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Practically everyone who watches The Apprentice sits there thinking that they could do better than the contestants.

Now, six young people from Hackney are proving they can do just that. As part of Cup of Clearworth management training challenge ( a group of young people from the Robert Levy Foundation* is given a taste of what it’s like to plan and run their own business – a Piaggio coffee cart.

They’re being taken through fundamental business skills, and making decisions such as name and logo (they chose a “A Cup of Youth”), branding and location, strategies for dealing with the competition, costs and price setting pricing (including mastering a spreadsheet), promotions, team goals and rules and customer service.

Sir Alan Sugar said in a recent interview with The Telegraph, "If we are to get Britain working again we have to teach children from a very early age to have a work ethic. When I was a child I desperately wanted to become self-sufficient, children don't have that desire now." The Coffee Cart Project is very in keeping with Sir Alan’s thinking.

The young people - Tarjah, Christopher, Joe, Amira, Henni, TJ and Elliot – have to make their own decisions, live by their mistakes and celebrate their successes.

And, of course, one of their aims is to prove that six young people with no previous business experience can do better than the highly confident high-fliers from last year’s Apprentice. After all, who can forget their coffee cart challenge where Andy bought over double the amount of milk they needed, Jadine called the boys back when they were in full sales flow, and Gerri picked a disastrous location outside the greasy spoons of Chapel Market where they didn’t have a hope competing?

In contrast, The Cup of Clearworth Coffee Cart Project participants took £223 in sales on their first outing, of which they gave £60 to sports relief.

The programme, currently being run in conjunction with EDF, takes fast-track managers through business and coaching skills and they, in turn, coach and mentor the young people through planning and running their business. Even though they haven’t yet completed the programme, participant Amira feels her future is now much more hopeful:

"I have learned so much and I’m getting up at four in the morning to make the most of this opportunity. I’ve had a glimpse of how I can use my brain and make money and I love it! Although the pressure is huge, I’ve learned that that’s business, and the look on people’s faces when I give them their coffee is worth it. I was planning to go back to an ordinary job in a hairdressers, but now I’m thinking seriously about what I can do with my future as I don’t want to waste what I’ve learned here."

The 29th April sees the official launch at The Tate Modern of the EDF Senior Management Programme, which includes the Coffee Cart Project. Both Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools and Learners, and Tim Campbell, the first winner of the first Apprentice, will be talking about the importance of education. They’ll be joined by Lesley Everett, international image consultant and author of “Walking Tall”, who has worked with everyone on this project.

Eager to reach as many schools and communities as possible, Clearworth believe that this is not only a fantastic training and socially responsible project for organisations, but a chance to really make a difference to the future of young people. And the more that get that chance, the better.

We’d love you to come along on the 29th and meet everyone, and especially the young people who are working so hard.

For more information on the Coffee Cart project please visit or contact Paula Gardner on 07941 244343 or email

* 16 year-old Robert Levy was murdered a few yards from his home in Hackney, whilst trying to stop a fight. The foundation was set up in his name and aims to work with young people, supporting them in engaging in positive activities, training or employment.

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