We first met Maria Palacio, a 5th generation Columbian coffee farmer, in December 2017 at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. Maria founded and leads Progeny Coffee, LLC, a wholesale coffee company that works exclusively with Columbian coffee farmers. Columbia is synonymous with coffee, but because farmers there are using 100-year-old commercialization methods, they’re barely getting paid and have no control over the price.
The company’s mission is to serve as a distribution platform to empower coffee farmers and help them lift themselves out of poverty. Historically, coffee farmers have priced their goods based on the volatile stock market. Progeny Coffee has a unique approach that allows them to certify a fixed price, doubling the farmer’s income while still getting an extremely competitive price to the end consumer. They partner with an association founded by passionate and successful farmers that provides training, a processing center, and export services; Progeny focuses on distribution.
Maria couldn’t “hire” enough hours at the shared roaster she had been using to keep up with the growing demand for her business. She wanted to open her own roasting and retail facility, but needed money to purchase inventory, hire employees and for working capital. A $100,000 loan from PCV solved the problem!
We matched Maria with a volunteer Google advisor, Poorvaja Kamalapuri. Poorvaja is a Strategic Partnership Associate at Google and specializes in identifying growth opportunities and ways to scale Google products – exactly the kind of experiences Maria needs as she grows her business.