UB Spectrum covers Atinga during eLabby Madelaine Britt
For Houghton College graduate Chris Way, the Africa he studied was not the Africa he found. On the contrary, the international development student who had devoted his college education to global poverty alleviation and intercultural studies saw great joy in the Rwandan people.
Amidst the scarcity of resources, he found an abundance of happiness in African communities - not only in the streets, but also in the rubber tires that drove on them.
Way is the co-founder of the start-up company Atinga, which markets and sells handmade shoes and sandals made by Rwanda artisan-shoemakers from discarded taxi tires.The company plans to reinvent the role of the consumer in global economies and how Western nations see Africa. With its focus on creating more self-sustained markets within African nations, Atinga is a proud investor in Rwanda's businesses and people.
"What are their needs? How can they grow? We learn from the people," Way said.
He and business partner Alexander Burgos, a senior business administration major at UB, attribute much of their success to the Entrepreneurship Lab, a three-week winter session. The class provided an opportunity for business-minded students to be immersed in the field and to make their business plans a reality...