World Footwear


DiVERGE promotes social entrepreneurship project

Jun 18, 2021 Portugal

Imagine by DiVERGE

Nine people from Bairro do Zambujal participated in a new program to fight social exclusion through training and empowerment of young people from underprivileged neighbourhoods

The Imagine project was promoted by Portuguese-based footwear brand DiVERGE, whose ultimate goal is to provide young people with skills for employability and equal opportunities: "This is a completely innovative project that, in addition to empowering young people in these neighbourhoods, allows them to create from scratch and launch their own sneakers, as if it were a small business that they will manage, from creation to promotion, receiving in full the profits of these products”, the company said.

DiVERGE has decided to move forward with this program that aims to train young people from social neighbourhoods in small creative entrepreneurs, using sneakers, the most desired piece of clothing by Generation Z.

According to João Esteves, CEO and founder of DiVERGE SNEAKERS, “Imagine aims to provide young people in less privileged neighbourhoods with tools that allow them to have equal opportunities, giving them fundamental skills for employability, while boosting their self-confidence and self -esteem. This is the basis of an idea that, in addition to having a social impact, can also generate an economic impact from a micro business that can gain a lot of scale with our customers”.

In addition to the education program that introduces them to various subjects related to entrepreneurship (from marketing to interpersonal communication), these young people had the opportunity to tell their story to the world, with the creation of their sneakers in their image, and which can be now purchased from the DiVERGE website.

The Project

The program consists of a 25-hour training session covering basic concepts of Interpersonal Communication, Strategic Marketing, Advertising, Sales, Design, Photography, Social Media and Financial Management. Then, participants are invited to put their knowledge into practice, designing their sneakers, participating in the collection's launch campaign, monitoring the results and seeking to maximize sales. The project values and empowers the participants, making them the protagonists of each launch and the gross profits from sales of their creations revert entirely in their favour, and DiVERGE is committed to redirecting 10% of its profits to the program's growth. Imagine will thus enhance social impact in various ways, namely, through the self-confidence, self-efficacy and self-esteem of young people who live in disadvantaged social contexts and with less access to opportunities.


The brand currently reaches over 50 countries across all continents. The brand was recently considered one of the most innovative Portuguese startups, after having launched, two years ago, sneakers 100% customizable and customized to the image of each one, produced entirely in Portugal. Since then, the company has enjoyed strong international acceptance and was even selected to wear Felicity Jones in George Clooney's latest film for Netflix. All products are handmade in Portugal and use only premium materials in their unique customization process, from the soles to different types of leather and textiles. DiVERGE is also a brand that uses mostly sustainable materials and with minimal waste, as the sneakers are only produced to order - there is no stock - and tailored to the customer - which greatly reduces the risk of returns, reducing the waste.

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