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Startup Campus Rotterdam


Meet Stella Airoldi founder of 22STARS; an ethical business that designs, imports and sells jewellery made out of 100% recycled paper by women in Uganda. Stella has a master degree in International Law and is part of Startup Campus as an ex participant of the Get Started programme, where she further developed her startup 22STARS.

You could say that entrepreneurship is in her blood, because her father used to be an entrepreneur. As a child she was taught the basics of being an entrepreneur from him. During her student life, she further developed her skills when she was in the board of SIFE Leiden (now Enactus). Here she learned that the best way to help people out of poverty is by making sure that they can provide for themselves. In the Acholi Quarter in Kampala Stella met women who cut old posters and magazines in pieces, and then roll them up to make beads for incredible jewellery. Fascinated by their stories and jewellery and a deep urge to help, Stella kept in contact with them during the years that she had to finish her studies and internships abroad. Finally in 2012 she could realize her dream of starting her own business: 22STARS was born.

She was tipped by a friend to join the Get Started programme; here she was able to further develop her startup. She has learned to develop her product to the next level and focus on customer validation. How to deal with the future customers. But mainly, ‘what is your brand and where does it stands for’.

During her process as an entrepreneur, she has discovered some ups and downs. Stella: ‘The hard part about being an entrepreneur is that you have to do everything by yourself and that you are quite often also depended on the speed of other people. The difficulty of my product is the communication with Uganda. The best way to order new products is therefore by drawing them and mailing that to the designers. Moreover all our products are hand made, so it takes some time before the jewellery is ready. But all the waiting is definitely worth it. My highlights are that I am still learning so much every day and that I meet inspiring people, moreover the photo-shoot with the jewellery was just amazing!

Check it out yourself and take a look at the Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/22stars for the beautiful pictures of the photo-shoot. Soon the website www.22stars.com will be online. If you can’t wait come by on Startup Campus or contact Stella by e-mail: stella_airoldi@hotmail.com.

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