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.)
, Economic development
, Fair trade
, Income generation
, Poverty alleviation
, Social Enterprise
, Sustainable development
, Environment & Sustainability
, Sustainable agriculture
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.