Zita Cobb is the Founder and CEO of Shorefast and is the Innkeeper of the Fogo Island Inn. In 2021, Zita made history as the first social entrepreneur to be inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Hailing from Fogo Island herself, Zita comes from a fishing family and throughout her life has had an immense appreciation for nature, community, and her hometown. After a successful career in the high-tech industry, Zita returned to Fogo Island in the early 00’s to help grow another leg on the Island’s struggling economy to complement its ever-important fishery. To support the island’s delicate fishing ecosystem and local economy, Zita founded Shorefast alongside her two brothers in 2004. The registered Canadian charity is on a mission to build cultural and economic resilience for the small, offshore communities of Fogo Island and the Change Islands.
Shorefast operates several initiatives and social business, the most internationally renowned being the Fogo Island Inn that Zita opened in 2013, which has become a coveted vacation destination for travellers all over the world. In doing this work, Zita was awarded the Order of Canada in 2016 for collaborating with the local community and creating opportunities. Amidst the national and international attention, the continual reinvestment in the community the Inn facilitates is the most impressive aspect. As a complete social enterprise, excess proceeds from the Inn are put back into Fogo Island, contributing to Shorefast’s overall initiative to strengthen the local economy, allowing the community to thrive while helping to preserve traditional ways of life on the island.