I recently had the opportunity to meet an amazing Ethiopian woman: Bethlehem Alemu. She is the founder of SoleRebels. SoleRebels is a company which makes shoes from recycled rubber from tires. Her whole concept is “making something from nothing”. She created the company because she saw a problem in her community. She asked herself Why aren’t people earning the wages they deserve. She asked herself why so many people in Ethiopia are unemployed and then she decided to try and solve the problem. Ms. Alemu is a true inspiration of entrepreneurship.
Hearing her story, learning about her dedication to staying true to her business model , and seeing such a strong Ethiopian woman was inspirational to me. She truly started her dream from scratch. She built an empire piece by piece, and is now named one of the Top 20 powerful Young African Women in Forbes. check out the website: http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2012/01/05/africas-most-successful-women-bethlehem-tilahun-alemu/
I am writing about her here because I believe as an Ethiopian American Girl I have been inspired and I hope that her work inspires others. The idea of making something from nothing is something that really can teach us all a lot. I translate it to mean that it doesn’t matter where you are starting from, it only matters how you use what you have before you to make your life and the life of those around you better.
Ms. Alemu had a special grace about her, and she took time to speak to a group of us after I saw her speak at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She explained her drive, her dedication to her company, and her belief in helping her employees grow. She inspired us all to follow our dreams and work hard at it. She told us to make a plan and follow it closely, and if it doesn’t work regroup and try again. She was inspiring, motivational, and a great role model.
I’m inspired, I hope you are too!