DO­ING GOOD AND DO­ING BUSI­NESS

LOVE TO HELP OTH­ERS AND MAKE A LIV­ING AT THE SAME TIME? ANNA MOORE HEARS HOW TH­ESE SO­CIAL EN­TREPRENEURS MADE IT WORK

Woman & Home - - Contents -

THE SO­CIAL EN­TREPRENEURS WHO EARN A LIV­ING AND HELP OTH­ERS TOO

‘My job as a barista has given me a life’

Launch­ing a so­cial en­ter­prise is like launch­ing any other busi­ness. You’ll be jug­gling the end­less chal­lenges of any start-up – the name, the web­site, the le­gal is­sues, the fi­nance, the mar­ket­ing. The dif­fer­ence is the pur­pose and end re­sult. If you’re run­ning a so­cial en­ter­prise, you’re not driven solely by prof­its – there’s a so­cial ben­e­fit at its heart too. So if you have an idea, or a fledg­ling busi­ness, the School for So­cial En­trepreneurs can help – here’s how…

How buy­ing a cof­fee can help the homeless find work

CHANGEPLEASE.ORG IS A NOT-FORPROFIT OR­GAN­I­SA­TION BACKED BY THE BIG IS­SUE FOUN­DA­TION. IT IS SERV­ING UP HOPE ALONG WITH DE­LI­CIOUS COF­FEE BY TRAIN­ING HOMELESS PEO­PLE TO WORK AS BARISTAS ON MO­BILE COF­FEE CARTS, PAY­ING THEM A LIV­ING WAGE AND HELP­ING THEM FIND HOUS­ING. IT WAS CO-FOUNDED BY FOR­MER CITY WORKER CEMAL EZEL, 33, WHO IS A CUR­RENT STU­DENT OF THE SCHOOL FOR SO­CIAL EN­TREPRENEURS AND WHOSE PART­NER BUSI­NESS IS A SPE­CIAL­ITY COF­FEE SHOP CALLED OLD SPIKE ROASTERY IN SOUTH-EAST LON­DON. HERE, CHANGE PLEASE’S FIRST EM­PLOYEE, LUCY STANCIU, 53, TELLS HOW SHE AND CEMAL MET AND WHAT HAP­PENED NEXT.

I CAME TO THE UK FROM RO­MA­NIA WITH MY HUS­BAND MAR­IAN FIVE YEARS AGO. WE HAD THREE CHIL­DREN – THEN AGED 11, 13 AND 15 – BUT NO WORK. MAR­IAN AND I USED TO SELL FRUIT AND VEG IN A MAR­KET IN BUCHAREST, BUT THAT WAS CLOSED DOWN. IT WAS HOPE­LESS, THERE WERE NO JOBS, NO FU­TURE. WE HAD TO FIND WORK AND LEFT THE CHIL­DREN WITH MY MUM AND CAME HERE WITH ALL OUR SAV­INGS – £500 – TO TRY TO MAKE A LIFE FOR THEM.

THAT MONEY WAS GONE IN WEEKS. EV­ERY­THING WAS SO EX­PEN­SIVE AND ALTHOUGH I AP­PLIED FOR JOBS – FOR ANY WORK AT ALL – I COULDN’T SPEAK ENGLISH AND NO ONE WANTED ME. MAR­IAN AND I SPENT A LOT OF NIGHTS SLEEP­ING AT VIC­TO­RIA STA­TION – WE HAD NO MONEY TO GO HOME, AND NO IDEA WHAT WE’D DO. THEN WE STARTED SELL­ING The Big Is­sue MAG­A­ZINE AND MAN­AGED TO GET A ROOM IN A SHARED HOUSE.

CEMAL WAS A REG­U­LAR CUS­TOMER. HE WOULD SEE ME EV­ERY MORN­ING

AND SAY HELLO, BUT ONE DAY HE ASKED – US­ING GOOGLE TRANS­LATE – IF I WANTED TO TRAIN AS A BARISTA

IN HIS NEW COM­PANY. I TRAINED AT WEEK­ENDS – IT TOOK THREE OR FOUR MONTHS, AS THE COF­FEE HAS TO BE RE­ALLY GOOD.

NOW I RUN THE CART AT CA­NARY WHARF, START­ING AT 6.40AM AND FIN­ISH­ING AT 3PM. I GET PAID A NOR­MAL SALARY AND I HAVE LOVELY CUS­TOMERS

WHO ALL KNOW ME, AND CHAT EV­ERY DAY AND IM­PROVE MY ENGLISH. ONE OF THEM HAS GIVEN ME AN ENGLISH BOOK AND HELPS ME PRAC­TISE SPEAK­ING. MAR­IAN ALSO WORKS FOR CHANGE PLEASE NOW. WE HAVE THREE ROOMS IN A HOUSE AND WE’RE ABLE TO SEND MONEY HOME TO THE CHIL­DREN EV­ERY WEEK. I SPEAK TO THEM EV­ERY SUN­DAY AND, LAST JUNE, MAR­IAN AND I COULD AF­FORD TO FLY BACK FOR THE FIRST TIME AND SEE THEM. WE’RE GO­ING AGAIN THIS SUM­MER. I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW HAPPY I AM TO

DO THIS JOB – IT HAS GIVEN US A LIFE. IT HAS GIVEN US A CHANCE.

CHANGE PLEASE CO-FOUNDER CEMAL SAYS: THE DE­MAND FOR COF­FEE HAS MORE THAN DOU­BLED SINCE 2010. WHY NOT

USE THAT TO EM­PLOY HOMELESS PEO­PLE? IN­STEAD OF THEM ASK­ING PASSERS-BY

FOR MONEY, PASSERS-BY CAN ASK THEM FOR COF­FEE. THAT IN­TER­AC­TION CAN GIVE THEM THEIR PRIDE BACK.

THE ORIG­I­NAL FI­NANCE CAME FROM DIF­FER­ENT SOURCES. I GOT AS­SET FI­NANCE – A LOAN FROM A PRI­VATE COM­PANY – AND A START-UP LOAN FROM VIR­GIN. I ALSO USED SAV­INGS AND BOR­ROWED FROM FRIENDS AND FAM­ILY. I WENT ON A SCHOOL FOR SO­CIAL EN­TREPRENEURS COURSE IN THE EARLY STAGES AND CHOSE LUCY AS MY FIRST EM­PLOYEE.

I USED TO SEE HER SELL­ING The Big Is­sue AND SHE’S SUCH A WARM PER­SON – HER SMILE, THE WAY SHE INTERACTED WITH EVERY­ONE, I KNEW SHE’D BE WON­DER­FUL! THERE’S NOW A PIC­TURE OF LUCY ON A BILL­BOARD AT HEATHROW ALONG­SIDE PIC­TURES OF BEEFEATERS

AND OTHER LON­DON FACES, SAY­ING “WEL­COME TO LON­DON”. SHE HAS FACED SO MANY CHAL­LENGES, BUT SHE HAS A SMILE ON HER FACE ALL THE TIME. >>

LUCY CAME FROM RO­MA­NIA WITH HER HUS­BAND FIVE YEARS AGO

THE CHANGE PLEASE TEAM WITH LUCY, FOURTH FROM LEFT,

AND CEMAL, FAR RIGHT LUCY SERVES UP FRESHLY ROASTED OLD SPIKE COF­FEE LUCY WITH CHANGE PLEASE CO-FOUNDERS CEMAL (RIGHT) AND RICHARD ROBIN­SON

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