FEATURE-From homeless chefs to fire hose handbags, social entrepreneurs thrive in UK
Thomson Reuters Foundation-
Leon Seraphin left school at the age of 14, lost his job for many years and spent months in prison for a botched robbery.
In 2004, an employment charity offered him an apprenticeship at a restaurant in east London, which he said not only taught him how to cook, but also taught him \"how to keep his job: on time in the morning \".
Seraphin himself has also become a chef, including working with top chef Raymond Blanc.
\"I even cook for the Queen: smoked salmon, lamb, bread and butter pudding,\" he said proudly . \".
He now works in Brigade, a restaurant in London that trains and hires homeless people.
According to the British social enterprise organization \"British social enterprise\", Seraphin is one of nearly 1 million people working in about 80,000 social enterprises in the UK.
Social entrepreneurs are usually people who use business strategies to solve social and environmental problems and combine social and economic interests.
Over the past decade, businesses aimed at achieving social development have grown rapidly in the UK and around the world.
Russell Gill, member director, UK supermarket Ltd.
Consumer cooperative op
\"No industry can benefit from social goals,\" says Operative.
\"Businesses need to recognize the surge in customers who want to address social community issues,\" he told Thomson Reuters Foundation at a social entrepreneur gathering in London last week.
More and more small businesses in the UK and around the world provide consumers with sustainable alternatives to the environment.
British startup Elvis & Kresse uses fire hoses retired from the London Fire Brigade to make luxury goods such as handbags and wallets.
Kresse Wesling and her husband, Elvis, started their business after realizing that the London Fire Department threw out 10 tons of fire hoses a year, \"40 pounds in the pocket and a belt in the bedroom\"
\"I \'ve always been fascinated by garbage,\" she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation . \".
Reducing food waste is also becoming more and more popular.
London\'s first zero-
This summer, scrap supermarkets sell bulk goods, products made from scrap products and durable alternatives to typical disposable products such as plastic tableware, razors and sponges.
Toast beer, for example, is a craft beer made entirely of excess bread, otherwise it will be thrown away. “Forty-
Julie Preble, production manager at Toast Ale, said: \"4% of the bread is wasted in the UK . \".
\"So we turned a product with a shorter shelf life-bread-into a beer that lasts longer and makes more profit.
Jill believes that although social enterprises are trying to change people\'s lives, this is \"not an excuse for the second time\"
Rating the product, you have to be as good as your competitors \".
\"Unlike charity, there must be something in the social industry, not just for others, but more importantly for customers,\" he said . \". Wesling agrees.
\"Social businesses don\'t necessarily mean poor quality: our artisans come from Prada and Vuitton, and we\'re cheaper because we don\'t have supermodels or shareholders,\" she laughs . \".
Contrary to public opinion, social enterprises are \"obsessed with maximizing financial value \".
\"Give me 1,000 kg of the leather scrap and I will give you 100,000 pounds-most of it is used to pay people,\" she said . \".
However, access to capital remains a major obstacle for many businesses, said Kieran white of Good Finance, a website that helps social businesses acquire and manage investments.
\"Social investment is only correct if it can be repaid, so social enterprises need to have a good understanding of their financial situation,\" he said . \". (
Zoe taboli @ zoetabary reports, edited by Ros Russell.
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