House of Cinn – founded by David and Itseoritseno – sells cinnamon-baked goods to help rough sleepers get off the streets of London. Through their partnership with the Street Cafe charity, they’re able to be part of a unique project where they meet rough sleepers on the streets, build supportive communities around them, and then give them a chance to regain financial freedom within their social enterprise. We chatted to the duo about their charitable business and the challenges they’ve faced:

How did you come up with the idea for the business?

House of Cinn came from a volunteering group called Street Cafe. The mission of this group was to build a community for people experiencing homelessness and poverty. We built friendships and relationships with our service users and realised that we could be the practical help required to bridge the gap between their situations and the amazing resources available from larger organisations. To do so, we decided to start House of Cinn, a bakery social enterprise that was born out of our passion to help others and our love for cinnamon buns.

Was it always the plan to make the business charitable or did that come later?

Our social mission was actually the driving force to create a business. As Street Cafe, we did not want to rely solely on donations to carry out our activities so we decided to create a business that could reinvest the profits into the social cause behind it to create a sustainable approach to helping people experiencing homelessness.

Why did you choose to support homeless charities?

Since 2017 we have been in close relationships with people experiencing a wide variety of challenges that have kept them trapped in the cycles of homelessness through our volunteering work. It was a natural choice when we decided to create a social enterprise to support this cause.

What has been the most challenging thing about setting up your business?

Manufacturing and production without a doubt. From our humble beginnings, we started baking our cinnamon buns thanks to the generosity of West London Mission who offered their kitchen units for us to get our business up and running. However, as we continued to grow we required the expansion of these facilities which soon became quite a significant obstacle to bypass.

 How has external support, for example, the Thrive with Sainsbury’s programme, helped you?

Thrive from Sainsbury’s has been extremely helpful in our journey during the past few months. They have provided inside knowledge of the industry that otherwise we would haven’t had access to and created a great opportunity to connect us with their network of contacts as well as a generous range of workshops and courses. They have helped us on our journey trying to find manufacturing opportunities and also tightening up our marketing strategies.

What advice do you have for people thinking about setting up a similar business?

Please make sure you are passionate about the social cause behind your business so that there is a real reason to push through the tough times and have a product that stands by itself so that your social venture is an added value and not the core USP for your product.

For further information on House of Cinn, see here