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Cafe Stepping Stone

Creation date: 2017

Country: Colombia

Location: Bolívar

Sector of activity: Food and drinks

Social issue: Diversity (people in state of exclusion, minorities and people with disabilities) · Education (access to education and skills) · Environment and rural settings · Other

Cafe Stepping Stone is a social café for businesses that serve high quality and nutritious food and beverages. "Tourists and locals alike can enjoy and experience the hospitality and culture of Australian coffee shops while helping the less fortunate," explains Vanessa Brettell, co-founder of the venture. "Our aim is to increase education and employment, improve the position of disadvantaged young people and give them the skills and confidence to make progress toward their future."

The aim is to provide a safe and comfortable space for young people to do internships: "through this experience, the café will provide them with opportunities and skills for future employment." The program is quite thorough: "We develop their ability to move out of extreme poverty through education about labor laws, hospitality and customer service, computer skills, English, nutrition, economics, and more. In addition, we offer flexible working hours so that our staff can study at the same time."

This comprehensive training program makes the venture an innovative business that, in addition to being sustainable with its income, provides tools such as education to fight poverty and enrich their communities. "Partnerships with local ethical suppliers and the reputation of being socially responsible and sustainable have given us an edge in the ethical tourism market." Their example is spreading: "The success and recognition of the café has now inspired others wishing to take on similar projects to seek our advice."