Ethiopia: Heart and Sole

Bethlehem Tilahun
    By Matthew Newsome Ethiopia’s Bethlehem Alemu is making great strides in creating employment and developing artisanal skills with her footwear brand soleRebels The flagship soleRebels store in downtown Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, is a hipster shoe haven. A lilting reggae soundtrack pervades the air. The wooden décor is splashed with Ethiopia’s warm national...

Good Magazine’s GOOD 100 List: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu of Ethiopia

RESOURCEFUL REBEL Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu grew up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, not only surrounded by poverty, but also by many skilled craftspeople and a rich, valuable cultural heritage. “We decided to create the ‘better life’ we were all waiting for by harnessing our community’s incredible artisan skills and channeling them into a sustainable, global, fair trade footwear...

Ethiopian spice exporter discovers new markets in Africa

Senai Wolderufael (Photo: By Stacey Nel)
Senai Wolderufael (Photo: By Stacey Nel) - Senai Wolderufael is the 27 year-old Ethiopian entrepreneur behind Feed Green Ethiopia Exports. Prior to starting the company in 2012, Wolderufael was a customer service agent at Ethiopian Airlines where he noticed members of the Ethiopian diaspora carrying bags full of Ethiopian spice blends – such as Berbere and Shiro – when travelling back...

Mohammed Al Amoudi: Ethiopia’s Richest Man Spots Opportunities At Home

VENTURES AFRICA – Born in Ethiopia to an Ethiopian mother and Yemeni father, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi’s life has always straddled East Africa and the Middle East. A Saudi Arabian citizen since 1965, he has never lost touch with his African roots, investing billions of dollars in projects as diverse as agriculture, construction, oil and media, all the while...

AWEP Ethiopia opens office

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The Ethiopian Chapter of the African Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), officially launched on March 12, 2013, has now opened its office in Addis Ababa. The Chapter, which has a vision of empowering women entrepreneurs and helping them connect to the international market, currently has over 50 members. “We are very proud of this accomplishment. It...

soleRebels opens first store in Barcelona

The Ethiopian artisan footwear, soleRebels have recently opened its first store in Spain in Barcelona. Founded by Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu in 2004, soleRebel has become Africa’s largest footwear brand selling in 55 countries and is the first Ethiopian IFAT Fair Trade footwear firm.The brand is now stocked by many...

Boosting Ethiopia’s economy, one shoe at a time

SoleRebels CEO Bethlehem Tilahun
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - For Bethlehem Tilahun, the answer to ending poverty in Africa is not aid or sympathy or donations from the West. It’s shoes. Specifically, building a successful shoe manufacturing business that creates jobs, empowers employees, like the one she founded SoleRebels, the first ever global footwear company to come out of a developing country. “You...

Meet the Ethiopian rebel changing the image of her country, one shoe at a time

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
By Florence Beaugé - LE MONDE/Worldcrunch ADDIS ABABA – Initially, her idea was to provide work for her family in her native village of Zenabework, about 30 kilometers from Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. When she announced that she was going to start her own company on a plot of land lent by her grandmother, everyone said: You are crazy! You...

AWEP, Ethiopian Chapter launched

Hikmet Abdella
By Eskedar Kifle Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - The Alliance of Women Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), Ethiopian Chapter was officially launched on March 12,  with a ceremony held at the Radisson Blu Hotel. The Chapter, which has a vision of empowering women entrepreneurs and helping them connect to the international market, currently has around 50 members. Although officially launched this...

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, a Forbes ‘World’s 100 Most Powerful’ Woman

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (Photo:thenextwomen.com)
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (Photo:thenextwomen.com) Recently named in Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list as a ‘Woman to Watch’, and the Winner of the 2012 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is the Founder & CEO of soleRebels footwear. From the humblest...