It’s a model we are all familiar with by now thanks to Tom Shoes and we continue to see more and more companies that are about MORE than just sales. Rory Rogan started Be Packs as a senior at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Behind the closed door of his dorm room, Rory designed, sewed, and created the first Be Pack, a simple yet durable backpack that would soon be the base of a company powered by a philanthropic business model aiming for change.  Every twenty Be Packs sold provides one child with one year of secondary schooling, one meal a day for a year, and their school uniform.

Showing promise, Rory was nominated by then senators Joe Biden and Tom Carper to attend the academy. An avid climber, surfer, and general outdoorsmen, Rory demonstrates what it takes to take his big ideas and create a catalyst for change.

After creating the backpack, Rory formed the idea of going beyond capitalism as motivation for his business model and using his product to facilitate and encourage secondary education. Education is proven to increase quality of life and promote gender equality. In Sub-Saharan Africa, those with secondary education are twice as likely to hold a full-time job and providing girls with at least one additional year of primary school can raise their wages up by 20% (stats from bepacks.org). With a round-trip ticket to anywhere he received as a graduation present, Rory found himself in Zambia, which led him to where he and his company are today.

While there are many philanthropic business models selling products today, Rory talks about what separates Be Packs from the pack, and what he does to address the common issue of authenticity vs. exploitation. Be Pack’s affiliation with non-profit African Education Program and Rory’s background as a sportsman are just two of the reasons to get behind the business model that will actually demonstrate positive change in this world!

Visit bepacks.org for more information or to purchase your own Be Pack backpack and provide the opportunity of education for a kid and get a sweet backpack out of it? Count me in!

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