Episode 09: Stephen Kyei and LeathOnCall use innovative ways of building environmentally sustainable shoes and socially sustainable partnerships with friendly vendors in Ghana

On this episode we speak to Stephen Kyei, a shoemaker in Ghana using innovative tactics to create shoes from cork sheets. After working for some time in oil and gas companies throughout Ghana, ensuring environmental safety standard were met and getting his environmental resource management certificate.

At the same time, he was importing leather goods from India and Spain to resell, and the business grew, until he reached a point he need to focus 100% on the business. From there, he started researching other sustainable resources he could use to build his products. He landed on cork sheets from rare cork trees.

In order to dig deeper into his story, we invited Gideon Dendzo back on the show from our previous episode, this time as a co-host asking the questions. Stephen and Gideon could have easily seen themselves as competitors, but have come together to leverage each other’s talents and resources, in order to build businesses that will sustain jobs in their community, provide quality clothing to their people and help reverse the effects of pollution by using recycled products.

With his venture and partnerships in the community, LeathOnCall was able to develop a three-pronged approach to building a sustainable business;
  1. Economic sustainability – Building durable, inexpensive shoes with innovative environmentally sustainable resources
  2. Environmental sustainability – Creating durable shoes with resources from wasted cork trees
  3. Social sustainability – Creating jobs for those in need in his community
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