When it comes to marathon running, Kenyans rule. And yet, for years Kenya lacked its own running clothes brand -- but ethical business Kourage Athletics is officially leading the race. Kourage is a legal non-profit that strives to reduce poverty through job creation. Rather than charity and aid, fair business practices can create crucial change -- not only economically but also socially. To put it simply, well-paying jobs means better schools, better healthcare and better food. Revenues from Kourage Athletics are reinvested back into where the brand emanates from, and where it matters most: Kenya.
Kourage Athletics operates in a Kenyan-owned and -operated factory located 139 kilometers north of Nairobi in the Rift Valley, the womb of many of Kenya's best runners. The products itself combine fashion-forward design, a modern fit and performance-centric quick-dry fabrics that will pump you up at your next race or simply during your next morning jog. "Kenyan runners are world-class," says 23-year-old Kourage Athletics fashion designer Joseph Kisuli, "we wanted to create an equally impressive garment." "We combine the fit of your favorite t-shirt with the best performance fabric in the world."
What is commendable about social businesses like Kourage is the extent to which they build their brand on positivity rather than perpetuating the negative narrative that Africa has been burdened with within mainstream dialogue. By harnessing the histories and successes of a nation, Kourage Athletics encourages both conscious capitalism and athleticism in order to spur job creation and support livelihoods in Kenya. American Operations Director Chris Markl sums up the brand's ethos: "From our garments' fit and feel, to our organization's vision and values, Kourage makes you feel good."
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