Have you ever wished you could have more of an impact on making the world a better place? Do you ever feel you are not doing enough to make a difference? I have thought and felt all these things, and I was truly inspired by the story of one young entrepreneur’s business plan to fight gender inequality in the coffee industry, reported by Dan Hyman of the New York Times.
While still in her twenties, Alyza Bohbot decided to take control of her family’s coffee roasting business and spin off an exciting new business. She wanted both to save the family business, which her parents were ready to close or sell, and to have a positive social impact. Hyman writes that, while attending an International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) conference in Seattle, Alyza heard the story of a Columbian widow who lost her family’s coffee farm because of her gender. As a woman, the widow was not allowed to make decisions about her own business because of cultural norms. Hyman reports that Alyza also learned that, “according to the International Trade Center, women do 70 percent of the work in getting coffee to market but regularly cede or are barred from financial control.” It was during the IWCA conference that Alyza got her idea to form the new business, the City Girl Coffee Company, to make a difference for women in the coffee industry. As a result, City Girl Coffee Company
- Buys its beans exclusively from farms and cooperatives that are owned or managed by women.
- Donates 5 percent of all profits to organizations that support women in the industry.
Hyman writes that, as a result, women who sell to City Girl Coffee Company are viewed as leaders in their communities and say they now have their own identities. Alyza’s business, based in Minnesota, is booming and she feels she is able to make a difference. “I feel hopeful,” she explains. We women are demanding “our place in society.”
Do you know a small business that is making this type of positive impact for women? Let us hear your stories.