202: Connecting Buyers and Suppliers of Aid Supplies, with Stephanie Cox, The Level Market
The Level Market is the premier marketplace for aid and relief supplies.
Stephanie Cox grew up looking at National Geographic with her grandfather. “I knew I wanted to travel the world when I was 6, 7, 8 years old,” she explains. After graduating from college, she traveled the world as a freelance journalist. In 2004, she had a near death experience during the Boxing Day Tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people. She worked in Nepal and in Eastern Europe during times of conflict. But, she found it difficult to make a living. Her family encouraged her to return to the United States to find her way forward.
Stephanie moved to Colorado to attend graduate school. While there, she pitched an idea to iDE, a global organization that creates market-based solutions in agriculture, water, and sanitation. Stephanie offered to travel to Tanzania to document the impact of iDE’s efforts. Using her skills as a journalist, Stephanie says “I spent three months in the back of a pickup truck.” Her efforts paid off. She landed a full-time role with iDE, where she remained for 13 years.
In 2014, ten years after the Boxing Day tsunami, Stephanie received a call from a colleague in Sierra Leone. He shared how difficult it was to find aid and relief supplies. Stephanie offered to help. Although she had many connections in the aid and relief space, she also struggled to find supplies. She compared her experience with finding relief supplies with her experience shopping on Amazon or Alibaba. She knew that there had to be a better way. Stephanie thought, “If no one’s going to do it, a single mom in her PJs will do it.” That was the genesis of The Level Market.
The Level Market connect buyers and suppliers of products such as solar lights, shelter, and cooking stoves around the world. The Level Market’s site allows government agencies, relief agencies, and nonprofits groups to purchase goods for those on the front lines. According to Stephanie, “They can come to our site and find quality, top notch aid supplies.”
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Stephanie Cox
“Today, we’re in the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.”
“We were looking at the problem of discovery and distribution.”
“There was never a hub to connect buyers and suppliers of these products.”
“It was a fragmented and broken industry.”
“We were very specific as to who could sell their products on our marketplace.”
“I always wanted to be the first female president.”
“I knew I wanted to travel the world when I was 6, 7, 8 years old.”
“I was always interested in words, ideas, and communication.”
“I was in Eastern Europe during the time when it was very unstable.”
“I grew up in a family where my mom was a Democrat, and my dad was a Republican.”
“I spent three months in the back of a pickup truck.”
“They can come to our site and find good quality, top notch aid supplies.”
“I got to understand the pain of entrepreneurship.”
“If no one’s going to do it, a single mom in her PJs will do it.”
“Get your heels firmly in the mud.”
“If you do donate find out specifically what it is that they need.”
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- The Level Market: https://www.thelevelmarket.com/
- The Level Market on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thelevelmarket
- The Level Market on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thelevelmarket
- The Level Market on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/9318912/
- Book: Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs: https://tonyloyd.com/book