Navalayo Osembo-Ombati and Weldon Kennedy have between them come with a great business idea in Kenya. The duo are set to launch a shoe line for Kenyan runners.
Two words that are synonymous with marathon are ‘ Kenyan runner’. It is common place to see Kenyans dominating marathons around the world. Be it a London marathon or a Lagos marathon. The world has come to understand that Kenyans are great runners.
Navalayo Osembo-Ombati and Weldon Kennedy hope to capitalize on this feat by manufacturing professional running shoes for Kenyans and what makes this even bigger is the fact that the shoes will be made by Kenyans and not multinational western companies. This would make it a win-win for the community, Kenyan economy and Kenyan runners.
“It wasn’t until I left Kenya that it struck me just how much the rest of the world thinks of Kenya as a land of great runners, and the pace of the campaign is showing just how much people respect Kenya’s running expertise,” Osembo-Ombati says.
“Our goal is to help runners connect with the style and culture of Kenyan running, while using the income generated to help local community causes.”
The shoe line will be named Enda. ‘Enda’ means ‘go’ in Swahili– an official language in Kenya.
In order to raise the $75 000 capital needed to produce the first batch of shoes, the duo decided to use a crowdfunding site, Kickstarter .
The first model of Enda shoes is already in works. It is called the Iten and will come in red, black and green colors to represent the colors of the Kenyan national flag.
It will also have 12 lines to represent 12 December– Kenya’s independence and republic day. The logo is also supposed to represent a spear tip — an icon which features in Kenyan history.
In another way to infuse Kenyan patriotism into the Iten model, ‘Harambee’ a Swahili word which means ‘ all put together’ and which has also become the slogan for solidarity in Kenya is printed on the sole of the shoes. The sole itself is designed to look like the Great Rift Valley, where most of the greatest runners in Kenya come from.
The pair are also working with runners and designers to ensure the shoes are comfortable and suitable for Kenyan runners. They also plan on using some part of the profit to benefit Kenyan communities through the provision of clean water, adequate healthcare and quality education, and so on.