For TCHO, San Francisco’s only chocolate factory, social entrepreneurship is the focus. In this audio lecture, company executive John Kehoe talks about how the firm not only produces high-end chocolate products, but also helps farmers in developing countries. He discusses challenges associated with sourcing and cultivating quality organic cocoa beans, and what it takes to invest in and work with growers. Kehoe spoke at the Stanford Graduate School of Business at the invitation of the International Development Club.
John Kehoe is Vice President of Sourcing and Development at TCHO, San Franciso’s only chocolate factory. He began his career in international trade in Caracas, Venezuela in 1987. Since the cocoa market in Venezuela was liberalized in 1991, his work has been dedicated to the procurement and marketing of specialty cocoa, working closely with farmers, exporters, importers and chocolate manufactures. In 1999, ED&F Man Cocoa hired Kehoe to restructure a cocoa exporting operation in the Dominican Republic. In 2002, he returned to the United States, and founded EcoTrade, a specialty cocoa brokerage and consultancy based in Miami. Through friendships and contacts developed over the years, Kehoe expanded his experiences to initiate new relationships and diversify supply in Ecuador, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Madagascar, and to include fair trade cocoa from Ghana and the Ivory Coast. This work was considered by many as pioneering a market in the United States for specialty cocoa.