As London continues its love affair with artisanal coffee, Community Interest Company (CIC) We Walk The Line is using coffee to help vulnerable people into work.
The social enterprise helps young people not in education, training or employment, homeless people and ex-offenders to develop business and barista skills so that, in time, they will be able to run their own coffee stall and become self-employed. All profits go towards providing employees, when they are ready, with their own coffee cart and pitch, creating a new micro-business. The franchise model also offers them accounting, insurance, marketing and advisory support.
And that support is clearly needed. In one survey, 65% of young people said they would want to run their own business – but 51% said they didn’t have the money and 30% said they would need mentoring. A huge 80% feel that the current education system doesn’t prepare them for becoming their own boss.
Since August 2014, employability workshops have been delivered to over 70 people. One former homeless person is currently being trained as a peer mentor for the first cohort of apprentice entrepreneurs, and the enterprise recently raised almost £25,000 on Kickstarter.