How the Shoe That Grows Can Help Alleviate Poverty: Andrew Kroes from Because International (#20)

How the Shoe That Grows Can Help Alleviate Poverty: Andrew Kroes from Because International (#20)

By
Dennis Kamprad

Publish Date:April 9, 2024
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How the Shoe That Grows Can Help Alleviate Poverty: Andrew Kroes from Because International (#20)

When donating shoes to kids in poverty, did you know that we can have about five times the positive impact when donating a shoe that grows? This and so much more is what you’ll learn in our conversation together with Andrew Kroes from Because International!

“Poverty alleviation both in the sense of believing that kids and families deserve to have those immediate needs met, especially in cases where they can’t provide that for themselves. So meeting those immediate needs, daily needs, but then also long term empowerment.”

Andrew Kroes, Because International

Three Key Points You’ll Learn From This Episode

How their founder got the idea for a shoe that grows when he worked at an orphanage in rural Kenya…

How their shoes are different and more impactful over a longer period of time…

How they started a business accelerator program to help locals make a positive impact in their community…

About Andrew Kroes

Profile picture for Andrew

Andrew holds a B.A. in Business Management from Northwest Nazarene University, a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), and held leadership roles in operations, relationship management, and sales. Then, in 2015, he joined Because International as president. Over the years, Andrew’s favorite part about Because International has been the never-ending journey of wrestling over what it means to “help” and partner with communities.

About Because International

Logo for Because International

Because International‘s mission is to use products as solutions to alleviate poverty. For example, their flagship product, The Shoe That Grows, grows five sizes and lasts for years, created for kids impacted by poverty. They have since learned lots of lessons in the creation, production, and distribution of The Shoe That Grows, and are sharing their experience via their Because Accelerator program, which is designed to help entrepreneurs take their innovative products to the next level.

Links and Additional Information Discussed

You can make a direct donation to Because International or choose one of the items from their donation gift catalog (for example, their Shoe That Grows)

Follow Because International on their social media accounts—LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube—and share their story

You can partner with Because International and help provide them with connections and/or funding sources to help make their mission a reality

The Full Transcript

Dennis: Hello and welcome to the Impactful Ninja Show. I’m your host, Dennis Kamprad. And today, we are joined by Andrew Kroes from Because International. Andrew, welcome.

Andrew: Thank you. Thanks so much for having me.

Dennis: My pleasure. Now before we go and tell your journey and your story, give us a brief overview. What is Because International and what are you doing there?

Andrew: Yeah. Because International you know, if I start really top level, our mission is all about global poverty alleviation. And that’s a big broad mission, and we’ll talk more about, like, where we specialize. But poverty alleviation both in the sense of believing that kids and families deserve to have those immediate needs met, especially in cases where they can’t provide that for themselves. So meeting those immediate needs, daily needs, but then also long-term empowerment. How do we solve the issue of global poverty? Multidimensional, lots of ways to do that. But knowing that job creation, economic empowerment, having a steady income, skills development, those sorts of things are incredibly important for that long-term empowerment. So hitting kinda both of those angles within this, again, broad, big vision scope of poverty alleviation.

Dennis: Awesome. So basically helping people immediately who are in poverty, but then also trying to make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future, and then I might just not need your help anymore.

Andrew: Exactly. And, again, we’ll talk about, I guess, the ways we go about that because, again, these are big topics. So, you know, and we’re not a we’re not a huge organization. So where do we focus in? But, yeah, at the top at the top level, that’s the idea.

Dennis: Sweet. No. I’m super excited already jumping a little deeper. But before we go in and tell, like, about all the progress and all the things that you do with Because International, let’s rewind slightly and give us a quick overview. What did you do before Because International, and what’s your background here?

Andrew: Yeah. And if I can just take a couple minutes and tell a condensed story of who we are. Because I think understanding what we do in a lot of ways, it’s a function of the story and who we are. And our story begins with really just a couple of best friends. So in 2nd grade, I met a kid named Kenton. We went to grade school together. Through high school, graduated, went to college, went to university together, and graduated. And from there, our lives diverged a little bit.

