WAYNE COUNTY — Bars of chocolate graced the luncheon tables at the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO)’s Innovator of the Year program, November 17.
Complementing the meal served at The Settlers Inn, the chocolates were the product of Moka Origins, a bean to bar chocolate manufacturer operating in Wayne County.
Moka Origins was the 2017 recipient of the Innovator of the Year award. Accepting the award were the co-founders, Jeff Abella and Ishan Tigunait.
Located at the Himalayan Institute north of Honesdale, Moka Origins was started only three years ago.
They grow their cacao beans at a farm in Cameroon, West Africa.
Seven people are employed at the business in Wayne County, Pa., USA, and about 25 at the West African site, Abella explained. They also produce coffee from beans they raise.
He said that public tours are available at the plant at 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
He invited anyone interested to come for some free samples and see how the chocolate is made.
“Bring your kids,” he said.
At the Himalayan Institute, the cacao and coffee beans are sorted, roasted, winnowed and ground.
To make chocolate, the product is tempered so that it may be molded. Chocolate and coffee are produced in small batches for better quality and flavor control.
In all, there is a 20-step process to produce their chocolate bars, Abella said.
Moka Origins was selected for the award for being innovative in their production process, and employing a sustainable agri-business model that has a positive social impact.
Many companies around the world use chocolate with other ingredients to make delicious confections.
Far fewer make their chocolate from the raw cacao bean.
Moka Origins is one of only 10 companies is the nation that actually owns the farm that grows the cacao crop for their chocolate products.
“We are delighted that Moka Origins is WEDCO’s Innovator of the Year”, said executive director Mary Beth Wood, in a prepared release, “We found their sustainable business model, which has developed a cash crop and created an entire agricultural ecosystem that is supporting a local economy, both impressive and forward-thinking.”
WEDCO’s keynote luncheon speaker was Dennis G. Cheng, Principal and Founder of Twobytwo Solutions, located in Jessup and The Stourbridge Incubator, 646 Park Street, Honesdale.
The Cherry Ridge, Wayne County resident, shared his expertise in digital forensics.
He cautioned the audience about data security and the growing threat of cyberattacks. The consulting company assists other firms to address these concerns.
A major issue rising in 2017 is “ransom ware” which is a malicious attack on a computer server, locking data and requiring payment of ransom before the data can be released.
In the first three quarters of 2017, Cheng said, they have seen a doubling in the rate of attacks.
“I think it was every 20 seconds, now its every 10 seconds that an individual is attacked. Every two minutes a business is attacked by a ransom ware attack.”
The average ransom demanded is $1,000.
About a year ago, Twobytwo Solutions had a client who was received a ransom demand of $10,000. About 71% of ransom ware attacks are effective.
The average damage cost was $5 billion, globally.
For more information
Information about Twobytwo Solutions is found at www.twobytwosolutions.com .
To learn more about Moka Origins, visit mokaorigins.com.
For more information about WEDCO, visit wedcorp.org.