A veteran of the consumer packaged goods industry, Daymara Baker had a vision for creating a business that puts a social mission above profit. Founded two years ago, Rockin’ Baker Academy in Fayetteville, Ark., serves up tasty treats while providing a “
Founded two years ago, Rockin’ Baker Academy in Fayetteville, Ark., serves up tasty treats while providing a “breaducation” for workers who have a hard time entering the job market due to poverty, intellectual disabilities, or other disadvantages. The entrepreneurial nonprofit provides training on food safety and baking, as well as “soft skills” such as teamwork, accountability, communications and customer service. Rockin’ Baker Academy was runner-up in Women Impacting Public Policy’s photo contest for National Small Business Week this spring.
“I wanted to do something that would sell but that also would be welcomed by the community,” Daymara said. “There needed to be a place for people who have a hard time finding a job and needed a second chance.”
Daymara founded a 501c3 nonprofit organization and a 501c4 public-benefit corporation that funnels proceeds from the bakery to the nonprofit. The 501c4 organization allowed her to seek a small-business loan to jumpstart the project, which opened with a storefront in November 2016. After just eight months in operation, Rockin Baker has three full-time employees, one part-time worker and a volunteer.
Beyond her enterprising spirit, Daymara said being a woman has contributed to her success in opening a socially minded business. “As women, we have a higher level of empathy,” she said. “By nature, we are more emotionally connected to what we are trying to achieve.”
Because the academy is a virtually unheard-of concept locally, Daymara said the bakery is developing a loyal customer base that not only eats, but donates. The project also has expanded to offer over-the-counter breakfast and lunch goods.
“When they learn why I am doing this and that we are not just a bakery, they are feeling good about themselves because they are helping somebody else,” she said.
For more information, visit rockinbakeracademy.org.