Eco-shoes founder, Suglo Mabel, was the Anzisha prize 2015 second runner-up who has built a shoe company that mainly employs physically challenged persons to create lovely shoes and bags. She corroborated the suggestion that more African students are becoming more than just students and rather daring to be employers. Suglo Mabel asserted that, “I told myself I don’t want to be employed but rather to employ.”
Entrepreneurs are known to be risk takers who solve problems facing society with the ultimate motive of making profit but when an individual goes the extra mile of changing the lives of the less privileged, I call such a person a game changer.
Name: Suglo Mabel
School & Course of Study: University For Development Studies; Health Science Education
Business Name: Eco-shoes
Contact Number: +233 0242345035
Kindly tell us what your campus business is about?
Eco-shoes is not only a campus business but social one too. It empowers people with disabilities to produce marketable shoes from recycled car tires and scrapped fabrics.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It emerged as a result of wanting to help people with disabilities earn and make a living off the streets.
Which gap did you see and intend to bridge with your business?
Disabled artisans are perceived to be at the base of the social pyramid or otherwise out of the job market. I intended to give these people a fair stand across all sectors; both economically and socially.
How do you manage to combine both academic work and business so you are not adversely affected?
Due to effective and efficient time management, I am able to combine the two.
Some beautiful products of Eco-shoes.
How did you determine there was market for your type of business?
Shoe is something everyone wears. And I knew there will be market for my shoe business because of its durability and quality nature which turned out to be true.
How did you manage to raise your startup capital?
My co-founders and I contributed to raise the initial capital. Additional funding came from family and friends too.
What is your business model and how do you make money?
We sell to the generation Y hipsters and adults. They get money from direct sales, retailers and distributors.
What challenges do you come across and how are you handling them?
The major challenge I face is financing. I am handling this by increasing our production to generate more income to run the business. I also solicit for funds and investors by engaging in competitions like the Anzisha prize.
Suglo Mabel, how do you intend spending your $12,500.00 Anzisha prize money?
I will use it in employing more people of which I have already employed an additional five to my team, acquire the necessary machinery get an interactive e-commerce site established. I will also invest in building a proper inventory and branding of our products.
Do you intend to continue with the business upon completing school?
Yes of course! And even bring on board new ones with time.
How did your colleagues and family respond to your new venture?
Not favorably at first, since it was not the family thing. But now they are fully in support of it.
What do you consider your most significant achievement so far as a Campus CEO?
Employing more disables in the Northern Region and being the second runner up for the Anzisha prize.
What message do you have for colleague students who want to start their own businesses?
I want to tell them even though it is not easy, it is very possible. They should believe in themselves and be the change they seek to be.
Are you in any of the African tertiary institutions? Do you have a business you are running from campus? Let’s share your story to the world. Submit your profile here: CAMPUS C.E.O. FORM
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