Tadiwos G. Belete is the founder and CEO of a highly renowned private company in Ethiopia, called Boston Partners P.L.C, a parent company of Kuriftu Resort & Spa. Belete was born on 1957 in Arusi Oromia Region, South-Eastern Ethiopia.
Belete grew up with affectionately embracing hands of his late mother Mrs. Mintewab Lessanework and father Balambaras Getachew Belete. Due to the political instability of the country, experiencing the reign of terror by the dergue regime under the leadership of Mengistu Haile Mariam, and the consequent adversity at his early age, Belete was supposed to migrate to Sudan in search for stability, security, better life for himself and his 8 younger siblings at the age of 16, six years after the coup that ushered in the Derg communist government that brought about drastic economic and social instability.
Belete has faced many hardships in his life, especially his time in Sudan with a catastrophic disease which almost cost his life. Anyone can imagine what a difficult decision was running away from home at such a young age, but also one that needed to be done. He always recalls the first career he took there as a bird-scarer in a privately owned small farm until, he flew to the United States of America and granted refugee asylum in 1983. He tried his hands at a restaurant and at promoting Ethiopian artists until 1989 when he enrolled in a school for hairdressers, working nights as a parking lot attendant. He then worked his way up from assistant stylist to salon manager before pooling resources with seven other entrepreneurs to open the salon on Newbury Street, at the same time upgrading himself going to Roxbury Community College (Associate Degree in Accounting) and Suffolk in Boston (Specialization in the same field).
Having lived and worked in Boston as a hair stylist for 19 years, Belete accumulated experience and saw firsthand what works and doesn’t work for clients and how to really run a successful business.
Belete, a happily married and father of three with a comfortable life at the US, decided to bring the western spa experience and beauty culture to Ethiopia, bought a piece of land along Bole Road and began construction on what is now the eight-story Boston Partners building in Addis Ababa. When the first few floors were completed, he opened a salon, which he named Boston Day Spa as a tribute to the great city of Boston that had served as a stepping stone to his great achievements, while construction continued on the remaining floors.
The average price of a haircut in Addis at the time was 10 Birr. The most expensive haircut in the city was at the Hilton for 22 Birr. Boston Day Spa started off charging 100 Birr, the equivalent of $10. A luxury spa in the heart of one of the poorest nations on earth sounded highly impractical. A new salon charging almost five times more than the competition seemed nutty. However, Belete’s strategy is telling of what it takes to create and maintain demand regardless of the situation.
Everybody doubted his move – his wife, friends and family and the first two months he gave free haircuts. The minute one sits in a sink to get shampooed he has someone massaging hands. The minute one is in the dryer, he has someone massaging feet. From that day on, the spa has never slowed down.
This inspired him to join the already blossoming yet not fully tapped resort and spa market in Ethiopia, realizing that there was a wide gap in the resort and industry in his home country hence started his journey towards bridging this gap.
Beyond personal and financial gains, Belete’s ultimate goal and personal mission is to rebrand Ethiopia as a whole. It is his determination and commitment to produce and promote the finest African brand to the world, on top of exporting high-quality services out of Ethiopia to make it the pride of Africa.
Belete says, while the rest of the world has assisted in bringing Ethiopia back on its feet, the country has surpassed that stage of dependence and now wishes to make a bold statement to the rest of the world as to the high quality of goods and services it desires to export to the rest of Africa and the world
Belete is working as a bridge to demonstrate this by travelling to four or five different countries each month to showcase and display the current image of Ethiopia by bringing top media groups in the TV and print industry with influential views from all over the world as well as influential personalities. This alone will allow to bear witness to the transformation and change that is occurring in Ethiopia and to tell the rest of the world in their own way and method. Belete has now ten giant companies which are up and running while eight in pipeline which he repeatedly attributes to hard work, enthusiasm, passion and commitment to life’s call