Participants of the workshop led by ICAFE, GIZ and PROCOMER learned to develop a business model for their coffee, prepare a sales pitch and details for the export of coffee to markets in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Three day-long sessions at the ICAFE´s facilities, 5 presentations of the individual sales pitch and countless hours of self-study: the workshop “Strengthening Sales and Marketing Skills”, held in September 2018, called for a strong commitment from the 14 participants. After studying the information provided on the digital platform of the Costa Rican Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER), the coffee mills gathered in three sessions at the ICAFE facilities in Barva de Heredia to review the contents, clarify doubts and apply what their new knowledge in different activities.
During the workshop, the coffee mills were given the objective of developing a business proposal for their coffee and, based on this, elaborate a sales pitch to be used in negotiations with international toasters. Representatives of PROCOMER informed the participants about the details of how to export abroad using PROCOMER´s resources. Facilitators from ICAFE, GIZ, and PROCOMER offered feedback and advice to refine the pitches for international negotiation.
"The course was a very innovative experience. It took us from a point zero almost to a final product that we did not know we had before. It taught us to be more concrete when it comes to negotiating, which sometimes is hard for us in our culture”, said Mario Sibaja of → Coopevictoria R.L., one of the largest cooperatives in the country. Like → Coopeagri from Pérez Zeledón, → Coopeldos and → Coopepilangosta from Guanacaste, Coopevictoria has already participated in marketing activities offered by the NAMA Café project, such as the business tours to Germany in 2016 and 2017. → Coopesabalito from Coto Brus completed the list of large and medium-sized cooperatives participating in the workshop.
Several micro and small private mills used the opportunity to improve their sales capabilities. → Río Conejo, participants in the business tour to the United States in April 2018, fine-tuned their proposition of a coffee with a specific added value, as well as the micro-mills → La Cruz de Tarrazú, → Ditsö, → Cordillera de Fuego, → La Montaña Tarrazú, → Sircof Oviedo, → Santa Elena, Cloza de Alajuela, and → Genesis.
"Focusing on developing a new and specific proposition is a very big challenge for us as leaders or mill owners. This workshop has been very valuable for our coffee, our company and the people who work with us”, said Daniela Gutiérrez of La Montaña Tarrazú in the Los Santos region.
After the success of the first workshop offered in 2017, it was offered a second time in September 2018. Contrary to the previous course, which was offered over the course of approximately ten on-site sessions in San José, in this second course mills only needed to travel to the capital four times and used PROCOMER´s digital platform to distribute the additional learning material. The change was made in order to reduce the amounts of trips on behalf of the mills, especially those located in more remote areas such as Guanacaste or the Brunca region. The workshop was jointly organized by ICAFE, the German Cooperation GIZ, and PROCOMER.