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Somerset founder Rick Hartsell (right) receives “Business of the Year” award from Forgotten Children Worldwide. FCW Finance Director Aaron Brown presented the tribute in Birmingham, Michigan.

Michigan Company Wins “Business of the Year."

It’s 7,650 miles from Detroit to Kathmandu. But that didn’t stop a Bloomfield company from reaching out to rescue Nepali children from trafficking. At a ceremony in Birmingham’s Townsend Hotel, Somerset Painting was awarded “Business of the Year” from international relief agency, Forgotten Children Worldwide. Based near Fort Wayne, Forgotten Children runs orphanages and rescue operations in India, Nepal, and Kenya.

“Every 26 seconds, a child is trafficked somewhere in the world.” That’s from Rick Hartsell, founder of Somerset Painting & Home Improvement. “I have two daughters. I had to get involved.”

How does it work? “We donate a portion of our profits to rescuing children – and supplying food, education, and safety. Our focus is self-sustainability for impoverished families by giving them tools to generate income. We set up microbusinesses so families don’t have to sell their children to avoid starvation.”

Recently, Somerset helped buy a self-supporting farm near Kathmandu. That led to buying a mini-bus to launch a taxi and tourism business – supporting six Nepali families. Somerset’s newest venture is building food vending carts so rescued victims of trafficking can earn a living.

“Our goal is to inspire others to jump in.” Rick says, “We take like-minded business owners overseas to come up with solutions. My fellow entrepreneurs can help indigenous people combat injustice by setting up businesses.” Rick invites business owners to join him. “If you’d like to travel abroad with us or have ideas, let’s discuss them. We can help fight child exploitation by fighting the poverty that breeds slavery.”

Interested? Contact Rick Hartsell directly at