By Emma Batha
LONDON, April 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A British entrepreneur who uses her colourful macaroon business to help disadvantaged people get back on their feet said on Wednesday she was "over the moon" after being invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Rosie Ginday praised the couple for championing social enterprises, like her company Miss Macaroon, which she set up in 2011 with 500 pounds ($700) of her own money.
"It's really exciting news. I just got a letter out of the blue. It was a complete surprise," said Ginday, 34, who runs Miss Macaroon in Birmingham in central England.
Ginday, whose clients include fashion labels, tech giants and restaurants, said Harry and Meghan came across her almond treats when she met them at an event in March to encourage girls into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Prominent political and public figures have not been invited to the May 19 wedding at Windsor Castle but the queen's grandson and his U.S. actress fiancee have asked 1,200 members of the public, chosen for their leadership and community service.
"It's fantastic that they are using the occasion to shine a light on organisations working to improve their communities," said Ginday.
Britain is seen as a global leader in the growing social enterprise sector, home to about 70,000 businesses set up to address social and environmental issues that employ nearly 1 million people, according to industry body Social Enterprise UK.
Miss Macaroon, whose treats come in 30 flavours, invests all profits into training and job opportunities for disadvantaged people including the homeless, ex-offenders, people raised in care, single parents and people with mental health issues.
"It's amazing to work with young people who, through no fault of their own, haven't been given the opportunities they deserve, and to see them flourish," Ginday said.
Trainees learn food hygiene, get help with English, maths, IT and interview skills, receive mentoring and job placements.
Ginday, a former commis chef at a Michelin starred restaurant, said her passion for helping disadvantaged people was inspired by a young homeless man she met as a teenager.
"He completely turned everything I was seeing in the media on its head - that homeless people were drunks and drug addicts and deserved to be where they were," she said.
"This young guy had lost his mum in a house fire and completely fell apart, as most people would. I thought I need to do something. It planted a seed."
($1 = 0.7043 pounds)
(Editing by Belinda Goldsmith
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.