Mona Shah

Harry Specters

Harry Specters is an award-winning chocolatier driven by a social purpose – to create employment opportunities for young people with autism.

When it comes to employability and autism the numbers are stark. According to the National Autistic Society, 700,000 individuals in the UK have autism. Yet only 15% of autistic adults are in full-time paid employment. Fewer than 1 in 10 autistic adults receive employment support, despite 53% saying they would like support.

In 2012, Mona and her husband Shaz came up with the idea for the social venture after a memorable family holiday in Scotland and a visit to a chocolatier. Harry Specters provides employment training as well as real work experience to people with autism.

They took the step of stating their purpose in their articles and are committed to providing the majority of net profits principally for the benefit of the community and/or environmental purposes. 

Harry Specters growth has been spectacular – 2015 saw a 100% sales growth – and its commercial success furthers its social mission. 60p of every £1 profit goes to the social side of the business. This funds social activities and personal development opportunities for employees.

In 2015 they were able to raise investment which allowed them to scale. They expanded commercially and increased the number employment and training opportunities they could provide.

Their growth has helped them put the issues around employability for people with autism to a wider audience with coverage of their work in The Economist and The Times. For Mona, the value of Harry Specters’ work is clear to see, ‘when you see all those people with autism working here, it’s absolutely brilliant’.

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