Mike Mwenedata, a Rwanda native, launched Rwanda Bean Co. in 2013 as a mission-driven company that gives back half of its income to coffee growers in his home country. Mwenedata, who has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Southern Maine and speaks five languages, has made a name for himself in Portland ever since, most recently expanding to Thompson’s Point with a roasting and brewing facility to complement Rwanda Bean’s growing retail and wholesale operations.
Mainebiz: What made you decide to open a location at Thompson’s Point?
Thompson’s Point is growing as Portland’s great new neighbourhood for arts, culture, food and drink, and entertainment for people of all ages and backgrounds, according to Mike Mwenedata. It’s the ideal location for Rwanda Bean to continue its expansion, and we’re thrilled to be a part of the Point’s amazing business community.
MB: How did you get the contract to supply the new Canopy by Hilton Portland Waterfront hotel, and how are your wholesale operations going?
MM: I wasn’t involved in the supply process for the new Canopy by Hilton hotel because I was in Rwanda at the time. Our wholesale business is expanding, especially since we moved our roasting facilities to Thompson’s Point, which allows us more operational flexibility.
MB: Can you tell me about the Rwandan farmers you help financially and how they put the money to good use?
MM: Despite the difficulties, we were lucky enough to be able to provide health care to 1,200 coffee producers and their families. We also finished building a preschool for one of the coffee communities we work with, which will serve 200 children. We’re now concentrating on outfitting the school and obtaining critical items such as books and other educational supplies.