Andrew: I had a business background, business degree. Kent always knew he would do something probably in more the humanitarian nonprofit space, so it took a couple years traveling. And one of those stints was at an orphanage in Kenya living and working there. And and at this orphanage, the the people who ran the orphanage, they didn’t didn’t have a lot of money to provide for basic needs of the kids. And there was one day in particular, a Sunday morning, he was walking to church with the kids down a dirt road, and there was a a little girl in a white dress next to him. And he looked down at her, and for the first time, he noticed something. Mhmm. And specifically, he noticed her shoes.

Andrew: They were way too small. They were so small they had actually cut the front off of the shoes so her toes could stick out and she could continue to wear them. Mhmm. And that’s when, really, for the first time, he thought about shoes in particular as it relates to kids struggling with poverty. And he talked to the orphanage directors, found out that, you know, they would get donations of shoes, but, like, they never had the right numb you know, the right number, the right type, the right size. They’re used in a lot of cases, so they fall apart. And he just thought, maybe there’s a better way here. And there’s so much innovation in the world.

Andrew: Right? Like, there’s always a newer, better gadget, a newer, better thing for especially for us solving an additional problem we have. But if I’m honest, those problems are probably becoming less and less important. Whereas you have people around the world who need innovation most, and we’re not necessarily focusing on them. So that was the inspiration that he had originally. How can we really direct that innovation toward those that and who needs it more than kids and families, kids especially struggling to meet those basic needs. Mhmm. So he he came back from his traveling, told me about this idea, told me about his vision, got me on board, and that was really the start of the idea for a shoe, a shoe that could adjust and expand. So a shoe that was durable enough to last for years, but also would grow with the foot of a child.

Andrew: That was the idea that really launched what we’re doing today. That simple idea of, in many ways, Kenton just wanting to help his friends, get some shoes to his friends that would, that would serve them well.

Dennis: Can you still remember the situation that you’ve been asked to to join Because International? Like, what was going through your head? And what did you do, and kind of what was your professional experience at that moment?

Andrew: So I definitely do remember. I remember him telling me, hey. I’m I’m coming home. It’d been a couple years. And he told me, I miss Idaho too much. I, you know, I miss I miss home. So I don’t think I can do this for my career, but I have an idea. I remember him telling me that.

Andrew: So we got together, and we caught up, and then he told me about this idea, showed me his journal, showed me some of his drawings. And I’ll be honest, I was like, you know what? This is different. No one has ever done this before. Is this a good idea? Is this possible? But I definitely remember that conversation, seeing the inspiration, the vision that he had, and then getting excited about doing stuff with my friend. Yeah.

Dennis: How did you go along from then? From having this conversation, being excited about helping create some great product that can grow with the kids with the shoes being durable, and then to get it started and and joining the Cross International.

Andrew: Yeah. So it was a slow journey. I would love to say that from there, we just, like, made it happen. It was an overnight success, but that’s not the case. I mean, it’s it’s usually a grind and it requires a lot of perseverance. And and it started with again, I mean, we were a couple couple of guys in our early twenties. We had no money. We had zero experience with footwear.

Andrew: No connections. Really, it was just this idea. And what did we start by doing? We went in Kenton’s garage, and we grabbed some old shoes and materials, and we tried to make something. We tried to turn this idea into a reality as embarrassing as it was, and we still have those early prototypes of us chopping things up and gluing things and using these push pins. And and a lesson with that, I think, is if you’re gonna try something, sometimes you gotta take action and start small, and you’re gonna be embarrassed. Yes. And you’re not gonna be good at it. Like, you’ve got to be willing to suck at something new sometimes in order to make something happen long term, as tough as that can be to, you know, show people this thing, this idea, this thing you’re working on when you know it’s far from perfect.

Dennis: Yeah. No. It’s like this this kind of saying, like, the first product or the first iteration kind of has to be embarrassing. And then

Andrew: It has to be. Otherwise, you took too long. Yeah.

Dennis: Then you have something that you can put in front of those who will use it, get their feedback, and iterate. Which is also quite a nice transition to okay. The first product, you’re embarrassed. You you put it together as 20 yards in your garage, if I remember correctly. How did you how did you go ahead and and iterate then along the way to to get the product that you’re having now?

