Serial Entrepreneur: Secrets Revealed – EP110
Startups doing the impossible, and we’re talking about the impossible, picking a goal and sticking with it for almost 20 years. It’s incredible. The story you’re gonna hear today from Manny Ohonme, and he is such an inspiration. He’s such a special individual. He’s worked so hard to make this happen, to make the dreams of 10 million people come together by giving away 10 million pairs of shoes.
It’s absolutely incredible. You’re listening to Startup Club. We are the serial entrepreneur Secrets revealed. We do this every Friday, two o’clock eastern, and we invite authors, experts, uh, serial entrepreneurs and the [00:01:00] community. Of Startup Club to come on stage and share their ideas of how they start scale, exit, and repeat.
Hey, and on that note, we have, we’re actually announcing today that the book Start Scale, exit Repeat a book that took 10 years to write, 30 years of experience in hundreds of interviews. That book Start Scale, exit Repeat, is now available for pre-order on Amazon or any of your favorite bookstores. And we have a special pricing on pre-order of 9 99 for the Kindle and 39 99 for the physical book.
Now, here’s what you might want to consider the physical book. It’s different. This book is designed in such a way that you can flip through it and learn so much from many different topics. We have over 40 illustrations. We have over a hundred [00:02:00] call outs. And we have over a hundred golden nuggets. It’s an incredible experience.
We make reading a physical book fun again. But if you want the discounted rate, uh, for an e-book, I would recommend you go to Amazon and search for start scale, exit repeat, or just go to Google and search for start scale, exit repeat. But getting into the show today, I am so honored that we have with us a an entrepreneur who set a goal of 10 million shoes and he set this goal 19 years ago.
Now, we’re gonna try to understand the story here, but first we really do wanna understand who this person is. Michele, can you give us an idea of who we’re talking to today and then Oh, oh yes. That’s the first question. You know, we’ve been looking forward to this and we’re so grateful for all the members who are part of the club and who are here today.
And thank you, ed. [00:03:00] It’s great seeing you here too. But our friend Manny here on the stage, okay, he might not tell you so I’m gonna say it Colin, like, this guy is amazing. We’re talking 10 million pairs of shoes, friends, 10 million. And he is a businessman that has beyond excelled, you know, uh, the wildest dreams of many of us.
So, Manny, you know, he’s received awards from the Vatican, okay, from the Vatican. That’s like a Nobel Pierce prize, um, peace prize, excuse me, for those of us here listening today, it’s huge. He has also received US presidential awards. And he just recently came back from DC speaking at a United Nations conference, and I’m sure I’m just skimming the surface here.
But you know, Manny, and I’m gonna say, [00:04:00] and his team has a phenomenal team. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting them several times out of their headquarters in Charlotte, but Manny is phenomenal and his team behind him. So, Manny, without further ado, I don’t wanna, um, rob you of your time. Why don’t you start off with a little bit about your background so we can understand what brought you to this incredible mission of putting shoes on people, on children, Manny.
Well, thank you so much, Michele. What a privilege it is to be able to join you and all the members of the Startup Club this afternoon. Thank you, Colin. Thank you everyone, because like, you know, they’re behind or beside every successful venture. Uh, they’re amazing people, and I know, just like they’re amazing people behind you guys there, start a plug.
They’re amazing people behind me at Samaritan’s Feet, at the World Shoe Inc. At the World Shoe Fund and all that we involved in. But like, you can tell from my accent, Michele, I, I’m not, I’m [00:05:00] not from Florida. I’m from Lagos, Nigeria. You know, I’m an African kid. I grew up in, in Nigeria and, um, you know, I, I used to wake up every day and I know some folks listening to us today, uh, uh, probably has watched Discovery Channel before.
If you’ve ever watched Discovery Channel and you ever saw those kids in Africa used to carry baskets on their head, that was me. At the age of nine, my job, my responsibility is to help contribute to the bottom line, the economic bottom line. My family’s financial picture. Uh, I, I used to wake up every morning.
It’s funny, I used to say this. Uh, I used to say, God, give me 0, 0 1. For those that don’t know me, uh, that means it’s okay if I don’t have breakfast today or have lunch today, by least gimme a supper so I can make it till the next day. And if you were to see my picture with my little face and, and my smile on my face, you’re saying there is not a chance this brother’s missed a million in his entire life.
But that was my reality. At the age of nine, I was selling water and sufferings of the parking legos, Nigeria, and this missionaries came to teach African [00:06:00] children how to play sports. I showed up there to go sell, suffering some water. I didn’t realize I was about to have a date with Destiny. And these guys had these orange balls.
They were teaching African children how to play sports. They, you know, in my country, everything, there’s round them bounds, Colin, we kick ’em. But this one, they were dribbling this once. Man, it was so funny. So they were having so much fun. So I put my basket award and sufferings down just like everybody else was, was kind of mesmerized with what’s going on.
So I wanted to join them, but because I was a street merchant, they shoot me away. I was the deject. I was so disappointed. I stood in all watching all these people watching fun, but our providence will have it. One of the balls quickly rolled around the corner by where I was standing. I quickly ran. After that ball, I grabbed it and I snuck in with all the rest of the kids and joined them.
We started dribbling the ball and passing the ball and shooting the ball. In the middle of all this crazy mayhem, this guy, this aid worker missionary from the gray state of Wisconsin called David, he, he screamed. He said, guys, wait, wait, wait. We’re gonna have a shooting competition and the price for the winners gonna be a new pair of tennis [00:07:00] shoes.
That place lit up like Christmas tree. Every kid started screaming, pick me, pick me, pick me. I was one of the few that got picked that day. Never played basketball in my life. But the first shot I took that they went in, man, it’s crazy. I truly believe the Angels was working overtime on my behalf. He was so crazy.
I mean, this place was just, I mean, electric and, and I was so excited. This man called Dave called me to the front after I won the competition and he presented my first ever pair of tennis shoes. And you’ve got to realize the extent of this gift for me, because people in my neighborhood that live on less than a dollar day appear tennis shoes was like Mercedes-Benz.
He was so crazy. And then, and as, as this guy preached me this shoes and, and I wanna run and take off to start running home, and this guy grabbed me by my shoulder. And he looked at me, he says, son, just because all you see around you is poverty, doesn’t mean the God of the universe has forgotten about you.
He said, keep dreaming and keep dreaming big. And, and after I finished speaking, I took off. I ran so fast, [00:08:00] it’s so crazy. I forgot my basket of soft drinks and water. And I ran all the way home and I got off home and, and my mom was looking as I was walking through the door, he said, son, where’s my soft drinks and water?
I said, mama, check out my shoes. And she was happy for me. And about two minutes later he said, son, you better go bring my soft drinks and water back now. You better meet Jesus. You know what I’m saying? And I ran all the way fast back there thinking, oh, I’m gonna die, man. Mama, go kill me. But that became a defining moment in my life.
It was so crazy. My home life was somewhat kinda rough because my father struggled a little bit with whole bunch of addictions with alcoholism and different types of things. So, so, so basketball started becoming my escape. So I started going the basketball court to go have fun. So, so, so it was crazy as I was doing that and, and started doing that, eventually I got the chance to actually.
You know, started playing and getting better and, and got good. And I went to my coach and when I finished, you know, my junior year in high school, I said, I wanna go to America and basketball is college. And he laughed at me. He’s so crazy. He said, my son, you’re not good enough. You know, fast enough. And you know, you [00:09:00] know, I mean, you’re not big enough.
