Social Purpose Business
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Shoes with a conscience.
Oliberté manufactures premium casual footwear made exclusively in Africa. Using premium leather from Ethiopia and natural rubber from West Africa, Oliberté’s main goals are to be the largest exporter of quality fashionable footwear made in Africa and to help create a thriving African middle class that provides sustainable and fair employment.
Oliberté footwear is sold across Canada, USA, Europe and Japan in over 100 stores, including Town Shoes, Little Burgundy and Urban Outfitters. Celebrity fans include Snoop Dogg, Kristen Stewart and K’Naan.
Tal Dehtiar wants to make a difference.
Having co-founded the international charity MBAs Without Borders (MWB), which supports small social businesses in 25 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, in 2004, Tal was well aware of the importance of a sustainable economy in developing countries. He also knew that as an entrepreneur, he could take control of his career while making an impact. After receiving national and international recognition for his work with MWB (including the Ontario Global Trade Award, nominations for the YMCA Peace Award and the Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year and being named one of the International Youth Foundation’s Global Fellows), Tal decided to take the leap into the world of entrepreneurship.
With support and start-up financing from Futurpreneur Canada, Tal launched Oliberté Limited in 2009, selling 400 pairs of shoes and creating 75 factory jobs in Africa within his first year of business. Tal says he owes a great deal of his success to his Futurpreneur Canada mentor, Lawrence Zimmering, who helped him fine-tune his business plan and provided advice and solutions on working in Africa.
As a young business owner, Tal is proud of what he has been able to accomplish, both in Canada and abroad. “I believe small businesses and the middle class are what build a nation, and in Africa this does not exist. Oliberté was started because we want to be a positive model to encourage others to work in Africa. That, in turn, will create fair paying jobs for women and men, which will build a thriving middle class. Entrepreneurs and small business build countries – if we don’t support entrepreneurs, than we prevent the growth of countries. I’m proud to be Canadian and even prouder to be a Canadian entrepreneur.”
“My mentor, Lawrence, is fantastic. His candid feedback and understanding of the challenges of working in Africa has been huge in finding solutions to any problems that may arise. Simply put, he has been there for us whenever we need him.”