Who doesn’t love chocolate? The tiny cocoa beans mixed with milk and flavors ranging from caramel to nuts are mouthwatering comfort food. More than any other dessert, you must have realized that chocolate makes you happy, puts you in a good mood and that grumpy face from earlier has completely vanished. Now that we have established that it spreads joy, let us tell you about a chocolate brand with a cause spreading even more joy. Haven’s is a female led social enterprise producing chocolate with the slogan “a story behind the chocolate.” We talked to the founders of Haven’s to find out more about the enterprise and their operations. Keep reading to find out more about the story and the women behind the brand.
The story began last year when a group of Egyptian and refugee women met at the National Council for Women’s community kitchen to take a chocolate making course. The council has previously had several internship and training programs for women which developed into turning a skill into a business that generates income. The three women behind this brand are Amena and Nosayba from Sudan and Manal from Egypt have met in the chocolate-making course. Having found their passion, the women then decided to start their own chocolate enterprise and launched their first product in Jan 2022 under the name ‘Haven’s.’ Amena told us “I love chocolate, I always used to make it with my own hands, not just buy it, I can’t describe my joy when I was offered a training opportunity on chocolate making and how my children encouraged me to do so. I am so glad I am a part of Haven’s dream.”
This is a social enterprise promoting women working cohesively by using the amazing power of chocolate in spreading a message of love, joy and peace. According to their Instagram post “we champion the needs of women refugees, enabling them to have a source of income and better integrate with their welcoming host communities in Egypt.” The name Haven’s was decided upon because the word itself means a place of safety and refuge, just what this brand is for, these inspiring women. Nosayba, one of the partners is a refugee women from western Sudan. She said, “I came to Egypt in 2020 due to the devastating war circumstances in Sudan. Egypt welcomed me into its arms. I heard about the training and saw that this opportunity was a dream for me. My hope is to become a successful chef and leave an impact.”
The business model
Surely, the cause is genuine and important, but let’s not forget that this is a business looking to be profitable. What we love about social enterprises is that they’re living proof that you can be successful as a business owner and do good at the same time. To achieve such goals, Haven’s adheres to both social goals and financial goals. According to the founders, Haven’s operates on a cooperative business model, combining the best of small business ownership and a corporation. This model incorporates investors that provide financial support and the three women have the right to manage. The women are partners and therefore are part of the decision making process, deciding on things like the materials used and packaging. Because they are partners they are provided with a profit share and also a salary. The salary acts as extra security for these women to avoid bearing the burden of time, effort and money. This model aims to permanently transform their lives by providing them with a secure income. Manal told us “I have always dreamt of working on a small project that is my own and that provides me with a source of income. The idea grew on me after Corona due to the harsh circumstances and I hope this will be a first step in making my dream a reality.”
Haven’s first saw the light of day on social media with a heartfelt post that went viral and in a glimpse of an eye, everything changed for Haven’s. The post was by a girl named Marina, who took to Facebook to explain how she crossed paths with Haven’s. Marina was at the greek campus when a girl gave her a chocolate bar from Haven and explained to her that the chocolate was made by refugee women with the support of the National Council for Women. This encounter came about at an employment fair for women where Haven’s were offering their chocolates. The story and women behind the chocolate quickly touched the hearts of thousands on social media, perhaps as a testament to how much we are in need of social enterprises bringing about transformative societal change. This noble cause has also gained popularity from celebrities including Amina Khalil. Haven’s first launched as a small business reaching out to very few customers and events. Their page started off with 140 followers and has now exceeded 9K followers. Their messages are flooding with more orders, inquiries, and more importantly, support. Haven’s success story and rise is a perfect example of why we should continue to support local social enterprises with a cause.
Currently, Haven’s operates in events and takes special orders. The flavors include hazelnut, almond, pistachio dark and marbled chocolate all made from natural ingredients. Soon, they will start taking orders online. They are aiming for the sky and will continue to grow and expand and we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.
WE SAID THIS: Don’t forget… Seeking Empowerment: Afghan Women Protest New Taliban Restrictions