And, and, and I’m sorry man, he was one of the greatest encourages I have. And I was so disappointed. But he said, you had courage to come see me. That guy gave me the opportunity to give me some schools in America. I went ahead and, and applied and wrote letters. I ended up getting five scholarship offers. I ended up being accepted at this amazing university at this school called University of North Dakota and Lake Region.
You know, it’s crazy. That’s another story by itself, one that I get a chance to kinda share. You can actually look at my book and I call so purpose, kinda talk about that. But that’s how it started for me. I won that pair of shoes and came to America, went to school, got my undergrad, got my master, got in business, and eventually my father got sick.
And, and, and, uh, I had to go back home, ended up passing away. And when I got to Nigeria, When my father passed away and I saw all these children with no shoes, uh, that’s when my heart was gripped. I remember what it felt like to receive a pair of shoes years ago at that same park. And, uh, and then I learned, learned over 300 million kids in my country, actually acrossed Africa, didn’t have shoes at over a billion people in the war [00:10:00] infected with disease because many of ’em didn’t have shoes.
So, so I said, somebody ought to do something about this. Well, guess what? Uh, five years later we started an organization called Samaritan Super Division to go put shoes in the feet of 10 million people. Uh, you know, it’s crazy. That was 20 years ago. And, and, and, and, and, and 2023, uh, we’ve now served over 9.6 million people.
Number 109 countries, about 5 65 US states, 12 affiliates, officers across the world. In October this year, we’re gonna serve a 10 million person in South Africa.
Oh my gosh, Manny, how are you? Nice speak. You. You are absolutely amazing the way that you came across here and had a vision. Uh, first I’d like to understand like, why does it matter so much that a ch a child coulda get a pair of shoes? It’s just a pair of shoes. Well, the pair shoes to us in America as the fashion accessory, but to the over [00:11:00] 1.5 billion people in the world, uh, that face their reality, the mobility, the change that they could lose, their etu, amputation to diseases.
Uh, that’s, that’s so nameless. They call them neglected because the pharmaceutical company don’t make money from it, so they don’t even try and focus on it. They’re called neglectic, tropical disease. Many of them die or lose their feet to amputation because of something that we call. Fashion accessory in our country, in places like Ethiopia, where millions of people have this condition called osis and non type of Aliant Isis that affects in Ethiopia on over 5 million people.
1 million of them are children. Many of them farm in soil called silica, and that silica eats it. We have their soul attacks, their nerve system, he blows up and their feet becomes about four, sometimes six times in natural sizes. They have paws, they smell, they can’t work, the kids can’t go to school. And a pair of shoes that actually will be for us, something that we can use to color coordinate a outfit, becomes actually the [00:12:00] primary mode of those people transportation.
And without it caused these people to lose the ability to earn income. And many of ’em can go to school and it’s one of the top three needs for kids, even in the United States to go to school without shoes, you can’t go to school. And, and, and in places like even, you know, like, uh, Uganda or Cameroon or Columbia, they’ve got this jiggers that comes in them bur through the soil and, and, and, and, and, and, and, and it comes through the opening in the.
Dirt. And if you have any kind of laceration, it walks in through your blood transport, through your body before you know you look like you’ll have leprosy. And with a pair of shoes, we can actually prevent that from happening. So a pair of shoes so important. I mean, when I, when you hear over a billion the world, Affected by this disease.
We thought this was an injustice that needed to be dealt with. And, and, and we, we took on that challenge. In the United States, we work with Title one schools. Many of the kids we serve, many of ’em, that pair of shoes, the first ever new pair of shoes they’ve ever owned. And you see boys sometimes wearing, girls have been being bullied and intimidated.
And we come into these schools, we provided new shoes and sometimes to wash their feet overseas, we give the chance to [00:13:00] actually adopt the wash model, which is the water sanitation hygiene, where we clean their feet, we wash it, we give the chance to sit in front of biscuits and remind ’em to dream big dreams and they can be used.
So, so, so that’s why we do, that’s why shoes is important. It’s more than just a way for them to get from point A to point B. It’s actually a protection. It gains disease fighting things that can keep ’em alive and keep ’em to go to school and allow these people that are working on farms across the world to stay alive and stay healthy so we can earn income.
Wow. Like it, it’s so mind boggling, Manny and, and, and just so amazing. I mean, who would’ve thought I, um, you, you taught me something. Like I had no idea. Literally the impact of children without shoes. So it leaves them without education. And for many, it’s, it’s horrible to think of, to death. So j just, you know, we’re all gonna put on our [00:14:00] business hats right now.
Um, you know, this is Startup Club and we have these amazing members and many of them have very philanthropic, very conscientious ideas for their companies and their products. So, Like, tell us a little bit about how you did it. You had this incredible vision and you made it happen. You’re, you’re only almost to the 10 million mark.
Like just, you know, in part on us some like wisdom about how do we, how did you do it? And ideas for us to take our philanthropic businesses to the next level. Well, uh, thanks Michele. I, I always tell people in life that success is never solo venture. Uh, nobody ever summited any kind of mountain without somebody else playing some type of role to encourage, to inspire, uh, to help push ’em along that path and journey of success and, and, and, and, and not an anomaly.
I Texas team, my [00:15:00] wife, my, uh, staff, you know, a team of volunteers, over 200. Thousand of them around the world. Uh, our affiliate office is about 12 countries around the world. Our partners that work with us in over 109 countries worldwide in, in over 565 US cities. Uh, but one of the first things that we, we thought about as we look at what’s gonna be our big harri audacious goal in 2003, the vision to go put chu pit of 10 million, we knew to be able to summit that mountain, we have to understand, you know, we have to move from one base camp to the next base camp and to the next base camp.
And, and for us to be able move from the bottom of that mountain to the first base camp, we knew first and foremost, we ca first came out with an idea. Can we find? And, and if, if, if. You know, because oftentimes everybody wants to get, you know, credit for everything that you’re trying to do. So, so if you start out saying, if you don’t care who gets credit, how much good can you do in the world?
How much impact can you make in the world? So we, we gonna make sure that our vision is so big enough and when we create that vision and that that audacious goal that’s [00:16:00] so big, we make sure, make sure that there’s enough room for other people to join us along that journey. So, so that’s one of the first things I tell, and that’s one of the key.
Part of our playbook, we ensured, we actually went ahead and found a Division one basketball coach, uh, uh, to help us amplify our message, to put a face to the problem that affects over a billion people worldwide. We said, would you help us coach a game on national TV without shoes? So how do we leverage the power of marketing to be able to amplify our message, to be able to use that as a platform to engage up the bunch of people from different corners and aspects of the world to join us on this mission?
And it’s crazy. I, I, I challenged this guy should help me raise, you know, 40,000 pairs of shoes in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s 40th anniversary. First thought I was crazy. And then he said, yes, you wouldn’t believe this. That by game time on, on the 24th of January, 2008, this young man called Run Hunter was the head coach at Indiana University.
Purdue University in Indianapolis helped us raise 110. Thousand pairs of shoes [00:17:00] by game time that a b C news made him person of the week. By the end of that year, raised over 200,000 pairs of shoes that a b ABC news made him person of the year 439. Media. How ran that store that instantaneously, that even all the way far out as Hong Kong and, and China and different parts of the world, they saw some of this stuff as, as affiliates picked it up and just translated and just transported it across the world.
People started calling, how can I join you? How can I be a part? Then I said, let me go ahead and walk from Charlotte to Atlanta as a way to be able to draw attention to the cost. I got the head of, you know, social responsibility for, for CROs to walk with man, and, and after, after a couple of days, she said, Manny, Michele said, you must be crazy man.
