Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Levi Benkert. We are honored to share his uplifting story with you and hope you feel just as inspired as we did after the episode. Levi shares how the recession affected his successful real estate business and a time where he was hit with an unfortunate amount of setbacks including losing his brother and business partner. Levi and his wife decided to take a trip to volunteer in Ethiopia, which ended up changing his entire view on businesses, family and the opportunities some people have over others. Levi shares a very special look at how he started over from scratch and now helps give opportunities to orphans, widows, and others that may never have had a chance. Levi and his partner Scott now share a goal to create over one million jobs, helping others move forward and get ahead. Finally, we hear the Austin he loves to share with visitors and the current update of how they are revolutionizing the beef business in Sub-Saharan Africa.
[2:48] Levi is originally from California. After that, he and his wife moved to Ethiopia and then Austin.
[3:16] Levi built “eco-urban houses” in Sacramento. They were a construction and development company with 400 houses at one phase. When the real estate crash occurred he lost over $40 million in 18 months.
[7:30] Levi compares the Austin to the Sacramento real estate market.
[10:47] His wife suggested they go somewhere else and do something for one year to have a change of pace. They heard about an Orphanage project in Ethiopia through their church, and they checked it out for 2 weeks first. They loved it and packed up their kids and moved there for what they thought was a year, but ended up being an open-ended long-term move.
[13:42] It grew from 9 children to 35 very quickly, and they were literally building the organization and center from the ground up.
[14:02] Currently there are 115 kids in the organization.
[15:19] Widows were rarely remarried, and not given many options to get back to work. They put them through a training program to make them the head of a household of 5-6 children.
[22:15] The agricultural and industrial revolution in Ethiopia is underway. Levi and his wife find it very successful to get into businesses and make a real difference.
[24:02] He combined forces with his new partner Scott, and their combined experience and passion is creating a force he couldn’t do all on his own. Their first project was an investment in a local medical diagnostic clinic. They realized they were more of a start-up team. Their new beef project is the largest beef producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.
[24:37] Thank you to our Sponsor, the Papasan Properties Group.
[27:01] They exported the first beef out of Ethiopia and created the system in partnership with the government.
[30:10] Their goal is to start two new businesses a year, create a million jobs and do a billion in revenue.
[34:30] He loves having the headquarters in Austin because he finds people get mission-based companies and intuitively want to support.
[38:29] Levi also wrote a book called No Greater Love, a story about the orphanages.
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