Kicking Horse Coffee co-founder receives honorary degree at KPU

Wed, Jun 5, 2019

Kwantlen Polytechnic University will present Kicking Horse Coffee co-founder Elana Rosenfeld with an honorary degree to commemorate her entrepreneurial achievement of creating a world-renowned coffee company.

“I feel proud of where Kicking Horse Coffee is now and excited for what’s next. Last year we were named Best Workplace in Canada,” says Rosenfeld. “We’re the number one selling organic coffee in North America, and this year we’ve been recognized as Canada’s most trusted coffee brand by the Gustavson Brand Trust Index.”

“Elana’s entrepreneurial spirit is akin to what KPU stands for,” says Dr. Alan Davis, president and vice-chancellor of KPU. “Her optimism and resilience helped launch a company that is now recognized around the world and that speaks to her passion for what she does,”

In the mid-90s, after travelling the world, Rosenfeld wanted to stay in one place. Originally from Toronto, she decided to live in Invermere, B.C.

“I tried a few different things first – a whole food café, a fruit stand – before realizing my passion for coffee. Kicking Horse Coffee’s co-founder and I started roasting small batches of coffee in our garage in 1996. My mom asked us, ‘What are you two gonna do? Make coffee in your garage?!’ and that’s pretty much what we did.”

Rosenfeld majored in religious studies and minored in women’s studies at McGill University in Montreal.

“People are sometimes surprised that I don’t have a degree in business, but I think my arts background continues to play an important role in the way I do business. It has helped me bring more humanity to the workplace. For me, that’s really what it’s all about.”

Rosenfeld says the advice she wants to give graduating students is to really think about what they bring to their future careers.

“I believe in the concept of building humanity – compassion, empathy, thoughtfulness – into business. I want students to know that they can create a sustainable business that’s both successful and people-focused.”

Rosenfeld will receive the Honorary Doctor of Laws on June 6, 2019. To watch the ceremony live, please visit