Andrew: Right. So, I mean, I think that was an important step that we tried, but also it demonstrated to us, we need help. Like, we’re not gonna be able to do this thing ourselves. And maybe, maybe the the the way we can have the most impact is to give the idea away. Mhmm. So for a couple of years, you know, worked on connecting with footwear companies, trying to share this vision with them, even with this idea that, like, you can use this idea as a profitable thing as well, but we would love for you to have some sort of give back mechanism. We would love for you to incorporate this humanitarian side of it. But no one wanted anything to do with it.

Andrew: I don’t know how much of that was the idea and how much of that just our effectiveness of of being able to connect and share that idea with the right people. But it really took about 5 years. So well, about a year after the idea, because international was formed. So so in 2009, set up a nonprofit with kind of this vision of what it could be. But it took until, like, 2,011, 2012 before we connected with some shoe designers who thought it was possible. Mhmm. And we’re willing to come alongside, sketch some ideas out, build some prototypes, which eventually led us to a 100 pairs that were made manually and took those back to Kenya and distributed those and then getting to a production version. But it was about 5 years of trial and error perseverance.

Andrew: Again, we had our day jobs for sure. We had, busy lives, starting families. But slowly by slowly, a little bit of momentum, a little bit of perseverance. Yeah.

Dennis: Was it also one of the pivotal moments for the organization that you had, like, working together with a shoe designer, working together with some of experience in the field, and then actually having these 100 pairs bring them to those in need and seeing how they react to them?

Andrew: Yeah. I mean, absolutely. There are as I look back at our history, there are a number of pivotal moments. Mhmm. And early on, you know, we talked about a few of those. That original idea Kenton you know, that inspiration Kenton had as he’s walking down the road to, you know, telling me about it and us going in his garage and then really connecting with that first designer who sketched some things out, showed us that, yeah, we do think this is possible. And then getting our hands on, you know, those first handmade prototypes, getting those distributed. Yeah.

Andrew: These are definitely pivotal moments along the way.

Dennis: Nice. So that was around 2011. Walk us along the journey from you mentioned there’s, like, a few more pivotal moments. I would imagine there’s quite a few challenges as well. So from 2011 until 20, 2024, basically now, what would you say were the biggest biggest moments, like pivotal challenges, and how did you overcome them?

Andrew: Some of those pivotal moments are exciting, and some of those are absolutely challenges that require you to pivot because of what you’re learning and because of what you’re running up against. But a lot of great exciting moments as well. I mean, from there, we were able to get to production Mhmm. Do a several 1,000 pair production run-in about 2,013. Mhmm. And then we’re getting them distributed. You know, we we’re not gonna travel you know, we don’t have the budget to travel and go to different locations to get these distributed. So we’re trying to partner with people who are already serving kids around the world, who are already looking to provide shoes.

Andrew: So will you take them on, you know, a, you know, a church missions trip or a nonprofit that, you know, serves an orphanage or a school? Will you take these? And and we did that. Dozens of pairs, maybe maybe up to 50 pairs, a 100 pairs at a time. And over a couple of years, we’re able to, distribute a few 1,000 pairs. But in specifically, in April of 2015, probably the biggest pivot definitely the biggest pivotal moment in terms of the history because the story went out. The story got viral, and we and this was, like, Kenton being willing to tell this story to anyone, telling it to a very small group of people. Someone knew someone who knew some someone who I think had a daughter who, worked at a local, news agency. And they ran a story, a small story that then got passed along, and we basically went viral overnight. And over the course of a weekend in April of 2015, we were able to raise quite a lot of money, a lot of attention, overwhelming at the same time because it was still kind of an idea without a business or, you know, without a full system or organization around it.

Andrew: But it was shortly thereafter that, Kent and I both decided to do this full time and really make it into everything that we thought it could be.

Dennis: How did that impact the work with Because as well for you? Did you see that, like, now that you could focus full time on it with all the help from all the people who who believed in your cause and wanted to help you, that it really propelled your mission forward?

Andrew: And that was the thing. It was like, we’ve got maybe not like this one time opportunity. This is a huge opportunity. This is kind of a make it or break it moment. And that caught I so I had been working at, you know, a software startup for about 9 years. Definitely had a career going there. Kenson had been working at a local university, pastored a church. So, again, there were things that we were giving up by going into this thing just all in.

