Real People. Real Struggles. Real Stories. For 32 years, NCC has caried out a variety of projects from coloring books and boardgames to small business consultation and advertising campaigns - all with the mission of providing a hand up rather than a hand out. Below are some of our key projects for the 2018-19 academic year.
Helping coffee farmers form self-sustainable business practices through direct trade relationship
We are currently partnered with 600 small plot farmers and annually buy from 30-50 farmers in San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala. Since we pay a fair price which is set by the farmers for their product, they are able to use that income for education, medicine, and to reinvest in their business.
Our team travels to Guatemala twice a year to consult with the farmers as well as do research. It truly is a mutually beneficial partnership. It is one founded on business principals and not charity.
A little bit about the coffee: The coffee our partners provide us is all shade grown, arabica, and strictly hard bean coffee. Shade grown coffee requires minimal irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides and promotes erosion control compared to traditional sun-grown coffee. This means that you can enjoy every cup of exceptional quality coffee while also knowing you are doing your part to help the environment. The coffee has notes of blueberry, brown sugar, citrus, cocoa, and cream. The farmers' methods of processing the strictly hard bean coffee are very meticulous. They use a wet processing method to remove the pulp and a sun drying method to turn it into the bean we roast.
Our coffee bags and our single serving cups are made from corn making them fully compostable! For the packaging of our single serving cups, we partner with Community Access Naperville, an organization that helps young adults with developmental disabilities build skills through being involved in their community.
COFFEE LAB Collaborative learning through coffee
As a result of our 14 year direct trade partnership with our farmers in Guatemala, the project has now since expanded beyond what we could ever do alone. With the support of the college, the coffee lab has been launched! This space benefits students on campus with learning through the medium of coffee. However, it also provides a space to expand the project’s operations with roasting, packaging, sales, and coffee events with collaboration from other student organizations on campus. This opportunity is decreasing another middleman in the direct trade path and leaving plenty of room for growth and more business for our Guatemalan partners.
Applying classroom experiences to actual entrepreneurial ventures through partnerships with local high schools
On a weekly basis our members mentor students in entrepreneurship classes at two local high schools. In addition, they host various events including the "What We Wish We Knew" event this spring and the upcoming Entrepreneurship Olympic Games in the Fall of 2019.
Community Access Naperville partnership: Helping differently abled adults gain workplace skills through coffee packaging.
Each month our team works alongside C.A.N members as they package our single serving cups. This partnership provides the opportunity to gain both soft and hard skills for these young adults. Students have been able to take these skills gained and transfer them to future employment. One recent participant beamed with pride when he shared with us how he got a job at the local grocery store stocking shelves.
COFFEE GROUNDS TASK FORCE
Finding environmentally-friendly solutions for coffee grounds
As a branch of our Utzb’ey coffee project, the Coffee Grounds Taskforce was established in January 2019. Our team is focused on recycling locally used coffee grounds and creating high-quality beauty products. Currently, we are working on launching our first product, a coffee grounds body scrub. Through these products, we will promote sustainability to create social impact by taking the end of the coffee process and not wasting a single ground.
We saw a need for Enactus teams in our area to receive feedback on projects from industry professionals as well as an opportunity for networking and collaboration. In April, we held our first annual Project Showcase. In total, five schools presented projects. In addition, social entrepreneur Dennis Barsema provided a keynote on leadership, the University of Illinois presented a workshop, and a networking lunch provided the opportunity to discuss project and team challenges. Awards were given for a variety of project categories including Best New Project and Best Low Budget Project. Enactus Board Members and area professionals served as judges. Topco sponsored the lunch.
Connecting our chocolate partners to industry leaders in markets in the United States
Through our network of farmers in Guatemala, we have been introduced to Mirna. The owner of a small family run chocolate business called Dona Poncha. In connecting with Mirna, we have been given the opportunity to partner with her in exporting her chocolates as well as bringing a part of the Guatemalan culture and tradition to the United States. Helping to sell her chocolates in the US. provides her community another source of income while also providing our students with hands on sales and cultural experiences.
Assisting Guatemalan textile producers in creating sustainable businesses
We are proud to partner with the following Guatemalan textile producers. Our students consult with the artisans while in Guatemala and then also educate consumers in the United States during sales events.
Campana Ab’aj is a family business located in Totonicapán, Guatemala. The products that they make are all hand weaved scarves, table runners and other table items. The way these products are produced is by a Spanish “Foot Loom”, which is all human powered. These weavers have a special hexagonal pattern signature. When weaving these products, it is extremely complex and time-consuming and requires all the weaver to have a mental inventory of all the pattern in their head to make the weaving process go faster.
It has been in the family for seven generations and the different weavers are Miguel, Juan, Francisca, and Josue Hernandez Tax.
Escudo Textiles is located in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. The women who weave are named Eluvia, Inocenta, Lesbia and Olga. These weavers use a pre-Columbian, backstrap weaving technique. Traditionally, backstrap weaving is a female's domain since the creation of textiles is a metaphor for the creation of new life. The women who do this weaving, produce items like wall hangings, scarves, table runners and various types of bags.
Ajkem Textiles in located in Totonicapán, Guatemala and the main weaver is Pablo Chuc, occasionally his daughter Paola helps in weaving. They use a smaller loom that mixes techniques of a Spanish Foot loom and a traditional back strap loom. The types of products that they focus on are small items like earrings, ties, bracelets, dog collars and Sientas, which are traditional hair and head wrap like items that are worn by some Mayan women.
We also source our textiles from the Ajpu Association in Totonicapán, Guatemala. The association uses a Spanish foot loom and a Jaspe technique. In this technique they use thread that has been pre-dyed in a patterned way to make their textiles. Though we have a textile partnership with the Ajpu Association we are more involved with them when it comes to their Credit Union, Water Filter and Wooden Stove business. The Ajpu Association’s biggest mission is to strive for socially sustainable development and focus a lot on environmentally sustainable projects that can help the quality of life in Guatemala
Sweaters by Esau
Sweaters by Esau is a family business run by Esau and his wife Olga in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Esau learned how to make sweaters and other various knitted items from his father. Each pattern on the sweaters were hand programmed and made by Esau. He uses various types of thread like cotton, wool, and acrylic. Esau uses a knitting machine that he slides by hand to make his products. Most of Esau’s orders are custom made to the consumer, we are able to take your desired measurement's and send them to Esau so he can make a unique piece just for you.
Our organization was one of three to showcase the international change- making efforts of our campus community