Kids at a school in a deprived area of Hamburg are now running their own successful business, thanks to a little help from Barclaycard. A nine-strong team of volunteers has helped the students at Schule am See to set up and run a café inside their school.
Barclaycard colleagues were involved with the project from the start, helping the 18 students to work out their organisational structure and develop a business plan. The kids were given advice on setting up a company, dividing responsibilities and setting prices, and also learned about the law and the fundamentals of financial management.
The scheme began in January 2013 and ran throughout 2014. The café is now open daily and made €700 in profit in its second year of operation.
The pupils take charge of everything from buying ingredients, preparing food and selling through to financial aspects such as bookkeeping, cost control and accounting for income and expenditure.
In recognition of the partnership’s success, Barclaycard Germany recently received the ‘school award’ from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. It was also selected as one of the finalists in Barclays’ Citizenship Awards.
“From the start, colleagues have volunteered with huge enthusiasm and full commitment to helping the pupils build a successful business,” says Anna Avarello, Marketing Manager, Communications at Barclaycard Germany.
“They have passed on knowledge from their professional lives. Legal colleagues helped the pupils with the legal basis for the school company; marketing colleagues explained the fundamentals of advertising and promotion; finance colleagues talked about Money Skills; colleagues from our Corporate Affairs team conducted a Public Relations workshop with the kids. We also had a member of our Executive Committee speak to the young managers about leadership.”
The café is off to a strong start – and the students are already planning for the future. Profits will be invested directly back into the cafe, as requested by all the pupils, in order to extend the range of products and enable more marketing. The kids have also been able to convince the school’s management that the café should become a long-term, established part of the school.
It’s a legacy for the school, and for the students. As Anna explains, “By working on the school café, the pupils are learning skills that will help them long after they leave the Schule am See. They’ve learned the fundamentals of setting up and running a business. They’ve learned that success always requires good cooperation, teamwork, respect, integrity, responsibility and service."
And when it comes time to transfer to vocational training, they’ll be able to prove it. All the students receive credit for the school café in their references, to show potential employers the valuable commercial skills they’ve gained.