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In Person
During GEW


Featuring: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu (Keynote Speaker)

From the humblest of beginnings, Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu has built SoleRebels into the planet's fastest growing African footwear brand and the very first global footwear brand to ever emerge from a developing nation - all from scratch.

A trailblazer in every respect, Bethlehem has shifted the discourse on African development from one of poverty alleviation orchestrated by external actors, to one about prosperity creation driven by local Africans maximizing their talents and resources. The company employs local workers to produce its footwear made from recycled and locally sourced materials - an entirely zero carbon production process. 

Bethlehem was born in Zenabwork area of the capital Addis Ababa, one of the most impoverished and marginalized communities of Ethiopia. Driven to solve vast economic problems in Ethiopia, she set out on her path with only $10,000 to invest in a vision. Now, the company is on track to open over 150 stores in over 55 countries and generating over $200 million by 2020.

Fast Company selected Bethlehem as one of its list of most creative people in business. She won the Schwab Foundation & World Economic Forum's Social Entrepreneur of the Year for Africa award for 2012 and was ranked one of the 4 top women entrepreneurs of the last century by CNN. 

Bethlehem was also named in the top 7 on the list of NAM's "Trailblazers Under 50" right behind President Barack Obama (#6). She has been named one of Africa's top 5 most successful women, one of the 20 youngest power women in Africa, and one of 2012's 100 most powerful women to watch.

Impressed much? Well the list continues. She was named one of the Counsellors for One Young World alongside fellow Counsellors Nobel Peace Prize Winning economist Mohammad Yunus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Media Magnate Arianna Huffinton, Sir Richard Branson, and Kofi Annan. The first African woman to have ever been invited to present at the Clinton Global Initiative, World Bank President Robert Zoellick hails Bethlehem as an exemplary social entrepreneur who is helping Africa overcome the effects of the global financial crisis. Among the press she has received, she has been featured on BBC, Time Magazine, Al Jazeera, and



Featuring: Ginger Dosier

"Tossing a clay brick into a coal-powered kiln, then firing it up to 2,000˚F, emits about 1.3 pounds of carbon dioxide. Multiply that by the 1.23 trillion bricks manufactured each year, and you’re talking about more pollution than what’s produced by all the airplanes in the world." - Ginger Dosier

Ginger Dosier, Founder of Biomason, has developed a way to grow bricks using bacteria and sand that could cut the world's carbon emissions by at least 800 million tons a year. Sound pretty incredible? We're not the only ones who think so.

Based in Raleigh, NC Ginger was awarded by Richard Branson with a 500,000 Euros check, earning first place as the global winner this year in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge. Metropolis Magazine also named her the winner of its 2010 Next Generation contest. She was also a finalist in this year's Cherokee Challenge. She has been featured on TEDx World Wildlife Fund, Fast Company, and  



Featuring: Coleman Greene

"Our goal is to get kids up off the couch." - Coleman Greene

Coleman Greene, a UNC Alumnus and Founder of Sqord, has introduced a technology solution to fight child obesity by making active play more fun. A social health company, Sqord makes physical activity engaging for kids by creating a fun and competitive online world where points can be earned for real-world play. An interactive website is connected to the real-world via a wrist-worn accelerometer that tracks activity for points, gift cards, virtual goods and other online rewards.

This year, Sqord won the Active Schools Acceleration Project Technology Innovation Grand Prize, an initiative of ChildObesity180, a cross-sector organization committed to reversing the trend of childhood obesity in one generation. Sqord also received a grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina and was accepted as one of top 10 companies from 900 across the country intoTechStars, the nation's most prestigious business accelerator program. Sqord has been featured on NBC Newsthe Washington Post, the Herald Business Journal, and WRAL Techwire

He received his MBA from Kenan-Flagler, where he was president of the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Club and a Carolina Venture Fellow with Parish Capital.



Featuring: Jennifer Curtis

The daughter of an avid cook and an organic gardener, Jennifer Curtis grew up appreciating food and its profound connection to personal health and the environment. She co-founded Firsthand Foods to build a more sustainable food sytem for North Carolina. Firsthand Foods is a Durham-based meat company that markets and distributes pasture-raised, local meats free of antibitotics and animal by-products throughout the Triangle.

Connecting North Carolina's pasture-based livestock producers with local food lovers, restaurants, food service providers, and retailers, Firsthand Foods does all the legwork necessary to trace its products back to the farm of origin so that customers can know exactly where their meat comes from and how it was raised. 

Previously, Jennifer also founded Curtis Consulting, which enabled her to work for over 10 years designing and managing projects dedicated to helping small-scale farmers overcome economic and environmental challenges.  Before moving to North Carolina, she served as a policy advocate promoting sustainable agriculture and pesticide policy reform at the Natural Resources Defense Council in San Francisco. She received her M.S. in Environmental Management & Policy from UNC's Gillings School of Public Health.

Students / Youth
Entrepreneurs / Startups
Investors / Mentors
Government / Policy Experts
Academics / Researchers
  • When: 5:30 - 8:15pm
  • Start: 19 November 2013
  • End: 19 November 2013 23:59
Koury Auditorium, Kenan-Flagler Business School, UNC-Chapel Hill


300 Kenan Center Drive
27599 Chapel Hill, NC

What is GEW

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

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