Hilo Café started in 2019, initially as a pilot project producing 500 kg of roasted coffee beans. Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign, the company is planning to buy the whole of the Giraldos’ harvest this year. That means 3,500 kg of beans. In the future, the start-up wants to further expand sales and production, enabling other families to earn a regular income.
‘For us, the crowdfunding campaign was like a proof of our concept,’ explains Rojas. ‘It showed that potential consumers are interested in our system. The campaign has already allowed us to win over a lot of supporters – people who are willing to participate in the long-term success of Hilo by purchasing a form of subscription with Hilo respectively the Giraldos.
‘Of course, we need consumers with a sense of social responsibility like that. But if we are to bring about real systemic change, Hilo also needs other private and public supporters for whom sustainability and sustainable coffee consumption are important.’ According to Rojas, that is biggest challenge is start-up is facing at the moment.
But Hilo Café is not only enabling coffee lovers to participate actively in a change towards greater sustainability, the international team of volunteers that has formed around the young Colombian Martín Rojas, based in Leipzig, Berlin and Hamburg, is also driven by the desire for change. This is how Rojas describes his interdisciplinary team: ‘We are between 24 and 42 years old and come from different continents, but we all have the same desire. In addition to our jobs, we want to do something more meaningful, something we can get involved in as people and not just as workers. And we want a world that focuses not on profit and growth, but on sustainability.’