Rudy Guisbert left his job as a Systems Administrator to pursue his passion for Latin American coffee and the small family-run farms that produce their beans. In 2017 Rudy launched Cocotu, an online business that sells imported specialty coffees exclusively from socially responsible farms in Latin America. Cocotu enables farmers to sell their coffee directly to consumers, both increasing profit margins for small farmers as well as introducing new customers to small batches of top-quality beans.
To launch his business, Rudy sought guidance on importing as well as analyzing business start-up costs. In addition to working with Rudy on these issues, Pace SBDC Business Advisor Sandra Cely introduced the client to the Kiva crowdlending platform, which extends 0% interest loans to small business prospects who can raise funds from friends, family and Kiva’s 1.5 million individual lenders.
As a Kiva Trustee, the Pace SBDC endorsed Cocotu’s loan request to improve the business’ website, expand his network of coffee farmers and increase marketing efforts to build awareness for his products. With these efforts, the business raised the $10,000 needed to help expand.