Social entrepreneur  to present business talk

Photo provided -- Tal Dehtair
Photo provided -- Tal Dehtair

International social entrepreneur Tal Dehtair, named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative Business People for 2012, will present Southeastern Louisiana University’s 2013 College of Business Ethics in Business Lecture on Thursday.

The lecture, titled “Doing Good and Doing Well,” is free and will be in the War Memorial Student Union Theatre.

Dehtair, 31, is the co-founder of MBAs Without Borders, an international charity that has engaged hundreds of experienced MBAs from around the world to volunteer and help build small and social businesses in more than 25 developing countries. In 2009, he left the nonprofit to launch Oliberté Footwear, the first premium shoe brand manufactured in sub-Saharan Africa.

Oliberté was not developed as a charity, but as a way of creating stable jobs, Dehtiar says.

“The last thing I want someone to do is buy our shoes because they feel bad,” he said. “If the product didn’t sell itself, it wouldn’t matter where it was coming from.”

Oliberté’s partner factories and main operation is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and demonstrate fair and equitable practices for men and women with a goal of contributing to the development of a thriving middle class. The company is environmentally conscious in its leather tanning processes and uses crepe rubber instead of toxic, man-made alternatives.

“Mr. Dehtiar is proving that profitability and social responsibility can go hand in hand,” said Randy Settoon, dean of the College of Business. “He is part of a new generation of social entrepreneurs who are completely redefining the corporate model. We are pleased to host him on campus so he can share his thoughts and experiences with our students.”

A native of Canada, Dehtiar is a recipient of the Ontario Global Trader Award and the Arch Award. He was nominated for the YMCA Peace Award and for Canada’s Top 40 under 40 and Ernst & Young’s Social Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2007, he was named one of the International Young Foundation’s Young Social Entrepreneurs.

Dehtiar received his MBA from McMaster University and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Western Ontario.