On June 19, girls from Girls Inc. of Metro Denver cut the ribbon to their brand new Strong, Smart & Bold Beans mobile coffee truck.
Bold Beans is a girl-voiced, girl-run, girl-led coffee business, and it gives teen girls an opportunity to explore entrepreneurship, gain tangible life-skills, and it sets them up for long-term economic independence. The mobile truck is a brand new addition to this business that came into existence with the support of Mile High United Way’s Women United Initiative.
In August 2018, Women United launched their first Innovation Prize where select nonprofit organizations were invited to apply for a $30,000 prize that would fund a new and innovative project. And in September 2018, it was announced that Girls Inc. of Metro Denver was the winning recipient! Their innovative Bold Beans coffee truck took the cake…or the coffee for that matter.
Sonya Ulibarri, President & CEO of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, shared that “This helped to drive the project early on. It has helped us explore the expansion of Bold Beans and now we have a tangible result. That’s a powerful thing for these girls. That’s what I love about this work. It centers on these girls having a voice and seeing themselves as the leaders they are today.”
Teresa Van De Bogart, Chair of Women United, talked about what made Girls Inc. of Metro Denver stand apart and what ultimately led to them receiving the $30,000 prize.
“We want to create opportunities for women and girls. Girls Inc. is the first recipient of this first donation. We believe in these girls and believe that their effort will help to to 1) provide paid jobs for high school girls and Girls Inc. alumni 2) expand entrepreneurial programs and hands-on learning opportunities 3) strengthen the recruitment and retention of teen girls 4) build brand awareness for Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, and 5) develop an unrestricted and sustainable revenue stream.
“We’re for girls’ rights and girls’ abilities. We’re for business development and getting involved in a hands-on way. This all started as a small coffee cart and now we have a truck. One of the girls said, ‘We OWN a coffee truck. Give me a hug!’ This means so much to the girls in this community. They are leading and they are being listened to. And this truck is theirs, it belongs to them. This project means so much to us. And we couldn’t have done it without Women United. They have been our catalyst funder,” added Sonya.
This coffee truck will only help propel these girls’ skills. It will help them explore small business development including: business planning, mobile business marketing, product development, customer/location analysis, and social media drivers. Can you imagine the possibilities for these female entrepreneurs? The sky is the limit.
Andri’nae, a founding barista at Bold Beans, has been a part of this social enterprise since 2015. “It’s been really helpful and it’s nice to branch off with the truck to see us grow and gain more customers.”
And that customer base started today. Doors to the coffee truck officially opened after the ribbon was cut today. Coffee was poured. Music played. And Girls Inc. of Metro Denver and Mile High United Way gathered to celebrate.
Jim Bernsten, Chief Innovation Officer at Mile High United Way, noted that “These amazing young women inspire us in the same way that Frances Wisebart Jacobs — the bold woman who helped establish the first United Way — did.”
The lyrics to the song playing in the background today couldn’t be more fitting. “Break down the doors. Break down the walls. You already have it all.”
Girls Inc. of Metro Denver is one of Mile High United Way’s Strategic Investment Grant partners. And their extremely innovative Bold Beans initiative is part of an inaugural class of clients that are part of Mile High United Way’s United Business Advisory.