Purchase a backpack & send a child to school!
Backpacks are essential for the school year to carry books, homework, and lunch boxes. Imagine being able to purchase a backpack that not only helps your child get to school every day but can also send an impoverished child to school for a whole year. Today’s Austin-based startup is doing just that.
ESPEROS’ mission is to address the lack of access to education for impoverished children in developing countries. With every ESPEROS Bag that is purchased, 50% of the profits help send a child in need to school for a year.
Join the mission of ESPEROS this year to help the over 100 million children across the world who are unable to attend school and purchase a backpack that goes to a good cause!
Learn more about ESPEROS from Founder, Oliver Shuttlesworth.
What inspired you to start your company?
The lack of a good, resonating solution to help provide poor children in developing countries with access to an education.
Tell us something unique about you and your co-founder.
Before starting ESPEROS, I used to do a little bit of standup comedy in my free time.
What problem does your product or service solve?
We solve a widespread problem in developing countries: the lack of access to an education for school-aged children. There are over 100 million children across the world who don't have the resources to attend school; we're trying to change that. At ESPEROS, we sell backpacks and, soon, a few other products. With each product sold, we donate 50% of the profits to help send a child in need to school for a year.
What are your startup's three biggest challenges to growth?
One of the biggest challenges to date has been finding reliable, cost-efficient manufacturing. The world of retail and manufacturing are just an entirely different beast, but we're on the right track and we've made great strides since our soft launch in April.
Our second major challenge to growth is the current economic climate. Almost everyone I've talked to loves the concept and what we're working to accomplish, but with a $75 price tag, our bags aren't exactly an impulse buy. Still, we're finding people are willing to spend a little more since they really enjoy the product, they love our mission, and they know we're going to provide them with great customer service along the way.
The last challenge to our growth is finding ways to spread the word about who we are and what we're doing. Since so much of our money goes to fund our mission, we're left with little after the fact to advertise through traditional mediums. That means going grassroots all the way and, while it's a bit slower, we are starting to gain some traction and I think we're on the right track there.
How has the Startup America Partnership helped you overcome these challenges to growth?
Startup America has been great. From the different discounts and offers available through its partners, we've been able to solve a lot of different problems, especially when it comes to cutting costs and being smart about where we're allocating our costs.
What Startup America Member Benefits have you used?
Partner Offers and the Learning Series so far, but I also plan on becoming more active in the Startup Texas region.
Why should startups join Startup America?
I think it's just a great platform to use to get involved, find ways to save money (always crucial when starting a business), and be part of a community outside your own small group.
What is the startup culture like in your City/State?
Austin is very pro-startup. It's cliche to say, but there's a lot of creativity in this town and the business climate is pretty favorable to startups like ours.
Learn more and connect with ESPEROS here:
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