Vega Coffee co-founders Will DeLuca and Noushin Ketabi (pictured here with co-founder Rob Terenzi, far left) talk about how they’re revolutionizing coffee with their ‘farmer grown, farmer roasted’ purpose-driven business model which helps empower local women in Nicaragua.
The seeds for Vega Coffee were planted on a trip to Nicaragua in 2006, when Rob forged a relationship with a women-run coffee cooperative and encouraged them to start roasting (instead of just farming) the coffee beans.
Following a devastating plague, which destroyed coffee crops in Central America, Rob, Noushin and Will decided the time had finally come to officially launch Vega Coffee to the public and help local farmers get ‘back on their feet.’ Their social impact startup helps women-led coffee cooperatives keep more of the profits by roasting the coffee beans (which they also grow and harvest) on-site, enabling them to make a higher profit and invest in creating a better future for local communities.
Will and Noushin talk about how their direct-to-consumer business model is revolutionizing the coffee industry by generating positive impacts for farmers, their ongoing commitment to Nicaragua (where Rob and Noushin currently live) and the importance of working with the right co-founders and overcoming uncertainty when launching a mission-driven company.
Tell me the story behind Vega Coffee. What inspired you to launch a social impact coffee startup in Nicaragua?
We had been friends with the farmers, Rob maintained the relationships and organized trips during law school for students to come down and learn about the coffee supply chain. So when we moved down, we already had relationships with them on a personal level. I think that was really a big difference for us and the farmer cooperatives.
It’s been really exciting to learn a new culture…and it’s a super interesting place! I hope more people come down to visit! It feels like a world away from the United States but at the same time there’s also so much in common. There’s a real openness towards new comers there and that’s something I’ve been really grateful for. It’s made my life really wonderful there.
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