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Shiny future for new shoe business

May 21 2009
StreetShine aims to give people who have experienced homelessness the chance to earn a regular income in the City Are you looking for work? A new enterprise has started up called StreetShine that aims to give people 'who have experienced homelessness, suffered disadvantage in the job market and are in the process of rebuilding their lives' the chance to earn a regular income by offering a shoeshine service to office workers in and around the City of London. Started by property entrepreneur Nick Grant, StreetShine runs under the auspices of Thames Reach Bondway, a London-based homelessness charity. All profits from the venture get ploughed back into the company to invest in the training for more 'shiners'. StreetShine offers at-your-desk shoe cleaning 'on the foot', so that young executives can continue to work while their shoes are buffed. Presently StreetShine operates in several major international firms in London and has permanent stands in several hotels in the capital. It is planning to expand to offices across the City. To become a 'shiner', readers need to be referred by participating organisations, after which they will receive training in the trade and a possible future owning their own franchise. A worthy cause, though this correspondent can't help noting some negative connotations attached to shoe shining. What's next: homeless chimney sweeps?