About 3 years ago, Andrés Ulate started with an enterprise he called “Bicichocolate”. The proposal was born from Andrés’s ingenuity and, somehow, a crazy idea, which over time became a successful business in Costa Rica.
According to the entrepreneur, in this commercial proposal, he joined his passion for cycling with the trade of straightening and painting of vehicles (which was his job for years) and, to that, he added the interest he feels for the cultivation of organic products.
“We have a farm in Sarapiquí in which we planted cocoa, but many times this product was lost. And in the search to give added value to that little bit of product that we had, I discovered that there were ‘bike-machines’ that allowed it to be ground”, he says.
This is how Andrés built himself bike-machines to grind and toast the cocoa they cultivated and that has become the hallmark that distinguishes his company today.
The entrepreneur mentions that each week he makes 500 tablets of chocolates and 100 units of pinolillo and cocoa seed. All the energy he needs to produce his chocolates and other products comes from the mechanical force he generates by pedaling. The products are sold in cafeterias, stores, social networks, and fairs. And for this, he has the help of his mother, a friend, and a cousin.
“We make dark chocolate (it does not contain milk) that has a high percentage of cocoa and little sugar, but there are also almonds, nuts, ginger, chili, light sugar, and chocolates”, he explains.
According to Andrés, bike-machines have been very important in the development of his commercial proposal. “Now we are thinking about what other (machines) we can do for other processes since we also give educational workshops where we teach to build them to those who want to start a business. These machines -being economical and easy to make- represent an interesting alternative”, he adds.
These workshops consist of demonstrating that with creativity and scrap you can do everything that comes to mind, with bike-technologies”, he says. Andrés found the drawings of the machines on the Internet -“they are called free technologies, they are not patented and that is why it was simply experimenting”.
According to the owner of Bicichocolate, within the short-term, his project is to expand the workplace, receive tourists to know the bike-machines, and continue with the workshops and the planting of cocoa on the farm, where the idea is to be able to develop guided tours”, he finishes.
Are you interested in starting with your own business in Costa Rica, just like Andrés did? If so, you may contact Daniel Yépez, a business startups entrepreneur and digital marketing expert, to his Linkedin account: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielyepez/