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Pep talk.

At 59, I'm at a crossroads: My job is closing and I must decide what to do next. Many entrepreneurs are creating lucrative careers that help themselves and their communities--domestically and overseas. I love arts and crafts and I've always loved making my own jewelry. What steps can I take to pursue this route?

--M. L. Patterson

Via E-mail

It looks like you've already decided what the next chapter of your life will be. Being inspired to pursue an endeavor that is socially conscious reflects your desire to be fulfilled not only professionally, but also personally. You have several available options for executing your plans.

You can import materials from an entrepreneur based in Africa, or you can work with an organization or vendor to have the items produced there (according to your specifications) and sent to you to then sell. Approach organizations that work to provide opportunities to craftspeople in developing countries. Aid to Artisans (, an international nonprofit, offers several ways for consumers, retailers, and importers to access handmade products while helping to create economic opportunities for artisans worldwide. It runs programs in parts of Africa, including South Africa and Senegal. The organization provides low-income artisans around the world the opportunity to receive business training, resources to function as entrepreneurs, and access to markets, all of which enables them to support their families and communities.

Furthermore, in our article, "Do Good, Get Rich" (Hay 2008), we cite resources that will help you either launch a social enterprise or support a business run by artisans in developing countries.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:QA; entrepreneur guide
Author:Robinson, Tennille M.
Publication:Black Enterprise
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2009
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