We are excited to announce that our first enterprise in the Pacific has taken on investment. Coconut Cluster, based in Samoa, produce high quality virgin organic coconut oil and export it internationally and locally. Coconut oil traditionally has been used for cooking, but now is increasing in popularity as a beauty product in Western markets. TDi worked with Coconut Cluster to help them become investment ready, and ready to present to the Genesis Impact Fund, with whom they have taken on investment.
Let’s take a step back. Since July 2015, TDi has been working with DFAT to explore and identify Investable Social Enterprises (ISEs) in the Pacific. TDi has canvassed over 80 enterprises throughout Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu. To read the beginnings of this story, read Anthea’s blog here.
Coconut Cluster was part of this initiative. Founded by Samoan local Edwin Tamasese, the enterprise was founded on the belief that coconut farmers should be getting more return for their hard work and that the local community should benefit from one of the largest industries in the country.
So, Coconut Cluster was formed. A cooperative group of farmers established a high volume production and manufacturing facility for their organic coconut oil. The enterprise now buys coconuts from 208 farmers at a price higher than fair trade standards.
“By paying above market prices we ensure that large amounts of income are flowing back into the community… Doing good business is just a smart way to do things”
– Edwin Tamasese, Founder of Coconut Cluster
Coconut Cluster approached TDi in March 2016 after a delay in organic certification created challenges for their cashflow. TDi assisted Coconut Cluster by reviewing their cash flow forecast and growth expectations. TDi also worked with Coconut Cluster on their business model, as well as undertaking structuring and marketing exercises to better understand their company. Coconut Cluster are also keen to further develop their business model, their marketing strategies and their impact measurement with TDi.
Edwin says that Samoa only gains as much as socially conscious businesses can contribute. Coconut Cluster’s vision is to build their enterprise to a stage where it becomes a major employer and revenue earner for Samoa.
“Our belief is that money is only worthwhile if it is in circulation in the community, providing education, healthcare, access to nutrition and improved infrastructure. We want this company to demonstrate that ensuring equitable wealth distribution is a key part of the way forward to better communities and the progress of humanity”
– Edwin Tamasese
TDi are thrilled by the progress Coconut Cluster has made, and we are very proud to have been able to play a part in their growth.
See Coconut Cluster’s products and the great work that they’re doing here and here.