Ghanaian social entrepreneur Mabel Suglo is passionate about alleviating poverty. She is the co-founder of the Eco-Shoes Project, an initiative that helps artisans with disabilities make marketable shoes from used tyres and recycled cloth.
Mabel links the physically challenged artisans at the base of the pyramid to the markets at the top
Mabel Suglo is the founder of Eco-Shoes, a Ghana based social enterprise that reinvests in the environment by upcycling waste into something of greater use and value. The aim is to empower and transfer the skills of shoe making to people with disabilities to hand-make shoes from truck tyres, fabric scraps and other sustainably sourced raw materials, thus providing employment to people who otherwise would be out of a job or below the poverty threshold.
The initiative has multiple benefits in the wider community
By selling durable and versatile footwear made from up-cycled tyres and fabric waste, Eco-shoes creates jobs which benefit people with disabilities and the communities in which they live, while inspiring people to get creative about re-using materials, extending their life-cycle, and at the same time contributing to waste reduction.
Mabel’s vision and mission
On the company website, it states the vision of the company is ‘To build the capacity of artisans with disabilities who lack the skills and knowledge necessary to create wealth from their vocations by maximizing their career potential and take steps towards their long term financial and personal well-being.’
While the mission is ‘To create an incredible and unforgettable shoes and other accessories from salvaged truck tyres, scrap fabrics and other sustainably sourced raw materials and give them a new life while supporting skilled artisans with disabilities and their families.’
Mabel Suglo, Anzisha Fellow 2015
The Anzisha Prize seeks to award young entrepreneurs who have developed and implemented innovative solutions to social challenges or started successful businesses within their communities.
Fifteen finalists from across Africa win a spot in a lifelong fellowship what will help to accelerate their path to entrepreneurship success. Mabel became a recipient in 2015.
On the Anisha Prize website, they say of Mabel and Eco-Shoes –
Mabel is passionate about poverty alleviation through entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on empowering persons with disabilities with relevant skill sets unique to their needs as well as providing formal employment. She is a student social entrepreneur pursuing her Bachelors’ from university with a focus on Development Studies. Her desire to empower the disabled resulted in the founding of EcoShoes.
EcoShoes was inspired by a long term observation of how society disregards the disabled. Mabel stated that this starts and is reinforced by family members who see them as burdensome and incapable persons who are not able to contribute to society. She approached a friend (who is passionate about design and fashion) and together they conceptualised the innovative and inspiring Business model of Eco Shoes.
The EcoShoes Project is an initiative that supports artisans with disabilities where she provides advice on product development, mentoring, financial and business literacy. EcoShoes employs market-based restoration and works with local artisans with disabilities providing them a source of livelihood and giving them opportunities to escape from poverty. The business reinvests in the environment by using waste to create something of greater useand value and seeks to build a community of conscious consumers. This project today employs five people who are being paid fair wages for their work.