You’re gonna destroy your feet. I said, you know, for, for the millions of kids around the world, this is actually the reality of the, when I get to do this for two weeks, I didn’t realize at that time, Michele and Colin, that Atlanta to Charlotte, which is only about 300 miles, you felt like he was an attorney because it took me two weeks to walk 300 miles.
But because of that act of sacrifice, [00:18:00] cracks ended up donated over a million pairs of shoes. It was so crazy. Before we knew, we went from one base camp to the next base camp. We like creating strategy to be able to engage schools, to engage coaches, to engage businesses. And business started using us as a calling card to engage their community.
And before we knew it, we were at a million, we were at 2 million, we were 3 million. Just pretty crazy what’s transpired from that. And now we set, as we prepare, uh, October this year going to Africa, the, the site of our first ever distribution that we did in Cape Town South Traffic in 2003 on the 20th of this, 20 20th of October of this year, we’re gonna serve our 10th million person, vast community to be able to actually summit that mountain.
And, and it hasn’t been easy to do that. We’ve created a unique partnerships corporation. We’ve created a unique partnership with individuals. So we unique partners with foundation, with governments of countries to be able to actually leverage our shoes as a prophylactic in the fight of the Glypho Tropical disease.
So we’ve created Aue for corporations to sponsor us, or businesses to sponsor us [00:19:00] for individuals who sponsor us, for folks to be able to join our mission, to help advocate for us, and help be a part of our 10 million goal. It’s amazing to think in terms of like, as part of our vision, you know, we, we realized actually about in 2017, after we started seeing as we getting closer to our, uh, uh, to that base camp that got us closer to the next month and we were gonna climb.
We knew, we had to start working on what’s it gonna take for us at, at once we get to that 10 million, how do we go start the next 10 million? And, and we started thinking about strategically we need to make sure we have the right team. We have to make sure we have the right partners. We need to ensure we have the right, you know, strategy, the right vision.
Because as a leader, we know we have to focus not just on the cash, we have to make sure that our vision is spot on. We, leading with mission and vision, we mix. Make sure that the execution plans and strategy are spotting, that we have to have right people to help us accomplish this goal. So, so in 2017, we.
Set out to actually go create and manufacture a shoe that can help us fight this, this silent killer that we’re killing people [00:20:00] around the world. We, we call that shoe our world shoes, a disease fighting shoe that has this active anti-microbial in the shoe that’s, that’s actually green, that has this biodegradable accelerant thing there.
That helps us, you know, the bio degrees at the end of the shelf life when the shoes, you know, like, uh, the shelf life is over when we want to. Burying in the door. We don’t want to become an environmental nuisance that we put ’em in landfill across the world. But this shoe now has become so success that we went out in the last couple of years through some private rounds of funding and philanthropy and, and, and, and we also raised some additional funds that we’ve actually raised enough resources now as part of this last capital raise that we can actually go established a first of its kind manufacturing facility in Africa that will be manufacturing indigenously, hiring local, uh, folks that actually can have Africans helping Africans to be able to help transform themselves.
And, and we hope by the end of this October, we’re gonna actually have a ground opening for this factory that will have capacity manufacture over 2 million pairs of shoes where we can actually generate profit and do even more good.[00:21:00]
I, I think this whole story is absolutely amazing. Your energy is phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody with so much energy. We love the world. It’s world Shoe Global, you said right. Yeah, it’s actually, it’s, it’s it’s World Shoe Inc. And uh, and, and, and we, we are, we are, we are a global shoe brand, uh, that with indigenous manufacturing, the factory can be based in Ghana and West Africa.
We’ll hire anywhere between two to 300 people and, and, uh, that that will actually use, you know, Africa innovation and Africa that, you know, know how, and, and, and typically technology like this, when it comes out to market, it art always comes out out of the west. But, but we wanna be able to show Africa ingenuity that some of the best can actually come from Africa.
And, and, and, and this factory is actually best of its class. And, and, and, and, and when people walk past this factory, they have hopeful aspirations that one day I will have the right type of skills to come join these people and, and be part of this mission to grow, create a world one day with zero shoeless children.[00:22:00]
It crazy. Listen, you got this mountain that you have to climb. 19 years ago you said you’re gonna give away 10 million pairs of shoes. That was your bhag. You actually created. An incredibly outrageous number. At the time, did you really believe you could pull it off? You know, I, I, I honestly, you know, you know, sometimes you, you know, we said at that time we wanted this, this vision and this, this goal to be so audacious that we can’t take credit for it.
That if we accomplish only God can take credit for it. I’m just being completely honest. Uh, I thought it was so crazy. My friend thought I’ve gone local because I couldn’t even just, it wasn’t just about the shoes, but because one of the key, uh, aspect of this shoes that before people received the shoes, we actually have this, this unique way that we deliver the shoes that every recipient that we give the shoes to, we clean and wash their feet to wash away all the germs and, and treat the feet if there’s any kind of [00:23:00] bacterial infection or any kind of lacerations.
So we have to actually see in front of every recipient for five to like sometime 12, 20 minutes to engage in dialogue and conversation. So it was, it seems so. Impossible at the time. And one of my mentors, Nelson Mandela, said a long time ago, it always seems impossible until it’s done. And now we can look, because hindsight’s always 2020.
You can look at what we’ve done. Uh, we’ve created this amazing volunteer army. I mean, to put it in context, we only have about 50 something staff out across the globe within the Samaritan Fit Team, but we’ve got over 200,000 volunteers that I say we pay on kingdom currency because we cannot afford to pay ’em.
But these are active volunteers that’s working with us from Nigeria to, to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to Kenya, to to places like Hong Kong and the Philippines and Argentina, Brazil, and all across the group to Haiti. All these places where they want to see their nation read of neglected tropical disease. They want us to be a part, they want to [00:24:00] fund and sponsor.
They want to be a part of making things happen, to do amazing things. So, so it’s, it’s pretty crazy. It seemed impossible then, but now look, 20 years later, uh, October of this year, we’re gonna serve a 20 10 million person. And, and, and, and, and it was crazy try. I mean, and it wasn’t all that all easy. I mean, we had our challenge, we had a lot of nos along the journey because people hear me right now, they think it’s always been Rosie.
It hasn’t always been Rosie because every successful entrepreneur is gonna go through some challenges and, and I always tell ’em they have to grow thick skin because you gonna get enough in a number of nodes and you’re gonna fall on your face and you’re gonna have some failure, but you can’t let those failure.
Keep you or love you from celebrating those little successes that you win across the, I tell people all the time, you know, for us at Samaritan’s Feet, we, we, we ensure that we chose our partners wisely. We, we ensure we chose our partners and our friends because you wanna be around people that you wanna be able to have fun with.
We wanna make sure that we, we, we were so [00:25:00] laser focused on our eye, that, that anything else that came across our package said, how does this help us get to 10 million? If it doesn’t, we park it. And we kept our eyes on the price. We kept laser focused on that mission. We didn’t compromise on our uniqueness.
We said, we’re gonna wash every single recipient, speak, and we’re gonna challenge them to keep dreaming big. And, and people can journal along that path. I don’t care if you are president of a country, c of a corporation, an NBA player, an f NFL player, an baseball player. Come join us. Come be a part, come use your platform to help go wash the feet people all across the globe and inspire your dream victims.
And because of that, We’ve been able to accomplish this goal. And, and if you are listening today, you’re an entrepreneur saying, how do I get there? One lesson I’m gonna teach you right now and tell you is learn the art of delegation. You can’t do it all by yourself. If you can pay for the right type of partners, top talents, that can help accelerate and amplify and get you to where you need to be able to go.
