Many social enterprises struggle to balance social and commercial objectives. For some, ‘business as usual’ is even more difficult, as On Purpose Associate Katherine Hewetson explains.
Before my first day at Bad Boys Bakery I had neither stepped foot in a prison nor baked any sort of bread. Sadly I still can’t bake, but during my placement I gained invaluable insight into the tension inherent in an initiative of this kind.
Bad Boys Bakery is a social enterprise based in HM Prison Brixton. It provides men with convictions with new skills to support them into employment on release, while producing and selling high quality bread and cakes to London restaurants and cafes. The bakery has 10 regular customers; the largest is The Joint, which buys over 2,200 freshly baked vanilla and fig sourdough rolls every week.
From day one of my placement, we urgently needed to reduce overheads and increase productivity to ensure the Bakery not only covered its costs but invested back into the bakers’ training. However, normal commercial principles were almost impossible to apply in this setting. Read more →