SASKATOON -- The CEO and owner of Saskatoon-based Road Coffee Co. is one of three finalists in a national business competition.

With the $20,000 prize, Alisha Esmail said she could grow the microloan side of the operation.

“It could definitely help us in this next phase of growth, growth is expensive … I think some of the finances would go towards one of our upcoming microloan projects and help a family in Peru, help move their business to the next stage as well.”

HerTurn is an online business competition created by Amber MacArthur along with BDC, PayPal and Facebook Canada.

“I’m the one person outside of Ontario, the other two are both Ontario businesses and so it’s really exciting to represent the prairies and now I’m just busy getting these challenges done for the competition,” Esmail said.

Her challenges now include recording a day-in-the-life video and creating an advertisement ahead of the Dec. 2 finale in Toronto.

Part of the Road Coffee Co. business is financing microloans with coffee farmers in South America.

“Those are our suppliers and we’re really happy with the development project so far. These microloans have helped farmers access loans to purchase equipment and we’re seeing some amazing results from that and we’ve actually been able to improve the quality of specific coffees.”

Celebrating four years in business, Esmail said she is surprised with how much she has been able to accomplish in Saskatoon and beyond.

“If you would’ve told a couple of years ago I would end up launching a microloan program making a really big difference in the lives of these coffee farmers, I don’t know if I would have believed you.

“But here we are and there’s no slowing down now.”

The finale will be live-streamed on Amber Mac Media.