So you can actually be able to accelerate a time to get to your goal. Because sometimes that’s one of the key mistakes we all do. We wanna say, you know what, I can do it all by myself. Well, [00:26:00] lemme tell you something. You can’t, you’ve gotta surround yourself with the type of people that’s willing to also sacrifice like you and, and, and think about this, work on this, and every single day just marching towards the same asles.
It’s like a roller coaster going up a mountain, right? So you’re going up, you’re going down, but you’re going a little more up and then you get a little down. That’s right. Go a little up. But now you go a little down. It’s fascinating to hear that. I’m glad you talk about that it isn’t all the way up and that there were challenges and, and failures and other things along the way.
How did you get over. Those things, like how did you manage to mentally, let’s talk about the mental state here. You know, there must have been a time. Tell us about your, the weakest moments in the last 19 years in trying to achieve this incredible b a g. You know, um, I, I remember, you know, I. A couple of years actually, after we started this, this, this was, you know, um, I stepped out and said, yes, you know, I was in corporate, I was, um, I was working for my third software, uh, company and we just [00:27:00] went through this massive round of funding.
We were looking at doing due diligence and, and um, you know, it’s to purchase a company actually out of Dallas, Texas. Uh, it’s funny, at that time, uh, VCI out of New York actually, um, you know, I looked at all of us. We were all young there, you know, calling. They said we needed some adult supervision. So they brought, uh, uh, this guy, we call him the gray hair guys at that time to kind of provide oversight for us.
And, and this gentleman called Jay Walk, you know, flew with me down to Dallas, dude, due due diligence on this company. And I still remember, just like it was yesterday. And, um, because, uh, when we got there the night before, the next day we were supposed to have this meeting so we have some time to kill. So we said, well, let’s, let’s, let’s go.
This goes, get some tickets to go watch my, my dear friend, you know, like Vince Carter to go, uh, come play against, uh, you know, at that time Dallas Maverick was playing for the New Jersey Act. So we were dead. And, and this gentleman, you know, while we were sitting down, waiting before the game started, looked to me and he said, uh, Manny, what money wasn’t an issue?
How would you change the world? And I said, how did these guys knew I was trying to, what I was trying to do? And I started sharing his vision [00:28:00] for Samaritan’s Feet. But fast forward, uh, you know, like this guy, after I started sharing with my passion what I wanna do to put shoes and wash people’s feet and impact people across the globe, he paused me.
He said, Manny, why are you here? And when your boss ask you why you’re here, you quickly find a way to change the subject. You were so crazy. I didn’t realize that guy remembered that day. And, and then fast forward a few days later, after I came back, I didn’t realize the, uh, the president that the VC was bringing in to take over, uh, the company was actually gonna bring somebody else to come take my job.
That’s actually how I stepped away. And I was forced into actually stepping into starting Samaritans bit sooner than I what I anticipated, you know? So after I started it, you know, uh, you know, uh, I actually ended up having some severance money that kind of kept me. So I thought that money was gonna last me for about two or so, maybe even three years from the savings that I had.
You wouldn’t believe this calling, um, about six or so months into this process, my daughter one day woke up in the middle of the night. Um, uh, appendix was rupturing. Gotta realize after about six or seven months, we didn’t have that fancy insurance plan anymore. We had [00:29:00] that catastrophic insurance.
Everything you have to pay, you have to pay out of pocket. Uh, I, I showed up that day. I wrote the check at the, it wasn’t even a week after that, you know, my daughter was playing outside. My second daughter fell, broke our elbow. And, and I’m like, what’s going on? I just saw my bank account start depleting and start depleting.
Um, my, you know, I was my daughter. My wife was taking my, actually I was myself. I take actually going to a meeting in Charlotte, live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was going to a meeting in one of those days. We had one of those black highs days in Charlotte. I was driving this four by four Lincoln Navigator and, uh, uh, uh, by the country club by my house, the left, the sprinkler system all on night.
And, and, and, uh, my truck. You know, slid, uh, through that ice into the medium to oncoming vehicle. Uh, five vehicles later, they thought I was dead until the fire people and the police people showed up. Uh, uh, you know, so crazy. You know, my, my daughter was taking my, my, my wife was taking my daughter then, actually a week or so after that, you know, to, uh, the birthday party in, and this person ran the stoplight and t-boned my car, and then we lost the [00:30:00] car.
So we went from thinking we were on top of the world to where we are, and, and the truck that broke the camels back, you don’t believe this, uh, uh, we saw this funds that we thought was gonna last us this two years just depleting and depleting and depleting. And I’m like, what in the world is happening to me?
And, and, and, and my wife called me as she was going to the grocery store to go buy grocery. And I still remember the total and all this stuff happened within the span of a year. Um, you know, like, uh, the total for the groceries was about $14 and 20 so cents. She only had $12. And she called me on the phone.
She said, what are you doing to me? And I felt like a little failure. And I said, what in the world? I, I thought, I figured I have a business plan. I’ve thought through this. And, and, and before I knew it, I broke down. And I still remember, just like yesterday, I’m the person of fate and, and there was a gentleman that I was listening to on the radio that I didn’t even know what in the world he was talking about.
I mean, you know, the guy was called Tony Evans and, and, and I don’t remember anything he said that they’re calling him Michele. [00:31:00] Uh, I just heard him say, you know, uh, sometimes, you know, uh, God allows our life to hit rock bottom, but to remember who was the rock about bottom And I chose. Broken us out, the weep.
And from that day on, um, uh, something shifted in my, in my, my life spiritually. And in just in the focus in my strategy, I, I hired a new marketing guy. I, I, I said we need to find a way to kind of make us beyond a regional charity to a global charity. I, I, I partnered with, uh, uh, Thomas Kingaid, the panel of light, uh, would put us on the map.
That was led me to meet Maya Angelo. And before meet, that’s what connected me, uh, to Ron Hunter, uh, coached for us on national TV with no shoes. And, and that’s what allowed us to kind of put us on the map. So coaches and athletes and everything kind of be a part of it. The end of it becoming actually, uh, the official charity of the ncaa, which connected me to Ernie Johnson and MB on t and t, uh, those guys were in Barefoot before I knew it.
Uh, Sears at that time gave us over 1.3 million pairs of shoes valued over 30 million before we knew one thing after the [00:32:00] other. But I did not stay feeling sorry for me. I kept working, I kept pursuing, and I kept driving. All right. Wow. Um, oh my gosh. Wait, wait, wait. I, I, Colin, I got it. Okay, go ahead. I see we have the one and only Joe Foster.
Joe has joined us from the uk. Joe is the founder, along with his brother of Reebok. And Manny, I think I heard, uh, you say, or I heard a rumor that you and Joe have also teamed up too for this special cause. I, I, I’d love to hear Joe. Joe, welcome to the stage and thank you for coming to support us. And Manny, by the way, Collin’s gonna announce it shortly, but you know, we are donating some money for this cause as well.
So welcome to the stage, Joe. You’re on mute. Mute, mute, mute. Yeah, you’re on mute, Joe. On the right hand corner you can [00:33:00] unmute. Well, while Joy is unmuting, I tell you, Joe, I mean, I was blessed to meet this amazing human, uh, part of his book speaking series, uh, uh, while back here in Charlotte. And I was just mesmerized just by, uh, by the icon of a human and is what he is accomplished with his life and, um, a medium was such a joy.
