NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks With Social Entrepreneur Elizabeth Dettke

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Jan 19, 2018
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Podcasts, Entrepreneurship

Hat tip to NGPF's Melissa Belardi for letting us know about her "amazing friend, Elizabeth!" Where does the tale of amazing Elizabeth begin? Its starts with a stint in the Peace Corps in Rwanda, While there, she ventured out into the rural community of Zaza and befriended, Christine, who approached her with the idea of creating a social enterprise for stigmatized women. The dynamic duo worked tirelessly through the highs and lows (entrepreneurs know of what I speak) to make Christine’s vision of helping the underserved community of Zaza a reality. With a grant from the U.S. AID in hand and a lot of sweat equity, the Duterimbere bakery was born. Years after the bakery was founded, Elizabeth returned to Rwanda with a film crew to chronicle the lives of the women that this bakery has impacted. Be ready to be amazed. Enjoy!

Details:

  • 0:00–1:04 Introduction
  • 1:05–2:44 Why Elizabeth chose to pursue the Peace Corps
  • 2:45–5:05 Community outreach & first impressions of her new surroundings
  • 5:06–8:02 Christine, Elizabeth’s first friend in Rwanda, pitches a business idea
  • 8:03–10:05 Painting a picture: women are viewed as second-class citizens
  • 10:06–12:16 Problem? No fresh bread. Solution? Duterimbere Bakery.
  • 12:17–14:08 No high tech in building the bakery, but high spirits aplenty
  • 14:09–14:56 Duterimbere = “to move forward; to advance together (as one)”
  • 14:57–17:48 Initial challenges of starting this social enterprise
  • 17:49–18:22 A brief message from NGPF
  • 18:23–21:48 Christine’s entrepreneurial spirit & leadership qualities
  • 21:49–23:36 More than just a paycheck, it’s a first step towards a new life
  • 23:37–28:02 The next step for the women of the bakery: earning a business education
  • 28:03–30:00 Domino effect: expanding the business & reaching as many women as possible
  • 30:01–34:01 Elizabeth’s next venture: social enterprise administration
  • 34:02–35:43 A new light shed on these HIV positive single mothers
  • 35:44–37:44 What the next 5 years hold for Elizabeth
  • 37:45–38:27 Conclusion

 Background on Elizabeth

  • Received her Bachelor’s from the University of Virginia
  • Elizabeth currently attends Columbia University in New York
  • Peace Corps volunteer who served as teacher in Rwanda; the bakery was her supplemental project:)
  • She previously worked for a USAID contractor and consulting firm called DAI

More on the bakery

  • Christine paid for her university costs by selling tomatoes (lots of them!)
  • Christine will be working for The Women’s Bakery, in hopes of opening bakeries in other rural outposts
  • Video: Zaza Rising mini-documentary

QUOTES:

  • “Her [Christine] idea was to start a business that would employ HIV positive single mothers… [The idea for the business] came from the community… Those with HIV are really stigmatized, and single mothers are really stigmatized. These women are barely considered citizens in Zaza, and [Christine] found the idea to give them a way to make more of a living wage and advance economically.”
  • “The challenges that we faced here are definitely different than any challenges that you might face starting a bakery in New York City, for example. Christine’s bakery is a social enterprise, which means that it values profit just as much as it does its people in the community.”
  • Even more challenges: “The bakery decided to pay for the funeral costs [of the employees who had passed]... Commodity prices rose and they had difficulty adjusting their cost structure to the rising commodity prices, and profit kind of suffered there too.”
  • Christine said, “If I am going to create a sustainable and profitable business, I really need a business education, I need financial education, and I need to understand how to create a cost structure that makes sense.”
  • Christine: “I used to live day-by-day… This business has taught me how to plan for the future and how to analyze risk and really sit down and deliberate and make decisions.”
  • “Through my work in international development and with donor funded projects, I see a lot of promise in changing the way we do business as a whole. Businesses should prioritize and emphasize impact in the same way they do shareholders and profit.”

About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Danielle Bautista

Danielle is a native of Southern California and a recent graduate from the University of Maine, where she braved the frigid winters—a feat in and of itself—and earned her Bachelor's degree in International Affairs. She has a passion for working with non-profit organizations and serving populations in underprivileged communities. When Danielle isn't writing NGPF blog posts, spearheading various outreach projects, or managing contests and flash surveys, you can find her doing some sort of outdoor activity, learning a new hobby, or cracking what she thinks are witty puns!