In today's competitive and profit-driven world, WCC-World Communion Cups (WCC) stands out for its longevity and dedication to social enterprise. Founded in 1983 and celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, WCC has come a long way since its inception under Stephan Kovey.
WCC's journey traces back to Kenneth Hagen, a specialist in designing disposable products for picnics and camping. In 1983, Kenneth was approached with a unique request: to create a disposable cup that could be sent worldwide. With limited resources, Kenneth cobbled together equipment in his small shop in Shelburn, Indiana, and produced cups that soon found their way to worldwide destinations.
Following Kenneth’s death, the business was passed down to Kenneth’s daughter and her husband who ran the business for many years. The company was the first to produce disposable communion cups and while competitors did enter the market, they saw it as a service for churches, not a for-profit business. The couple decided to retire in 2011, and that’s when Stephan stepped in. Stephan had a friend who worked with reentry programs for former offenders. He saw an opportunity to purchase WCC to offer jobs and assistance to people looking for a new beginning. The transition enabled the company to broaden its reach and mission.
The transformation of WCC under Stephan's leadership was remarkable, with the company experiencing a tenfold increase in sales in a mere two years. This was largely due to the emergence of the company's single-use and recyclable products, which became increasingly popular during the pandemic. As the demand for WCC's products increased, Stephan invested in additional equipment, staff, and premises to accommodate the growth.
One significant milestone was the implementation of an automation process designed by local young engineers, streamlining production. However, the rapid growth also brought challenges in managing a workforce that grew from 10 to over 150 employees. Over time, the company has managed to strike a balance.
Throughout its journey, WCC has remained committed to social enterprise. A significant focus has been on hiring individuals facing difficulties in employment, including ex-offenders, addiction survivors, and domestic violence survivors. This commitment has not only provided employment opportunities but also helped build a sense of community.
WCC's dedication to social enterprise extends beyond its immediate community. Locally, they sponsor a women's shelter and support various non-profit organizations. Nationally, the company collaborates with Christian groups for funding reentry programs. Internationally, they engage in projects such as supporting children's programming in Costa Rica.
Stephan Kovey envisions expanding the social enterprise model in the United States and strongly believes, “Businesses can play a significant role in creating a more harmonious society. Our mission is not only to generate revenue but also to make a positive impact on our communities.”
Stephan believes that the key to success lies in a company's ability to engage with employees, shareholders, other companies, and the community. A servant leadership approach, where the company serves its people, customers, and the community, is central to its vision. WCC is not just selling cups; it's spreading unity, support, and community growth, one cup at a time.
Contact: Ray Bergman
Email: [email protected]