We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick Tcheunou and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, what is the most important factor behind your success?
At Bibamba, we are chocolate that works for everybody. We are bringing traditional western farming practices and techniques to Cameroon, along with ethical practices that are often overlooked in the chocolate industry. As we continue to grow we want to reinvest into creating a higher quality of life for our employees in Cameroon and Colorado. Success for us starts with our employees – to ensure that our employees own their own home and are able to feed and send their children to school. We want to create a work environment where they feel ownership and value.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I grew up in Cameroon (west-central Africa) with my parents and five siblings. I was mostly raised in the city of Edea, and I spent weekends and summers in rural Cameroon tending to my family’s farms. I developed a great love for the cycle of farming, harvesting, and processing crops. This in turn has motivated me to build a profitable business while also protecting the environment and using sustainable farming techniques. When I was 28 years old I ventured to the United States for the first time to pursue higher education. Since I grew up speaking French and other tribal languages, this required me to learn English in a hurry. I spent 6 months in an intensive English language program in Washington D.C. before heading off to Colorado State University then the University of Wyoming to pursue a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering. Before committing exclusively to Bibamba, I had over 12 years of combined experience in various industries such as metallurgy, energy, and heavy manufacturing.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First I would take them to a bar on Colfax, where I met my wife Mara! You haven’t seen Colorado until you have been on Colfax. But in all seriousness, I want to take them to a concert at Red Rocks, Rocky Mountain National Park, one of my favorite restaurants, Cuba Cuba, grab a refreshing craft pint of beer at Great Divide Brewery, and check out Cheesman park and the Capitol Hill area. Lastly, I would take them to the best coffee shops in Denver such as Queen City Collective and Amethyst Coffee, and other amazing places such as St.Killians Cheese Shop, Ruby’s Market, the Moxi Poppy, and Co-op at 1st.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many friends and family that I would love to give shoutouts to that have made contributions to our success. Bibamba would not be where it is today without Mara’s parents, Barbara and Thomas Trager, and my brother, Gerrit Tcheunou, and father, Luc Tcheunou, in Cameroon. Barbara, my mother-in-law, is the biggest reason why we are here today. In the beginning, no one believed in us and our idea to purchase a farm in Cameroon. Barbara has always supported us and continues to be our biggest cheerleader.