‘All things Autism’
Anna Kennedy guests this week at Women’s Radio was Mona from Harry Specters Chocolates
Anna Kennedy’s guests this week on Women’s Radio Station was Mona Shah from Harry Specters Chocolates. ‘All things Autism and life in Lockdown’ will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week. Please see www.womensradiostation.com
This is Mona’s story:
It was an absolute pleasure to be invited on Anna Kennedy’s show to talk about Harry Specters, a social enterprise founded by my husband and I to employ autistic young adults.
We have our own experience with autism, having a 22 year old son on the spectrum. He is the inspiration for setting up the company, which is based in Cambridgeshire and offers delicious handcrafted premium chocolates.
As a social enterprise, 51% of profits go back into the business to further our social aim and help more autistic adults into employment. Our business is built on harnessing and celebrating the skills that autistic people have.
We understand the challenges as our son is autistic, but we’ve realised that once these neurodiverse skills are embraced and applied in an adapted working environment, it can be so rewarding.
Seeing our chocolatiers feel a personal sense of achievement, independence and a love for the product they have created is amazing.
From a love of chocolate starting as a hobby at home, turning it into a small business has taken time and like all businesses, small steps are taken every day to improve in all areas.
Our journey from starting out in our conservatory, to a new factory, events and award ceremonies has been a fun and rewarding one so far.
The company’s most recent social impact report celebrates a total number of 467 beneficiaries which mostly includes young people with autism spectrum disorder. They contribute to the business in different ways.
This includes making, packaging and selling chocolates for our online and corporate customers. Some of them are also involved in back office, design work and photography. In summary, all of them learn new skills resulting in increased confidence, hope, and aspirations for their future.
Not forgetting others who have experienced benefit from positive social impact – support has been given to parents and carers and autistic people who have shown an interest in one-time projects to raise confidence.
We work with local schools and colleges to offer free work experience and most of our staff come through these placements. Harry Specters also works with other businesses and organisations to improve their corporate social responsibility agenda.
34 awards in 5 years have been presented to us confirming our reputation for artistry and excellence and positioning Harry Specters as a luxury chocolatier brand. We are a social enterprise, meaning consumers benefit not only enjoying a great product but by knowing they’ve contributed to a positive social or environmental impact whatever that may be.
Our staff make great chocolates (well they must do as they’ve won several prestigious awards proving that they taste and look amazing)!
When our customers buy from us they have their own different reasons but lots of consumers quite rightly are choosing to make their purchases wisely and do some good in the world.
We, as a business have a mission to continue to make the very best chocolates at the same time as creating employment for those people (like our son – the inspiration behind the business), who deserve a chance and that may otherwise be marginalised.
We have high hopes and big goals to employ hundreds of autistic people and are proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
Campaigning and sharing our business model to encourage other businesses to become more inclusive is what we thrive on. We provide an autism friendly environment and for those who choose to work here, which can build confidence and skills. Ultimately though, we have fun!
The chocolates have won numerous awards for their delectable taste from The Guild of Fine Food and Academy Of Chocolate. Harry Specters future plans continue as we strive to deliver social impact and enable more autistic adults to have a brighter future of employment prospects.
More about the work we do can be found on our website: https://www.harryschocs.co.uk/
Please see details of social media channels:
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarrySpecters
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/harryspecters/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HarrySpecters/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/harry-specters-limited/
‘All things Autism and life in Lockdown’ will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day this week.
Please click here to tune in.