Phil Benson, Xing Education

What does your social enterprise do? 

Xing helps young people develop business and employability skills through a health focused smoothie business. We are on a mission to support young people to make the transition from education to the workplace through a programme which enables schools to set up a low cost smoothie bar. Young people make the decisions, make and sell the products, get the experiences they need and reap the rewards.

What motivated you to start your social enterprise?

We were selling smoothies in the City Centre and were approached by young kids who asked us about all the different fruits we had on display. It went from ‘I don’t like fruit’ to them trying a smoothie and telling us how much they loved it. This was the light bulb moment and the idea of a student run and managed smoothie bar was born. We now have 20 franchises in schools, colleges and community centres, all fully run and managed by young people.

How do you create social impact? 

Not only do the smoothie bars break down barriers to healthy eating, they also teach enterprise and employability skills in a real and tangible way. It’s so important that students are able to develop basic non-academic employability skills. Confidence, customer service, basic mental arithmetic, time-keeping and personal management are all skills learnt in the smoothie bars.

We are now working with thousands of students across the country inspiring them in enterprise, business and healthy eating through a range of different programmes. We’ve seen students go from shy individuals to smoothie bar Managing Directors!

How has the School for Social Entrepreneurs supported you?

SSE has been inspirational, it’s been great meeting like-minded people who all have similar goals. It’s been an opportunity to reflect, to engage and look at things from a fresh new perspective and my mentor has been unbelievable with his support and guidance throughout the process. Thank you for allowing me to be part of something special!