From Hobby to Social Enterprise: A Journey with Ocean Sole
It all started with Michael’s internship at the Netherlands Embassy in Kenya, where he encountered Ocean Sole, a company crafting art from discarded flip-flops that their team collected on Kenyan beaches. Despite the media attention surrounding Ocean Sole’s eco-friendly initiatives, the company faced challenges in sales. Nicholas and Michael stepped in by initiating a crowdfunding campaign, propelling Ocean Sole into success. What began as a hobby evolved into Nic&Mic, a social enterprise committed to supporting circular businesses in Africa.
Learning from their experience with Ocean Sole, the brothers expanded their efforts, collaborating with other social enterprises on the continent, such as Africa Collect Textiles (ACT) in Kenya and Chako Zanzibar in Tanzania, alongside Ocean Sole. Nic&Mic operate as ‘boxmovers’, buying products from their local partners and selling them across Europe, ensuring fair compensation and respecting the partners’ business models.
Their commitment extends beyond transactions; they actively engage in supporting the growth and sustainability of their partners’ businesses. Nicholas explains: “We respect their business model and their business ideas by ordering their products by the container, paying them in advance, and reselling the products in Europe with a margin. In addition, we support operations with machinery, marketing advice, and problem-solving on the ground.”