Our startup stories now bring us Kafes Guatemala, a company that this year celebrates its first decade in business. We talked to its founder, Pablo Castañeda, winner of the 2016 Illustrious Guatemalan Man Prize, who tells us how the company became so successful and the way it fosters change and culture in the country.
How does Kafes Guatemala work?
Kafes Guatemala’s concept is based on the value of coffee culture. So, beyond marketing our private brand in any region of the United States, we’re focused on sharing our culture by selling other Guatemalan products that are strongly linked to the coffee realm.
Moreover, we organize trips and invite people from around the world to visit us in Ancient Guatemala. We’re in charge of the whole logistic process from the airport to the place where you stay, your coffee-related agenda and the places to be visited, your cooking lessons and many other experiences. Guatemala is characterized by having over 300 microclimates and 8 coffee regions.
Where are your products marketed?
They are presently sold in the United States.
How have you managed to stand out among the competition?
We strongly believe in promoting change in our country. Our customers help us support our COFFEEMED program, which urges medical teams from the United States and other countries to come and offer medical sessions in coffee-growing communities, schools and farms. In the same breath, the program aims at teaching people how to eat properly, take care of their health and pay attention to other important long-term aspects related to their health. A percentage of our profits goes to the creation of a fund to buy medicine for patients that suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes. We have alliances with farms to support their employees. Our business is a tool to support change in our country.
What have been your main results?
We’ve grown stronger as a company and as a product. We’re the only company that runs a flavored line of products. Our COFFEEMED program has been of benefit to over 1,500 people in 3 years and we’re going up. Roast Magazine posted an article on our COFFEEMED program.
What are your plans for this year?
We’re looking forward to creating new business alliances and reaching out to new markets in Europe and Canada. We want to make the most of the prize won by our founder to bring about changes in the medical sector of our coffee-growing communities, and challenge the Guatemalan people to become agents of change, since we cannot stand as simple viewers and do nothing to solve out the problems of Latin American countries. We must be part of the change NOW!
What would you tell other entrepreneurs?
You can find many creative people or startups, but helping supporting change in the country is an important value to us and the base of our business. We’re living in an inter-connected world, so fostering change is more feasible and necessary. We must support each other as a region.