Cafe Stepping Stone started in Cartagena, Colombia as a small 20 seater cafe with the ambition to provided training in hospitality and formal employment to youth of the city who were living in disadvantaged areas. We opened in 2017 with 20 seats, 5 employees and between 25-40 customers a day.
Fast forward 3 years and Stepping Stone grew more than we anticipated, In march of 2020, we had employed over 40 youth (18 of them current staff) 60 seats and saw between 145 – 200 customers each day
Our training program developed from a three month English and hospitality program into a one year bespoke program which dedicated 2 hours a week to learning a new outcome, such as economics, worker rights, governmental structure and nutrition, on the job training in areas such as bar, cooking, barista and table service and a dedicated English tutor.
Unfortunately, as we all know, 2020 bought may problems. COVID hit Cartagena in a hard way and with no other choice we have to shut the doors of the cafe and the program. This was one of the hardest decisions the team have ever made and will always leave a hole in our hearts.
The Stepping Stone team couldn’t just close and leave the city with nothing, we new we had to innovate and create something that was sustainable for our staff. We out our head together and came up with a mirco-finance program called Pa’lante. Click on the tab up the top to find out more!