You might say that the leave of absence that Martin Papp '08, of Colorado
Springs, CO, is taking is a coffee break. He's teamed up with two friends to
launch a "fair trade" coffee and tea business in his hometown.
Papp, a government major and graduate of Cheyenne Mountain High School, studied in China through St. Lawrence's International
and Intercultural Studies program, and visited a number of spots there and in
India and Singapore, where tea is grown. Two friends from Colorado made similar
study trips to coffee-growing areas of Belize, Guatemala and Mexico and are about
to launch BuyWell International, which will supply fair-trade coffee and tea to
food-service businesses, especially at colleges.
Fair trade means that products are bought directly from growers and producers,
at a price that includes a premium to assist them in raising their standard of
living. While about 25 percent of the market in Europe includes fair-trade products,
Papp says that the market share in the U.S. is only about 3 percent.
Papp, who is BuyWell's chief networking officer, says that the company plans to
launch in June 2007 with 25 employees and about 60 interns recruited from colleges.
Their business plan includes a goal of bringing 11,000 families around the
world above the poverty level in two years.
Part of Papp's expertise in the beverage market comes from his former
campus job, as a barista with the Caribou Coffee shop in Brewer Bookstore.
More information: BuyWell Interntational Web site
Posted: February 22, 2007