Life is bad enough if you live on top of a pile of garbage, as the residents of “Smokey Mountain,” a shantytown in Manila, The Philippines, do. But imagine how much worse it would be if, like countless children, you had to pick through the dump every day without anything on your feet.
In a nutshell, that’s the problem GreenSoul Shoes, a company founded by Alastair Onglingswan, (LAW, 95) hopes to alleviate. The company’s plan, which Onglingswan came up with after visiting the infamous shantytown, is to use recycled rubber from discarded tires to supply shoes to some of the 300 million barefoot children around the world who suffer from puncture wounds. It recently got the thumbs up from the Fordham’s Graduate School of Business’s (GBA) Bert Twaalfhoven Center for Entrepreneurship, which awarded the company a $10,000 prize as part of its first annual business plan competition.
The competition was the culmination of several workshops, submissions, a day of coaching with mentors and a final round, where four teams presented their ideas to a panel of investors, lawyers and entrepreneurs. The award, which was presented by GBA Dean Howard Tuckman, will be used to purchase the first two months of inventory for the company, which plans to market the shoes toward eco-conscious consumers attracted to a “buy one, give one policy.”