Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

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Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu Image.jpg
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder of soleRebels, Garden of Coffee, Premiere Consulting, GIZA Digital and NoodFoods.
Born1980 (age 39–40)
Zenabwork, Ethiopia
NationalityEthiopian
OccupationCEO of soleRebels
Known forfounding soleRebels
Children3
WebsiteLinkedIn

Editor: Charissa Cassels

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is an entrepreneur born in Zenabwork, a suburb of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, in 1980. She grew up in Ethiopia and continues to live there.[1] She completed her studies at the University of Addis Ababa where she graduated with an Accounting degree. Shortly after she graduated she founded soleRebels, a footwear company. The conception of the company was inspired by the Ethiopian thong sandal, called the Barabasso.

Alemu became the General Manager at Bostex PLC, the mother company of soleRebels, in 2004.[2] In order to start her business, Alemu developed a plot of land that she inherited from her grandmother. She founded soleRebels in 2004 and is the CEO of the company. She is also the founder of Garden of Coffee, Premiere Consulting, GIZA Digital and NoodFoods.[3]

History

Alemu started making shoes in her grandmother’s home in Ethiopia.[4] soleRebels is an eco-friendly footwear company that was founded in 2004 in the Bole area of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. Alemu wanted to create a manufacturing company in Ethiopia that would benefit her community. All materials used for footwear are recycled or are sourced locally. The footwear created includes sandals, slip-ons, lace-up shoes, winter boots and sneakers.[5]

She founded Perimeter Consulting which provides strategic consulting services. Under Perimeter Consulting, she created, launched and leads Made By Ethiopia, a premium duty-free footwear manufacturer.[6] She worked for various apparel and leather companies while in university, where she developed a deeper knowledge of marketing, sales, design, and production.[7]

The Republic of Leather was launched in 2015 in Ethiopia, where she designs sustainable luxury leather goods.[8] It creates hand-made leather items for its customers and has a store in Silicon Valley with production taking place in Addis Ababa. The Republic of Leather is run according to WFTO Fair Trade production. All the leather used is free-range.[9] Customers who purchase Republic of Leather goods are able to designate which organisation or cause five percent of the purchase price will be donated to.[10]

Growing up, Alemu witnessed her mother’s brewing artistry which exposed her to how coffee is made and led her to launch Garden of Coffee.[11] The coffee is roasted in Ethiopia by Ethiopian coffee artisans.[12]

Garden of Coffee uses indigenous coffee artisan techniques that have been passed down generationally. The company was first launched in July 2016 in the Bole area of Addis Ababa.[13]

She launched NoodFoods on 11 July 2018, a franchise business that uses locally sourced fruits and vegetables to create snacks. It aims to elevate the snacking experience of fruit and veggie chips. This brand also trains youth members on how to set up and run their own company.

Alemu recently launched GIZA digital, a payment and eCommerce platform.[14]

Investments

Alemu invested in soleRebels by having a bank loan approved as well as receiving financial assistance from her husband and some of her family members.

Awards and Recognition

The African Business Magazine awarded Alemu the Most Outstanding Woman in 2011 at the annual African Business Awards.[15]

Alemu was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012 by The World Economic Forum on 10 May 2012.[16]

She has been recognised as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Expert Network. [17]

Alemu was recognised as a New York City Venture Fellow by Bloomberg in 2012.[18]

Business Insider listed Alemu as one of Africa’s Top 5 Female Entrepreneurs in Africa in 2012.

The Guardian called Alemu one of Africa’s Top Women Achievers on 8 March 2013. [19]

In 2013, Fast Company named her as one of its 100 Most Creative People In Business.[20]

On 26 July 2014, Alemu won the F.A.C.E List Award for Entrepreneurship. [21]

She was listed as one of the Most Influential Africans of 2014 by the New African magazine.[22] That same year, Forbes and African Business Magazine named Alemu as one of Africa’s Top 100 Young Economic Leaders in November.[23]

She was named one of Quartz Africa’s 30 Most Innovative young Africans in 2015.[24] Alemu was named as a finalist in the 2016 All Africa Business Leaders Awards on 17 August 2016.[25]

Alemu was announced as the winner of the 2016 Businesswoman of the Year from AALBA, CNBC and Forbes. Also in 2016, she was named #10 in Ventures Africa Magazine Top 42 African Innovators To Watch.[26]

Alemu was named the Most Influential Person of African Descent (MIPAD) by Global List at the World Economic Forum on Africa in South Africa on 5 May 2017.[27]

The African Leadership Magazine nominated Alemu as African Female Leader of the Year 2017. Alemu was listed under The Choiseul 100 as One of Africa’s 100 Top Young Economic Leaders, in 2018.[28]

She was listed as one of the 25 Most Influential DOers and Shakers in Purposeful Retail, by The DO School on the 21st of May 2019.[29] She was also named on the Inaugural List of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2019 by Avance Media.[30]

Achievements

Alemu was the first female African entrepreneur to address the Clinton Global Initiative on 22 September 2010.[31]

She was the third Ethiopian to address the General Assembly and the only female entrepreneur from Africa to do so. Alemu is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and received this title in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum in 2011.[32]

George W. Bush named Alemu as his organisation’s Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon Ambassador during the August 6th 2014 White House Summit.

