Kik Coffee cafe is located in a re-activated corner of the Tea Tree Plus shopping centre at Westfield Tea Tree Plaza, breathing new life into a shopping mall dominated by large retail brands.
Young mums with babies in prams, school kids and the elderly are drawn to the cafe because of its visual appeal and the smell of fresh coffee.
Kik Coffee is part of a youth entrepreneurial program developed by social worker Louise Nobes to help tackle long-term unemployment and increasing disengagement among youth in the northern suburbs.
“I’ve been a social worker for 15 years and nothing has changed the social outcomes for these kids,” says Nobes.
“I had to find new ways to help engage these kids.”
Nobes co-founded an organisation called Inspired Buy to help attract support for social enterprises through which young people can discover their talents and contribute to their communities.
Kik Coffee is its first project. The cafe opened two weeks ago, but it has been eight months in the making. During this time, Nobes has been working with 15 young people from seven high schools across the north-east of Adelaide, all of whom have struggled at school because of mental health issues or other reasons.
Working in partnership with Westfield and the Department for Education and Child Development, she has established a 12-month entrepreneurship program called “Dream Big”, in which the group of 15 has helped design the Kik Coffee brand, shop layout and construction, as well as receiving mentorship in how to manage all areas of the operation.
The cafe uses its own coffee roast, created in conjunction with Adelaide-based Monastery Coffee, and until it gets its own commercial kitchen up and running, the food is supplied by popular Franklin Street eatery Public CBD.
“The ultimate aim of the project is to help these kids into employment and to re-engage them back into education,” adds Nobes.
Janaya Rough is one of the Kik Coffee crew engaged by Nobes. The bubbly 15-year-old was experiencing a combination of anxiety and depression which saw her retreat from friends and family.
“I dropped out of school, but now I’m on the entrepreneurship course I’m going big places,” she says.
Nobes has plans to open a further five coffee shops in the next couple of years, with all profits going back into the training program, which aims to train another 60 disadvantaged people in 2017.
“We’re planning to open a Kik Coffee at Westlakes in 2017 and in Pitt Street in the city in 2018.”
The Pitt Street outlet, Nobes says, will have its own commercial kitchen where program participants will be trained in “batch cooking” by a volunteer French chef, with the aim to ultimately supply food to all the Kik Coffee outlets.
“Believing in yourself means someone has to believe in you first,” she says.
“All young people can achieve greatness.”
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