Genet Abegaz is the founder and manager of ABKA Leather. She currently resides in Addis Ababa with her husband and three children. After graduating from high school, Mrs. Abegaz studied Nursing at Zewditu and Black Lion hospitals. After receiving her RN certification, she worked as an OR Nurse at the Army Hospital for two years. Shortly thereafter, she got married and started a family and transitioned her career towards caring for them at home the same way she received the love and attention from her mother as a child.
When her children got older, she began work at Brook Medical Services and served as a Medical Administrator for two years. Following her passion for art, she then studied photography and videography, opened a photo and video Studio with her husband, and started working there as the general manager and head photographer.
Mrs. Abegaz embarked on national, international, as well as individual projects such as wedding, family, portrait & advisement photography. Her repertoire includes contracts and work with The Center for Accelerated Women’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE). CAWEE served as the lead implementing organization for the 1st lady of Ethiopia’s “Connecting 1,500 women and girls to the export market” in Addis Ababa and several other regions within the country. Mrs. Abegaz also worked as a photographer/videographer and produced documentaries for companies and NGOs like UNDP, UNIDO, RTI, EASTA, Eden Spring Water. Further, she documented several high-profile conferences and forums such as the World Economic Forum (2015) and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA 2013).
From her growing expertise, Mrs. Abegaz’s passion for design and garment work was rekindled. With the help of CAWEE, she had the opportunity to take courses on leather bag production, starting from the basics to more advanced techniques and styles. She has now opened a workshop at Bole Sub city in Addis Ababa where she has designed several unique, modern and fashionable bags. She is also able to create job opportunities for others to make leather bags of all kinds with her major target as the export market. She has currently been providing her products to customers in Kenya, The Netherlands, and the United States and plans to expand her client base to include customers in different countries.
Ms. Abegaz’s company (ABKA) is an organization with strong values of service and giving back to its community. As an example, public school students in Ethiopia are required to wear uniforms to attend schools but not all can afford to do so. Therefore, ABKA is providing school uniforms at Kutaber School, Wollo, for young girls who cannot afford to do so.