Uniting a community, one bean at a time – The story behind #FreshBrew
October 23, 2014
Today, the FreshMobile will be delivering free #FreshBrew coffee—a unique blend of Ethiopian and Honduran coffee beans—to entrepreneurs attending the Small Business Forum at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Everyone loves coffee, especially free delicious coffee brought to you by FreshBooks, but what you may not know about this particular brew is that it has a very special story behind it.
In a pre-dominantly male-driven industry, Maira Manzanares defied the cultural norm and took the reins of her father’s coffee farm in Honduras. Smart, strong-willed and passionate, Maira had an idea—to create the first, progressive, all-female managed coffee collective. Despite seemingly insurmountable cultural obstacles, her collective, known as COMISUYL, banded together and thrived.
Maira’s taste for exceptional coffee could only be matched by her determination to innovate. Through a partnership with the Mesoamerican Development Institute (MDI), the Café Solar program was born, providing innovative new technology to farmers in the region. These farmers now process their own coffee, are able to gain access to specialized training and, in turn, benefit from increased employment opportunities. Considering there are few professional jobs open in rural communities, this boost in employment has had a significantly positive impact on Honduras’ youth.
A first of its kind, Café Solar coffee is not only Fair Trade and Organic Certified, it’s also the first solar-dried coffee to be processed 100 per cent off-the-grid using clean renewable solar energy, and comprises 75 per cent of the #FreshBrew blend. The solar-fueled program has also introduced a wealth of benefits to farmers in the area.
Maira’s story is a reminder for all of us: whether you dream of owning your own business or have owned it for years, it all starts with an idea and the courage to pursue it. There’s nothing easy about being a small farm business owner or doing your own farm accounting. No matter if you’re dealing with money management, staff retention, or balancing quality and growth—stick to your vision and keep working towards your goals, and you too, can beat the odds.
Happy Canadian Small Business Week from FreshBooks.