Case Studies

Just Enterprise – Braw Tea

We recently spoke to Jackie McKenzie about her social enterprise which supports women facing disadvantages in life through training, employment and personal development opportunities.

What does your social enterprise focus on?

We are a social enterprise café who run employability sessions, refer women for one-to-one counselling support, and offer training in food hygiene, barista skills, kitchen skills and front of house. Through our support, we aim to build confidence, self-esteem, friendships and opportunities for pathways to employment.

Why did you choose to become a social enterprise?

I wanted to support women to achieve their full potential. I was aware of barriers women might face in life whether that be not having family support, becoming isolated after retirement or through displacement, these can all dent self-confidence. In order to thrive, you need people to believe in you, and through our social enterprise café with a ‘kind kitchen’ ethos we provide a place where women can build their skills and confidence, and make friendships, to either take them into employment or so they can pursue other interests. It’s all about women supporting women, using cake and good food as the mechanism to achieve this!

When did you access business support from us and what questions did you have for your business advisor? 

I began receiving support from Firstport in 2023 from Relationship Manager Jacky Tjivikua and Business Advisor Emma Ives. I started by attending a range of Just Enterprise workshops and webinars to help prepare me for setting up Braw Tea, and I spoke to Emma about the various aspects of setting up a social enterprise including governance, legal structures and funding.

How did start-up support help you in your journey to becoming a social enterprise?

I was able to establish the cafe as a trading venture with the help of start-up business support and from Firstport grant funding, as we have been successful in applying for both Start It and Build It. We officially launched it in June 2023. The first six months were our pilot phase, and this helped us to work out if the cafe was a viable enterprise, and if the women involved were benefitting from the experience.

The pilot phase showed that we are exceeding our initial expectations, we have a loyal repeat customer base, our café is very busy and successful, and we have a thriving volunteer community of nearly 30 women, some of whom we now employ and some who have gone on to obtain employment elsewhere. Our feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and I am incredibly proud.

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering reaching out for start-up support through Just Enterprise?

Yes, don’t be afraid to ask what you may think is a ‘daft question’ – there are no daft questions and there are many people out there who have taken this path and asked the very same question!

What is next on the horizon for Braw Tea?

We are moving into our next phase of development, scaling what we do! This means opening the café for longer hours as we are currently open 3 days per week. We will also be running more community facing events and working with more volunteers to support more women. It has been a busy year, but we are at a point where we are ready to grow and take the next step.

Find out more about Braw Tea on their website and by following them on Facebook or on Instagram. You can also visit their café in Broughty Ferry, near Dundee on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.