What exactly is a social enterprise, with Juta Shoes | Sponsored

Make your own espadrilles shoes workshop 4; credit Kanahaya Alam.jpg

It’s not the product itself that sits at the core of the business, but the people involved in producing the product


One category we’re especially proud of here at More This. Less That. are our ‘Social Enterprise’ brands. We thought it was time to shine a light on exactly how these work, so if you’ve ever wondered exactly what a social enterprise is, read on…

Whilst charities usually fund their work through donations and fundraising, a social enterprise is a business, with (as The name implies) social objectives

It’s not the product itself that sits at the core of the business, but the people involved in producing the product. Rather than being driven by the need to maximise profit for shareholders and owners, products and services are sold to fund the social enterprise’s mission, which usually involves providing employment and a long term skill for people who, for varying reasons, struggle to obtain or maintain employment.

Juta Shoes, based in Bethnal Green in East London, is an award-winning social enterprise that was set up to equip local women who face barriers to work with skills, opportunity and confidence. Their mission is to combat both financial and social isolation by providing well-paid, flexible employment opportunities to build confidence and gain new skills, within a strong supportive community. The company trains and employs local women to handcraft bespoke, sustainable shoes and teach shoemaking and craft workshops.

In the Tower Hamlets borough, where Juta Shoes are based, over a quarter of residents are income-deprived (this figure is even higher among BAME women), and women are even more likely to be underpaid or unemployed. Juta’s makers have faced a number of barriers to work, such as a lack of previous work experience, a lack of formal qualifications, English as a second language, or childcare or other caring responsibilities that make it difficult to find work.

"Being a mother of three kids, it has not been easy to work and look after my young family at the same time but Juta Shoes allows me to do that and gives me great pleasure." - Makers of Juta Shoes

As well as a range of espadrilles, Juta Shoes also put on regular workshops in their studio where you can learn to make your own pair of bespoke, up-cycled leather shoes. You’ll be supported through every step of the process from selecting the right size to colour. They also host private group workshops for 5-15 people so whether you’re looking to celebrate a birthday, hen-do, or a company looking for a rewarding team workshop. Previous customers have included Anthropologie, AirBnB, Belu Water, Daylesford Farm, Forward3D, Investec and WeWork.

Our other social enterprises on More This. Less That include organisations that work both within the UK and further afield. Aerende sell beautiful products and gifts for your home, all made in the UK by people facing social challenges. Bread & Roses train refugee women in floristry, Redemption Roasters run their main roastery and barista training centre at Aylesbury Young Offenders Prison and train offenders in professional roasting and competition-level barista skills. Browse through our full list below.

Rachael Cooney