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Beads to Business

Transforming Lives From One Bead To 1 Million

As Street Business School evolves as a global leader in entrepreneurial education, we’re taking a moment to honor our sister organization BeadforLife, who after 17 years, is declaring victory by sun-setting its retail operation. Together we celebrate years of success and proudly reflect on the unyielding truth that without BeadforLife, there would be no Street Business School. In addition to launching SBS, BeadforLife has helped more than 50,000 people in Uganda improve their lives. Join us as we continue our journey together.

 

Celebrating BeadforLife

2004

2004

Three women met a Ugandan woman rolling recycled paper beads in front of her mud hovel. They learned she had no markets and worked in a hot quarry for only $1/day. They set an intention to “follow the river” and to create markets for beads in the US.

2004

2004

BeadforLife is founded as a Fair-Trade paper bead jewelry organization using net profits to provide women living in poverty the means to sustainably change their lives. Programs such as “Beads-to-Business” invested in helping women start their own business and lift themselves out of poverty.

2004

2004

BeadforLife is featured in O Magazine, and sells $80,000 worth of paper bead jewelry, overwhelming the website and launching a movement.

2005

2005

TV crews visit Boulder to film a BeadParty in action, highlighting women coming together to purchase beads and support the beaders in Uganda. This was the turning point of BeadParties/Marketplaces, and would educate and bring joy to nearly half a million people.

2005

2005

BeadforLife launches its Vocational Training program, which would grow to train 392 youth, equipping them with skills to prepare them for working and earning income in the future. This model would become what Street Business school is today.

2008

2008

BeadforLife built Friendship Village, where women saved money through income earned rolling beads to build their dream home. Nearly 1,000 people live in Friendship Village today, a beautiful and thriving community.

2009

2009

PBS Newshour airs national TV segment on Friendship Village, featuring Co-founder Torkin Wakefield.

2009

2009

BeadforLife items are featured on the Today Show as a holiday gift that makes a difference in the world. This coverage boosted BeadforLife’s sales, spreading joy and meaning throughout the holiday season.

2010

2010

BeadforLife launches its Girls Education program, that will send 156 bright and capable girls to school.

2010

2010

Nick Kristof publishes “Partying to Change the World” in the New York Times, sharing how Americans can get involved in the fight against global poverty through BeadforLife.

2013

2013

Two Ugandan Beadmakers journeyed to the U.S. to connect with BeadforLife supporters through The Opportunity Tour, spanning the entire country.

2013

2013

With a decade of experience empowering women, BeadforLife changes its program, committing all resources to a singular focus: bringing entrepreneurial education to the masses. This mobile program was called Street Business School.

2014

2014

BeadforLife is recognized in A Path Appears by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who reached out to interview CEO and Co-founder, Devin Hibbard.

2015

2015

BeadforLife launches its luxurious shea butter items, inviting people to look good, feel good and do good. This “women’s gold” helped 750 Shea Farmers earn income.

2015

2015

In order to grow globally, a three-year pilot was launched to craft the expansion of Street Business School through a social franchise model with the goal to “ignite 1 million by 2027.”

2016

2016

BeadforLife celebrates 60+ Community Partners (volunteer) and passionate local volunteers, many of whom have supported the organization since its inception.

2016

2016

BeadforLife’s Street Business School is inked in Entrepreneur, by Devin Hibbard, CEO of BeadforLife and Street Business School.

2017

2017

The organization’s Ox-Plow cooperative reaches its height, allowing refugees to return to their farms. 252 people were able to expand their farming and grow and sell more food.

2017

2017

Street Business School successfully concludes its pilot. Through social franchising, Street Business School expands through 14 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in East Africa, scaling from Uganda to six countries.

2017

2017

Street Business School by BeadforLife wins the Hero Award for Best Nonprofit by PeaceJam, the organization led by 14 Nobel Peace Laureates. The award was received in Monaco by the former President of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Oscar Arias Sánchez.

2018

2018

Street Business School spins off from BeadforLife on July 1 to become its own nonprofit organization, changing the relationship from being a program of BeadforLife to becoming sister organizations.

2019

2019

Caring and compassionate people from around the U.S. have hosted more than 20,000 BeadParties, sharing BeadforLife products and stories.

2020

2020

BeadforLife declares victory by sunsetting its retail operations, with more than 92,186 people reached through BFL+SBS programs. Street Business School is now active in 21 countries with 221 Lead Coaches.

2027

2027

Street Business School will continue to scale through a social franchise model and lift 1 million women and 5 million children from poverty.

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