Timo Co-Founded The Most Sustainable Coffee Brand Built On Social Activism
What’s your story?
I was born and raised in Berlin and studied in Germany and China before I began working in Supply Chain management for Shell in the Oil and Gas industry. I left that industry 2 years ago to broaden my perspective, to discover new opportunities and potentials, which led me to co-found Impact Berry, Hong Kong’s first actively social and most sustainable coffee brand. Impact Berry connects small asian coffee farms to Hong Kong’s booming coffee demand by closing the loop to the origins via joint social, infrastructure, and environmental projects, we run together with NGOs on the ground.
What excites you most about your industry?
Currently I am in the Food & Beverage industry in a wider sense. I am excited about the transformational process of diverse raw materials into culinary enjoyment. In this respect, the industry has countless contributors that are experts in their respective fields and I admire the dedication and perseverance of many of the people in the industry as they create and improve products.
What’s your connection to Asia?
My initial connection to Asia started as a kid, when I was for hours staring at Japanese fortune cats in asian supermarkets in Berlin, Germany. I knew I would love to go to Asia one day which led me to Beijing and Shanghai for some of my studies. Since then, I have travelled to various countries in Asia. I connect with the Asian culture via different cuisines, the pragmatism of everyday life, and enjoy the beauty of nature in Asia.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
There are many cities in Asia I love. For business though, I choose Hong Kong because of its countless business opportunities, its extraordinary pragmatism in terms of business execution, business administration, and in the creation of partnerships.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“If you compare your life to the life of others, feel free to do so, however pay attention to do this in a holistic way!“ This advice tackles the propensity of human nature to compare ourselves to others, which I find very inspiring because it gives me insight and a broader perspective.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by people who are extremely passionate about something very specific, be this a hobby or a profession. People who have very strong values, yet possess a very tolerant personality are also inspiring. A specific person who inspires me is my 97 year old, Greek, Granddad who has gone through a lot of hardship in his life. He told me, “if you really desire to accomplish something, you have the capacity to do it, if you just believe in yourself.”
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Last week, I read about the “mimic octopus” that is said to have been discovered in 1998 off the coast of Sulawesi. The impressive thing here is, it can mimic as many as 15 different animals in his natural habitat, which it uses for protection in a predator heavy environment. Impressive, right?
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
All decisions, to date, have made me meet the people that I love and have shaped me into who I am today. As I don’t know how my life would be if I had made different choices, I’m quite happy with how things are. Going forward I will try to think more “out of the box” when evaluating the status of my career and whether where I stand at that moment makes me happy.
How do you unwind?
I unwind with meditation, intensive sports sessions, or being with loved ones.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
If I pick a setting, it would be with some nice Indonesian Padang, or a book and a beer, on a hill overlooking the sea. Geographically, I would choose Menjangan Kecil, near Karimunjawa Island, (not the Bali one), a small Island north, off the coast of Java, without any phone signal, but with beautiful, intact sea life.
Everyone in business should read this book:
The first book that comes to mind was written in German and is rather a long speech. It is titled, “Wer wir waren: Zukunftsrede“ by Roger Willemsen (Translated:: Who we were: A Future Speech). Willemsen was a German author and essayist. The speech looks critically at our present time from a future perspective. It inspires readers to reflect and rethink. Unfortunately, it may not be available in other languages.
Another book everyone should read is, “Altered Traits,“ by Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson. This book summarises and reveals neuroscientific findings from past decades and talks about how meditation can change one’s mind, brain, and body.
Shameless plug for your business:
Impact Berry Coffee is the world´s best coffee! It is not only organic, better than fairtrade, sustainable, inspiring, inclusive and empowering, it is also phenomenally delicious!
How can people connect with you?
Email: [email protected]
To hear how entrepreneurs around the world overcome their challenges, search your favourite podcast platform for ‘CallumConnects‘ to hear a 5-minute daily breakdown.
Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built, and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder and CEO of MBH Corporation PLC. He is the author of three best-selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’, ‘Agglomerate’, and ‘Entrepreneurial Investing’.