Project Street Address
523 Prospect Place, Suite 305
Project Postal/Zip Code
Country your work focuses on:
What stage is your project in?
Operating for 1-5 years
What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?
Name Your Project
Describe Your Idea
Describe your idea in fewer than 50 words.
Madécasse is a specialty food company focused on Madagascar. Our products include chocolate and vanilla and are distributed to over 100 specialty food stores in the U.S. Our chocolate is one of the only fine chocolates made in all of Africa. Making chocolate generates 4x more income than Fair Trade cocoa.
What makes your idea unique?
Making chocolate in Africa is a simple idea, but until now has not been practiced. Madécasse chocolate is one of only two fine chocolates made in all of Africa – a paradox considering Africa produces 80% of the worlds’ cocoa crop. We keep the entire value chain in Madagascar (cocoa, processing, packaging, etc). This transfers skills, creates jobs and generates many more times income beyond Fair Trade.
What is your area of work? (Please check as many as apply.)
Business , Economic development , Employment , Fair trade , Income generation , Poverty alleviation , Social Enterprise , Sustainable development , Trade , Environment & Sustainability , Sustainable agriculture , Food .
What impact have you had?
At the farm level, we support 2 cocoa farming cooperatives. These cooperatives have 30 farmers and support more than 160 people with an annual source of income. We also support a cooperative of vanilla farmers. In addition to paying prices well above Fair Trade, we have installed a fermentation and drying equipment for one of the cocoa cooperatives with a second scheduled for this summer. This equipment enables farmers to get more value for their crop and operate independent of abusive middlemen.
Beyond the farm, we manufactured, packaged and exported the first finish chocolate bars to the United States in the history of Madagascar. The represents an important step forward in the development of Madagascar’s economy.
Describe the primary problem(s) that your project is addressing.
Madagascar’s economy (like many African economies) is based on resource extraction, with no added value occurring in the country of origin. By making high quality, finished chocolate in Madagascar, we keep the entire value chain in Madagascar are slowly helping to reverse this trend. We are essentially overcoming a leftover colonial mentality that retards real economic growth in Africa.
Describe the steps that your organization is taking to make your project successful.
The two founders have bootstrapped the entire business to date, from concept to pilot to launch. We have formed partnerships with two cocoa cooperatives in Madagascar. We manufactured and exported the first finished chocolate to the U.S. in the history of Madagascar. We found a marketing firm to develop and launch our new branding pro bono. We found a legal firm to formalize our operating agreement and supplier contracts pro bono. We found a PR firm to commit to a pro bono project with us. We have coordinated with USAID for promotional support at an upcoming trade show. We have successfully opened up a market in the U.S. for our products. They are now available at over 100 locations around the country. We have built a broker sales network in the U.S. to continue to grow market share.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Success in Year 1:
We’ll need $50,000 to fund inventory and product development in Madagascar.
Success in Year 2:
We’ll need additional $100,000 to fund additional inventory and product development.
Success in Year 3:
We will need a larger sum of money to go from a regional brand, to a national brand in the U.S.
Do you have a business plan or strategic plan? (yes/no)
What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 1:
What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 2:
Expand product offering
What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization? STEP 3:
Expand distribution in US
Describe the expected results of these actions.
This would take us from $250K in annual revenue to $3M in annual revenue by year 3. It would take us from an operation that supports 150 people with a sustainable income, to an operation that supports more than 2,500 people with sustainable income.
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?
I decided to join the Peace Corps in 1999, and was sent to Madagascar.
Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.
There are two. Tim McCollum was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Madagascar. After his Peace Corps service, he came back to the U.S. and worked in the private sector for 6 years. But he never stopped thinking about Madagascar or how combine the grassroots spirit of the Peace Corps with a sound business model to benefit the people of Madagascar. Brett Beach is also a co-Founder. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Madagascar. After his two year service, he worked at the U.S. Embassy in Madagascar, USAID and finally on a seaweed plantation. Brett and Tim have different experiences and perspectives, but they are driven by a shared passion for Madagascar.
How did you first hear about Changemakers?
Amelia Forrest Kaye approached us at an event in Washington, DC this past March.
This Entry is about (Issues)
What would prevent your project from being a success?
If yes, provide organization name.
How long has this organization been operating? (i.e. less than a year; 1-5 years; more than 5 years)
Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?
Not formally, but we have several people we go to for advice, depending on the situation.
Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs? (yes/no)
USAID is funding our exhibit booth at the Fancy Food Show (industry trade show) this summer.
Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses? (yes/no)
Alston & Bird, LLP represents our legal needs, pro bono. Autumn Advertising provides pro bono brand design support. Helen Gregory Marketing provides pro bono PR support.
Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government? (yes/no)
Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.
Without the legal and marketing support we would not be as well positioned for success as we are today.
How many people will your project serve annually?
What is your organization's business classification?
What is the total number of employees and total number of volunteers at your organization?
Have you received funding from any of the following groups? (Please check as many as apply.)
None of the above.