What if the marginalized homeless could join the workforce to produce a popular product for an ever-growing market? That was exactly the vision of a few forward-thinking Brits who started “We Walk The Line,” an enterprise whose goal is to teach young and disadvantaged individuals a useful trade: namely, that of a coffee shop owner and barista.
The company works through an apprenticeship-based business model. The end goal of the coffee-centered apprenticeship is to leave young, disadvantaged people with marketable skills and the means with which to set up their own mini coffee shop kiosks–little red stands attached to bicycles.
“We help with the buying of stock, with ongoing marketing and support, paperwork, licensing and that sort of thing,” said We Walk The Line’s co-founder Kieron Tilley. “In return you run your coffee concession as a self-employed person, supported by the social enterprise.”
The founders of We Walk The Line, Matt Corbett and Tilley, hope to encourage the dispossessed to gain independence and skills to support themselves in practical ways. At the moment, the company is focusing on barista and coffee training, but the founders say that in the next couple years the company could be moving toward anything from florist training to bike repair.