Creating delicious chocolates and employing people with autism

Creating delicious chocolates and employing people with autism

Harry Specters is a social enterprise set up to not only offer award winning premium chocolates but also to provide employment for young people with autism. The inspiration for Harry Specters is our son called Ash. He is eighteen now and he has autism. When he was younger we were just worried about what he would do once he left the safe environment of a special needs school where he studies. We moved to England ten years ago before that we lived in Pakistan. Looking down the line we just thought there is no future for him in Pakistan simply because of all the discrimination he would face. It was on a family holiday to Scotland in 2011 that I first got the idea of starting a chocolate business. So I love chocolate, always have but not actually made chocolate, so I did a proper course, and it was there that I realised it was quite routine, repetitive, structured work. And it just clicked that it would be perfect for people with autism. I set up Harry Specters in a tiny shed in the garage, so to speak, and the conservatory became a packaging area. Since joining Harry Specters I’ve learned a lot about making chocolates, as well as time management and getting everything done on time, and lots of teamwork skills. It’s sort of brought the family closer together working on the same thing and especially because it’s for autism, something we feel very closely about. We had heard of UnLtd. We approached them to go on the Big Venture Challenge programme. We were successful, and we got this really great Venture Manager and through that we raised investment, which has helped us to move into new premises. As with any business, you do worry about what the next stage will be and how you’ll get there but, there’s excitement as well and when you see all these people with autism working here, it’s absolutely brilliant!

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

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