“We Decided to Create the Better Life We were all waiting for”
” Having grown up watching our family and neighbors struggling, 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 business. We have done that and more and we are proud to say that the soleRebels brand is being enjoyed by people in over 30 countries around the world.”
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is a serial entrepreneur. Born 1980 in Zenabwork, Addis Ababa one of the most impoverished and marginalized communities of Ethiopia, Bethlehem has founded many companies including soleRebels, Garden of Coffee, Republic of Leather, Noodfoods, GIZA Digital and Made by Ethiopia.
Growing up Bethlehem saw that Ethiopia had plenty of charity “brands” but not a single global brand of its own. So she set out to change all that. Tapping into her community’s and the nations rich artisan wealth and heritages, Bethlehem set about reimagining what footwear could be.
In early 2005, fresh out of college in Addis Ababa, Bethlehem founded the trailblazing footwear company soleRebels to provide solid community-based jobs. Flash forward five years, many shoes and HUNDREDS of creative, dignified and well paying jobs later, soleRebels is the planets fastest growing African footwear brand, the world’s first and only World Fair Trade Federation [WFTO] FAIR TRADE certified footwear company AND the very 1st global footwear brand to ever emerge from a developing nation!
Now hailed as the Nike of Africa, Bethlehem is proud that soleRebels stands as living proof that creating innovative world-class brands is the best road to greater shared prosperity for developing nations like Ethiopia.
soleRebels emerges as the first African brand to become an international job creation powerhouse with its international stores forecasted to create over 600 jobs in the countries where they are located by end 2015 , proof that growth in Africa equals real global economic and jobs growth around the planet.