Most entrepreneurs venture into business to make money; that is the plain truth. However for Chid Liberty, now 34, this was not the case. His main aim when partnering with Adam Butlein to start Liberty & Justice was to employ internally displaced women in his home country of Liberia. Liberty & Justice is Africa’s first Fair Trade Certified apparel company. Founded in 2009 and currently in operation in Ghana and Liberia, it is focused on investing in its workforce.
Chid Liberty was born in Liberia but because his father was posted to the Federal Republic of Germany as an Ambassador the whole family moved to Bonn. This is where he spent majority of his adolescence before moving to the United States in 2009 after his family was exiled. Inspired by his mother and by other strong women such as President Sirleaf, he felt that he too could play a part in assisting women to become economically included.He soon left his well-paying secure job on Silicon Valley to start Liberty & Justice. What they basically do as a company is to make tops and bottoms for brands like Prada, Haggar among other large buyers in the U.S. We often hear of factories in China and India that employ children for long hours and pays them peanuts to manufacture clothes that will be sold for a small fortune around the world; Liberty is showing this is not the case in Africa. Currently, the company’s factories in Liberia and Ghana are 90% female and are paid 20% higher wages than their peers on average. Additionally within the women they employ98% of their children are in school, a personal triumph for Chid Liberty.
As we speak of Africa Rising and how entrepreneurs are the face of the rise, we should not forget those who got into the business with the sole aim of community development. As we think of investment in infrastructure and technology we should not forget who the infrastructure and technology is meant to help. Chid Liberty is embodying the old African saying – “I am because we are,” by truly inspiring us not to forget our neighbors as we rise.
Watch his inspiring speech about Social Entrepreneurship and the impact it can have at the recently concluded Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit.
Photo Credits: sir.tv, fastcoexist.com