Coffee plays an important role in many people’s lives. It’s the fuel that gets them going in the morning and the jolt they need to fight the afternoon doldrums.
But for Sidia and Mario Guzman, coffee is much more than a simple beverage. It is part of their identity and a way of life.
The Guzman family has worked as coffee producers in Honduras for four generations. Growing and harvesting coffee is not easy work. As coffee is often grown in mountainous areas, widespread use of mechanical harvesters is not possible and the ripe coffee cherries are usually picked by hand.
Growing up, Sidia watched her father labor in the coffee fields and dreamed of the day when she could own a field of her own.
Her dream recently became reality when she purchased the land her father worked and took control of the beans.
With the purchase of the land, Sidia and Mario were able to start Mandarinos Coffee, taking the middleman out of their coffee business. Now, they grow, roast and sell their own coffee and K-cups in Houston.
To support budding entrepreneurs such as the Guzmans, BakerRipley developed the Entrepreneur Connection program. Our team helped the Guzmans prepare a presentation for Lanzate!, the first all-Spanish pitch event in Houston.
In preparation for this competition, the Guzmans attended workshops on how to create an engaging pitch deck, articulate a compelling and interesting story and make the perfect ask. They also took advantage of one-on-one business coaching.
The Guzman’s hard work paid off. Mandarinos Coffee placed first in the Grow Category, winning $5,000, which they intend to invest in machinery and a space to roast and process their coffee beans.
“We do a lot by hand now, but we still need a machine to package coffee,” Mario said.
The Guzmans credit BakerRipley’s small business team for the win because of all the assistance and coaching they provided.
After expanding, Mandarinos Coffee’s next step is to open a coffee shop selling their own coffee and showcasing their roasting.
“We want to focus on quality, not quantity,” Mario said.