Christopher Boodoosingh, Chief Executive Officer of Cocoa Republic Limited recently copped award in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ - Start-up Entrepreneur category of the Champions of Business Awards. The Champions of Business Awards and Cocktail Reception is an annual Signature Event of the T&T Chamber, which recognises and awards outstanding businesses in various categories.
Today, the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce is pleased to profile this exceptional start-up who was selected from among four category finalists. The award was presented at a ceremony was held on November 15 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts.
Cocoa Republic Limited is a chocolate manufacturing company which uses high quality Trinitario cocoa grown in Trinidad as its foundation. Christopher Boodoosingh founded Cocoa Republic with one vision—to be the best chocolate maker in the world. Christopher recognised that the Trinidad cocoa bean is revered as one of the finest in the world. He knew by using the finest and optimising the manufacturing process, the result would be a superior product. The advantage for Cocoa Republic compared to other chocolate makers around the world is that cocoa beans are processed days old to achieve freshness. Christopher also has full traceability as well as transparency in his supply chain.
When Christopher initially had the idea for Cocoa Republic he set out to raise capital but was unsuccessful. He shelved his idea for a few years until the market for craft chocolate started to boom. Christopher decided to pursue his idea again but faced opposition. Many felt that his vision was too ambitious. Christopher eventually managed to convince some partners to join him on the Cocoa Republic journey. Christopher made his first 1,000 chocolate bars in his kitchen.
Since then, the company has invested in equipment and new facilities to accommodate growth. The company has three bars on the market which are available at retail stores and online, including on Amazon. Its latest products include a vegan milk chocolate bar, Hazelo—a vegan substitute for Nutella made with Trinitario cocoa and a vegan ice cream made from cocoa beans.
Cocoa Republic has made in-roads in the premium chocolate sector. The company provides chocolate to a high-end distributor that supplies many Michelin Star restaurants in New York City. The company also secured an exclusive supply contract with a producer in Germany which will provide opportunities to export to other European markets.
Cocoa Republic has won several awards for its products including silver and bronze at the Academy of Chocolate Awards, bronze at the International Chocolate Awards, silver and bronze for Best Vegan Chocolate Awards and bronze for Top Chocolate Bar Awards.
Christopher tries to leverage the Cocoa Republic brand to have a positive impact on the environment. Christopher is a strong advocate for the development and sustainability of the local agriculture sector, specifically cocoa agriculture and agro-processing.
He also believes that value added manufacturing of cocoa into chocolate not only creates employment, it builds the Trinidad and Tobago brand in the billion-dollar global chocolate industry.