Hello there. Hello there. Man. My technician has managed to unmute us, so can you hear me now? Yes, we can. And you know, my technician, my technician is Julie. Julie is, and you know Julie very well. And it, it’s an absolute pleasure to be able to join you tonight on Pelos. Fantastic. And, uh, yes. We, uh, we are working on everything and Samaritan feat, we, we we’re passing the message on, which we believe is absolutely incredible.
So it’s, it’s good. It’s good. I said to be with you. You know, we, we will be back in America in this sort of third week in July, so we hope to [00:34:00] meet up again. But, uh, meanwhile, wow. Yes. We, we feel that the cause is so big, so great, and we we’re gonna get Reebok involved and see what we can do. Uh, and I, I’m sure you know the, there’s a new, it’s a new company now that, uh, a BG have it, and, uh, but they, they’re go in places.
But, you know, we feel, we really feel for smartest feet. We really do. We, we, we feel that the, uh, you know, the idea, the just, just the venture, just the, the thought behind it. It’s so inspiring. And so, yeah, we we’re going to help you get to that 10 million. Believe us. Oh, thank you, Joe. Thank you so much, Joe.
I’m, I’m so grateful. And, and, and so, you know, Michele and Colin, uh, uh, we’ve asked, uh, Michele, you know, Joe and, and, uh, his amazing wife, uh, you know, Julie to, to consider being one of our hope giver honorees this year to help us take the message as a speaker across the country, around the world, to educate people about the plight of the over a billion with, with no issues that are affected [00:35:00] by disease, because many of ’em don’t have shoes.
So, so I’m excited, and hopefully they’re gonna be at our gala this November 11 in Charlotte, as, as they compete with a bunch of people to be what’s gonna be our person of the year. And I’m hoping, Joe, we, you and Julie will be our person of the year this year, because what you guys have done through Reebok and what you guys have done, uh, with your life, I think is just an amazing, amazing story.
And we can’t wait to celebrate, uh, with you guys, God willing, uh, later on this year. Oh, well, we, we certainly intend to be there. And you know, the story, the, the journey. We are only halfway through the journey. I’m May 88, but, uh, Jill is much younger than I, and we’re gonna continue with this. She keeps me going.
So yeah, we’re only halfway there. Let’s get the, uh, the other half done. And yes, appreciate that. I appreciate that. And Michele, brilliant. Good friends. Well, I, we look forward to meeting everybody again. I cannot help but make a comparison here. Uh, Joe Foster, the founder of Reebok, who wrote the book, Shoemaker, [00:36:00] spent 19 years of his life with his vision of creating a global brand and made it happen.
Manny, 19 years ago, sets out a vision for 10 million pairs of shoes to give away, to help, to help, to help change the world. And I can’t help compare, I can’t help but compare both of those stories together and look at them and say, wow. Both of you had this vision from the very beginning, something that could be bigger than almost like imaginable.
Like I don’t think the average entrepreneur sits down and thinks I’m gonna give away 10 million pairs of shoes, or I’m gonna create a global brand. So starting with with many before, cause I know Joe’s got a limited time here, but just starting with you Joe, what do you think about Manny’s? I like 19 years ago with this idea to give away 10 million pairs of shoes.
First of all, what do you think about his BHAG or his mountain that he had to climb and the mountain that you had to climb? And you describe it very well on the book Shoemaker. [00:37:00] Well, you know, we’re both mountaineers, so that’s, no, you just do it. You just do it. You keep on doing it. It’s not effort. It’s an, it’s a pleasure.
Mm-hmm. It’s something you, you get an enormous, a lot of, uh, fun from. You get pleasure from and you give a lot of other people. You give that pleasure, which I think is, is so rewarding. That’s it. It gives you so much back when you, when you, when you’re doing this for people and to think 10 million per Samaritan feet, how great.
So I, I don’t think 19 years is much. We could go on forever. Why not? I love it. I love her.
You know, I, I mean, I think, you know, Joe, Joe said it best. I think in terms, when you think about, uh, what it takes to, to, to do what seems ins, I mean, it just seems impossible. Uh, it takes, it takes, um, immeasurable faith. It takes a measurable hard work. But Joe said it best. It’s, it’s, it’s about [00:38:00] actually helping to help other people’s dreams come true along the journey.
But, uh, one thing that I know. Uh, uh, the few times I’ve been around him and Julie, uh, this smile enough, that means they like to have fun. So they create an environment where there’s fun for people to be around them. And if you can have those as part of the recipe, I think the rest of the stuff will just figure itself out.
I mean, uh, you create a culture where people work hard but get rewarded. And, uh, you create a culture where we know what our mission, we know what our vision is, you know what our BHAG is, we’re watching and marching towards that every single day, and we don’t let you know thing come through us up from our goals.
So, so we do that, and that’s where we are right now. And, and, and, and now we’re setting our ourselves as we prepare to summit that 10 million person this year, we already starting to build a case. How do we go serve the next, you know, 10 million, 20 million, 50 million, a hundred million? And how do I do that sustainably?
How do we create, uh, uh, uh, economic development platform that allow us to do that, that creates the job and, and allow people to also join and, and be [00:39:00] rewarded to be a part of that? I think that’s pretty exciting. That is exciting and that’s, um, we, you know, we’re so happy to be considered as part of your Operation Samaritan feet.
Um, it probably opens a big door for us, which helps us a get big smiles. Oh, thank you. And big smiles then. Yeah. What a wonderful opportunity. So, thank you, Manny. Thank you for inviting us and Colin, Michele, we love being with you. We really do. It’s been a great, uh, adventure being over there in, uh, in Florida and Okay.
We’re going to be in Charlotte not very long, so let’s get together. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Thanks Joel. Okay. Bye Monique. Bye Julie. Good to hear. Bye guys. Bye. It’s a two for one deal. Right. Julie and Joe. I love it. I love that too. Uh, dimple in August and just as, uh, Michele jumped in there, I was gonna say, we’re gonna break protocol to, uh, to let [00:40:00] Joe Foster go next.
Cuz normally with dimple you’d be up next and you’d be very patient dimple. Really appreciate that. Uh, do you have a question or a comment to share with, I mean, isn’t that amazing? We had two icons on stage at once. Didn’t Planet amazing? I know Michele, that you just brought Rod, like you invited him on like that dimple.
What do you think? That’s just insane. I mean, I was, I was looking at Joe’s profile and I was like, oh my God. And I just came into the room when I was listening to Manny and I was just blown away, like, wow, just listening to the story and the ambition and you know, the why behind everything. And I was like, wow.
And then I heard, um, Manny and, and Joe talk about. The gala in Charlotte. Well, I’m in Charlottes. I need to know about this event. Maybe I can come support you guys as well. But, um, you know, it’s like you never know what can happen, you know, Colin and Michele and Mimi, like in Clubhouse, you just never know who can pop up into Clubhouse.[00:41:00]
And, and that’s like one of the things like I love about it. You just don’t know who you’re gonna meet, um, and what they’re gonna bring to your life. And you get people from all over the world globally. You get leaders, you get owners that have built, you know, million, billion dollar companies and corporations.
So, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s really powerful. And I’ve been on Clubhouse since the early days, so, you know, I’ve been here for many, you know, two and a half years. So I just think it’s amazing and just the conversation that I came into, I was, I was really enjoying it. So thank you for having me. And Manny, if you can send me details on the gala, I’d appreciate it, cuz I’m in Charlotte as well.
Oh, that’s awesome. Please check us firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll see information about that, but we’ll definitely also send some stuff to you directly. We look forward to staying in touch and the gala’s on November the 11th. And Charlotte, please come join us. Be a part of that. Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you.
