Stella Airoldi, 22Stars #39

Stella Airoldi.jpg

Stella Airoldi is a social impact nomad, living a truly international life with her social enterprise, 22 Stars based in Uganda but her customers in Europe. 

In this weeks podcast I talk to Stella about how she runs her business in this way, what she's learnt and the incredible impact she's making in the lives of women and children in Uganda.

Many of us might think jewellery is frivolous and a luxury item that can't have an impact in the world. 

Having said that if you're a social entrepreneur you know any business can be a business for good, and selling jewellery is non different. 

After researching child girl soldiers in Uganda for her thesis in international humanitarian law, and selling the handicrafts women were making back home to frineds and family, Stella realised she wanted to have a bigger impact and turn it in to a fully functioning business that would provide employment for women and enable them to support their families.  

In particular, the story of Susan Laker -who was about Stella's age and had to seek refuge in military barracks when she was only 13 years old, where she got pregnant with her first son – touched Stella's heart. Stella's creativity and wish to help the war affected women were a direct incentive to establish the social jewellery company 22STARS a few years later in 2013.

This product-based model empowered families in the slums of Kampala and Jinja helped to carry out their social programs on the ground.

Artisans like Susan Laker, where able to go back to school and offer education to their children. 

More recently Stella has established a foundation to enable more children to go to schools and educate adults in entrepreneurship. Listen to this weeks podcast to hear more stories of the women and children Stella has supported through 22 Stars. 

In this weeks podcast we discussed:

  • What a "social impact nomad" is and how it supports her to operate her international social enterprise
  • What inspired Stella to set up 22 Stars and the Foundation
  • How she learnt the importance of entrepreneurship from Students In Free Enterprise (now ENACTUS)
  • Why she worked for Calvin Klein at the same time of launching her social enterprise
  • Stella's Workation in Uganda for digital nomad's to learn about social entrepreneurship there
  • How the Foundation developed out of people asking deeper questions about the impact she was making and how they could support more
  • Why Stella chose to separate her brands and website for the business and the foundation, even though they're obviously linked
  • Stella's Top Tips for growing a successful social enterprise


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