A coffee company based in London is helping the city’s homeless to get off the street. Change Please is working to make a positive global message and make a difference in people’s lives.
The Londoners’ love of coffee has made it possible for a local company called Change Please to make a difference. For the last two years, the business has changed the way many people think of coffee companies. Moreover, it has been successful enough at this effort to be able to rapidly scale up.
In fact, it is already considered to be a rival for some of the largest names in the industry. Yet, they’re not doing things the same way as their more traditional and highly successful counterparts and they’re making a social difference at the same time.
“We want to be the fourth-biggest coffee chain in the UK. We’re not holding back,” said Cemal Ezel, the founder of Change Please. Ezel is a Londoner who was previously employed by the city. At that job, he suffered disillusionment with his purpose and decided to launch the social enterprise.
From there, the company managed to win the U.K. leg of the Chivas Venture. That recognition is awarded to the best social enterprises around the globe. The worldwide award will occur in May.
Change Please faces greater challenges than the traditional coffee company. Not only does it need to make sure that it is a viable and competitive business, but it must also live up to its social purpose as well. This is a company that is designed to make a positive change in the world.
It does this right from the very cups they use to serve their coffee. Each one is 100 percent recyclable. Furthermore, the coffee beans it uses are sourced from responsible forms that support local communities. For instance, one of its Peruvian suppliers assists victims of domestic abuse. One of its Tanzanian suppliers helps people injured by landmines.
Once the coffee beans arrive in the United Kingdom, the company trains and employs people who have been sleeping on the streets. Those formerly homeless workers learn how to roast the beans or how to be baristas who prepare the beverages at any of the company’s 17 locations. Those workers are paid £10.20 per hour, the current London Living Wage, and are provided with support in obtaining housing, opening bank accounts, receiving therapy, and getting help with employment beyond the coffee shops. All the company’s profits are spent on assisting in the reduction of homelessness.