Quartz announced that it launched the list this year to showcase “Africa’s stories through a lens of innovation.” The magazine says the winners were selected “for their groundbreaking work, thought-leading initiatives, creative approaches to local problems and yes, for being African innovators.”
Bethlehem, 35, founded SoleRebels ten years ago in her hometown of Addis Ababa. “The shoe company, which works with local artisans, is now a global brand with exports to over 30 countries,” Quartz says. “A huge part of the attraction is that SoleRebels uses old rubber from truck tires to make its shoe giving it a unique eco-friendly twist on fashion.”
“We selected shoes because we saw that footwear was an excellent platform to begin to share many of the indigenous eco-sensible craft heritage and artisan talents that we have here in Ethiopia with the world,” Bethlehem says.
The magazine adds: “Alemu is re-imagining style in Africa. But more importantly, she is having an impact on the local economy by channeling the talents of artisans into job opportunities.”