Working with some of London’s best known bakeries, Breadwinners is an innovative new charity, providing a leg up to those struggling to find employment in the UK capital.
With just a bike, a trailer, and bread from a local bakery, Breadwinners offers individuals all the tools to set up their own fresh bread delivery business and start earning.
Business Advice caught up with founder Marika Chaplais to find out more about the exciting initiative.
(1) Who are you and what’s your business?
I’m Marika Chaplais. I have set up Breadwinners Foundation, a charity which works as a catalyst to empower people who are unemployed to transform their circumstances by becoming their own boss.
We arm those who need it most with everything they need to set up and power their own bread delivery business – delivering fresh, locally sourced and beautiful bread to their community by bike.
(2) How long have you been around for?
John Lister, of the Shipton organic mill first had the idea for Breadwinners when thinking of ways to put to good use the old and characterful Suzuku van he stored in the back shed of his bakery, known endearingly as The Cadallic.
I became involved in 2015 and we founded the charity in April of 2016. We have just launched, and bread is now available to order from our website. www.breadwinners.org.uk
(3) How do you make money?
We are a registered charity and our funds so far have come from Shipton Mill, who have invested in Breadwinners from the start and our incredible funders – the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, UnLtd and The Lloyds bank social entrepreneurs programme, in partnership with the School for Social Entrepreneurs and the Big Lottery Fund.
We also offer the opportunity for individuals or corporates to sponsor a bike and have their name or logo on the trailer, or to donate on our website.
(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?
Breadwinners is an innovative new charity offering those struggling to find employment an opportunity to start their own fresh bread delivery business.
We are not just another employment programme. We offer those who need it most all the microfinance, training, equipment and contacts they need to become entrepreneurs – and a chance to really take back control of their lives and finances, learn transferable skills, and create a business they can grow, invest in and be proud of.
The bread is special too. We champion local, exceptional breads. We work with the best bakeries in London, handpicked because they share our passion for the highest quality ingredients, traditional baking methods and social change.
Customers order online, with free delivery and no minimum order. Your local Breadwinners collects your order fresh from the bakery the day it is baked – bringing the best of London’s loaves right to your door.
The Breadwinner pays cost price to the bakery for each loaf bought and keeps the difference, so every single penny of profit powers their business.
(5) What was key in terms of getting started?
The community that came together around Breadwinners was absolutely key in getting started. Local bike shop, Paradise Cycles built each bike from old Royal Mail Pashley bikes, and hand made our bread boxes.
Co-working space Bathtub 2 Boardroom have let me work in their office for a full year at no cost. The designers at Lewis Moberly created amazing visuals for the trailers as well as individual Breadwinners logos and Bread Collective created our charity logo.
Our brilliant website was created by Naughty Digital with next to zero budget. I also can’t recommend the sharing site Echo enough – it introduced us to dozens of people who have supported and helped, and finally we were lucky enough to build brilliant partnerships with the very best of London’s bakeries – The Celtic Bakers and Gail’s Bakery – and leading charities such as St Mungo’s and Café at Crisis.
(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Our biggest achievement was securing funding from UnLtd, The School of Social Entrepreneurs and The players of the People’s Postcode Lottery who will be empowering a total of eight Breadwinners to start their own business and earn a sustainable income across London in the next six months.
(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?
I’ve learnt that nothing happens as quickly as you’d like, but that is ok! We’ve had various setbacks along the way, but everything works out for the best in the end.
(8) In five years’ time, I will be…
Rolling out Breadwinners in cities across the world. It’s a very simple model – all that is needed is a bike, a trailer, a bakery, people who want to start their own business and people who like beautiful artisan bread. We have already had interest in from Bristol to New York and look forward to expanding.
(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?
People love to help. There is always someone who knows the answer, and nine times out of ten, they will be open to a coffee and sharing knowledge with you so don’t be afraid to ask.
(10) Who are your business heroes and why?
The trustees of the charity, including John Lister, who came up with Breadwinners and is passionate about ensuring his businesses are sustainable and creating employment, while championing real bread.
Carla Cornwell and Laura Bassett are charity and fundraising geniuses, and George Garrad has infinite knowledge of the homelessness sector and helping people into work.
I am also lucky enough to know incredible female founders and masters who are constant wonders – especially Mim McCulloch and Katerina Rayburn of WildandRayburn, Sophie Andre of Elysia Catering, Alison Battisby of Avocado Social and the unstoppable Powys sisters at Elephant Family.
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