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Expansion Brings Rural Jobs to Ethiopia

By Laura Davis | Thu Aug 29 2019
During a recent visit to Butajira, Ethiopia, a small town three hours outside of Addis, I saw the Bekele family’s vision to be a leading Ethiopian owned and led garment manufacturing facility coming alive. Historically, the company, Desta Garments PLC, which the Impact Angel Network made an investment into in 2015, has been operating in a relatively small, three story building in Gerji, a sub-city of Addis Ababa. The company has done really well with the space that it has had, employing close to 700 people and producing garments for international brands.
“Our current factory was never designed to be a garments facility, but our new Butajira facility is,” stated Eyob Bekele, owner and general manager of Desta. “To increase our ability to compete with any company worldwide, we need a proper setup and Butajira is the answer.”
The facility is in the final stages of construction, but production and export has already started from the new location. The company employs around 220 employees at the new site and has already established 5 sewing lines. With a large contract for 1M garments per year already in place for the facility, the company is moving fast to fully utilize the 8,000 square meter space.
Further expansion will include a second shed that will have a canteen to serve nutritious food to the staff which is expected to grow to more than 1,000 employees. Further plans include a medical clinic for staff and the community, rainwater collection and a state-of-the-art waste treatment plant.
“We are committed to hiring people with disabilities including the deaf,” Eyob continued. “We have a family member who has a disability, and we feel like just because you are disabled doesn’t mean you cannot work productively. We aim to employ 30-50 workers with a disability at any one time which is about 5-10% of our current labor force.”
“The women in Desta’s workforce play a significant role from the bottom to the top of the organization. About 90% of our workforce are women. A few have started as a cleaner and are now in management. We take women empowerment seriously and invest in soft skills,” Eyob said.
To read more about Desta, download our most recent Impact Report.
Renew Capital is an Africa-focused impact investment firm that backs innovative companies with high-growth potential. Renew Capital manages investments made on behalf of the Renew Capital Angels, a global network of angel investors, foundations and family offices who seek financial returns and sustainable social impact. For the latest on investing in Africa, subscribe and follow us at our social links below.

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