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Holly Godfrey Catalyst

A Catalyst to Spark Change

Holly Godfrey Catalyst

Holly Godfrey | Lee’s Summit, Mo. | Startup

Holly Godfrey is an entrepreneur with a mission: create jobs, fight poverty, empower women. Founded in 2015, her startup Catalyst Scrubs is the first medical apparel company of its kind to partner with skilled, yet disadvantaged, women in India and Africa to produce high-quality scrubs and accessories for a fair and livable wage.

Below, Holly shares her entrepreneurial journey, how she partners to bring opportunities to other women and how she’s learned to lean on the resources available in Kansas City to help her business grow. (Like Betablox, which, by the way, is accepting applications under Dec. 15, 2015.)

And be sure to stay tuned for the entrepreneurs who inspire her. You’ll see just how she cut her teeth on social entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to start your business?

As a healthcare professional, I require frequent purchases of new scrubs to wear to work. In May 2014, I was searching online for ethically sourced scrubs and found few options.

There were a few "give back" brands, but they offered little information and no connection to the people who made the products.  I also wanted more from my purchase than just to allow the company to "give a pair" to someone else, or provide medication to people in other countries. While those are noble causes, there are plenty of charities that are already giving back in this way.

I wanted my scrub purchase to give jobs, opportunity and hope. I also knew there were other healthcare professionals who would want to purchase scrubs and participate as a consumer-partner with women in need of stable employment around the world.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?

Navigating the waters of a new type of business model that partners with cooperatives instead of providing charity.  Typical ways to cut costs do not always work for us because we are working with businesses that were once startups themselves, so we have been challenged to find other ways to be profitable.

When times get/got tough, what inspired you to keep going?

The pictures and emails of the women I am working with in India and Rwanda.  We are all in this together, and my success is their success.  


How did you find out about BetaBlox? How did they help your company?

I attended Demo Day at the request of a friend, applied for the program the next day and was accepted into the program the next week. Betablox has provided a solid framework of classes, mentor opportunities and additional resources that have helped take this business to the next level in half the time it would have taken without the program.  I also enjoy the community and support that come from the other members of the program.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.

Wes Bergmann--wanting to be an entrepreneur from an early age, he took his TV persona, used it to fund his enterprise, and even by being in the public eye for so long, he has never wavered from what he stands for and who he is.  He makes no apologies and does not pull punches.  He is a great mentor and I have benefitted greatly by observing how he balances his life and business.

Mary Kay Ash--She connected with her salesforce in a way that made each woman feel valued and important.  As her company grew far beyond her initial dreams, she was able to make each person feel that they played a role in her business, and recognized all achievements as important.  Mary Kay Ash was able to tap into the desire of a woman to feel noticed and beautiful, and build an incredibly successful business without using her power to manipulate these emotions.  She also defied the stereotype of the time that suggested that a woman had to be hard-nosed and act like a man to run a successful business.

David Rich--My dad decided while he was in dental school that he wanted to use his talents to serve a greater purpose, even if it meant earning less money.  After graduating, he and my mother moved to a small rural town with few resources and he started his practice as the lone dentist in the town.  He has maintained a successful practice for almost 40 years while also never turning away someone in need of dental care, regardless of their ability to pay.  He also volunteers on several medical missions each year, and believes in giving back to humanity on a global scale.

What can/should Kansas City do to be more business friendly?

Provide more activities and courses in the evenings for those of use that do not have flexible work schedules to attend day events.

Where does the city get it right?

We have the premiere location for bioscience and entrepreneur research in the entire nation.

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?

Passion, thick skin, a sense of urgency and great organizational skills

What has been your biggest triumph so far?

Meeting the owner of the factory I am partnering with in India in person, and hearing stories of the excitement of the women for work and their new jobs.

What is your favorite quote?

Two from Maya Angelou

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

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