Caribbean Goods appoints Chardon Hotel Group founder Maurice Taylor CBE as chairman

13/06/2023
Maurice Taylor CBE and Javier Gutiérrez Abril

ONE OF Scotland’s most celebrated hospitality heavyweights has been named as chairman of a fast-growing green coffee importing company, Caribbean Goods. 

Maurice Taylor CBE, who last year sold The Chardon Group to Atlas Hotels in a multi-million pound deal after 50 years at the helm, is joining the firm which currently supplies 28,000 kg of green coffee per year to specialty coffee roasters across the UK.

Guatemala-born Javier Gutiérrez Abril, the company’s founder, moved to Scotland in 2017 to study at the University of Strathclyde. He met the renowned business leader, who was the University’s first entrepreneur in residence, through the university’s entrepreneurial hub – Strathclyde Inspire. 

The hotelier, who was awarded a CBE for his services to business and charity, is helping Javier towards his goal of making the firm the UK’s most prominent importer of green coffee from the Caribbean Region, while making farming fair for the hardworking producers. 

Javier (30) commented: “Growing up in Guatemala, I witnessed poverty, extreme violence, and a lack of educational opportunities from a very young age. 

“I consider myself an activist working towards a greener and more educated world. I want to help lift up struggling communities in Latin America by selling agricultural goods from the region. 

“Our fairly priced, responsibly sourced and incredibly flavourful specialty green coffees have been selected by some of Scotland’s best coffee roasters, who we are extremely proud to work with. 

“We are very lucky to have Maurice on board. He is an exceptional man; he took the time to listen to me, and help me. Given his experience and expertise, that is priceless. He is the motor that will help us spin faster – the faster we grow, the more we can source, the more people we can employ and the more farmers we can help. 

“Maurice choosing to support our cause is indicative of the help I’ve received from everyone in Scotland from the moment I arrived.”

Maurice, who founded the prestigious Parklands Country Club and Glasgow’s original French Mediterranean Brasserie, the award winning La Bonne Auberge,  added: “I have a passion for building businesses but I’m too old to do it myself. 

“With the Chardon Group now sold, I have time on my hands, but I love working. I want to help young entrepreneurs like Javier – I see myself in him. 

“This shows the benefit of Universities welcoming foreign students. Javier has brought his experience, work ethic and insight into Scotland. He has put his heart and soul into his brilliant business. By growing their exciting companies in Scotland, entrepreneurs like Javier boost our economy. 

“He has ambition and passion for what he does – and he’s not frightened to work. I want to be on his team. 

“A lot of entrepreneurs quit or leave our country. We need zealous, ambitious, passionate people to light a fire under Scotland’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.” 

While the business currently imports almost £200,000 worth of coffee into the UK from the Caribbean per year, Javier and Maurice are targeting 40 or 50% growth per annum for the next 10 years. 

Scotland’s specialty coffee industry is benefiting from changing consumer demand -the market size of the cafes and coffee shops industry in the UK increased 36.1% in 2022 to £5.6bn.

The company, which is based at Strathclyde Inspire, supplies beans to the likes of Thomsons, The Brew Project, Faodail Roastery, Cult Espresso, and Black Pine – some of the most-loved roasters in the UK. 

Javier has been supported throughout his journey by RBS, University of Strathclyde and Business Gateway.  Caribbean Goods was awarded Young EDGE funding as part of the competition’s nineteenth round. 

Evelyn McDonald, CEO of Scottish EDGE said: “With Javier’s passion and enthusiasm for the business, as well as his strong environmental and social purpose, the judging panel could see great potential.

“Scotland’s vibrant and developed business economy is one of the country’s most vital assets in that it encourages overseas entrepreneurs, like Javier, to start their high-growth potential business ventures here, and we are proud to be playing a small part in supporting that journey.

“Globally, the coffee market is vast and therefore very competitive, but also poses an incredible opportunity for those with something unique to offer. Caribbean Goods willingness to explore innovative new approaches whilst remaining committed to sustainable and ethical sourcing is commendable, and we look forward to supporting the company’s development.”

To find out more about the company, visit www.caribbeangoods.co.uk

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