A Dream Can Change the World

IMPCT Coffee

2018 / October

Esther Tseng /photos courtesy of Jimmy Lin /tr. by Geof Aberhart

Becoming a world champion is made even sweeter by having learned the lessons of failure. Four years ago, four students of National Cheng­chi University’s International Master of Business Administration (IMBA) program signed up for the Hult Prize, known as the Nobel Prize of social enterprise. After hitting a hurdle in the regionals, they kept fighting, making a surprise comeback and going on to come out top from among over 20,000 teams worldwide.

The social enterprise they created, IMPCT Coffee, has since used its income from selling coffee to fund the construction of seven kindergartens in Central America, South America, and Africa, realizing their shared dream of starting a business with their smarts and changing the world with their profits.



Friday night. ­Yanji Street, in Tai­pei’s Da’an District, bustles with traffic, while the brightly-lit coffee shop of IMPCT Coffee bustles with activity and laughter.

On the second Friday of each month, IMPCT hosts a coffee tasting night, encouraging both passers-by and coffee aficionados to come in and sample over a dozen different single-origin coffees, experiencing their unique flavors and chatting in a relaxed environment.

In addition to sharing coffee, though, IMPCT has a larger vision: to encourage consumers to do their part and contribute to the founding of kindergartens in poor communities simply by buying coffee or beans. The company’s name reflects its founders’ aspirations—by omitting the “a” in “impact,” they emphasize that “a person” is all that is needed to make an impact.

Giving back to the community

The idea of using coffee to build schools started with the founders’ participation in the 2014 Hult Prize.

The story begins with Juan Diego Prudot (known as J.D.) of Honduras and Andres Escobar of El Salvador, who met as students studying in Taiwan on International Cooperation and Development Fund scholarships from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Everyone who came to study for an IMBA was dreaming of finding a good job with a high salary,” says J.D. in impeccable Mandarin. “The two of us had a different motivation though. We were luckier than most there because we were able to get a higher education thanks to getting TaiwanICDF scholarships. Because of that, my parents encouraged me to do what I can to give back, help others, and give other people the same kind of opportunities I’ve had.”

These two international students with a desire to give back then sought the help of fellow students Taylor Scobbie of Canada and Chen An-nung of Taiwan to get their project underway, the former for his financial knowledge and the latter for her mediating and negotiating skills.

The first step was the Hult Prize regionals in Shanghai. While they were initially frustrated by not making it through, they persisted through the competition’s repechage system. In April 2015, they also launched a crowdfunding project on American platform Indiegogo, “IMPCT ‡ Real Early Education in Urban Slums.” By the end of the campaign, the team had raised just under US$60,000, helping them win the repechage bracket and move on to the finals.

Starting from the bottom

By early September that same year, IMPCT had raised enough funds to build their first “Playcare” kindergarten in El Salvador. At the end of that month, they made their way to New York to compete in the finals, presenting their pitch to a panel of judges that included Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard. In the end, they were awarded their championship trophy and US$1 million in venture capital by former US president Bill Clinton himself.

Looking back, J.D. says that the initial failure in the regionals gave them a sense of crisis and spurred them to do even better, so they worked ceaselessly on refining their business model to better fit the market. This, he says, was key to their eventual victory.

Building schools and doing good

That US$1 million provided a firm foundation for the company. The founders registered an international investment company in the US, set up their headquarters in Taiwan, and began putting their funds to use building schools and training teachers abroad, while also working on developing their brand further.

Today, IMPCT has built a total of seven kindergartens in places including Guatemala, El Salvador, South Africa, and Honduras. Each of them was set up as a community kindergarten in slums on the outskirts of a city.

Cofounder Andres Escobar found that in his home country, El Salvador, remote towns were also often home to labor-intensive fac­tor­ies where as many as 70% of the female laborers were single mothers with children who had little chance of getting a preschool education. The IMPCT team set to work persuading the factory bosses to let them set up “Factory Playcare” kindergartens, staffed by teachers provided by IMPCT and making use of Montessori teaching methods, to give the children from these low-­income and single-parent households a shot at a better education.

Making an impact

IMPCT’s coffee sales serve as a source of profit for the company. Not only do they purchase beans directly from coffee farmers in developing countries, they also buy from other farms willing to give back to their communities. Currently, they are considering adding novice coffee farmers in Pingtung County to their list.

IMPCT put 30% of their revenues from coffee sales toward building kindergartens in impoverished communities and at factories. The team believe that such a model goes beyond fair trade and into “impact trade.”

However, doing good alone is not enough—social enterprises also need to find their own sustainable business model. IMPCT have constantly adapted and adjusted their methods, such as expanding into selling coffee online and at local markets, selling their ideals along with the coffee. In April 2017, they launched a channel for buyers of boxes of coffee to directly support Playcares, and in August they set up a brick-and-mortar location on ­Yanji Street, Tai­pei.

