Kenya's Running Brand Launches Kickstarter Campaign

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Harnessing the storied tradition of Kenyan runners, Kourage Athletics improves lives in Kenya by selling running apparel for athletes worldwide. Tested at Kenya's only UltraMarathon, Kourage is offering its latest shirt on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Kenya has produced some of the greatest distance runners in the world. Harnessing this storied tradition, Kourage Athletics improves lives in Kenya by creating running apparel for athletes worldwide.

Hussein Kurji, 35, Kourage Co-founder remarks, “there aren’t opportunities for Kenyan photographers, fashion and graphic designers to connect with international markets, and we are bridging this gap.”

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, where everything takes place from design to testing, Kourage products are 100% African.

Kurji, who is Kenyan himself continues, “think about the number of jobs Nike has created in Oregon. Kourage is focused on creating economic development in Kenya through jobs and not handouts.” But Kourage’s influence goes beyond building a Kenyan business and the company is committed to assisting Kenyan runners. Kourage fashion designer Joseph Kisuli, 24, notes “We started talking to young runners and realized a relatively small amount of money, $50 dollars or so, enables a Kenyan runner to focus on his training for a month and participate in a couple of races.”

Kourage has a long term goal of sponsoring the Kenyan Olympic team but as a startup company the team is starting small.

Hired by Kenya’s only UltraMarathon, the Kourage team recently designed and manufactured 500-athletic vests with the words “Run Kenya” printed across the chest. faired well at the 75-kilometer race having been worn by

  • 5:05 Winner 75km UltraMarathon,
  • 2:27 Winner 42km Marathon,
  • 5:11 Runner up 75km UltraMarathon, • 2:29 Runner up 42km Marathon, and • 1:12 3rd place 21km 1/2-Marathon.

The same Run Kenya athletic tank-top is available, for $25 including shipping, on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Kourage says that Kickstarter is preferable for a small company because after meeting a fundraising goal, Kourage receives funds upfront. A business model that tremendously helps with cash flow. But the campaign comes with risks, if Kourage fails to reach its goal, the team receives none of the pledges.

Kourage’s kickstarter campaign, has a goal of raising $12,500 by friday, December 20th. Chris Markl, 33, and the only American involved in Kourage adds, “To reach our goal, we need 500-runners to believe in Kenya’s running brand.”

According to the Kourage team, meeting their kickstarter goal will enable them to hire Kenyan entrepreneurs, build new prototypes, and sponsor Kenyan runners.

Markl, an international economist continues, “Each Kourage shirt is powerful, transforming a runner into a modern day hero. By purchasing a Kourage shirt, one is able to state ‘I changed the world, I built Kenya’s running brand’.”

Kourage’s kickstarter campaign is live now at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kourageathletics/kenyas-running-brand.

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Christopher Markl
@KourageRunning
since: 03/2010
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