Normal view

Opening a Charity Shop in Budapest Scaling up the social enterprise of BAGázs

BAGázs Public Benefit Association has been working since 2011 to contribute to an inclusive and accepting society in which Roma people have a chance to achieve their goals. BAGázs provides resources for Roma communities to enable them to recognise and articulate their needs. The Association implements their activities in two Roma settlements (Bag, Dány).

Through Badur’s Springboard programme, BAGázs developed the business plan of a mobile charity shop that provides access to quality clothing at a very affordable price for underprivileged communities in Pest County, in addition to creating employment opportunities for local community members. With the support of ERSTE Seeds Programme, BAGázs launched a mobile charity shop in May 2018. The mobile charity shop focuses on the area close to Bag and Dány, but during the summer season, they appear on the major Hungarian festivals as well.

In the long run, the Association had always intended to complement the mobile shop by opening a charity shop in Budapest in order to enhance its social impact and to strengthen the financial vitality of the two complementary business initiatives. As part of its Springboard award, Bagazs received professional mentoring to develop a business plan for the charity shop in Budapest.

In August 2018, BAGázs found the right location for the charity shop in 13th District of Budapest, next to the Szent István Park. The place is well suited to the needs of BAGázs and the envisioned charity shop concept. The location of the shop is suitable for the integration of a charity shop and a community space. In addition, the Association can also move its office to this location.

The Foundation awarded financial help to BAGázs to cover the start-up cost of the charity shop including part of the renovation costs. The renovation of the building started in September 2018 and the shop was opened in December 2018.

The experiences of the first two years showed that the charity shop should be combined with other activities to operate sustainably. BAGázs created a community space next to the charity shop, which is rented out at market price and could be the location of its development programmes as well. Unfortunately, the regular opening of the shop was reduced and BAGázs switched to occasional fairs.