Inspire the World & Enable the Future
Inspired Coffee Merchants is a social enterprise, set out to use the power of business economics to do good in the world. For us, we call this concept “Economic Enablement“, which is based on two fundamental beliefs:
- Economic status is critical to the life and well-being of people and their communities. In this way, economics are both universally relevant and acutely disparate. In other words, it’s a common challenge we all face in some way or another.
- Economics are enacted through individual efforts, and cannot not be replaced by charity or subjugation. True economic development can only happen when individuals are enabled to be their own economic agents. In short, teach a man to fish instead feeding or paying him directly.
In the coffee sector, the individuals we’re talking about are farmers, roasters, and cafe owners. These economic agents are often (but not always) small business owners, and have a clear value-addition in the coffee supply chain. The sector as a whole can only be successful if these agents are enabled to be successful.
At Inspired Coffee Merchants, we use this concept to identify and develop products that enable economic development beyond the product itself. Cascara, for example, is historically a waste product, but Inspired Coffee has been building a food and beverage market for it since 2016, which is enabling farmers to develop an entirely new income stream, making them less dependent on their main crop, coffee beans. The elegance of the cascara solution is that it creates new economic opportunity within the existing system, while maintaining the responsibility for that economic output on the farmers themselves, without any artificial market incentives or regulations.
Finally, healthy businesses are essential for a healthy community, so Economic Enablement is also about working together to enable community businesses to be more successful. For us, this means Inspired Coffee is using its expertise in Fulfillment (shipping, receiving, warehousing, etc.) to enable local artisans in rural Vermont to share resources so that they can spend less time thinking about postage, and more time on their craft. It’s about enabling neighbors to grow their own ideas by making it easier to do so, which in turn will support the economy community-wide. Like a rising tide lifts all ships, an expanding economy (can) lift all businesses.