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Somewhere in rural Africa is a business woman who will never meet the people who helped launch her business -- people like attorney Bruce Sewell.
The retired general counsel serves on the board of Village Enterprise, which trains impoverished Africans to start their own businesses. He donated to the non-profit in the past because he couldn't do the work himself.
"Now, it's time for me to roll up my sleeves and participate at the board level," he said.
Sewell first visited Africa when he was 14, but recently retired from Apple, Inc. and decided to help the people there in a more personal way. Village Enterprise exits to "end extreme poverty."
According to its website, Village Enterprise has taught more than 156,000 Africans to start small businesses and improve their lives. Their efforts have transformed 850,00 lives.
"We believe in the power of the entrepreneurial spirit to transform lives," it says. "Village Enterprise equips people living in extreme poverty in rural Africa to start sustainable businesses and savings groups."
The non-profit offers training and microgrants of $150 to kickstart businesses. In countries where families survive on less than $2 a day, it is a real lifeline.
"In this day and age, there are enough resources in the world so that extreme poverty shouldn't exist," Sewell said. "It can be cured."
As a former GC and executive at Apple, Sewell will bring high-level experience to an organization focused on small business. No doubt, it will be a welcome change of pace from one of the biggest boardrooms.
Rolling up his sleeves, Sewell may get out of the office to do some of the work. He probably won't get paid for it, but he could return to Africa to see the people receiving the benefits of his efforts.
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