Grace Hightower De Niro started her business, Coffees of Rwanda, two years ago. Her goal was to help increase the sustainable farming system of that formerly war-torn country, and toward that end, it buys coffee beans directly from Rwandan farmers at above fair-trade market price. She was inspired by a speech she had heard by the country's president, Paul Kagame.
"One of the things that resonated with me was when he said he wanted for his country, his people, 'trade, not aid,'" she said. "I had not heard of a so-called Third World country being this progressive-thinking. So I went there … saw the people and met the people and met the farmers, and they just have this amazing sincerity and gratitude and a desire to create, a desire to work."