epExpert: Using Better Business Practices to Empower Local Farmers
Compadre is a social enterprise that works with organic farmers to help them get better prices for their coffee. Using an innovative, solar-powered roaster, it can help farmers earn more than 70% more income than by selling unroasted beans. And as a plus, this solar powered roaster uses 5x LESS energy than existing roasters. Compadre recently hosted two epExperts. One of them was Jeremy, owner of a coffee roasting company in Cleveland, Tennessee. He helped them finetune their business model and roasting profiles. In the following interview MovingWorlds talked with the Team of Café Compadre to learn more about their inspiring time together.
What problem does Compadre solve?
Compadre is a social business that seeks to add value to small-scale farmers with the use of innovative solar-powered products. We increase farmer´s involvement in the value chain and provide a close-knit relationship between farmers and consumers – better coffee for consumers that brings higher prices to farmers.
How does Compadre create social impact?
Compadre buys green coffee beans from small coffee farmers in the jungle of Perú, paying them above the market price. We store that coffee in our Solar Station, and have the coffee farmers come to our facility every month to roast the coffee we purchased from them. For every kilogram of coffee they roast, we pay them an extra dollar. With this model, we were able to increase their income from coffee by 70% last year. We aim to increase this percentage and the number of farmers we work with in the coming years. In this way, we give farmers the opportunity to thrive from their farms, respecting the fact that the farms and communities live in harmony with nature.
Why did Compadre choose to host a skilled volunteer through the empowering people. Expert program?
We chose to host an expert because we didn’t know how to sustainably scale up and we needed someone with the knowledge and experience to advise us on our options and possible next steps. Finding the right professional with both the business and coffee-roasting know-how was a real challenge, so partnering with the empowering people. Network helped us find the right skills.
How did epExpert Jeremy add value to Compadre?
Jeremy helped us improve our product quality and advised us on how to best reach our target market, while analyzing our strengths, weaknesses, and growth needs. We now have a better product, and a clear plan to put it in front of the best possible audience.
What advice do you have for finding and working with Experteers?
It is very important to be as prepared as possible before Experteering professionals arrive because it will help both parties have a clear vision of the goals of the project, craft a schedule, and flesh out logistics in order to take full advantage of the time the expert has.
Anything else you want to add?
I was surprised to find that the greatest value of Experteering came not only from the time and skills of the expert, but also from the strong connection he formed with everyone in the team. I feel that people who want to bring some kind of value to society already have something so strong in common that they get along very well.
epExpert Jeremy with the team of Café Compadre
The empowering people. Expert service aims to support epN members that often face knowledge and workforce gaps which hinder their development and prevent their products or services from reaching more people with basic need problems. Read more…