After spotting a gap in the market for good quality coffee in the area, Andrew’s idea is to import coffee from Uganda and make it available for sale in Girvan and the surrounding area. The enterprise will provide training and employment opportunities in Girvan and elsewhere in Ayrshire, which are currently limited. His long term ambition is to employ local people in a roasting facility and coffee shop. Producers in Uganda benefit too, as the enterprise will provide employment in the growing, packaging and export process.
Andrew said: “I came up with the idea for Wecafé with a friend, while sitting in Uganda chatting about different projects - she commented on how good the coffee that she was drinking was. That was the light bulb moment! The idea of setting up a social enterprise in Girvan to import the coffee, roast and sell it was born. The next question was, how can I do this?”
Andrew got in touch with What if… Girvan for support to develop his idea. Through the programme, Andrew has had access to one to one business training, mentoring and peer support. He was also awarded seed funding to test his idea, provided by the William Grant Foundation.
To begin with, Andrew’s aim is to supply local cafés, hotels and businesses. He is also looking to test a pop-up stall at markets and events.
“With the help of my friend I managed to bring 100kgs of the coffee into the UK. We have 50kgs of a medium roast and 50kgs of a rich roast. Over the last few months we have been letting people try it and so far the feedback has been very positive.”
As the business begins to take off, Andrew was recently awarded a £5000 Start It grant from Firstport. The additional funding and support will allow him to establish his legal structure and to purchase much needed equipment and training to get going.
“I’ve had to learn a lot over the past few months, including about the rules and regulations surrounding importing goods from abroad. The support we’ve had has been invaluable to getting Wecafé off the ground.
“We’ve put in a lot of effort – and the hard work isn’t over yet – but I’m looking forward to seeing Wecafé start to make a difference for locals in Girvan.”
The coffee can be purchased directly from Andrew, the charity shop Webale and also The Wave Gallery.