skills which remained largely unexploited. This observation drove her to brainstorm on ways through which she could transform the skills of her community members into a sustainable enterprise that could generate livelihoods for them, and create wealth over the long term . . .