Interview With Fair-Trade CEO Santiago Halty of Senda Athletics

Inspiyr recently spoke with Santiago Halty, CEO of Senda Athletics, a fair-trade soccer equipment company that partners with non-profits as a way to give back through soccer. Along with sharing the story of Senda, Santiago spoke about the benefits of fair-trade products, how fair-trade products can impact a community, and gave advice to would-be social entrepreneurs about how to launch a successful business.

Inspiyr: Let’s hear the story of Senda.  What is your background and how did it all begin?

Halty: I’m 28 years old, and was born in the US and raised in Buenos Aires.  When I was four years old, my parents moved back to Argentina.  I played soccer on the streets there almost every day.  It was my way to connect with people.  I didn’t watch much TV or play video games; I played soccer.  When I graduated from high school in Buenos Aires, I decided to go to San Diego to attend college and study economics. I had lived with my family and over thirty cousins in Buenos Aires, so I became a little homesick in San Diego.  Soccer helped me stay sane and connected me with my culture.  It was my therapy.  Some people go to the shrink; for me it was soccer.

While I was in school, I traveled to China, Latin America, and France, and playing soccer in those countries was a great way to interact with the locals.  It’s how I connected with people while I was traveling and how I managed difficult times.  This is how I fell in love with soccer and how it really changed my life.

After I graduated from college, I was getting ready to look for my first job and discovered that nobody knows where the soccer balls they used came from.  The soccer ball transformed my life, and I wanted to make sure that the people who were making it were treated fairly, and weren’t kids.  Nobody was making fair trade soccer balls the way I thought it could be done – changing the lives of people who make them, to those who want to change their community through soccer but don’t have the equipment to do it.  That’s when I had my “aha” moment; “I’m going to launch a company that is going to think about the