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“Maziah, along with four other young entrepreneurs, took that advice to heart. Dubbed the “Hot Cocoa Boys,” their story is the perfect blend of sweet success meets hard work.
“It’s a fun time when we all get together to make the hot chocolate,” said Clayton-Hart. “Some of us pour, some of us measure and some of us seal it.”
Their social enterprise selling a hot chocolate mix is supported by Hope Blooms, which has become a household name for its charity work in Halifax’s north end.
Kolade Kolawole-Boboye, the manager of social business and innovation at Hope Blooms, says the organization gives youth a business platform to shine.
“These boys are innovative, super creative and they want to take risks,” said Kolawole-Boboye. “I think that’s hard to find in a lot of places.”
The teenagers started selling lemonade in the summertime a few years ago and were able to earn enough money to build a basketball court in Uniacke Square.
Clayton-Hart said they decided to switch to hot chocolate with proceeds going towards a new, ambitious community project.
“We want to start a recording studio,” said Clayton-Hart. “We’re trying to make it mobile, so kids can come in for free, record music and get to learn the life of being an artist.”
They not only designed packaging for their product, but they also merchandised and created a social media presence.
Kolawole-Boboye says it’s about more than just learning the basics of business.
“I think it’s important because they can learn how to build generational wealth,” said Kolawole-Boboye. “Especially coming from a marginalized community, especially being people of colour, we’re historically known for not having this wealth.”
The Hot Cocoa Boys hot chocolate is now being sold in seven Superstores throughout the Halifax region, alongside other Hope Blooms products including salad dressings.
“I’ve dreamed of having it in Superstore for a long time,” said Tayemar Mintis, one of the Hot Cocoa Boys. “Now that it’s happening, it’s really cool and I’m very proud.”
They say all you need is love on Valentine’s Day, but a little hot chocolate doesn’t hurt!”