For Kenya by Kenyans: African Branding


    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.

    We hope the entrepreneurship spirit of Kourage will show other young talent that if you have the courage and you persevere you can achieve what you want to
    Hussein Kurji, designer Kourage Athletics

    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

    Kourage is a US 501(c)3 non-profit that reduces poverty through creating jobs in Kenya. Specifically, Kourage creates running apparel that is designed, manufactured, and managed in Kenya by Kenyans. Kourage garments are exported and sold in the developed countries with revenues reinvested into the Kenyan economy.
    Currently Kourage does not have our own factory. Instead production for Kourage Athletics is sourced to a Kenyan owned and operated factory that produces everything from police uniforms to high-end fashion. Located 139 km north of Nairobi, the factory is in Rift Valley which is home to the greatest Kenyan runners. The factory employs over 200 Kenyans where each employee works 45-hrs a week, is provided an hour break for lunch, a well lit, cool facility, and jobs that follow minimum wage standards in Kenya.
    Through providing well paying jobs, workers and their families are able to afford private school for their children, adequate medical care, and nutritious meals which leads to an increased quality of life. Furthermore, workers are provided with valuable training that improve their lifetime earning potential.
    The result is that Kenyans are able to pursue exactly what Americans, or people of any nation want — a job that allows them to improve their own lives, as well as those of their families.


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