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Toussaint

Besto Pesto, An Oakland Pesto Company

Oakland, CA

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Personal Story

My passion is teaching young people by inspiring in them the entrepreneurial spirit for self-determination. I've discovered that through my vegan pesto creations, I can inspire my community and use food to educate, nourish, promote wellness, and alternatives to unhealthy habits.

Growing up in Oakland was very challenging, as our neighborhoods were saturated with liquor stores and illegal drugs. Some of my friends who didn't play sports like I did often got into the drug game. Many of them had absent fathers. I learned that it truly took a village to raise a child, but many villages in Oakland were falling apart. I was fortunate enough to have solid role models in my progressive mother, father and older siblings. Pride in their culture and caring for our community; these values they instilled are what I wish to pass on.

As I got older and began writing poetry, I formed an art collective called 10 Poets Plus a Mic, and for four years I was an arts activist, publishing a newsletter and producing performances. This was my first entrepreneurial experience: paying people and packing theaters for consciousness building through poetry.

Today, I still incorporate my poetry in the public school classrooms of Oakland Unified School District. I have been a school teacher for over nine years. However, I now bring nutrition into the picture. I bring pesto platters and facilitate West African Drumming workshops at lunch. I expose my students to my lifestyle as an entrepreneur and a responsible father. I have a dream that healthy food choices will not only be alternatives, but will become the norm. I have a dream that every child will know she can use her creativity to make change in the world she lives in.

Business Description

Besto Pesto, An Oakland Pesto Company has its roots in the international community potlucks my mother and father attended and organized when I was growing up in Oakland. Our family food menu expanded in the 70's and 80's. One dish was Pesto and it was a favorite growing up.

Moving out on my own I began to experiment in vegan and vegetarian cooking, and soon started making my own pesto. Then came the Pot Luck Jam Session parties I would host at my home. I would make pounds of what would soon be my first flavor, Basil Walnut. The more I made the more I ran out.

When my son Dinari was born I decided to start my business. I was driven to create a business sustainable enough to take care of our family and inspire our community. I want my son to inherit a legacy of service, commitment, good food, and good people, just like I did from my parents.

Our customers make up the thriving foodie movements of the Greater Bay Area, health food store shoppers, raw foodists, vegetarians, and vegan enthusiasts. Children love Besto Pesto and often influence their parents and friends to buy when they try our savior samples.

I plan on Besto Pesto being a featured item in every health food store in the Bay Area by January 2014. I also plan on having several accounts with restaurants, delis, and cafes. Our biggest challenge is having enough capital to buy my materials in bigger bulk to create a cheaper overhead.

I am most proud of our vegan pesto creation moving into different stores. Being in The Food Mill and Sacred Wheel Cheese Shop and Mandela Co-Op was a wonderful milestone and turned my dream into reality in 2011.

What is the purpose of this loan?

The loan will be spent on container labels ($1000) and commercial kitchen rental fees ($700). Buying a one year's supply of container labels drives our cost of production down and allows me to properly market my product. Paying for 3 months of commercial kitchen space up front, gives our company a great opportunity to be more consistent in our production.

Toussaint's loan is endorsed by Mandela Marketplace. The information below explains why his trustee thinks Toussaint is a great candidate for a Kiva Zip loan.
How long have you known this person?

1 year - 3 years

Tell us about your relationship with this borrower.

Toussaint's Besto Pesto has been sold at Mandela Foods, one of Mandela Marketplace's incubated enterprises, for the past 2 years. Not only have we gotten to know his kind spirit, but we've all tasted his product first hand.

Tell us about this borrower's personality and character, and why you are endorsing him or her for a Kiva Zip loan.

Toussaint has an incredibly bright, peaceful, and generous spirit. Though he is very serious about growing Besto Pesto as a business, he is equally as invested in improving community health and giving back. He is a father, community entrepreneur, chef, and teacher.

Tell us about this borrower's business, and why you believe a Kiva Zip loan will contribute to his or her success.

Toussaint has put a lot of thought and investment into both building his business and growing as an entrepreneur. His product has been well received at Mandela Foods Cooperative, and we trust that it will sell well just about anywhere. To date, all the resources to support Besto Pesto have come out of his own pocket, and now it's time for him to launch his business into its next phase through community investment.

Not only will this loan help Toussaint get the resources to market his product, it will also help him build a viable and robust income source for himself and his family. As an Oakland-grown entrepreneur, supporting Besto Pesto means supporting local business.

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ENDED

A loan of $1,700 helps me to buy one year's worth of labels and three months of commercial kitchen rental fees.

Disbursed Mar 16, 2013
Repayment Term:
12 monthly payments
Grace Period:
N/A
Listed:
Mar 12, 2013
Disbursed:
Mar 16, 2013
Paying Back:
Mar 17, 2013
Ended:
Mar 15, 2014

About Besto Pesto, An Oakland Pesto Company

Industry:
Food production
Years in Operation:
1 year - 3 years
Website:
bestopesto.com
Follow:
Facebook Twitter
Badges:
Badge_repayment_gold_small

What are Borrower Badges?

Borrower Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward borrowers’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

This loan is endorsed by

Trustee Type:
Non-Profit
Location:
Oakland, CA
Badges:
Badge_repayment_silver_small
On Zip Since:
Jul 11, 2012
(21 months)
Loans Endorsed:
2
Total Value:
$6,700
Fundraising/Raised:
0
Paying on Time:
0
Paying Back Late:
0
Repaid in Full:
2
Defaulted:
0
Repayment Rate:
100%
Why are you endorsing Toussaint?

Toussaint has an incredibly bright, peaceful, and generous spirit. Though he is very serious about growing Besto Pesto as a business, he is equally as invested in improving community health and giving back. He is a father, community entrepreneur, chef, and teacher.

What are Trustee Badges?

Trustee Badges are a system designed to recognize and reward trustees’ engagement with the Kiva Zip website.

There are two types of badges that are tiered like medals: Gold, Silver and Bronze.

  1. 'Repayment badges' are awarded for the on-time repayment of loans.
  2. 'Connectedness badges' are awarded for engagement with the Kiva Zip website.
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