Tilde’s Coffee and Stories, new social bistro cart
New business model promoting women in the workplace
Al The first Tilde’s – Coffee and stories has opened on the Politecnico di Milano’s Bovisa campus, a bistro cart that is also a social business project to promote women in the workplace. It is a new small-scale catering format which offers coffee and high-quality baked goods in areas with high footfall, such as universities, companies and stations.
Tilde’s is a business model with social objectives: it aims to guarantee economic independence for disadvantaged women, providing them with specific training, start up and any business support required and the opportunity to have a stable, protected job with the prospect of becoming independent.
The project is the result of a partnership between the Politecnico di Milano; 7Gr, an innovative coffee company with an all-female management team; CGM, the leading Italian network of social cooperatives; and Spazio Aperto, a social cooperative operating throughout Italy for over 35 years.
The idea and the project have been made possible by the work of students from the Department of Design and the Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano.
The former, coordinated by Prof. Davide Bruno as part of the “Industrial product design” course, designed the cargo-bike from a project brief and advice from the 7Gr working group and – for the business model – students from the Politecnico’s School of Management. Design undergraduates Federica Minini, Carlo Molteni, Alessandro Salvo, Filippo Tomasi and Giulia Tuninetti were involved throughout the creative process: from defining the design concept, to the creative, functional and production development of the entire Tilde’s system. The result, minimalist and earthy, but at the same time having a much wider significance, met the objective that was set right at the start: a cargo-bike equipped to sell high-quality espresso and americano coffee, prepared on the spot, by a single worker. A functional, recognisable and realisable design, characterised by two front wheels, a tubular framework, sustainable materials like natural wood, and a special functional design that means the equipment and non-perishable products are protected during closing hours.
The Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering students developed Tilde’s business plan as part of the “Leadership & Innovation” course delivered by Prof. Raffaella Cagliano. Five teams of 29 students, Italian and international, analysed Tilde’s business activity and put forward their innovations and suggestions on issues such as positioning in terms of competitors, potential flow of demand, communication strategy, sales mix, product and service innovations and potential for expansion.
This initiative is part of the School of Management for No Profit, a collaborative programme launched by the School of Management and a number of third sector organisations. Starting with an in-depth analysis with non-profitorganisations and social enterprises who expressed their interest, the School’s professors then promoted specific work projects with the students and theses with the undergraduates, which turned into research projects and concrete achievements.
Spazio Aperto and CGM bought the first cart, custom-built by specialised craftspeople. They looked after personnel selection and recruitment and the procedures and authorisations necessary for starting a business.
7Gr provided specific professional training for the chosen personnel, launched the collaboration with technical partners, organised the cart’s technical equipment, shared their own experience and supplied the best espresso mixes and single-origin coffee.
The technical partners are La Marzocco, Italian excellence in espresso machines, and Mi Piace, a brand of high-quality baked goods.
Tilde’s coffee and stories is open Monday to Friday 8:00 - 15:00 in Building BL27 on the Bovisa Campus, Via Raffaele Lambruschini 4, Milan.