And I know, uh, Michele had mentioned that we were gonna make an announcement here today at the show [00:42:00] that, um, startup Club is actually gonna donate up to a thousand dollars based on matching from those in the audience. Now, uh, or those who listen to this on replay or those who listen to it in the podcast, uh, serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed.
So if you make a donation, uh, just in the next, uh, 30 days or so, we are gonna match that thousand dollars. Uh, how do we know it’s you? Cuz you know what the reality is? We’re gonna do a full thousand dollars anyway, so we’ll do it. But the fact of the matter is, uh, we would really like you to take a look at the site.
And then, and, and, and Manny, I went there earlier today. There’s two ways to donate. Like you can donate like $10 a month or something and join a club. Mm-hmm. Is that correct? Mm-hmm. Or just do a one-time donation. Yeah, you can do either one. You can be part of our social society and be a recurring partner.
You can give a dollar a day and allows us to put a pair of shoes every month on somebody here locally and somebody internationally in your name. Uh, you can give a one-time [00:43:00] gift if you want to. You can connect, uh, your company, uh, to be part of this. You can, uh, sponsor a virtual shoe drive and you can go with us to serve locally or globally.
Uh, you can adopt the country. You can adopt the school. You can adopt like a, a Native Nation, uh, Indian reservation. You can, I mean, there’s so much that you can do. Uh, so. Go to samaritan state.org today and, and let us know how you want to use your platform. You may be the friend of a, of a CEO of a sh of a founder of a, of a footwear camera like Joe, you know, Joe Foster.
Maybe, maybe it’s Nike, maybe it’s somewhere else, and say, man, this guys want to impact 10 million. Maybe, you know, they can donate. So you just never know. I mean, I mean, Colin, I was on the on, on mb on t n t on, you know, a few years back and, and on on on Mother’s Day when, when one of the executives of the new shoe company heard my story on MB on t n t, uh, it was a friend of Kenny Smith called me up and said, are you for real?
I said, yes, it was because of that, that got connected to Sears, and I let you about 1.3 million shoes getting donated. [00:44:00] So, so dimple was absolutely right. You never know what can happen when people pop up at the right stage at the right time. Yeah, you really just gotta get your message out there and you never know who’s in the audience.
So, just, I, I heard you speak about two, three years ago and then, uh, recently heard you speak again at the Growth Conference, the Rhythms Growth Conference. Um, in Charlotte. And then I’m like, okay, wouldn’t it be amazing to have you on Clubhouse? And then I, and then I also reached out to myself Florida EO chapter, and there’s 305 members in the chapter.
And I said, wouldn’t it be amazing to have Manny come down and speak about the story of his incredible journey, a mountain that he had to climb one base camp up at a time, I guess you could say one hill at a time, one base camp at a time as you talk about it. And then now we’re writing a Forbes article about startups climbing a mountain.
And so it’s, you’re right. So it’s one thing after another, it’s effort. And all it was was just [00:45:00] getting yourself out there. And so, can you give some advice there to startups that are, you know, just struggling to get started? There’s two things I want really want to hear from you, and then we’ll get down to you.
August E one is advice for startups who wanna get started. How do they get their, how do they get their, their, their, their, their visibility? How do they get themselves out there? And I think you might have addressed that a little bit, but second, can you talk a little bit more, more about how somebody starting a business today can apply a purpose to achieve that first base camp?
Uh, you know, thank you for, I, I mean, those are two amazing questions. I, I, I think, um, everybody’s looking to make an impact on the world. Um, I, I don’t care who you are. Um, some of the weers, multi billionaires that I know, uh, to people just starting out today, uh, I think if you can actually include us, part of your vision.
A wide is bigger than profit. I promise you, you will far exceed the potential of what it needs that you’re trying to accomplish. Uh, and Samaritan speak can [00:46:00] become a vehicle, a platform to help amplify that vision to make it a reality. Because people want to do business with people that cares, that makes an impact, that makes a difference.
And you wanna be viewed as a difference maker. Cuz when people realize that you’re not just doing it, just all about just hoarding and, and just keeping it all by yourself, but you care about humanity. You care about living an imprint and a legacy for this world to remember. They want to be a part of that because p some people are not, not, that’s why they call you guys interpreter.
Not everybody has the bolds, the courage to step out to go do this. But you’ve said you’re gonna do it, but do it in such a way that has a meaning, that has purpose behind it. So if you are thinking about that today, uh, I promise you, uh, looking for opportunity to be able to connect yourself to a cause. I mean, uh, our cause right now is Samaritan’s Feet to go create a world with zero shoeless.
People, our cost is to help eradicate, you know, some of those, you know, neglected tropical business. Maybe it’s hookworm, maybe it’s osis, maybe it’s, uh, csis, maybe it’s some of those jers in the world. You know, in, in, in the early [00:47:00] twenties in this country and thirties, it was the rock, you know, the, um, Uh, uh, one, some of the wealthiest families in this country, you know, that actually were part of helping to eradicate a hookworm that was so pervasive throughout the, uh, the southern part of this country.
They chose to use their profit to give back and to make an impact. And people remembered, uh, people remembered that. So, so what problem are you looking to try and solve in the world, and how do you position your business as a platform to help amplify the message for that stuff and let people know that when they support you, you’re supporting the cause that’s bigger and I promise you, uh, they will give you a double win and wanna be a part of what you do it.
So, so, I mean, for us at Samari, so when we were starting out, uh, we, we, I mean it’s the first three years, Colin, you know, I remember getting to about 300,000 shoes. We said, how in the world are we gonna get to 10 million? And Dan, we had that idea. What if we can get a Division one coach? It actually happened at a hotel room in New York City at a New Yorker, uh, where after I met Maya, Angela, and, and she told me the story about her [00:48:00] working with Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. And, and, and then when she found out what I was doing, and she made me, one of our top 100 friends invited me to her birthday in Winston-Salem. And, and I’m sitting in this room, I said, somebody pinched me. How in the world did I get here? And, and, and, and then that led me to inspiring this coach, coach a game for us.
Because part of that strategy is to look and find who are key influencers and spokespeople that can lock hands with you to help amplify your message. So that way, yes, they may get credit for what they’re trying to do. But secondarily, as part of that strategy, they helping to get your word out about your mission.
And when people are affiliated with people that people care about that has the right platform, right voices, they wanna connect with you. We’ve actually used things like n i l name, image, and likeness, working with college and high school kids to help get the word out and do a reverse n i l strategy that allows them to use their platform to help raise money for our cause.
And if they’re successful, we’ll provide a percentage of what they raised for them to be able to use to good in their community. And I [00:49:00] think that’s thing we trying to do, that’s how people can actually use their business as a platform to help make a bigger difference in Old what’s Old again, is new again and again.
I’m gonna make a parallel here With Joe Foster, uh, 19 years in the business, he goes into what he calls the white space. He launches. They launch, uh, women’s aerobic shoes and somebody buys her shoes. Her name was Jane Fonda. Hmm. And the company went from 9 million. To 900 million in four years. And they never, now, this was an influence they never paid for.
It happened by accident. They caught it the big break. But I just wanted to, like you talk about this, the influencer, uh, the basketball player you hired to try to get or not hired or connected with to try to get exposure. And I think that’s a, a valuable lesson for all startups that, you know, we need to find ways to get our products exposed and sometimes we can position them or partner with these [00:50:00] influencers to get that exposure.
