Not sure what to do with those old shoes you don't want anymore?  The ones piling up in your basement waiting for you to find them a new home?!  We would love to take those off of your hands for you!  Please click on Drop Off Locations to find a drop location near you.  Not one convenient?  Send us an email and we will coordinate getting the shoes from you.

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE SHOES?

Different shoes get different treatment.  The majority of the shoes are sold and the money is used for programs and impact in the field.  But some shoes get special treatment:

CLEATS & SPORT SHOES - These are sorted and stored while we continue to search for the right partnership.  We have lots of baseball and soccer cleats as well as a few golf shoes, track shoes and dance shoes.

SLIPPERS - Slippers are pulled out and washed by the staff at the Community Living Wilson Center.  The slippers are then donated to the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter.

NEW SHOES - All new shoes are pulled out and sorted.  Some are donated to kids in need through Bright Futures Lincoln County.  Others are sold for $10 each and the funds again used for programs and impact in the field.

WHO BUYS THE SHOES?

We sell the shoes to an exporter who then sells to micro-enterprise businesses. This creates jobs (roadside stands) and income in Africa.

WHAT IS MICRO-ENTERPRISE?

Street vendors, carpenters, machine shop operators, seamstresses and peasant farmers---micro-entrepreneurs come in all types, and their businesses in many sizes. This diverse group requires a variety of support to grow and improve. Many of these men and women and their employees are poor and have limited access to services. But they do not lack potential. More than 80 percent of the businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean have 10 employees or less, and they account for as much as half of all employment in many countries. Numbered at some 50 million, these micro-enterprises can no longer be considered marginal. They are the heart of the region's economy.  

REDUCING POVERTY

Micro-enterprises contribute significantly to economic growth, social stability and equity. The sector is one of the most important vehicles through which low-income people can escape poverty. With limited skills and education to compete for formal sector jobs, these men and women find economic opportunities in micro-enterprise as business owners and employees.

In Chile, for example, a Banco del Desarrollo evaluation found that 88 percent of the bank's micro-enterprise clients, who represent the poorest groups, improved their standard of living after receiving a loan.  

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN

Women-owned businesses make up one of the fastest growing segments of micro-enterprise. In Latin America and the Caribbean, women own and operate 30-60 percent of such companies. The work women do outside the home is usually in addition to the care they provide for their families, which limits their business opportunities. Moreover, they often face even greater obstacles than their male counterparts in getting credit from formal sources.

Increased income in the hands of women is invested in health, education and housing for their families. As micro-entrepreneurs, women not only make a huge contribution to national income, but they also create reliable social safety nets for their families and communities.  

WHAT INHIBITS MICRO-ENTERPRISE GROWTH?

Official policies often make business difficult for micro-entrepreneurs. Improved business regulations, tax regimes, licensing requirements, financial sector reform and bank supervision will promote better conditions for micro-enterprise development.

Less than five percent of Latin American micro-entrepreneurs have access to formal financial services. Deposit services are rarely geared to these business people, especially in rural areas. The small loans micro-entrepreneurs usually need generally are less attractive to traditional formal financial institutions because of their high transaction costs.

Micro-entrepreneurs also lack access to services such as marketing, training in basic business skills, and technology transfer.   

Source:   The IDB and Micro-enterprise - Promoting Growth with Equity