DENVER – Strong, Smart, & Bold Beans Café, a social enterprise started by a group of Girls Inc. teen members, is teaching young women about entrepreneurship.
“It was our girl's idea that started in 2015, just wanting to sell coffee to parents outside our center as they dropped off for summer programs,” said Kait Berreckman-Corrado, Girls Inc. of Metro Denver director of social enterprise.
Berreckman-Corrado said instead of pocketing the profits from the fundraiser, the girls invested back into their coffee business.
“They opened inside Corky Gonzales Library just a couple blocks from our center and served out of a coffee cart there for two years before we had the opportunity to open here at STEAM on the Platte. So all of our baristas are program participants, they're part of the Girls Inc. family. They're girls ages 14 to 24,” Berreckman-Corrado said. “Coffee is a wonderful vehicle to learn transferable skills for other jobs in the future.”
Berreckman-Corrado said Girls Inc. has other social enterprises as well.
“We also have our coffee truck called Espressa, which is just back on the road rolling. And she lives at our center right now, but we take her out for private events and catering. So our baristas get involved that way as well. Another social enterprise we have at Girls Inc. is our Girls thINC Outside the Box subscription box program, which is geared towards girls aged 6 to 10. And it's a box with an in-house designed magazine with over five hours of content, all the supplies a girl would need to complete all the activities in that magazine and a book every month,” Berreckman-Corrado said.
For 21-year-old Diana de la Rosa, her job as a barista is a continuation of her decade-long participation in Girls Inc..
“I love it. I mean, I feel like I've been here for a while. But it's been a really good job just to have that flexibility so I can prioritize my education,” de la Rosa said. “I've been at Girls Inc., since I was in, like, second, third grade. I participated in programming through elementary, middle school, and then high school.”
De la Rosa is currently studying business marketing at the University of Denver and said her job is helping her succeed in her classes.
“It taught me a lot about professionalism and skills that I’ll be taking with me into a workplace now,” de la Rosa said.
Strong, Smart, & Bold Beans is currently hiring.
Girls Inc. is also hosting a holiday market on Dec. 10 at STEAM on the Platte from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature 17 women-owned businesses.