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Written by Phil Arnold, 23 February 2011 at 11:50

Introducing Our Coffee Co-operative

Oromo Coffee Company logo

Students at Reddish Vale Technology College in Stockport were challenged to set up their own enterprise selling Oromo coffee from Ethiopia in just a day, from devising a business plan to coming up with marketing ideas.

A video was produced by Year 8 members of Our Coffee Co-operative to explain the background to Ethiopia, the importance of coffee to the country’s history and what the members of the co-operative are hoping to achieve, from gaining business experience to ‘getting satisfaction from helping people get a living wage’. As one member of the co-operative states: ‘For some people, coffee means life!’

The co-operative is an example of community to community trading, with coffee purchased from the Oromo Coffee Company, which is run by Ethiopian refugees in Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester. The profits will be split 50-50 between the Oromos and the Young Co-operative.

Lia, Director of Our Coffee Co-operative, said: “Our Ethiopian Coffee Co-operative is a great idea! You get an amazing product whilst knowing you are helping others. You also get a great experience from being involved in a trading business that links one community directly with another. It doesn’t cost a great deal either only £3.50 a packet! You can buy it from the reception in school and we are using our money to promote an understanding of an Ethiopian culture in school.

I’m glad to say I’m part of this co-operative approach, and I’m glad for the experience, skills and knowledge I have gained. It’s making a big difference to lives at both a local and global level!”

Abiyot, a director of Oromo Coffee Company, who visited the school, added: "I would like to say thank you very much. We enjoy it coming to your school and sharing with you our quality product and Oromo Coffee Co-operative objectives. You proved that OCC objectives are not only for this generation but are even more important for all our coming generations. Again, we are very happy to work with you and look forward to taking this fantastic idea to further success. You are also the OCC speaker because together we can make the difference. In hope, Abiyot."

Read more about the Oromo Coffee Company here .