BINGHAMTON, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – A program located at The Koffman is Soft Landing, which assists foreign companies with doing business in New York State.
One of them is naRoho, the subject of our latest Koffman Innovations spotlight.
naRoho makes high quality leather goods such as tote bags, wallets, cardholders, coin purses, passport and notebook covers, and earrings.
Isabel Agol founded it as a social enterprise in Uganda.
She trains young women to make the leather products which are durable, locally-sourced and sustainable.
“We just try to give them a boost in life. So that even when they get out of naRoho, they can still start their own business and sustain their business with the skills we give them along their journey with the company,” she said.
Agol says naRoho is Swahili for “with heart” reflecting the passion behind the business.
She offers her employees additional training in marketing, distribution and other aspects of running a business.
“I know some states in the U.S. also have challenges with income disparities, and maybe locals need some income-paying jobs. They don’t have training. This is something that really can be replicated in the U.S.”
Agol says she’s gone from simply looking to sell her products in the U.S. to possibly starting similar production operations here.
She says the recent Soft Landing Boot Camp was especially helpful as she got to strengthen her relationships with other participants in the program.
You can purchase her products at http://naRoho-co.myshopify.com.