Nov 27, 2012
Nov. 27, 2012
Daakye's handmade purses and wallets help fund educational fees for African children
SALT LAKE CITY -
"Buy a Purse. Fund a Future"-that's the theme of a new social enterprise called Daakye. Created by Westminster business student Abby Speicher, Daakye was inspired by her travels to Africa where she saw the need for a business that could help send local children to school.
With the help of Westminster's Center for Entrepreneurship, Speicher's business vision is now a reality. Daakye buys handmade purses and wallets in Ghana and then sells them in the United States for a profit. Each purse contains a thank you note from a student who will be helped by the purchase. The profits from the sales will help fund educational fees for local children in Ghana.
"I chose education as my cause because I met too many children in Ghana who were selling water on the side of the road instead of getting an education," said Speicher. "We wanted a cause that would help children in the long term, not just a quick fix."
Drawing from her Westminster business background, Speicher, who is also a member of the college's Honors Program, decided to dedicate her time and knowledge to create a business concept and company that could address this issue.
"The purses were totally a whim," she said. "While in Ghana five years ago, I bought an awesome purse from the market and asked a local village elder's wife if she could sew that purse. Ten minutes later she had over 15 examples in her house of all the purses and bags that we had with us. When I got back to the United States, we sold our first 100 purses in one day, and from there, we took off."
Now with Daakye, the village elder and his wife are both employed and all of their children's school fees are paid for by the business.
Westminster's Center for Entrepreneurship helped provide the support and networking Speicher needed for her business' success, and she has been very grateful for the assistance.
"The college's Center for Entrepreneurship has been an invaluable tool," she added. "They have encouraged me to sign Daakye up for two different business plan competitions, given me many contacts, and kept me on track with my goals. They really are so good for student entrepreneurs. Without the Center for Entrepreneurship, Daakye would be a totally different company, and not for the better."
Westminster's Center for Entrepreneurship helps students foster and develop skills that are critical to successful entrepreneurial leadership, and capitalizes on bridging the gap between a formal education and real-world experience.
"Abby is a true humanitarian and entrepreneur," said Linda Muir, the director of the center. "I have been so impressed with her passion and business acumen. I first met her when she was a freshman at Westminster, where she competed in our business plan competition. She was the only freshman who rivaled MBA students when she placed among the 'Top Ten' finalists."
Speicher's future goals for Daakye are to sell more than 600 purses by Christmas 2012 and 6,000 purses by May 2013. She hopes to sell a total of 15,000 by Christmas of 2013.
The college will host a launch party for Daakye on November 29 which will display and sell some of the company's merchandise. Additionally, the items can be purchased for $15-$25 online at www.Daakye.com