Flying High Coffee’s concept of selling coffee and turning some of the profits into donations to aviation charities has made it into the final voting round of Pepsi’s RefreshEverything grant program. The Pepsi program has been set up to reward ideas for doing good deeds within communities, with winners decided by popular votes.
Rob Riggen, who founded Flying High Coffee in 2009, says a grant win would come at a good time for his young company.
“Every startup goes through a few awkward growth phases where funding is necessary,” notes Riggen. “If Flying High Coffee were to win Pepsi’s grant for $50,000 it would put us on sound footing going into 2012.”
Riggen plans to take his company to several large aviation events in the coming year as a way of promoting the concept and products, providing coffee to the aviation industry and funding aviation programs.
Riggen, a CFII, says providing funds to aviation’s not-for-profits is built into his business plan. “I’ve had business advisors question the scope of commitment to charity, thinking it was too much, but that is the reason I started this business,” Riggen said. “I learned through meeting those running our non profits that they spend as much as 70% of their time and effort asking for money. That’s not what we want them to be doing, and it is not what they want to be doing either. They want to be running their programs; bringing new people into aviation. Flying High Coffee will help fund them.”
To date, the company has attended AOPA’s Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn., and EAA’s AirVenture 2011 in Oshkosh, Wis. At AirVenture Flying High Coffee presented checks to two aviation charities: Able Flight and Girls With Wings. “The amount we gave away was relatively small, but it completes the circle of our concept, which is to take advantage of aviation’s enormous appetite for coffee and turn it into funds for our own not-for-profit programs,” Riggen said, noting that as his company grows he hopes to give away millions of dollars to programs.
To cast your vote for Flying High Coffee, send a text to 73774 with the message 109714 (you can vote once per day through November) or visit the website
For more information: 802-310-1183 or FlyingHighCoffee.com