Three individuals sitting on a bench in front of a brick wall.Three individuals sitting on a bench in front of a brick wall.
Going Global
Min Read

From the Coffee Bench to the Global Stage: Nile Coffee Club

We're excited to announce Nile Coffee Club as one of our two Grow Your Global campaign winners. A Toronto-based, black-owned coffee roaster and subscription service, Nile Coffee Club has transformed the ordinary act of sipping coffee into a moment of creative inspiration. With deep roots in Toronto and its vibrant coffee community, Nile Coffee Club prides itself on its meticulous slow-roasted Diaspora Blend and its creative collaborations with collectives, artists, and musicians.

We spoke with Nile Coffee Club founders Jahmal, Sandrine, and Taher to learn more about their plans for using the $20K prize—$10K dedicated to international shipping and support and $10K to work with a business coach. 

Here's a glimpse into their journey and their vision for growing global.

Pouring Potential, the Caffeinated Expansion

Nile Coffee Club envisions using the winnings to further prove their concept in Toronto before expanding to other parts of Canada and, notably, the world. "The stipend will help offset some of the shipping costs that often hold us back from doing other things," they explained. "For many Canadian small businesses, shipping is very tight and difficult. This support will help big time." Most of their business happens online, and they see this program as an opportunity to expand. "We met as friends – on a coffee bench. So, coffee and community are our first loves. We're looking to expand our lifestyle offering to reach new audiences and surprise and delight our current ones."

Brewing Beyond Local Borders

Nile's founders emphasized the necessity for Canadian small businesses to look beyond local markets. "For Nile, especially as a Black business, it's about creating a brand that appeals to folks like us and connecting with like-minded, creative individuals globally." There's a lot to love in Toronto, and Nile's founders want to share that. "It's a big wide world with many people, and we all see this brand as an opportunity to talk to those people and connect with them."

Tips for Small Businesses Looking to Go Global

The founders of Nile Coffee Club shared some valuable insights for other small businesses aiming to expand internationally:

  • Brand Partnerships: Testing new markets through partnerships can provide a nice welcome. For example, Nile Coffee Club did a pop-up inside KOTN in New York, which helped validate their entry into a new market: "We didn't have a brand presence in New York, but we could see through our collaboration that there was an audience there for us."
  • Community Feedback: Nile Coffee Club is a big advocate of bringing their community into building their brand. Some brands use fun surveys to engage with their audience collaboratively to help determine interest. "Asking questions like, 'Where do you want to see us next?' can reveal new opportunities through your community."
  • Phased Approach: Nile Coffee Club has been operating for four years now, growing their presence with other like-minded and unexpected partners and has an eye on opening up a physical location in the near future. "We want to do everything all at once, but we recognize our ambition needs to be tempered in a very thoughtful way, which is why we're very intentional about how we scale."

Feeling inspired to take your business global? We're here to support your ambitions for growth and keep you connected to the world.

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