Through this innovation in their business model, they have been able to boost cash flow while also increasing their opportunities to do good. During the Mid-Autumn Festival in 2017, for instance, IMPCT worked with the Social Enterprise Revolving Trust (SERT) to sell 5,000 coffee gift boxes, and used the funds raised to build a Playcare in Guatemala. In addition to their direct sales of single-origin beans, IMPCT are also working on developing corporate channels. The ROC government encourages companies to buy from social enterprises, and IMPCT have taken advantage of this opportunity to gain publicity by making the EasyCard Company one of their customers. If a company buys beans worth between US$10,000 and US$70,000 for two years running, says Chen An-nung, then that gets IMPCT enough bricks to build one school.

But this is not the end of the ambitions the four founders hold for IMPCT. J.D. hopes that in five years time, IMPCT will be the socially oriented Starbucks; Escobar hopes to build even more Playcares in El Salvador; Scobbie hopes IMPCT will be on par with American company Blue Bottle Coffee and be the Apple of the coffee world; and Chen hopes to make IMPCT a social enterprise platform—and, she laughs, to “get married.”

Driven by creativity and dreams, these four have been able not only to create a source of income, but also to help others through education and contribute to resolving a social issue. What kind of work could be more appealing than that?

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繁體 日本語



文‧曾蘭淑 圖‧林格立






除了分享咖啡,IMPCT還有一個遠大理念,鼓勵消費者喝一杯咖啡、買一盒咖啡時,都可以發揮影響力,成為貧困社區幼兒園的創辦人。impact英文是「影響力」,IMPCT少了一個字母A,缺的A就是希望你(a person)的投入。



倡議參賽的是來自宏都拉斯的Juan Diego Prudot(簡稱J.D.),他與薩爾瓦多的Andres Escobar,恰巧都是拿到我外交部國際合作發展基金會(簡稱「國合會」)外籍生獎學金來到台灣留學。



兩位抱著回饋社會心念的留學生,找了深具財務專業的同學加拿大籍的Taylor Scobbie,與善於折衝協調的台灣同學陳安穠開始參賽的計劃。







100萬美金也成為IMPCT厚實的創業基金,他們在美國登記 IMPCT(恩沛)國際投資股份有限公司,在台灣設立營業總部,同時將資金用於海外建校、培育師資與品牌研發上。








透過創新商業模式,增加金流,就能增加行善的機會。例如2017年中秋節,IMPCT與社企循環基金(SERT)合作賣了5,000 份咖啡禮盒,IMPCT用此所得在瓜地馬拉蓋了一間幼兒園。IMPCT同時在單品豆之外,開發企業豆的通路。台灣政府目前有鼓勵企業選購社企產品,IMPCT利用此項優勢宣傳,讓悠遊卡等公司成為他們的客戶。陳安穠說,如果企業連續2年採購金額1至7萬美元的咖啡豆,就可以累積足夠磚塊蓋一間學校。




如今,想要回饋社會的Andres 長住薩爾瓦多進行建校工作;加拿大的Taylor則奔波於美國、歐洲,在大學校園與企業推廣;另一位新進的股東傅聖潔則剛去韓國推廣IMPCT;J.D.與陳安穠坐鎮台灣,開闢新通路與行銷來推廣「影響力咖啡」。


不止如此,他們還懷抱著更深刻美好的抱負。J.D.希望5年後的IMPCT,是帶著社會服務目的的星巴克咖啡; Andres希望在薩爾瓦多蓋更多的玩安幼兒園;Taylor希望IMPCT發展成像美國藍瓶咖啡一樣,成為咖啡界中的蘋果電腦;至於陳安穠希望IMPCT成為各式社企商品的平台,並且笑著說:「把自己嫁掉。」




文・曾蘭淑 写真・林格立 翻訳・笹岡 敦子

世界一になるまでは、失敗から学ぶ下積みが大切になる。政治大学国際経営管理修士課程のクラスメート4人が、4年前「社会起業家のノーベル賞」と呼ばれるコンテスト「ハルトプライズ(Hult Prize)」に参加した。地域予選で敗れるものの敗者復活を果たし、意外にも勝ち進み、世界の2万以上のチームを下して優勝する。




共に味わうだけでなく、IMPCTには大きな理念がある。コーヒーを1杯飲む時、コーヒーを1箱買う時、影響力を発揮して貧困地域の幼児園の創設者になろうと呼びかける。「impact」は影響力。IMPCTは「A」がない。足りないのは「a person」、あなたなのである。



参加を持ちかけたのはホンデュラスから来たJuan Diego Prudot (J.D.)である。J.D.とエルサルバドルから来たAndres Escobarは外交部国際合作発展基金会(国合会/ICDF)の留学生奨学金で台湾に留学していた。


社会への還元を胸に抱く2人の留学生は、財務に極めて高い専門性をもつカナダ人クラスメートTaylor Scobbieと、交渉に長けた台湾のクラスメート陳安穠を誘い込み、コンテストに参加する計画をスタートした。




















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