Kente Style is a business founded and operated by BYU-Idaho students.
They sell ties made from kente, a fabric woven in Ghana. Thirty percent of the profits goes back to Ghana. With a team of BYU-I students and a team of Ghanian workers, Kente Style strives to “tie the world together,” according to its website.
Todd Anderson, founder of Kente Style and a junior studying communication, served his mission in the Ghana Accra Mission.
Anderson said while on his mission, he developed a love for the people and their culture. In particular, he said he loved the kente weaved by a man named Holy.
Through a series of events on his mission and shortly returning home, Anderson said he came into possession of ties made of kente which Holy sent him and asked him to sell.
“It was last spring semester,” Anderson said. “Me and my cousin were looking for organizations to be a part of, and at this time, the business was still just an idea, but then we joined the Entrepreneurship Society, and then we participated in the first competition, and it was good to get the word out there.”
Anderson and his cousin did not win that competition.
“It was probably the best thing to happen because we got professors who took interest in it and have been super kind to give their time, to give us their expertise,” Anderson said. “Because of the Entrepreneurship Society, it became more of an idea, to now it’s growing.”
Kente style has a team of seven BYU-I students and 10 workers from Ghana.
Anderson said that since joining the Entrepreneurship Society, he and his team have won the BYU-I Big Idea competition and placed third in the BYU-Hawaii business competition. He said they plan on competing in the business competition this month for the state of Idaho.
Redge Allen is a business faculty member and the faculty advisor for the Entrepreneurship Society and Kente Style.
“Entrepreneurship is about innovation — it’s not about business,” Allen said. “I think, typically, people associate entrepreneurship with business students. The last two major competitions that we’ve had as an Entrepreneurship Society have been won by a communications major and a physics major.”
The Entrepreneurship Society sponsors competitions every semester to help challenge students as well as mentor students through guest speakers, according to the Entrepreneurship Society Web page.
“The Entrepreneurship Society is here to provide knowledge, relationships and inspiration for your business,” according to the Entrepreneurship Society Web page.
Allen said the society teaches more than just business skills.
“We try to teach the principles of how to grow and make something better than it was when we found it,” Allen said. “Whether it’s starting new ideas, developing within current ideas or serving others. It’s a special society.”
Anderson said part of the idea behind Kente Style is to create opportunities for the people in Ghana.
Joshua Miller, a sophomore studying communication, is the head of the visual media department for Kente Style.
“The point of Kente Style is to give entrepreneurs the opportunity to do what they want, and we sell their products, so they are able to make money off that,” Miller said.
Nathanael Haggard, a senior majoring in international studies, handles the international outreach and marketing side of Kente Style.
“We give a lot of independence to these people,” Haggard said. “I think that’s the best type of social entrepreneurship. This is the higher level when you still give people independence to live their own lives.”
Miller said Kente Style hopes to expand their business model into other countries so more budding entrepreneurs can have the same opportunities they have been giving people in Ghana.
“There’s people in these developing countries that are so talented and have so much skill in what they do, but they don’t have that opportunity to really get it out there,” Anderson said. “They are stuck in their own market.”
Anderson said he has learned so much in this experience.
“Find something you are passionate about, capitalize on the opportunities God gives you and build a team that you love and who share common values,” he said.
Students who are interested in joining the Entrepreneurship Society can visit their Web page or their Facebook page.
The society meets every Thursday from 2-3 p.m. in the Joseph Fielding Smith Building 340.