This blog was written by the team of the Young Leaders of America Initiative (YLAI), and reposted on our website. To see the original copy, and learn more about YLAI, visit https://ylai.state.gov/. Enjoy!
“You start every day with coffee, and you end every day with coffee.” From age 7, David Dávila, learned how to brew his own coffee before he went to school. Coffee before and after school was the norm in his household.
David is from a long line of coffee producers on both sides of his family, as on his wife, Gaïna’s, family. His father’s family from Nicaragua have been cultivating their place in the coffee industry for generations. His wife is also the great-granddaughter of Haitian coffee agriculturists. This rich heritage and family tradition gave David the inspiration and business model to create the Dávila Kafe Coffee Company.
From teaching English at a high school in Spain, to participating as a Fulbright scholar in Argentina, to pursuing entrepreneurship in the United States; the one constant among David’s life was always coffee. It’s the one thing that is always able to bring strangers together.
When in Spain and Argentina, he organized meetups centered around coffee. This presented an opportunity for connection with locals as well as a chance to share his knowledge, his family history, and his passions with others.
Inspired by these exchanges, by experiences finding it difficult to find Haitian coffee on the international market, and by his desire to honor his rich family history, he created a business plan, and he worked with an accelerator to further expand on his plan and start his company.
His goals and values extend beyond just selling his coffee, as he works to give customers a virtual experience with “the sounds, art, history, and future of Haiti and Nicaragua.” He is also a Coffee Q-Grader through the Coffee Quality Institute, and he serves as the co-founder of the Dávila Dream Foundation, providing financial assistance and basic needs to marginalized youth in Nicaragua through educational scholarships.
His e-commerce coffee company is unlike many others in its innovations and in its respect of diversity in the world of specialty coffee. He has traveled in South East Asia and Latin America and learned about various coffee traditions, expanding on this knowledge and trusting his hand-picked farmers to produce the best quality product on the market. He is innovative in his brand building as well, focusing on highlighting the quality of the product as well as the community and art of Haiti and Nicaragua on new and traditional media platforms to better engage with his customer base.
“I’m going to take what I’ve learned and make something that will really last,” David says. He understands how difficult it can be to embrace the name of “entrepreneur” and to have the patience to pursue what you are most passionate about. In addition to expanding his own business and making something that will last, David is passionate about helping encourage fellow entrepreneurs embrace their role and expand. “The road ahead is difficult, but it is so worth it.”
In this three-part series, the YLAI Network focuses on David’s experiences with an accelerator, how he is building a brand and community outside of the product, and advice he has for network members looking to create an innovative company.
If you’re inspired by David’s ventures as an entrepreneur, make sure to follow Dávila Kafe and read the rest of his series spotlight, including his experiences with an accelerator, and his method for creating a community for his brand. Make sure to then take one of our online courses, Fundamentals of Starting and Running a Business, and identify steps to beginning a business you are passionate about.