Thread. Haitian Fabric

In 2008, two out of work MBAs apprenticed with a tailor in London and started their own shirt company. With funds from friends and family, they grew their first collection into what is now an edgy and profitable label based out of Richmond, VA. They credit their investors for giving them the push they needed in the height of the recession and now they want to pay it forward by awarding $25,000 in seed money to another entrepreneur.

Over 150 companies applied and local start-up Thread  is one of the three finalists vying for the entrepreneurial prize.

Ian Rosenberger founded Thread in 2011 after visiting Haiti as the country was reeling from the effects of a devastating earthquake. Thread’s mission is to fight poverty in Haiti by providing sustainable employment. The company recycles plastic bottles and turns them into fabric and using its Ground to Good platform, Thread is able to track the total impact the products they produce. Since 2011, Thread has collected over 70 million plastic bottles and provided employment to more than 1,300 Haitians. Recently, they launched their first product – a collaboration with local bag manufacturer Moop.

According to Ian, the award will go a long way. “$25,000 changes the game for our work. We’ve spent two years developingthe infrastructure that we need to transform garbage into thread. Now, we’re actually making fabric. The more fabric we produce, the more jobs we can support, and the more bottles we can ensure end up as something useful. But we don’t have enough supply chains to ensure we stay afloat. We want to open up a second Haitian supply chain with a new partner. The funds will help us bring them on board and turn an additional 200,000 pounds of bottles into fabric each month. This will help support hundreds of jobs.”

In addition to $25,000, the winner of the Ledbury Launch Fund will also receive one year of mentoring from Ledbury founders, Paul Trible and Paul Watson, services from Refersal, a marketing firm and strategic guidance from Recurve.

The final winner will be determined by popular vote, which ends June 23rd. Cast your vote for our very own Thread here.

Leah Lizarondo is a food advocate, writer and speaker. She is also the co-founder of 412 Food Rescue, an organization that seeks to eliminate food waste to make an impact on hunger and the environment. She is the Chief Veghacker, recipe creator and curator at The Brazen Kitchen, where she writes about food and food policy. She writes about the intersection of food, health, innovation and policy.