How it started
Helena (Lena) had one big dream: finding a nice job. Because she was born with an intellectual disability, this was quite the struggle. That’s why she decided to take matters in her own hands.
Helena is crazy about dogs and so she started her own inclusive business in plant-based dog snacks. Snacks with which you not only reward the dog but also Helena.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of Helena’s out there, who we also wanted to include in our venture. That’s why we launched The Lena & Lou Academy: an experience hub recognized by VAPH (the Flemish Agency for Persons with Disabilities) where people with a disability can discover their talents and untapped potential at their own pace.
At some stage, those who are ready and want to, can move from The Academy to a paid job at Lena & Lou.
Striking the right balance between our social and commercial goals is extremely important. That’s why we work at two speeds. In our own baking studio, we produce cookies at a small scale, at the pace of our people. For larger orders, we team up with production partner. So whether it’s one bag or an entire container: we can handle it.
Small biscuits, big difference
One thing is certain: the more cookies we sell, the more talent we can hire at Lena & Lou. Or to use the words of our example Greyston Bakery: “We don’t hire people to bake cookies, we bake cookies to hire people.”