The Face of Ya Coffee
Business was not in Sara Yirgas vocabulary as she considered herself a social worker and aimed to grow in the professional world of NGOs and the UN since her career started at a very young age. However, she remembers having some brilliant and creative business ideas that could really benefit the community and make some money. Sara would very often share them with those she thought were the right people to implement them.
After a very successful career/employed life of over 10 years, Sara decided to quit her well paying job at the World Bank to join the business world with her husband. Though Rocky and very challenging at first, Ya Mart Center gained good reputation for its family friendly service and the reasonable price it offers to its customers. It was very difficult for Sara and her husband to stay in the retail business that was neither satisfying nor encouraging. Thus, they came up with a new business model based on the good will from YA Mart Center. Ya Coffee was born with the aim to promote Ethiopian Coffee at its best.
Since the establishment of Ya Coffee Roasters in 2013, the main focus has been promoting the company and the quality coffee in various exhibitions, as well as organizing an open house for anyone interested to enjoy their coffee. Due to Sara\’s engagement as a mentor in the Women in Agribusiness Network (WALN), and her active role in facilitating the establishment of the Women in Coffee Alliance in Ethiopia (As a chapter to the International Women in Coffee Alliance (IWCA)), Sara has gained recognition by the International Trade Center and was among the few invited by ITC/IWCA to represent Ethiopia in the African Fine Coffees Association Conference and Exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya. Sara was the only female start-up coffee roasting company that joined the all green coffee trading community, where the buyers are world’s largest roasters such as Starbucks and Nestle/Nescafe.
Sara proudly testifies that she has developed various skills that have helped her achieve her level of success at Ya Coffee since joining AWiB. Her confidence in negotiating her way to many of these important events is the result of her leadership role, and the ongoing learning while striving to take AWiB one step ahead. AWiB provides the platform for personal development. Sara believes it is possible to achieve the highest level of self-development with an open mind and open heart. She believes she is a work in progress and the sky is the limit. There are limitless opportunities for those who seek them and she encourages women to look around, it is time that the world recognizes the benefit of developing women’s capacities = creating a better future.