Smoothies for the Nation!
Liberia, West Africa. Fruit everywhere, yet no fresh juice to be seen. Then a young Liberian got his hands on an old blending machine and set to work...
His name was Christopher Thompson, and he started Good JuJu, Liberia's first fresh fruit juice and smoothie company. Operating from one small room in a poor area of the capital Monrovia, using recycled glass bottles, he was soon delivering hundreds of his smoothies and juices all over the city on his bicycle. Not only was it profitable, Good JuJu was worker-owned, supported local suppliers, and was entirely plastic-free.
Who we are...
We are Chid Liberty and Fin Young, a Liberian/American and a Scotsman who really, really like fresh juice. We are part of a varied group of friends - including key Liberian supporters like Saran Kaba Jones, but also Americans, Brits, Germans, French and others - who have come together to help Chris develop his business because we think it is amazing. But there's more to it than that. Liberia was badly damaged by war. It really needs young entrepreneurs like Chris to kickstart the country again, creating much-needed jobs. Sadly, it is very rare that this happens. In Liberia, it's really difficult to get start-up capital, and importing equipment is incredibly expensive. Most sizable businesses are foreign-owned and run.
The Kickstarter Project...
We want you to join with us to Kickstart Liberia's first smoothie bar/cafe, and also make it the first place in the whole of Liberia to roast and brew its own locally grown coffee. In the time since making the video, the premises has been renovated thanks to small investments, loans and gifts from others who, like us, really care about this business. It looks amazing! But, we need your help to get the cafe fully open and operational.
If we can get 5000 USD, it will pay for...
- A commercial espresso machine, grinder and coffee roaster, so Good JuJu can release the pent-up power of long-neglected Liberian coffee beans.
- A top quality commercial blender, so Good JuJu smoothies can be served forevermore.
If we can get 10,000 USD, we will get the above plus...
- Computers and a good internet connection, so Good JuJu can provide web access to anyone who needs it.
- A water collection system so Good JuJu can benefit from Liberia's seven month rainy season
If we can somehow receive over 10,000 USD we will...
- Explode with happiness. Get lots of Good JuJu branded reusable travel mugs, so customers don't need to use disposable cups. Get more bikes for delivery. Maybe even a solar panel.
We only have 10 days to make this happen. Join with us and get Liberia's first ever smoothie bar up and running!
Risks and challenges
We are really excited about getting the Good JuJu Cafe started, but Liberia can sometimes a be a tough place to grow a business! Potential challenges include:
1) Fruit supply - In the rainy season, main roads can become impassable. This can occasionally affect the daily supply of fruit. Fortunately, having run the smoothie and juice business for a year already, Chris has identified a diversity of reliable suppliers. The new cafe premises also offers the business better options for storing and preservation.
2) Coffee quality - Liberia's small coffee industry was badly affected by the civil conflict. Sufficient quality coffee is available, but quality control can be an issue. And one bad bean can spoil a batch. Additional pre-roast sorting and filtering largely addresses this problem. It just takes some time...
3) Unfamiliarity - The Good JuJu Cafe will be the first dedicated smoothie bar and coffee shop in the whole of Liberia. This is a great position for a new business, but will also necessitate really good publicity to explain exactly what we are about. We already know how popular the smoothies are. We have a feeling freshly roasted coffee, served in a really nice environment, will also be a hit!
4) Delivery of rewards - As there is no cost-effective postal service direct out of Liberia, we will be relying on friends of the business to carry our rewards out of Liberia then post them on to whichever countries recipients are from. We thought it best to let you know in case you are expecting a Liberian post-mark on your parcel!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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