Mike Mwenedata is the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Bean Company, which is a vertically integrated coffee business founded in 2013 that supplies specialty coffee products in the USA and abroad.
Mwenedata taimmigrated to the United States from Rwanda in 2010 after finishing college, searching for new opportunities and higher education. Once there, he saw the amount of money that people spend for a cup of coffee or latte ($3-5 each), sometimes multiple times per day. He then started thinking about the coffee farmers back home in Rwanda and how hard they work, often more than 10 hours per day equaling over 70 hours in the fields per week. Despite their incredible work ethic, farmers still have a hard time putting food on their own tables, sending their children to school, affording health insurance, and investing in their farms. He knew the cost of one latte was roughly equivalent to the cost of health insurance for one farmer for a full year in Rwanda. This is why he decided to create Rwanda Bean Company; to capture and return more value back to farmers, their families, and the communities that make this industry possible. The mission of Rwanda Bean Coffee is simple – reinvest 50% of its net profits back into farming communities and create a deeper connection between the consumer and their cup of coffee.
Beginning as an importer and distributor of raw coffee beans, the company has now progressed to owning and operating three retail coffee shops in southern Maine as well as distributing its own
line of premium, roasted coffee and coffee products for wholesale and retail customers throughout
New England and North America.
Rwanda is a very small country, it is home to an estimated 500,000 coffee farmers with an average of 300 coffee trees per farmer. With such small farms, it makes it very difficult for farmers to produce enough coffee to live on without being in poverty. However, one of the beauties of Rwanda is that it produces some of the finest coffee in the world. With this ratio of trees to farmers, the focus is on quality not quantity.
This is what drove Mwenedata to create a mission-based company that supports the community of coffee farmers who are growing a stronger Rwanda by sharing their harvests and stories with the world, helping Rwanda and Rwandan agriculture and produce take their rightful place in the global economy.
Even in branding and packaging, Mike and his team work to represent Rwanda and its hard-working farmers. The symbol of the company is a coffee farmer carrying coffee in a basket on top of their head, representing the physical work that goes into harvesting and transporting coffee from the farm to the washing and drying stations for processing. The reason for choosing this design is to spark interest and curiosity about their product and mission, as well as begin conversations that will strengthen the connection between the farmer and consumer.
Rwanda Bean Company’s (RBC) socially driven business model aims at disrupting current market dynamics by reinvesting 50% of its net profits back into farm communities, utilizing direct-trade practices to ensure farms get a fair price for their beans; and establishing an ecommerce platform for Rwandan coffee farms to promote their products directly to global consumers.
Through equitable compensation and by linking farmers to the profits of value-
added coffee products that they make possible, Rwanda Bean Company addresses the fundamental economic challenges faced by coffee farmers—escaping the boom-bust cycle of commodity
For more information about Rwanda Bean coffee Click Here: www.rwandabean.com
Mike Mwenedata the Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Bean Company
Photos credit Rwanda Bean coffee
The Express News