Andrew: And even looking back or from the outside looking in, people would be like, man, that was a huge risk you took. I took, like, a 70% pay cut with a lot it’s just a lot of question marks around what was gonna happen, but at the same time I know for me personally, I think you tend to regret the things you don’t try. And I I just know looking back, if we have had that opportunity and not made the most of it, I would have looked back and thought, what if? Mhmm. What, you know, what what could it have been? And to be able to do this with, you know, with my best friend, pretty special. So to be able to take that leap and it was hard. And, again, lots of other challenges along the way as we’ve grown it into what it is today. But as I look back now with the 100 of thousands of pairs that we’ve been able to distribute in over a 100 countries, we now make our shoes completely in Mombasa, Kenya. We have a special place in our heart, a dedication to Kenya given that was where the inspiration for the shoe originated.

Andrew: It’s been, again, such a special impactful journey, and at the same time, so much work to do. And there’s and this is simple work, but it’s also complicated. And there’s there’s still so much to do, and there’s so much to, also to learn.

Dennis: Yeah. No. It’s like you’re saying, Kenya is, like, a special place in your heart as well. I mean, I’ve got, like, a little Yeah. Kenya as well. So I lived in in E10 in Kenya for quite some time. I was training with the elite athletes there, just long distance running.

Dennis: And when you mentioned, like, the people without choice, that’s also even an issue with the elite athletes and everyone else in the village. Like, the kids generally didn’t have any shoes. And even the elite athletes, they were trying to find any kind of shoes that they could hopefully fit or not. And one of the big things that’s always happening with athletes, like, visiting from other countries, Always collecting shoes to try to take them with them, to bring them to even to to the village where all the elite long distance runners from Kenya. So it feels, like, super, yeah, connected. And I also see, like, okay. This is just, like, one subgroup who are just the most elite, the most known from from a sports perspective from the country. And I’m seeing okay for everyone else, not just in Kenya, but then also all across where where there’s poverty.

Dennis: That, like, not having shoes is more like the norm than than the exception.

Andrew: I love that connection. And, again, it’s it’s a simple thing. And it started with a simple idea of of, again, like Kenton seeing a need, wanting to help his friends, coming back, rallying, you know, his own friends and, you know, me primarily being included in that. So, again, like, it’s a simple issue, but there’s also complexity. So why do kids need shoes? Well, a lot, you know, a lot of kids do okay without shoes. And at the same time, there are a lot of kids who live in environments where, you know, a simple injury can lead to infection. There are soil transmitted diseases. There are parasites.

Andrew: Or just even the pain and discomfort of having to exist in a dangerous environment, having to walk long distances to school, so something as simple as a pair of shoes, is that solving all of their problems? Absolutely not. But it’s a small thing that can make a meaningful difference in their lives. So, again, just trying to trying to do our part, trying to learn along the way, trying to focus in on, you know, shoes being one aspect of, again, this top level vision of of global poverty alleviation.

Dennis: Which is a great transition again. So, basically, starting with the first 100 pairs of shoes that were that worked. Let’s put it like this. To not just, like, even 2 years later, I’m going up to a 1000 to now you mentioned, like, 100 of thousands of pairs of shoes across many, many different countries. Beyond shoes, what what else is happening? What else are you doing with? Because I heard you had an exciting week for yourself.

Andrew: It’s been kind of a journey in evolution. And in many ways, you have to understand our story to understand why we are even doing the things that we’re doing. Because from those initial distributions, we then thought, how can we make broader impact? Are we just gonna be a shoe and, again, we could just be a shoe nonprofit. There’s a lot of need there, and there’s something to be said for staying focused. But we thought the first best next step would be, let’s make the shoes where they’re needed most. So setting up production in Africa, that was a big deal. It was a lot of work, but it also has been work that I mean, it’s paid off and it’s been very impactful. Again, not only having the shoes there and having those distribution networks, but creating creating jobs.

