The fulltime Makira Gold team consists of the Founder Brian Atkin, his Uncle Henry Hio and first cousin Ronnie Maxwell, with up to 10 casuals employed as required.
Brian is half Solomon Islander and lives in Brisbane, Australia. He has a fulltime job in Technology but volunteers his time to run sales, marketing and the financial operations. Henry and Ronnie are full Solomon Islanders and alternate between Honiara and their home island Makira, Solomon Islands.
Brian and Ronnie started their cacao partnership together in Dec 2014, with the vision of providing economic opportunities for their impoverished rural community in their village on Makira.
Henry Hio joined the team in 2017 and runs operations in Honiara.
Since the beginning they have learnt from many setbacks but have also achieved much. Their vision expanded from just supporting their local community to also trying to strengthen the Solomon Islands specialty cacao industry, which shows much promise and potential but has some significant barriers – in particular a lack of regular buyers, the high cost of seafreight and the reliability and consistent quality of cacao exports.
Makira Gold now sources the best quality cacao from Solomon Island farmers and exports into Australia, New Zealand and to Europe, where it is sold to craft chocolate makers.
Beans supplied by Makira Gold have won gold, silver and bronze awards at chocolate competitions including Academy of Chocolate and Australian Food Awards.