In the midst of economic decline in Europe and America Africans are realizing the benefits of entrepreneurship and building their own brands. Kenya is known for producing some of the world’s greatest runners and now a company wants to get them noticed wearing a brand from their country.A group of young entrepreneurs have launched what they say is the nation’s first running brand and they have high hopes of one day transforming Nairobi into the running apparel capital of the world.
“There are a lot of Kenyan athletes and you always see them wearing Nike and Adidas and not something from their own country,” said Hussein Kurji, who designs the clothing and heads up the Kenyan operation of Kourage Athletics.
Kourage is designed and manufactured and managed in Kenya by Kenyans.
Florida-based economics professor and running enthusiast, Markl spent years getting Kourage off the ground. He even rode 1,800 miles on his bike from Canada to Mexico to raise the initial start-up funds. Markl first became interested in the idea of producing an ethical clothing line when he was researching textiles factories in Honduras as part of his Ph.D.The Kourage team pride themselves on being one of the most ethical athletic apparel company in the world, according to Markl.
The clothes are produced by Viva Africa, a Kenyan-owned and operated factory, employing around 200 people, mostly women. The factory makes everything from police uniforms to high-end fashion.
However, the most important thing Markl says is that working conditions are fair and the employees are happy.
About Kourage Athletics
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