Andrew: So providing jobs through the production of our shoes. And then from there, we learned a lot. Like, you know, we get a lot of expertise in setting up kind of this business model, this this distribution network within Africa, and we started having individuals come to us and wanting some mentorship, wanting to understand, you know, what what have we learned? What can we share? And we did that informally a bit, and it was about 5 years ago Mhmm. That, we had enough people asking for this. We started thinking about it. We started talking about it. And what if we put a little program together where we could support innovators, entrepreneurs located within these communities who understand these problems best? You know, Ken came in. He brought in a certain perspective, and we’ve been able to create something impactful off of that.

Andrew: But there’s a ton of local entrepreneurs, innovators, business owners who are solving problems. So they’re using business to solve important problems, and then they’re also creating jobs, which, again, that goes into the importance of job creation for that, you know, long term economic empowerment and getting out of that cycle of poverty. So what if we came alongside and provided them a bit of support, some training, some some coaching, a little bit of funding, some other networking opportunities to help them take advantages of various opportunities they may be facing or overcome challenges with a little bit of support? A lot of these entrepreneurs can grow that much faster and create impact. And that was really the idea of the birth of the Because Accelerator that we’ve been running for 5 years now. And we run cohorts every year. Mhmm. We focus on a smaller number of entrepreneurs that we’ve we’re confident can be high impact. And to date, we’ve worked with about a 115, and now we just have another cohort of of about 25.

Andrew: So we’re up to a 140, 150 entrepreneurs that we’ve worked with over the past 5 years that, again, each of them running businesses that are solving important problems, creating jobs. And that really gets us to this kinda multifaceted approach with poverty alleviation, meeting those immediate needs, especially for kids, but then also focusing on those long term solutions as it relates to poverty, the need for jobs.

Dennis: Yeah. Beautiful. I really like the the pattern when you’re focusing on the entrepreneurship and the need for jobs. Because one thing that I remember quite vividly is that when there’s no job opportunities, people become so much more entrepreneurial. And in this little town, besides all the elite athletes, like everyone else, it felt like they had their own company, they had their own little farm, they had their own kind of work. There was besides the teachers or the policemen or the people in the in the banks, it felt like there was no one really employed in any kind of formal position. Everyone else was super entrepreneurial. That’s why it’s awesome to hear also that you’re focusing on helping these people and able to become more successful entrepreneurs and have a bigger impact as well.

Andrew: That’s the thing. Bigger impact. I mean, there’s a lot of direct impact that we are making with the shoe and that we can make. But in terms of leverage, how much more impact can we make if we can find incredible people doing incredible things and just provide them a little bit of extra support? And then let them create that impact, be the hero, make the change. We’re honored to be a part of that. But, collectively, we can make so much more impact than trying to do it ourselves, especially given the fact that, you know, they have that local knowledge. They understand things we don’t understand. They’re setting an example for future generations who are living in those areas of what’s possible, what they can be as they grow up, and they find problems that they can solve creating businesses.

Dennis: If there wasn’t so much negative connotations to the word, it sounds like it’s kind of like a pyramid scheme, but in the best best way possible. Not yeah. At the top, you enable people, those enable even more people, and it just spreads from there.

Andrew: It absolutely can. I again, I think, you know, part of that is creating that support structure, and part of it is cultural change. It’s showing what’s possible.

Dennis: Now if you look a little bit more into the future, you started with with these expandable shoes that are super durable and they grow with with the feet of the kids. You went a little further 5 years ago and started teaching people a bit more about entrepreneurship, about being successful in business with their own business having a positive impact. How would you envision the future of of Because? What are your plans here?

Andrew: Even though, again, we’ve distributed 100 of 1000 of pairs in over a 100 countries, we’re really scratching the surface as it relates to global shoelessness. And that’s both, like, people struggling with, like, chronic poverty as well as, like, disaster relief sort of environments. And there’s so many great applications for footwear that can adjust to the foot of a growing child or even adjust to the foot of someone whose foot isn’t growing because it’s just easier to distribute a shoe, but you don’t have to figure out all the sizing ahead of time. So that’s an interesting application that we’ve come up against. But it all comes back to you know, in some ways, we have thought about all these different possibilities with Because International as we’ve grown. So it’s it’s almost like we’ve expanded in certain ways. But I think in the coming years, we’re gonna get even more focused. Because, again, there’s so much opportunity for our shoes.

