Football factory for Ghana
Ghana is set to become the third country in Africa to host a football stitching factory run by social enterprise, Alive & Kicking. The other two are Zambia and Kenya.
Alive & Kicking is a UK-based social enterprise that has set up football stitching factories in Kenya and Zambia. The factories have created more than 150 jobs in areas of high unemployment and have stitched over 400 000 balls, a quarter of which have been given to children who otherwise would be playing with homemade alternatives.
This week Alive & Kicking announced that they had raised the initial funding required to begin work on a third stitching factory in the footballing hotbed of Ghana’s capital, Accra. The first hand-stitched leather footballs from the new factory will roll off the production line in early 2013.
“Over the past seven years, we have proven in Zambia and Kenya that our stitching factories are viable, sustainable social enterprises,” said Alive & Kicking CEO Will Prochaska.
“Raising the necessary start-up capital for our third factory in Ghana has been a huge challenge in these tough economic times. We’re excited to have hit the target, and look forward to laying the foundations for the new factory later this summer.”
In addition to the many local economic benefits such as providing unemployed people with fair employment opportunities, the factory’s footballs will make a huge difference to the legions of soccer fanatics in Ghana. Currently Ghanaians can only buy expensive imported synthetic balls, which aren’t nearly durable enough for rough ground.
“The factory will immediately generate more than 50 jobs, which will in turn support hundreds more local people – and that’s the major benefit to the local community,” said Prochaska.
“We hope a longer-term legacy of better balls will be the emergence of the next generation of great Ghanaian footballers. The next Michael Essien or Marcel Dessaily might grow-up playing with Alive & Kicking footballs.”