Alemu was appointed as the UN’s Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship in 2014.[33]

She sits on the board of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.[34]

Garden of Coffee became the first Ethiopian roaster to be admitted to the Speciality Coffee Association of America in July 2016. [35]

Richard Branson, business magnate, invited Alemu to be part of The B Team, a not-for-profit organisation, formed by a global group of business leaders who focus on better ways of doing business for the improvement of other people and the planet in May 2018.[36]

References

  1. Ethiopian Coffee Takes The Market By Storm - Face2Face Africa. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  2. The Rise of Africa’s Think-Tanks - African Business. Retrieved 2 February, 2020.
  3. A Slice Of History & Used Tyres Inspired A Multimillion-Dollar Brand That Is Fast Becoming The “Nike Of Africa” - WeeTracker. Retrieved 3 February, 2020.
  4. 3 Ways To Support African Artisans This Holiday Season - Forbes. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  5. soleRebels Story - soleRebels. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  6. Netrepreneur Prize Initiative Announces World-Class Semi-Finalist Judging Panel - Business Times. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  7. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Recipient of the 2014 F.A.C.E. List Award for Entrepreneurship - Face2Face Africa. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  8. 100 MIAW - AvanceMedia. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  9. About Us - Republic of Leather. Retrieved 2 February, 2020.
  10. #WomensMonth: An entrepreneur with a lot of heart and sole - BizCommunity. Retrieved 4 February, 2020.
  11. Ethiopian Coffee Takes The Market By Storm - Face2Face Africa. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  12. Winning Africa’s Sole Rebel Against Poverty - KDanielles Media. Retrieved 2 February, 2020.
  13. #WomensMonth: An entrepreneur with a lot of heart and sole - BizCommunity. Retrieved 4 February, 2020.
  14. Netrepreneur Prize Initiative Announces World-Class Semi-Finalist Judging Panel - Business Times. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  15. soleRebels Story - soleRebels. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  16. African Social Entrepreneurs - World Economic Forum. Retrieved 8 February, 2020.
  17. Netrepreneur Prize Initiative Announces World-Class Semi-Finalist Judging Panel - Business Times. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  18. Slice Of History & Used Tyres Inspired A Multimillion-Dollar Brand That Is Fast Becoming The “Nike Of Africa” - WeeTracker. Retrieved 3 February, 2020.
  19. top women achievers- nominated by you - The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February, 2020.
  20. Most Creative People In Business 2013 - Fast Company. Retrieved 8 February, 2020.
  21. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, Recipient of the 2014 F.A.C.E. List Award for Entrepreneurship - Face2Face Africa. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  22. Most Influential Africans of 2014 - Premium Times. Retrieved 2 February, 2020.
  23. The Rise of Africa’s Think-Tanks - African Business. Retrieved 2 February, 2020.
  24. Ethiopian shoe worn all over the world shows you how you do sustainable manufacturing in Africa - QUARTZ AFRICA. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  25. All Africa Business Leaders Awards Finalists Announced- CNBC Africa. Retrieved 8 February, 2020.
  26. 42 African Innovators To Watch - Ventures. Retrieved 2 February, 2020.
  27. Economic Forum on Africa - World Economic Forum. Retrieved 8 February, 2020.
  28. 100 Africa Economic Leaders For Tomorrow - Choiseul. Retrieved 8 February, 2020.
  29. The 25 Most Influential DOers & SHakers in Purposeful Retail - The DO School. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  30. 100 MIAW - AvanceMedia. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  31. Tilahun Alemu to speak at Clinton Global Initiative Meeting - TADIAS. Retrieved 8 February, 2020.
  32. shoe brand helps Ethiopia walk tall on global stage - Thomas Reuters Foundation News. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  33. soleRebels Story - soleRebels. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  34. Tilahun Alemu, using local craftsmanship, competing excellently in the global marketplace - Business Day. Retrieved 2 February, 2020.
  35. Ethiopian Coffee Takes The Market By Storm - Face2Face Africa. Retrieved 1 February, 2020.
  36. #WomensMonth: An entrepreneur with a lot of heart and sole - BizCommunity. Retrieved 4 February, 2020.