We’re sending a startup to Necker Island – again!
How’s this for a perk? Virgin StartUp-funded Cemal Ezel is being sent on an all expenses paid mentoring trip to Necker Island to hang out with Sir Richard Branson.
Cemal, who took out a £25,000 Virgin StartUp loan to launch his business, will be attending Virgin Unite’s ‘Disrupting for Good’ Leadership Gathering on Necker Island at the end of April. The event will see global thought leaders and influencers gather in order to discuss how to build a better world through entrepreneurship.
It’s a brilliant opportunity for Cemal to share the story of Change Please, a social enterprise that’s dedicated to helping homeless people out of their situation by training and employing them as baristas. Not everyone will buy a Big Issue, but it seems almost everyone wants a coffee. Cemal’s business sees homeless people managing coffee stands outside busy London locations. It’s a realistic and game-changing model that’s already seeing huge results.
Long-term readers will also remember that we sent entrepreneur Nat Peat of Gennex to this summit last year – an opportunity that had a huge impact on his business.
More and more businesses are realising that you don’t have to choose between making money and making the world a better place. After travelling in Vietnam and visiting a tea house run by deaf and mute women, Cemal quit his job, and co-founded the Old Spike Roastery – a sustainable coffee wholesaler and café in London. This helped the victims of landmines and domestic abuse survivors in Peru. And when Cemal also saw a chance to affect change closer to home, he decided to go for it. Change Please was born.
Since launching in July, Change Please have gone from strength to strength and now have eight mobile coffee vans and twelve people employed. All staff are paid the London Living Wage of £9.15 an hour, but they’re also given opportunities for housing, a bank account, and further employment chances with major chains once they’ve gained more experience.
Virgin Unite saw a super high quality of entrants, and it’s testament to Cemal’s truly life-changing work that he’ll be embarking on this opportunity. Stay tuned for more content following his amazing journey – and in the meantime, why not swap your coffee-chain caffeine hit for something that does good in the world?