Children's, Youth &
Community Center

El Quetzal – creating sustainable value through entrepreneurism, the environment and education


„El Quetzal“ is a local family owned business started and run by José Meza and Barbara Wilson. With an idea, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, over the last 12 years they have developed a successful, small business based in Mindo, Ecuador and Dexter, Michigan, USA.

José and Barbara have invested in the local community in Mindo and they can truly be said to be „social entrepreneurs”. They have always been great supporters of SALEM and our work in the community.

One benefit of a successful business like El Quetzal is sustainable employment opportunities in the local community. However investing in education and local youth is also important to José and Barbara. El Quetzal is one of the founding sponsors of our „Vivir Mi Vida scholarship program“. El Quetzal not only provides financial sponsorship for the program but also internships so our students can put their academic knowledge into practice!

Education about chocolate is core to El Quetzal and Mindo Chocolate
Each year at our annual summer camp our children really enjoy learning all about chocolate production on the chocolate tour!

We asked Barbara some questions about the environment, entrepreneurism and education:

El Quetzal & Mindo chocolate is a green business producing natural organic chocolate: Do businesses have a responsibility to take care of the environment?
I like to think that all people, including business owners have a responsibility to take care of the environment.

Does Eco-Tourism have a role to play in environmental protection & conservation?
I was trained and worked as a Health Educator. Eco-tourism is a great opportunity to educate people about the environment, culture, history, and the biodiversity that needs protecting and why.

What special challenges do Ecuadorian entrepreneurs face?
Probably the same challenges as all entrepreneurs. Ecuador, in particular, has generous employee benefits which I am not against per se, but it makes it more difficult for new businesses and start ups.

Why do you chose to support SALEM?
We have reached a point in our lives where our priorities have shifted to doing good. And we believe that SALEM is a very good cause and the benefits will be felt strongly in the community in Mindo.

Why is SALEM important for the community in Mindo?
I am a strong believer in prevention. A cycle of poverty, poor education, neglect and abuse of children is detrimental to any community and a tiny one like Mindo feels the strain.

What message would you give to other business owners who are considering supporting SALEM?
I think it is one of the most valuable ways that we can invest in Mindo.

What advice would you give to young people when selecting a career or university degree?
Follow your passion. Find something that you love to do.

Is it important for young Entrepreneurs to be qualified and have an education?
Yes, I am a firm believer that education of any kind will help an entrepreneur. To me, management, administration and business and marketing classes helped me the most.

What advice would you give to a young person who has a new business idea?
Learn as much as you can about it.

You can enjoy a chocolate tour at „El Quetzal“ or simply drop by to try their world famous brownies or amazing macadamia and chocolate cookies.

Alternatively if you can’t wait to visit Mindo you can buy their products online at and follow @Mindo_Chocolate on instagram!


Would you like to partner with El Quetzal and SALEM to enable our Students to create a future with real perspective?

Then become a sponsor of „Vivir Mi Vida scholarship program“ and make a regular monthly contribution to our Sponsorship Program

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our Project Manager Jonas Lange by mail

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