The Knowledge Pledge multi-month project with TIE Global Artisans gave critical access to experts and strategic guidance during TIE’s startup period.
The Knowledge Pledge (TKP), formed in 2021, unites global experts and mission-driven entrepreneurs to share knowledge and co-create solutions that will significantly impact some of the world’s most pressing issues. Alain Chetrit, Pierce Dunn and Abhijit Pawar, TKP’s Founders who are experienced global executives and active YPO members, are driven by a belief that when you bring together insightful leaders TKP calls Signatories with high potential social ventures, the planet can become better for all people.
One of the first organizations TKP worked with to test its business model was TIE Global Artisans (TIE), a social enterprise designed to create economic prosperity for millions of indigenous artisans around the world, with their first focus in Africa.
Tradition, innovation, entrepreneurship
Traditional African weaving dates back to 3000 BC. Today, thousands of Africans create unique textiles as their livelihood but the current economic landscape for these artisans is unsustainable. Most of these artisans barely earn enough money from their textile creation to cover the cost of supplies, receive less than 20% of the value of the textile in local markets and have no access to modern equipment that would enhance their ability to consistently perform quality work.
TIE Global Artisans is focusing to create a new outlook for African textile weavers, elevating them as innovators and entrepreneurs.
Created just prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, TIE was envisioned by several team members at PYXERA Global who saw an opportunity to bring these artisans and weavers into the spotlights to buyers from around the world could understand the skill, creativity and love put into each piece of fabric. TIE focuses on improving the lives and livelihoods of the artisans they work with through job creation, gender parity, fair trade and sustainable practices. By combining traditional craft with modern technology and global market access, TIE provides greater share of the economic value back to artisans.
TKP’s relationship to TIE helped the organization during a truly critical time. “As one of TKP’s first social venture partners, they helped us go forward during a difficult time during the pandemic,” says Deirdre White, CEO of PYXERA Global which operates TIE. “We had TKP experts in retail, finance, blockchain and numerous other areas who helped us envision what TIE could look like in a post-pandemic world. This startup assistance helped us as we confronted challenges in growing our very complex social enterprise.”
One of the first important steps in the TKP/TIE relationship was creating a Signatory team which included TKP Executive Chairman and Co-Founder Chetrit; Afrovalley Blockchain CEO Kume Chibsa; YPO Impact Network Chair Corrie Dretler; International Development Expert Sarah McCue; TKP Co-Founder and AP Globale Chairman Pawar; International Development Expert Nii Simmonds; and TKP Communications Strategist Leland Schwartz.
During the multi-month project, TKP introduced TIE to designers, retailers, and textile and trade experts who provided necessary guidance for its immediate needs and pledged to be available as TIE further develops its business model.
“In working with TIE, the global advisors’ group quickly made recommendations to
revise its revenue projections based on a more realistic understanding of the critical and
sensitive timing related to manufacturing textiles and apparel,” explains Chetrit, who gained extensive experience in the apparel industry when he was president of Hugo Boss Stores Holding. “Our group provided strategic information on manufacturing and distribution processes to minimize TIE’s risk exposure and manage cashflows.”
White recommends that other social enterprises looking for outside expertise follow TIE’s example and reach out to TKP. “I would absolutely recommend social ventures work with TKP as the breadth and depth of the expertise that's available is extraordinary. I can't imagine any need a social enterprise would have that TKP wouldn't be able to draw from its resources. Being able to tap into this kind-of expertise on a pro bono basis is just invaluable; there's no other word for it.”