Lincoln native brings Thailand-based business home thanks to grant

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Brooke Mullen, a Lincoln native, thinks the Capital City is an amazing start-up ecosystem. 10 years ago, Mullen and her husband moved to Thailand to further their degrees in International Human Rights. 9 of the years they spent there, Mullen has been working on Sapahn, a high-quality leather company.
Sapahn gives women in rural areas of Thailand an opportunity to work and earn fair pay.

"Not only will you carry her story with you, the woman you supported in Thailand," said Mullen. "But also you're carrying that impact, that bigger side of you globally."

Mullen won a grant with the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and moved back recently. The grant not only offers $25,000 but also a chance to connect with mentors and services like accounting.

"Entrepreneurship is a really big source of job creation and wealth creation in our community," said Christina Oldfather, the director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. "As part of a strategy moving forward in continuing to grow Lincoln, entrepreneurship is an important part of that."

Sapahn was one of 60 start-ups to apply for the grant. Only three got it.
Mullen said they're going to use this grant to improve their marketing and expand their customer base. Some of Sapahn's products are available in Lincoln boutiques like Pattino Shoe Boutique but Mullen anticipates that this will broadly expand their market.

To shop Sapahn, click on this link.