Elaine Bellezza,  Executive Director

Ms. Bellezza is a seasoned professional with over 25 years experience in entrepreneurship and creative industries development. She has successfully designed and led numerous value chain projects for USAID, the World Bank, MCC, and the European Commission.  

 

She is committed to developing entrepreneurship and trade, and supporting the vision, capacity & vitality of creative entrepreneurs. She has lived and worked extensively across Africa and has helped thousands of artisan businesses increase their capacity to meet the stringent challenges of the international market with confidence and success. 

Advisors

Legal and Trade Advisors

Souheir Nadde-Phlix

Intellectual Property & International Trade Law Advisor

Ms. Nadde-Phlix is a lawyer with over 15 years experience in Intellectual Property and International Trade Law (LL.M George Washington University, USA). She has served as legal advisor to leading international NGOs, governments, international organizations and private clients worldwide including UNDP, UNESCO, EPO, SIEMENS, STRATEGY& and others. She has particular expertise in regional and international trade agreements involving intellectual property protection and has worked for three years as research fellow with the Max-Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition. Ms. Nadde-Phlix is a Member of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI) and a Senior Associate and Legal Counsel with the Allam Advisory Group (Ottawa, Canada). 

Gustav Adu

Environmental and Forestry Legality Advisor

Gustav Adu is committed to establishing the culture of good forestry management for Small-Medium Forest Enterprises (SMFE). He is a recognized expert in the legality of wood and environmental issues particularly focused on assisting the private sector achieving international environmental compliance.  He led a group of three companies, of which two achieved the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Controlled Wood and Chain of Custody certification. For over two decades he has led numerous projects, evaluations and studies for USAID and the EU including 10 years with the USAID Trade and Investment Project (TIP), the USAID West Africa Trade Hub, the EU Forest Legality Governance and Trade (FLEGT) among others.

Design Advisors

Palash Singh

Design Advisor, Textiles & Weaving

Palash Singh is a textile and weaving specialist trained at the National Institute of Design, India. He has worked with numerous groups throughout Africa in both textile and basket designs. In addition to leading producers to accessing on-trend designs he works with them to develop quality control mechanisms and efficient production methodologies. Additionally he is interested in how the new technological and information advancements contribute to the changing face of developing world. Most recently he has received a fellowship by the UK Government to study International Management and Design at the Glasgow School of Art.

Cheick Diallo

Design Advisor, CEO Diallo Designs

Internationally renowned designer Cheick Diallo is considered the father of African design. His impeccable furniture and décor mix the traditional African aesthetic with a contemporary sensibility. Diallo, trained as an architect and industrial designer in France, has been a leader in assisting African producers to access international markets by advising on market-conscious design and efficient production strategies. He was the lead design consultant for the USAID West Africa Trade Hub and for Design Network Africa.

Business Development Advisors

Alex Boyd

Private Sector Development Expert

Alex Boyd is a private sector development and competitiveness specialist, specializing in assisting regions, industries and individual firms  to compete regionally and globally.  He has more than fifteen years experience focusing on SME competitiveness, entrepreneurship, innovation, value chain and cluster analysis, special economic and industrial zone design, market system assessments, program evaluation and trade and investment promotion.  Mr. Boyd’s work with Fortune-ranked corporations, governments, foundations, multilateral institutions and a variety of small and medium-sized businesses has brought him to Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Southeast Europe.  

Kathleen Holland

Business Development Advisor

Kathleen Holland's (Canada) 20+yr career has spanned executive roles with major Canadian corporations to consulting roles with the US State Department, Vital Voices and a number of for-profit and non-profits working in the social enterprise sector across Africa, Latin America and Afghanistan. Kathleen has learned first hand the impact women-led social enterprises make on their communities.contemporary sensibility. Kathleen is a Founding Partner of KMH Associates and the Executive Director of the Trade+Impact Association.

Joe Lamport

Communications Advisor

A highly versatile communications professional and a graduate of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Lamport possesses a broad set of skills including journalism, international development, advocacy, and setting large-scale communication strategies. He was the communications manager of the largest regional USAID project in West Africa working with hundreds of companies to improve their marketing communications as well as setting the professional communications strategy for the entire multi-sector program.

Lindsay Poe

Brand Strategist and Developer

As a brand storyteller, Lindsay positions brands through the development of clear and compelling content. Her duty and passion intersect when she is able to give life to a brand through the art of storytelling. She specializes in three areas of communication: copywriting, social media strategy, and public relations. Lindsay works with local businesses in Raleigh, North Carolina, along with global corporate companies such as Lexis Nexis and Circle K, and Bellezza Global Consulting. 

Market Advisors

Colleen Pendleton

Artisan Market Readiness Advisor

Colleen Pendleton has 25 years experience in strategic business planning, sales, marketing and vendor development. She has worked with a variety of artisan enterprises and international buyers and has successfully managed all aspects of wholesale and retail business development and management. Specific areas of Colleen’s expertise include: Market development, Artisan Enterprise Development, Enterprise capacity analysis, Market launch planning, and Export and Tradeshow management.

Abou Fall

Trade and AGOA Advisor

Abou Fall has over 15 years experience in project development and implementation in the domain regional trade and integration, investment and export development. He is a specialist of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and has worked in numerous value chains throughout West Africa. He was the AGOA Coordinator for the USAID West Africa Trade Hub, and currently is with the African Development Bank. Fall holds a B.A in political science from the Clark University, Worcester, Ma, and a Masters Degree in Globalization and Development from the University of Warwick in Coventry, U.K.

Fair Trade Advisors

Dr. Connie De Jong

NGO Development and Social Enterprise Advisor, Professor of Retail Studies, Owner World Peaces

Dr. De Jong has two decades experience working with artisan groups in Latin America and Africa. She has studied the impact of creative entrepreneurship on women’s economic development, and of art education on youth entrepreneurs. She has led the development of creative industries NGOs in the US and abroad. In addition to owning a wholesale crafts import business she advises numerous creative industry social enterprises across the developing world.

Edwin Bett

Fair Trade Advisor, Coordinator Fair Trade Kenya (KFAT)

Edwin Bett has over 10 years experience in Fair Trade, specializing in certification, entrepreneurship development, small business mentorship as well as strategic direction development. Currently, he is a student of International Business Management at the University of Nairobi with prior qualifications in wood science and technology, and marketing management. He plays a dual role as a coordinator of the Fair Trade network in Kenya (KEFAT) and general manager at Imani Workshops. Edwin also sits at the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) Board headquartered in the Netherlands.

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