Last month while passing a mosque crowded with people waiting for food supplies, 11-year-old Armand Idrizam was taken aback by the sight and was inspired to help the less fortunate.
Speaking to reporters, Armand said, “People ran out of food. But my family is lucky. We still have food to eat.
“It made me want to do something about it.”
Since his family decided to kickstart their own home-based mini chocolate factory in August of last year, Armand has taken the role as “chief executive officer” of their cocoa-based snacks company called Koko Loko.
With the help of crowdfunding, their mini-factory has evolved from being home-based to operating at a commercial lot.
Koko Loko’s products include peanut butter spread, flavoured cocoa nibs, cocoa granola, dark chocolate (for baking/drinking), chocolate trail mix, brownies and chewy cookies.
With the ever-growing business, Armand said that Koko Loko currently offers the Share and Care Box where 10% of their sale profits will go to the food back at the Kinarut mosque which is located beside the mini factory.
The Share and Care Box is priced at RM220 and includes Koko Loko chocolate delicacies like cocoa rubble and chocolate trail mix which Armand makes himself.
“This is held for the whole month of July in conjunction with World Chocolate Day which fell on July 7,” said the young CEO.
He added that the family has plans to initiate a programme where less fortunate children can trade recyclable plastics to buy the chocolates.
“I would like to be a chocolatier when I grow up. My dream is to have a brand (as popular) as Milo.”
Driven by his passion to help people, Armand plans to do a workshop for children once the Covid-19 situation eases.
Though Koko Loko is still relatively new, Armand’s mother, 41-year-old Nina Othman revealed that her son sold sausages at just six years old with his younger brother Fatheem.
Nina revealed that the idea to start their own chocolate factory started when she was conducting empowerment training programmes in villages .
“My family would normally follow me. That is how we found a Kota Belud village with cocoa trees that were not fully utilised.
“Armand got interested to do something with cocoa after that encounter. We started researching, and the rest is history,” Nina said.