Andrew: So looking at specific countries, so in Kenya specifically, you know, we we we already are very committed there. But working with some local partners, we’ve been able to quantify. There’s about 600,000 rural Kenyan kids who don’t have a pair of shoes that fit properly. Mhmm. And they’re struggling because of that. And and let’s let’s address that. Let’s address that in the next couple of years.

Andrew: And then let’s set up some manufacturing processes in other countries and go one country at a time while also making sure that, you we’re not just leaving. We’re not just picking up and leaving, but we’re maintaining. And then in addition, these large scale relief and development efforts, instead of doing, you know, tens of thousands, 100 of 1,000 of pairs every year, let’s get to 1,000,000 of pairs every year. And we’ve been rapidly innovating the shoe. We’ve been through a number of iterations over the years, and we’ve got yet another iteration coming out that is better than ever. More functional, more durable, more cost effective, easier to produce. And this version of the shoe, I’m confident, is gonna be game changing in terms of getting us to millions and millions of pairs per year. And then on the flip side with the entrepreneur support, again, continue to expand that work, but with a little bit more focus in terms of the types of entrepreneurs that we can provide the most value, where they’re located.

Andrew: So again, it’s been kind of an exploration of what’s possible. Then I think in the coming years, there’s gonna be some focusing in. But in focusing, we’re going to be able to have more impact.

Dennis: That sounds super exciting. Now for everyone listening and watching, what would be our best way to support you?

Andrew: Well, there’s a number of ways. I mean, we are a nonprofit, and therefore, there is a donation model that helps us get shoes to kids direct our distributions. So if you go visit our website, you can, you know, search Because International, search the shoe that grows, put our social media accounts. But, yeah, directing us to the website to these various campaigns, I talked about this focus on Kenya. And the network, the connections, the funding, the support that we need in order to hit this goal. We also need connections to, you know, larger partners funding sources who, would come alongside and help make this a reality. Help us spread the word. Help us help us spread the word about what’s happening.

Andrew: So, you know, share this, share this episode. Find other ways that we’ve told our story and share it. We think it’s pretty fun, unique thing that we’re doing. You know, the shoe itself is pretty interesting. And then also the work with entrepreneurs, we think is pretty inspirational as well given the problems that that’s solving. Yeah. And then finally, there’s there’s also some real tangible ways with the entrepreneurs we support. A lot of that is volunteer coaches, advisors, mentors, people with specific business experience that will come alongside in a virtual capacity usually to provide some one on one support.

Andrew: And it’s super fun. You can, again, mentor. You can teach teach someone something valuable, but also have a multicultural experience. There’s there’s so much value in that process. So if you are interested in, again, potentially mentoring, supporting one of our entrepreneurs, you can visit our website, and there’s ways to get in touch with us there.

Dennis: Oh, wow. I imagine it must be quite fulfilling, also, seeing the direct impact you can have on the life of of one person you’re mentoring.

Andrew: It is. And it speaks to, again, like, we’re trying to do things at scale in order to maximize impact. But there’s also so much beauty and value in a 1 on 1 connection. Yeah.

Dennis: Yeah. Now before we go into the final part, like, firstly, we’ll put all the information also in the show notes also so I can reach Because International. Before we go into the final part and reflecting a little bit about your learnings as well, is there anything that we forgot about speaking about that I should have asked you?

Andrew: Yeah. I feel like I talked a lot, and I, shared I shared all the details of the story. Again, it’s it can be hard at a glance to understand this nonprofit who has this footwear thing, this shoes thing, but then also runs a business accelerator. But, hopefully, by hearing the story, the journey to evolution in the work, it’s understandable in terms of, how we got there, how we do both of these things, and how we believe so strongly in both of those strategies as it relates to poverty alleviation.

Dennis: Yeah. Basically, one with the shoes to help people in immediate need and the business accelerator to help eradicate the immediate needs for the shoes in the long term as well.

Andrew: Exactly. Cool.

Dennis: Let’s let’s make a little switch now and have have a look at some of the reflections. Now what would you say since working with Because International since trying to solve poverty, since trying to alleviate poverty in these places, how would you say has that impacted your personal life?

