Scotland business

Sir Tom Hunter backs sandwich shop chain Social Bite

Sir Tom Hunter Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Tom Hunter described the founders of Social Bite as "an inspiration"

A philanthropy fund run by entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter has invested in a sandwich shop chain which offers jobs to homeless people.

The Hunter Foundation is investing £200,000 in Social Bite, which donates 100% of its profits to charity.

The cash, along with debt support from Social Investment Scotland, has allowed Social Bite to open a fourth Scottish store in Bothwell Street, Glasgow.

The others are in the city's St Vincent Street and at two places in Edinburgh.

More shops are planned for Aberdeen and Dundee.

Social Bite, a social enterprise which aims to compete with Pret a Manger, Greggs and Subway, has committed to employing at least one in four of its staff from homeless backgrounds.

The firm currently employs more than 30 people, 12 of whom have struggled with homelessness.

Social Bite was founded two years ago by couple Josh Littlejohn, 28, and Alice Thompson, 24.

They were inspired by a visit to Bangladesh, where they met Nobel Peace Prize winner and microcredit pioneer Prof Muhammad Yunus.

Image caption Social Bite's founders say they were inspired by microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus

Mr Littlejohn said: "We hope to demonstrate a different model of business that is driven by the social objective rather than the objective of personal profit.

"Sir Tom has pioneered this new investment model, by investing for no personal financial return, but rather to create a sustainable social benefit.

"With the infrastructure of four shops and a central kitchen we should be in a position to sustainably donate around £2,000 to charity every month."

The new Glasgow branch will see newest recruit Brian land a job serving lunch and coffee in Glasgow.

Brian, who has had a history of alcohol addiction, has been homeless on four separate occasions and served several spells in prison.

Brian said: "With my past of homelessness and prison, almost no one would have given me a chance at a job.

"I have been getting trained by Social Bite for the last two months and I can't wait to get stuck into the challenge of working in the new Bothwell Street shop."

Sir Tom Hunter said: "Josh and Alice are an inspiration and are at the forefront of the social enterprise movement in Scotland.

"I believe government needs to take a long hard look at how businesses like Social Bite can be incentivised further."

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