Tim McCollum — Madécasse

At Oliberté, we believe that the only way to continually bring pride and prosperity in Africa is if it is a joint effort by several persons, brands and partners. “Ambassadors” features subjects who are directly or indirectly working with non-profit or social good organizations or those who exemplify a passion for Africa and its citizens. 
Tim McCollum and Brett Beach are the co-founders of Madécasse [mah-day-kas], an amazing bean-to-bar chocolate company in Madagascar. Bean to bar means that, unlike most other chocolate companies, Madécasse not only grows cacao but makes and packages its chocolate the country of origin. Brett and Tim got the inspiration for the company after having lived and worked in Madagascar as Peace Corps Volunteers. They are based in New York, and Tim was nice enough to chat with us, and hook our fans up with 15% off their amazing product. What motivated you to start Madécasse? We wanted to make one of the best chocolates in the world.  And we wanted to attack the root cause of poverty in Africa in the process. What was the biggest struggle you faced getting the company off the ground? Not knowing anything about what we were doing. What has been one majorly rewarding moment of this journey? When a stranger on the subway pulled one of our chocolate bars from her bag and told me, unsolicited, “this is the best chocolate I’ve ever had. Have you ever heard of them? Because I have no idea how to pronounce their name.” How can people & companies serve Madagascar, and/or greater Africa, better?  If they care authentically good things will happen.  But the caring part has to be part of their DNA – part of who they are as a company – not part of their “cause” marketing. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting their own socially conscious business? That you need to understand the word ‘business’ as much, or more, than you understand the words ‘socially conscious’. What is one of your favorite things about Madagascar? I haven’t been time traveling before, but I imagine traveling to Madagascar is the next closest thing. One of our favorite Madecasse bars is the pink pepper and citrus, which we never would have expected. Where do you get your flavor inspirations? The flavors in our bars have a way of finding us. For that one, we brought two samples bars to an international food show: One was made with extract from combava citrus fruits found naturally in Madagascar, one made with pink peppercorn extract. People liked both but didn’t love them … someone at the show suddenly shoved both bar samples in their mouth and … eureka! …the rest is history. If you could have a 1-on-1 sit-down with anyone, who would it be? “The most interesting man in the world,” from “the most interesting man in the world” Dos Equis commercials. What are other companies or nonprofits that inspire you? You mean other than Oliberté? The history of Apple was inspirational up until about two years ago?  Acumen Fund because they were one of the first organizations to invest in companies, not charities, with a goal of social impact in mind. What’s something we can expect to see from Madecasse soon? We just finished a year-long effort to redesign and vitalized our brand: new logo, packaging design, communication style and website (same social and quality-driven mission of course). So expect a new site up and running in the coming months. We also have a brand new Toasted Coconut bar making its way into stores across the country, and will hit our website in the Fall – along with a couple surprises for the holiday season…
Get 15% off at the online Madecasse chocolate shop (www.madecasse.com) with promo code oliberte15
CHECK OUT MADECASSE: www.madecasse.com  / @madecasse  / Madécasse on Facebook

Photos by Melinda Paquin

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