Andrew: Personally, you know, it’s definitely been a personal journey in terms of hearing the idea originally and providing some support in those early years when things are moving very slowly to then making the leap career wise in 2015 and everything that’s followed. And with that, I’ve always been someone who’s been purpose oriented even though the first half of my career was more focused on maybe hitting some financial goals, making sure I could, you know, take care of my family, giving me in many ways some of the options, some of the ability then to make that switch that I did about 9 years ago. But I would say as I reflect back, a key piece of it personally is is starting with yourself. Now by all means, you don’t have to arrive. You don’t have to be perfect in order to do to do good. I mean, there’s so many opportunities around you. There’s so many small ways on a daily basis that you can make an impact, that you can make someone’s day a little bit better, a kind word, a kind comments. This is simple, powerful impact.

Andrew: And then as you’re looking to scale that, as you’re looking to tackle big complex issues like poverty alleviation, There’s also a lot of value in, again, like, having humility, starting with yourself, knowing that if you don’t take care of yourself and put yourself in a position where you can be more and more impactful, then you’re gonna struggle. You’re gonna have a hard time. You’re gonna burn out. So it is that kind of almost paradox of making sure that you’re taking care of yourself so that you can give to others, that you have your own house in order, that you’re reflecting on, where am I wrong? Where my own pride be getting in the way? Where am I neglecting the most important things in my own life? And how ultimately is that gonna get in the way of me being a a blessing and being impactful for others?

Dennis: Sounds quite quite some parallels as well in your journey and mine. Like, I started working as a consultant. And these couple of years working as a consultant here in Switzerland, they also really enabled me not to focus on anything financially because I knew, okay, that part was more or less covered from the beginning. And for the longest time, I didn’t even, yeah, didn’t even care too much about this. And even now I got, like, a massive pay cut in comparison to what was beforehand. But then working on a purpose and making a big impact that’s such a bigger, so much more important driver than just the financials in the end.

Andrew: Yeah. And in many ways, again, like, it’s not you know, the finances don’t matter. Like, ultimately, you do have to have enough to be able to live and to not be distracted by a lack of money. But there’s also with a lot of people, there’s never enough money. But I do think getting to the point where where you can find that level of content and then satisfaction and then shift that focus. And by meeting, I guess, those goals, being then able to shift your focus to other people because, you know, I I have enough. I have enough now, and now it’s time to really focus on giving back.

Dennis: Yeah. No. It’s always good also knowing when enough is enough. Now Yes. Let’s already go into the final question. If you had to share one tip with our audience to become more impactful, what would your number one tip be for us?

Andrew: Yeah. And I think it’ll relate in certain ways to what I just said. But I would say move forward, take action, but with humility. So again, you know, we can focus on all that’s happened with Because International over the last 5 or 10 years. But those first 5 years, not a lot happened even though there was some consistent effort, you know, even as, you know, Kent was doing his best. You know, he had told me about, about the idea. We had reached out to shoe companies. We had tried to find people who could help make the idea a reality.

Andrew: We were taking action. We were doing what we could, but we were also, I would say, take action with humility. And humility meaning that you don’t have all the answers. You’re gonna let the process teach you. You’re not gonna get to a point where let me put it this way. I think there’s people who don’t take action, and also they don’t have humility. You know, the keyboard warriors that really aren’t aren’t doing much but criticizing. And then you have people maybe on the other end who are, like, boldly moving forward and taking action, but they have no humility.

Andrew: They think they have all the answers, and they risk doing a lot of harm also maybe while doing some good because they think they have it all figured out. And I think the sweet spot is in the middle of that. Take some action, but do it humbly. Especially when it comes to big issues like poverty alleviation, these are complex issues. This idea of what does it mean to help someone? Like I said earlier, there’s really simple powerful ways that you can help people in your day to day. You can find those moments. When it comes to large scale change and help, like, these are complex issues, and you have to have a humble mindset. You have to know that I’m gonna take action, I’m not gonna be perfect, And therefore, I might be a little embarrassed, and I might even be a little bit ashamed when I make some mistakes.

Andrew: But that’s part of that humility of of letting the process teach you.

Dennis: Beautiful. Thanks. Thanks so much for sharing that. Thanks so much for joining us today, Andrew, and for all the work that you’re doing with Because International.

Andrew: Well, thank you. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Dennis: My pleasure. And to everyone else, thanks so much for joining us as well. And stay impactful.

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