Uh, I mean, it’s amazing. I mean, be because this coach chose to coach Barefoot, which helped increase and improve his brand and, and, and when he was partnered with a cause that’s at a global cause, he even improved his reputation and his profile of his brand, and then he improved our brand along with that as well.
And the exposure, I mean, because of that, they invited me to come to the NCAA final photo, presented an award. That’s because of that, yes, that he gave, got me connected to Ernie Johnson that got me connected to get me on n b on t n t to connect with Shaquille O’Neill and Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith.
That led to the fact that, that, that their friends of Kenny saw the show and said, I want to help this guy, because they were launching a new shoe line that was gonna be sell Sold exclusively True, came out and Sears. I want to give the biggest give to become one point something million and then step away, work with nascar, step away, work with the F nfl, with Steve Smith to, to to, to say, let me use my platform.
At the end of every [00:51:00] game, I’m gonna, I’m gonna take up my cleats in meet field and ask all the athletes like, like Russell and all the other guys to join me and then take off their shoes and walk off the field and they put a face, it was part of our bare feet for b, you know, barefoot for bare feet campaign.
And, and all of a sudden before we knew, the world knew about what we were doing. So, so be innovative, be creative, but make sure you always lead with your why.
All right. Uh, Auguston, you’ve been like the most patient. Guest we’ve had today, waiting about 40 minutes here, I think, to get a chance to ask Manny a question. We appreciate that patience. And, uh, it was interesting to have Joe Foster the founder of Reebok. Just jump on like that and sort of throw us through a loop.
Uh, but, uh, welcome on stage, Augustine, and you have a question or a comment about what Manny’s been talking about today. Well, what an inspiration. I mean, just listening to Manny, his drive, and I [00:52:00] wrote three things down and, and I know Michele, and you’re gonna agree on the first one, it’s passion. I hear it in your voice.
I hear in the way that Manny, uh, just drove forward with this passion. And then the other piece I wanted to focus on is perseverance. You had the perseverance that did not slow you down. And you, you said it, well, we’re at 300,000. Are we gonna get to that goal? But you did establish a goal, which is very important.
And you leverage off your networking. And the networking wasn’t that you were really looking for it, it just came to you. Uh, you know, Reebok. And then you mentioned the other influencers out there that are sports individuals. But the story behind, you know, the barefoot, you created a cost out there. And that cost is very important because you hit an area of, you know, underdeveloped countries, diseases, et cetera.
Uh, and that actually is a [00:53:00] very good philanthropic approach. Um, it shows a lot of caring and it opens the eyes to how can we foster and help our partner nations, even within our nation, wherever we’re at, because we do have poverty throughout all the markets. And then what I picked up here too, Colin, was there’s similar issues, similar problems, similar opportunities.
So the word is similar. What costs do I have that can help or be aligned to what Manny’s cost is in, in the company that I’m actually currently working for right now, we focus on immigrants on the immigration. How do we help the immigrant thrive in the United States? For example, what are the opportunities?
What don’t they know? So you’re putting a product, you’re putting a service out there that will itself have the opportunity to evolve. And what you have to find is what is it the impact that you’re doing? Cuz we can easily get lost [00:54:00] in so many different areas that we can actually add value. But then again, my model, the way I think is identify 10 items, focus on seven, align with five of them, and deliver three, and then repeat the cycle again.
That’s the approach that I do, um, when I look at things. And one other thing that I wanted to share here, Manny, that I love about your approach. I wish when I was doing my thesis as part of my, uh, graduate program in university, I would’ve had the insights and knowledge that you had. Uh, our project that we were working on was a project about a shoe company, believe it or not, and it was on how do you make the company grow?
What are the pitfalls? What is profitable Now listening to you going back, what, 20 years ago maybe when I did my masters? Mm-hmm. I see that now we have the tools, we have the know-how [00:55:00] the industry has changed, there’s more collaboration. If I would’ve had access to that information, that would have catapulted our project and what we were doing a lot quicker.
And maybe I wouldn’t have had those same pitfalls. Obviously, we’re always gonna have pitfalls. And Colin, you said it, the old and the new. What we’re experiencing nowadays, we have to leverage on that because we have it on our fingertips to be able to put something out there that it’s gonna actually a make a change.
And especially on the focus that you have, Manny, with, uh, a cost that is the major driver I see here. And two, it’s not just isolated to what Samaritan has done. There’s a whole bunch of different businesses that everyone on this call has. And there’s a reason that you drive this forward, especially in the time of looking for investments in new companies and how our investors are changing their [00:56:00] mindset as well.
So just once, leave that on the table. I had a. I mean, you took me to a different level. Manny, thank you very much. Thank you. Oh, thank you so much, Augustine. I, I appreciate those kind words. And, and, and you said it best. I think for anyone listening, I think, uh, uh, Augustine nailed it. Uh, passion, perseverance.
I think, uh, the other thing to mention is said in the round theabout way is the platform for delivery. And, um, and I think it’s very important and, and, and focus. He, he, I, I think he, he said it best. Uh, let’s focus on the main thing. Keep the main thing the main thing, and don’t get easily distracted. Um, you know, you just keep marching.
I think the most important thing, there’s too many people that has great ideas, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just start and start that. And, um, and I think, uh, uh, put one foot in front of the other, I think, uh, things will work itself out. Wow. That was just amazing. And you know, I, I love how you reiterate that Augustine and [00:57:00] Manny, that relentless focus.
Like when you know what’s right, you know what’s right. And don’t get off that. Just keep, keep going. So that’s amazing. And um, I wanna go to our next member, Roland. It’s always great to have you on stage and we’re love to hear any questions or sharings that you have for the other members and for Manny Roland.
Uh, thanks Michele. Actually, I came into the room late, so I missed a great part of this possibly great conversation. In any case, I’m still going to take this opportunity to ask Manny a couple of questions if you don’t mind, Michele. So go for it. So Manny, uh, I missed a large part of the conversation, so please pardon me if I get something kind of, uh, completely off topic.
But, uh, I guess the questions that you may not have been asked are the following, [00:58:00] number one given. The shift in the world towards sustainability, how do you see that affecting the product that you are making? Which is the shoe that will be question. Very good. That’s a good, that’s a great question. And I think, um, sustainability’s been at the core even as part of the design for our new shoe.
So our, our new World Shoe that we are gonna be manufacturing in Africa. Um, you know, there’ll be two lines. There’s one that’s a e v a line similar to Crocs, uh, um, where actually has a, a biodegradable accelerant, uh, that’s actually injected into the shoe as part of the manufacturing process. So when the shelf life of the shoe is over, uh, we can actually bury the shoe in the dth and within 15 years you’ll biodegrade.
Um, we also can take the same shoes if we want to, and, and we can grind them down and use them for other users. Uh, so, so there’s reusable component and then there’ll be a secondary aspect of our business line with shoes that [00:59:00] we actually take waste, uh, from within the country to be able to actually allow us to be able to actually create unique shoes from this.
So there’s a purely will be a hundred percent locally sourced. And lastly, uh, because, uh, to start out some of those, Material for the stuff we have to bring use for our manufacturing process has to be imported. Uh, but we also know that in West Africa, they’re one of the largest producers of rubber. So we want to be able to vertically integrate our, our, our, our rubber material process.
So we can actually look at what can we do to inject science and being able to actually take some of those rubbers and hopefully turn some of those stuff where they’re using them to make tires right now, can we turn them into EPAs as well? So, so those are some of the things that we work it on. Uh, thanks for that, man.
