Starting an organic agave business
Entrepreneurs Testimonials #2 — Juan Olmedo, Del Rincón Grande
Bridge for Billions is the online incubator for early-stage entrepreneurs globally to launch successful businesses, by enabling them to structure and refine their ideas step by step with a mentor.
Coming back home to build a business
Juan Olmedo heard about Bridge for Billions through an old high school friend. He immediately saw in the Online Incubation and in our Tools an opportunity to develop the business plan of the project he had been working on for a while. From the green hills of Hidalgo in Mexico, Juan’s family had been growing agaves and breeding goats for several years. In 2012 Juan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from College of Atlantic in Maine, USA where he had been awarded a full scholarship to study Human Ecology. He had gained a wide knowledge in organic agriculture and developed a field expertise during internships in organic farms in the US and Europe, so he decided to come back home and capitalize on his family resources. That’s when he launched an organic agave and goat cheese business: Del Rincón Grande.
Rural areas and the lack of entrepreneurship support
At first, things seemed easy for Juan since he knew very well how to produce agave and goat cheese. However, soon his situation became unsustainable. He started to pay salaries every week and was bearing all the production costs of two products he did not know very well to whom or how he was going to sell. He knew that in Mexico City he could apply for mentoring support from different organizations that would guide him through this difficult process for free… But what about rural areas? To continue running his business, leaving Hidalgo was impossible for Juan. He even considered paying for a private business consultant to help him, however with the financial stress he had, this was not an option. When he found out about the services of Bridge for Billions, Juan immediately realized that the process of BFB was the kind of help he needed but could not afford otherwise.
Starting the Online Incubation journey
Juan was matched with three Support Agents (mentors in Bridge for Billions) that had sharp business skills and a great interest in organic agriculture. Jonathan DiClemente from Michigan, USA, currently a strategy consultant at PriceWaterHouseCoopers in Detroit, was one of Juan’s mentors.
“Juan showed an enormous interest and passion that was contagious for the rest of the team. The Bridge for Billions tools proved to be extremely useful for providing a framework to evaluate his business. Even after just using the first tool to identify potential value propositions, the team was already able to identify new key markets that would have otherwise never been considered. I am happily surprised by how quickly and smoothly the project progressed while working online.” Jonathan DiClemente, Support Agent, Michigan, USA.
Pivoting his Sales Strategy
Bridge for Billions’ tools and the dedicated mentors helped Juan tremendously. He identified the niche market of organic foodies that he had not considered before. He realized his competitors were not really other chemically produced agave brands that are famous in Mexico, but expensive organic honey that was sold in gourmet stores in Mexico city. His team’s help on financials made him realize that the costs and prices he had were unsustainable. Fortunately, he realized all of this without risking his limited resources and finding out the hard way.
Del Rincón Grande today
When asked about his milestones and aspirations, Juan discloses that he is on its way to sell his products abroad. He’s currently producing and selling organic agave syrup in México, and preparing to start the production of his organic goat cheese this year.
And what about impact? “The project is already generating five jobs and bringing income into an impoverished, rural community in Hidalgo. The skills and knowledge that Bridge for Billions gave me have clearly helped me to make this possible. As the project develops I will be able to apply more of BFB’s knowledge and I am convinced the positive impact will be larger” says Juan.
Learn more about Del Rincón Grande https://vimeo.com/127788331