BY TOBY PORTER
A small businessman who set up a coffee business which gives homeless people jobs, a home and therapy, has been voted a winner in the Social Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
Cemal Ezel, from East Dulwich, has won £10,000 at the ceremony, presented by Nick Hewer, businessman and presenter of Channel 4’s Countdown. Cemal founded Change Please, a social enterprise which uses coffee as a way out of homelessness.
The business trains homeless people to become baristas and provides a London-living wage job, housing and bank account and therapy support to its beneficiaries. Selling coffee in mobile vans across London, Change Please coffee is now being stocked in 500 Sainsbury’s stores nationwide.
He said: “I am delighted to win the award. The £10,000 prize will help us to continue to increase the social impact of Change Please and enable us to purchase another coffee van, which can support eight homeless people per year.
“The support of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme over the past year has been fantastic, and I’ve learnt a lot from my Lloyds Bank mentor and fellow social entrepreneurs on the programme”
“We’re tackling homelessness, and with the public’s support, we can continue to do that and lift people off the street.”
Nick Hewer, presenter of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017 said, “It has been such an
inspirational evening presenting the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017 and it has been a privilege to meet so many individuals using enterprise to solve social issues within their communities.
“Cemal is a worthy winner and I look forward to seeing how Change Please continues to help people in the community.”
Paula Rogers, Head of Social Enterprise at Lloyds Banking Group said, “I’d like to offer my congratulations to Cemal as the winner of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017 and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for him.
“The calibre of this year’s finalists has been extremely high and they have made significant progress with the support of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, which sits at the heart of our commitment to help Britain prosper. I look forward to seeing how these individuals continue to create positive social change in their local communities.”
Alastair Wilson, CEO of School for Social Entrepreneurs said: “Cemal has made considerable progression over the past year with the support of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs and jointly funded by Big Lottery Fund and he is deserving winner of the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017.
“I look forward to seeing how the Award will help him to develop Change Please and continue to scale their social impact across London.”
The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme will support 2,350 entrepreneurs to start and scale a social business by 2020.The Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme, in partnership with School for Social Entrepreneurs, sits at the heart of Lloyds Banking Group’s commitment to help Britain prosper and will support 2,350 entrepreneurs to start and scale social businesses by 2020.
Cemal was one of five finalists shortlisted for the national Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the 2016/2017 and has received the grand prize of £10,000 to help develop Change Please even further.