My second question, uh, you, you’ve talked at length about, you know, the importance of focus. Uh, now that you have achieved success with the shoe, do you see yourself continuing to focus on the shoe and the vertical integration that you talked about? Or do you see [01:00:00] yourself diversifying in the means of giving back to Africa in other industries?
And ask that question as a person who was born in Africa as well. Oh, thank you for that. What part of Africa are you born in? Uganda or Kenya? Zambia. Okay. Yeah. So, so thank you for that question. Um, you know, um, focus is one key thing. Um, until we, we leave the effort to be able to create a world, uh, with zero shoeless people.
Right now there’s about 661 million people, uh, in our world right now that actually. Has never been able to own a pair of shoes. Uh, so we want, we want to go after that goal and, and we’ve created a social enterprise framework to help address that stuff, which will be, uh, a for-profit entity that allows us to manufacture shoe to be the supplier of the footwear.
Uh, a non-profit Samaritans fit a 20 year, uh, uh, last mile, uh, organization that understands the intricate of what it takes from a supply chain to deliver shoes all across the globe. But also we’ve created, uh, [01:01:00] you know, an advocacy research and a fundraising, uh, uh, a nonprofit, a fund that allows us to leverage philanthropy, uh, to be able to work with government agencies, work with, um, ministries of countries and health and agriculture and education.
Uh, and then also, um, uh, to be able to actually with. Global collaborators like the UN and UNICEF and uh, uh, red Cross and U N C R and all these other agencies that’s working to bring hope to the world. So we have multi-channel opportunity to be able to connect. And then, uh, the for-profit side can also work to retail channels all across Africa, Africa, and all across the world to be able to deliver, uh, a, a product that people want.
That’s cool looking. That’s good quality, uh, and that innovation and that product being manufactured in Africa. Uh, so as we do that, we know there’ll be secondary things. Like we know that right now as our factory has actually been man manufactured, been constructed, uh, the feedback has been so crazy. We know we have a obligation to bring a, a collective impact to the community where we live, work and place.
So, [01:02:00] the first factory has been manufactured in erected in Ghana. We know, uh, for every employee that we employ in Ghana, it actually has a downstream, uh, implication of being able to help up anywhere between seven and 10 people, either secondary in from banks, to barbers, to food, to transfer all the other secondary things that we impact.
So, so for every 300 people we employ that, multiply that by 10. Uh, so look at all the secondary, uh, um, opportunities that, that create by creating, uh, moving from aid into development. Uh, I think those are some of the other things that allow us, because I was speaking at a UN, actually in Geneva just about three weeks ago and at a U N R O conference, and we’re talking about the importance and they were all this ambassadors from Africa in the room.
And, and I stood up and I said, guys, uh, I’m tired of aid. We need development in Africa. We need jobs in Africa. We need innovation in Africa. That’s what’s gonna help provide that long lasting transformational change that Africa needs because the hopeful outcome of those people seeing, uh, them, the families working at at [01:03:00] at industries.
Factories. That’s creating products, that’s generating jobs, that’s generating profits, bringing for an exchange in. It’s what’s gonna bring that long lasting transformation. And this will lead to other secondary things, uh, like even like what we’re talking about, some of the raw matures, all the things that we may see that may be needed as part of our supply chain.
Manny, fantastic. Uh, can I ask my, sorry. Uh, we’re on a time rolling, but, uh, appreciate it. No worries. I really do, and I’m just trying to be respectful of our guest here. We committed to one hour, and, uh, I wanted to remind everyone that you can go to samaritan’s feet.com and make a donation, and it can be a monthly donation of $10, or you can do a one-time donation.
You can do whatever you like. But go to samaritans feet.com and Startup Club is matching up to a thousand dollars of donations. Uh, whether you’ve heard of, heard it from this show or through our podcast, serial Entrepreneur or Secrets Revealed, Manny. I have one last question. [01:04:00] Sorry Roland. I’m cheating. I took it.
I took it. Okay. You set a BHAG of 10 million shoes 19 years ago. You’re gonna cross over in October. What’s your next bhag? What’s your next mountain? What’s your next big hair? Audacious goal? Um, thank you so much. I think, um, I mentioned it briefly. Uh, our next goal, um, is, uh, to now move from eight to development.
Um, is, uh, is uh, to go create a world honestly with, you know, we wanna see a world one there with zero. . People to eradicate some of business electro tropical disease. We want to do that, uh, uh, through, uh, an enterprise that’s, that’s generating drug to a for-profit venture and, uh, teaming up with non-profit, uh, uh, uh, philanthropic opportunity to be able to actually coexist.
That allows us to, uh, create a shoe that saves life, but also generates and creates job and generates profits and those prophecy, and then be used to be able to help more people. Um, that’s where [01:05:00] we are. So, uh, we hope it took us 20 million, uh, 20 years to go serve our first 10 million. Uh, but we hoping maybe it may take us five years to serve the next 10, and who knows, maybe over the next 20 years, uh, uh, uh, with, with the help of all this amazing philanthropies and business partner and then in the shoe brand itself, uh, maybe we can enlist the help of others, uh, in the shoe industry as a whole to join us, to help us create a world with zero shoeless people.
Well, zero shoeless people. I’m gonna make it, I’m gonna give you an invite now to come back on the show. When you hit that behag 19 years from now, uh, I think it’s, I think it’s bold. I think it’s aggressive and I think it’s inspirational. Like all, uh, be hags are like all mountains that we have to climb and we take one step at a time.
We conquer one hill, we reach one base camp. We celebrate the victories that each step along the way. Manny, thank you very much. You have been such an inspiration. I’m looking forward to seeing you in so Florida speaking [01:06:00] live and at other events. And, uh, if you don’t already, if you don’t already know, but you can just go on Google and type in his name and you can follow him.
It’s, uh, it’s Manny. I use Google cuz your last name. O h o n m e o. How do you pronounce your last name correctly? Here, it’s, it’s Ahol. Anna is silent. It’s Ahol. Yeah. Anna Silent. All right, well Thank you very much again. And by the way, if you don’t already know this, there is a mailing email@example.com and we have two authors.
We have one coming on next Friday, two o’clock Eastern, and one coming on the following, uh, Friday. Both our bestselling authors, they’re coming on. If you want more information, just go to startup.club, check out who they are, join the email list cuz you would’ve not known that Manny was coming on today.
Unfortunately, the app has not figured out a lot of things after they did their upgrade and we’re, we’re working with the app to try to get better exposure for the members on Startup Club. But the fact is you would not know that Manny was gonna come on unless you [01:07:00] went to startup.club and signed up to that email list.
All we do is just announce great authors and speakers like Manny, and we’ve got two great authors coming in the next two weeks. Thanks again, Manny. We appreciate that. Have a fantastic day. God bless you all. Thank you so much. And don’t forget, you can go to samaritans feet.org. And be part of the solution.
Again, thank you for all the members and we’re looking forward to celebrating that last nine, whatever, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, when you hit that 10 million. Mark. Manny, thank you so much for all you’ve done, for all the children and people. Thank you and your team. Have a wonderful weekend. Thank. Yeah, and I think we should, we should post a blog about the event, cuz I, I assume you’re gonna do it live or something.
May, yes, we should post a blog that, about that event when we, when we do get close, Mimi writes the blogs on, on, uh, on Startup Club and we’ll definitely make that. And I, and well, we know what we’ll do. If you’re on the email list, [01:08:00] we’ll send you that live event link. Okay. There you go. There you go. Another motivation to get on that email startup.club.
Bye for now. All right. Bye-bye. You will. Thank you. Thanks, Manny. Bye-Bye miss.