Ethnic Threads is a new charity project, set-up with the aim of selling clothing made from traditional East African material (Kitenge),
The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Country of residence of entrepreneur
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
I visited Uganda last year and the most rewarding aspect was seeing the dedication and compassion Ugandan workers show, both those working in hospitals,and those working in orphanages for disabled infants who have been abandoned. Their positivity, attitude and gratitude toward life is admirable.
The most challenging aspect was having to accept the limited impact we could make during our medical elective, as we were at an early stage in med school and had little knowledge of communicable diseases. That was part of my inspiration to make a sustainable contribution to the Ugandan people. I have recruited a team, each with different educational back rounds to bring as much skill to this business venture as possible.
About Your Organization
Ireland, DB, dublin
Country where this project is creating social impact
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
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The Need: What problem are you trying to solve?
We are constantly exposed to horrific humanitarian conditions in third world countries yet dont do much more than occasionally drop a few euro in a charity box. These contributions have gotten smaller in these recessionary times so we think offering people a product that they want combined with the feel good factor of giving to charity will create a substantial and steady revenue supply.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
We want to actively create revenue through what we believe to be a sustainable and potentially very profitable business. ( all profits will of course be traveling back to Uganda! ) We will be using a reputable charity as an intermediatry as we lack the experience and connections for this business to be fully effective.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities
There is a huge demand for our product from the small amount of market research that we have done. As a start up we are still only in the foundation stages of setting up this company we cannot give exact examples but we plan on creating fair trade jobs in Uganda as well as supporting local products and raising awareness by association with the jackets here in Ireland
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others also working to address the needs you are and what differentiates you from them. What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
At the moment we have no direct competitors, of course there are countless numbers of jacket styles on sale but none of them have our unique selling point. In terms of peers, when the company grows we would consider partnerships with different brands as part of their corporate social responsibility. for example an African style addidas jacket for the olympics 2016 (wishful thinking I know!) Our main threat would be a well known brand bringing in a line that looks like ours.
Select the stage that best applies to your business
Operating for less than a year
This Entry is about (Issues)
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?
We are still in talks with producers but we will fill this space soon!
What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?
our main barrier at the moment is accessing information but we are connecting with Lifeworks charity that operated a production business alike ours.
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?
By creating jobs both in the production, raw materials and logistics areas we will be helping financial stability in Uganda and by pumping our profits back (after the company is established of course) we will be creating social improvement, with the help of our nominated charity. As of yet we haven't chosen a producer or distributor so dont know their environmental abilities, but we intend on making the process as green as possible.
Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?
I think it takes more than simply rattling a box in somebodies face to raise money. Although that may help charities survive in developing countries it is not enough to improve them. Innovative ideas with a real selling point is vital to a dependable cash flow. I want to improve these peoples living standards and not settle for the bare minimum.
What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?
"Our Iinitial aim is to donate proceeds for a pilot programme of €30 jackets to Makondo Health Centre, Uganda, run by the Medical Missionaries of Mary. " This is a quote taken directly from our facebook page. I would like to be at the other end of this, its easy to just throw money at a problem but actually bring part of that problem would be an incredible experience. Although it is not the same industry as our product it is important to understand the local customs and issues of the place you are supporting.