We Walk the Line29 May 2015
With everyone seemingly trying to raise funds these days (yes, including us) to become the next coffee, tech, digital loyalty card or home delivery giant, it’s refreshing to see something like We Walk the Line roll up on Kickstarter with their “Coffee with a Conscience” campaign.
The campaign has just over 30 days to go and is raising £20,000 in order to empower disadvantaged people to manage and earn from their own companies. We sit down with founders Mat and Kieron to learn more.
LBC: Tells us about We Walk the Line. How did it come about?
We Walk the Line: Seeing youth unemployment rise during austerity and facing another wasted generation we knew we had to do something positive to make a difference. We Walk the Line works with the excluded so they can become their own boss. We founded We Walk the Line in 2013 as we were increasingly frustrated with the existing system to achieve real lasting change in the lives of the disadvantaged.
LBC: What is the purpose of the organisation?
WWL: We empower tomorrow's entrepreneurs with business & barista skills. We invest our profits & coach our employees to be their own boss.
LBC: What are your professional backgrounds?
WWL: We both worked with the socially excluded and the disadvantaged in society, Kieron at the award winning Prison Radio Association and Mat at an international Human Rights education charity.
LBC: So, why coffee? And who designed the amazing cart?
WWL: We love the Big Issue model, and thought to ourselves - why shouldn’t people buy coffee that gives back too?
The coffee trike was designed and built by the great guys at Velopresso.
LBC: How do you recruit people to work as baristas? Or how do they find you?
WWL: We work with partner organisations such as The House of St Barnabas and Bootstrap who refer potential baristas to us when they are ready to make that leap to the next level.
LBC: And once they’ve become part of your programme, is there a training process? And, do you continue to provide support after they've been trained?
WWL: We only employ people who need a break, young people at risk of dropping out of education or the disadvantaged who need a second chance. We coach our employees and teach them on the job how to run their own coffee cart. We mentor them over one year to become self-sufficient business people, equipping them with both business and barista skills.
All our profits go to setting up our employees when they are ready with their own coffee cart and pitch, creating a new micro business. We continue to support all our entrepreneurs through a social franchise model, supporting them with accounting, insurance, marketing and the benefits of bulk buying stock.
We believe in learning by doing – the whole programme is not academic, and is very hands on. Nude Espresso and our Cyborg Barista Tom provide the artisanal coffee skills.
LBC: How did you end up working with Nude Espresso?
WWL: We loved the taste! We also love the fact that Nude are direct trade and their supply chain is fairtrade plus!
LBC: Tell us about the Kickstarter campaign and what you'll do with the funds if you're successful.
WWL: We are looking to raise £20,000 to pilot the 'Coffee with a Conscience' project where the cash you spend on buying your daily caffeine hit supports new micro-business and sustainable business people. We need funding to support our mentorship programme of the soon to be self-employed baristas and prove our Theory of Change model, secure investment to scale up and work with more people across the UK to be their own boss.
We Walk the Line’s Kickstarter campaign is here.