When Julius Ibrahim started at University College London, one of the first things he did was join Enactus. He didn’t know exactly what the program was, nor could he have imagined what it would become. He did know one thing: He was passionate about creating social change.
For two years, while studying economics and working part-time in the hospitality industry, Julius’ urge to make a difference continued to be stoked by the experiences he was having. With Enactus, he was able to consult at a local cafe and learn more about entrepreneurship.
“Going through the process of national competition you learn so much,” he says, “from speech writing, presenting, public speaking and the intense time pressures, I was gaining all these skills but all the while, I was also thinking constantly about how I would use them to do something big.”
Then, his big idea hit him.
Julius left University College London early and founded Second Shot, a London-based coffee shop with a social mission that he says is more than just a project or a business—it’s the culmination of all his life experiences. One of those experiences was witnessing the immense homelessness in his community.
That’s why Second Shot employs people affected by homelessness and also operates a pay-it-forward system where customers can buy their own espresso and opt to pre-pay for another coffee or snack that will be given to a person in need. So far, they’ve been able to serve more than 12,000 coffees and thousands of meals to people free of charge.
“I was so passionate about social change that I dropped out of university to make it happen—foregoing a scholarship and job offers from a bank and a ‘Big Four’ accounting firm,” Julius says. “Values are at the heart of why Second Shot exists, and I believe it’s the authenticity of our message that has helped us be embraced by our customer base who also want to give back.”
In just a few years, Second Shot has grown immensely. This past summer, they expanded to a second location, and Julius says they’re far from done. He also remains closely connected to Enactus, most recently serving as the interim chair of the UK alumni board. In many ways, Second Shot is a perfect example of what Enactus does—helping students learn hard and soft skills that are actionable and impactful once they’re out of school while at the same time welcoming them to network that can stay with them forever.
“Enactus teaches you the incredible power of teamwork and a shared vision.”
Julius and Second Shot also illustrate that social change can’t be achieved by just one person.
“Being part of the program, you have the opportunity to be constantly inspired by alumni as well as coaches,” Julius says. “What that means is you’re never starting from scratch; you’re never going it alone.”
Attending this year’s World Cup in California was a proud moment for Julius. He’s been part of the Enactus community for years, and the experience he has had helped him create change in his own community. “Enactus teaches you the incredible power of teamwork and a shared vision,” Julius says. And he is putting those lessons to good use, one cup of coffee at a time.