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In an effort to accelerate the growth and utilization of Women and Minority-Owned Enterprises (W/MBEs), Foodbuy recently launched the Diverse Supplier Accelerator Program. This comprehensive 12-month program provides selected suppliers one-on-one coaching and training through formal mentor-mentee relationships, and the opportunity to collaborate on plans that mutually grow our business.

Suppliers selected to participate in the accelerator program benefit from:

  • One-on-one coaching and partnership with an industry leader
  • A comprehensive review of Compass Group sectors and operations
  • Insights into the Foodbuy business model and best practices
  • Development of strategic plans that accelerate business growth
  • Admission into Foodbuy special events
  • In-depth training sessions

We will periodically feature program participants, and this month we are pleased to interview Keba Konte, the founder and CEO of Red Bay Coffee, to learn more about the company and their journey so far.

What products and services does your company provide?

We offer coffee which is sourced and roasted with love and integrity, and we develop our coffees to maximize natural sweetness in a balanced and full-bodied roast. Our coffee is served as a single serving specialty drink made to order by one of our expertly trained baristas or as whole-bean delivered in large quantities to service enterprise scale offices. We also offer coffee experiences such as tastings, tours and training sessions.

Where are you based and how did your company get started?

We were founded in Oakland, California in 2014. My purpose for starting Red Bay Coffee was to combine all of the things I love—community-building, art & design, traveling, eating, drinking, and problem solving—into a single company in order to bring more soul into the specialty coffee industry.

My aim was to solve the lack of diversity and inclusion in the specialty coffee industry. In my observation, this industry has historically suffered from a sameness and has underserved many communities including African-Americans. This is particularly ironic because coffee originated from Africa, and Africa is still where most of the world’s coffee is grown and produced. However, when it comes to equity, Africans and all of the coffee-growing regions do most of the back-breaking labor while sharing the smallest piece of the dollar.

What distinguishes your company and its offerings?

Our motto is “Beautiful Coffee to the People,” which means we strive to make specialty coffee more accessible to the community. It also means that beauty is about more than just good-looking drinks and places. It is about fair relationships from the farm to the streets.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

For 2021, I am most looking forward to launching our much anticipated release of the Red Bay Coffee Ready-to-Drink line of coffee beverages. This collection has been five years in the making, and I am thrilled to finally introduce it to the world. The RTD coffee category is a fast growing market and I believe it could use a fresh voice. Here we are.

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