Harry Specters is a Cambridge-based chocolate company, vowing to create hundreds of jobs in the UK for people with autism over the next ten years. The company has won four awards for its premium chocolates during the last year as well as one social enterprise award for its efforts in creating employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. Mona Shah, mother to a 16-year-old with autism and Managing Director and founder of Harry Specters, said:
“Our customers buy from us not only because we have great products but also we have a great cause. It is now the right time for us to expand and reach new customers. In this way we can create more employment opportunities for young people with autism, which is our ultimate aim.”
In order to take the next step, the company aims to raise £250,000 of investment over the next twelve months. The company, which has enjoyed seven quarters of continuous growth, will use this money mainly towards expanding capacity, including buying equipment and broadening customer base. As a first step towards the target, the company aims to raise £18,000 through crowdfunding. Shaz Shah, co-founder of Harry Specters, is leading the investment initiative. He said:
“Crowdfunding is a democratic way of raising money and we are doing this not just to raise finances but also to create awareness about Harry Specters, our products and our vision.”
Shaz told Autism Daily Newscast that the chocolate company has won 6 awards in the last 23 months. As part of the company’s expansion they need to buy a second chocolate tempering machine via their crowdfunding campaign;
“so that people with autism can benefit in various ways including making and packaging chocolates.”
Greg Hanchett was a work experience student and later a part-time employee. He told:
“I have learned so much about chocolate while working here. Mona is very supportive and patient with me. I have become more confident since working here and would recommend that everyone with autism should come to Harry Specters for work experience”
Charlie Bailey, now a part-time employee, had this to say about the company:
“I have never received £100 for any work before! Thank you so much.”
People who want to take part in the crowdfunding campaign can contribute anything up to a £1000. This way they will not only help build a sweeter life for people with autism but will also enjoy award-winning, limited edition chocolates, and also a chance to get involved at Harry Specters. Some of the packaging for these rewards come from designs created by 100 students from the Granta School for special needs, Linton, Cambridge.
The main aim of the company is to provide employment to young people with autism. 60% of its profits go towards improving the lives of young people with autism. As a chocolate company, Harry Specters sells its premium chocolates online, predominantly to the corporate sector and in the premium market segment.
The mother of one of the contract workers at the company had this to say:
“I get quite emotional thinking about the look on Ross’ face when he showed me the cheque you gave him for his work. It was not about the money, but the confidence and self-worth he was feeling..”
The below video explains more about Harry Specters crowdfunding campaign