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Crowdcube Blue & Green: frequently asked questions

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We have been receiving a lot of questions about our share offer so we thought we’d share the questions and our answers with everyone. If you have a specific question not answered here, we’re running an online survey to collect all the new questions. Click here if you can’t see the question you want answered below.

What is Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • The UK’s most widely-read and fastest-growing online sustainability magazine.

How many people read Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • 516,189 people in 2014, up from 227,781 in 2013. We estimate over 1.4 million people will read us in 2015.

Who reads Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • Typical readers are professional, affluent, 25-54 and well-educated, with a strong interest in sustainability.

How does Blue & Green Tomorrow make money?

  • In three ways. 1) Fee income from heavily screened sustainable companies in the form of advertising and sponsorship. 2) Commission income from similarly screened sustainable products and services promoted to our readers. 3) Fund commission from an independently managed global sustainability fund.

Who’s behind Blue & Green Tomorrow?

  • Our founder Simon Leadbetter (EMAP, Fidelity, Prudential, AXA, Auto Trader, Daily Telegraph, and Daily Mail) provided the seed funding for B&GT and brought on new angel investment during the acquisition of its leading competitor, Worldwise Investor.
  • We have an exceptional senior management team lined up to work with Simon once we are funded, including a new Managing Director, Editor and Events Director. Together they have 60 years combined business experience.

How is Blue & Green Tomorrow different from other online magazines?

  • A unique business model blending lifestyle and investment content that not only explains how to invest sustainably but how to spend it sustainably. Our ambition is global and we have a model to monetise all reader actions.

When was Blue & Green Tomorrow founded?

  • September 2010. The 5th November 2015 will be the fifth anniversary of our launch. According to the ONS just over two-fifths of businesses survive to this point. We’ll be having a big party in November.

What is Crowdcube?

  • Crowdcube is an equity crowdfunding platform that allows investors to make two types of investment in unlisted UK registered businesses, Equity (a stake in a company) and mini-bonds (lending money).
  • In February 2013, Crowdcube became authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
  • Equity based Crowd funding is a new model for raising funds for entrepreneurs. The ‘crowd’ pool small amounts of money and entrepreneurs are able to bypass Business Angels and banks, to secure funding directly from the general public.
  • The key principles of this model are that anyone should be able to invest money in a business and get equity in that business. Entrepreneurs with a UK registered company can showcase their business and investment potential to thousands of micro-investors, ordinary people, by uploading a Dragons Den style video pitch, images and supporting documents. These micro investors can invest in any business of their choice for as little as £10.
  • Crowdcube operates on the “All or Nothing” model, when a pitch reaches its target, the business receives the funding raise, if it doesn’t reach the target then no funds are taken from investors and no money is charged. A 5% commission is charged on a successful funding campaign. The platform utilises social media to a large extent to alert potential investors about the offering.

I crowdfunded you in 2014, what happened to that money and my reward?

  • Your generous support got us through the cash flow dip of a sponsor deciding to divert its investment elsewhere. We are trading profitably again.
  • You can take the original reward, or convert that support into equity. We will send the necessary paperwork in the coming weeks for both options.
  • As the people who helped us when we needed it most, we decided to hold the rewards back until we had launched our Crowdcube offer so you had the same opportunity as new investors to take a share in Blue & Green Communications.

What is the process?

  • The investment is ‘live’. This will happen in two stages, a launch to you, our registered prospective investors, and a public launch to Crowdcube’s 165,746 investors a fortnight later.
  • You are sent a link where you can register with Crowdcube.
  • You can then invest in Blue & Green Communications and other Crowdcube projects.
  • Your investment is only taken if we are fully funded. If we don’t reach the target then no funds are taken from you and no money is charged. The risk is shared within the crowd.
  • Become a Blue & Green Communications investor and share in our future success.
  • EIS tax breaks available in any investment in B&GT through Crowdcube.
  • You decide how much you want to invest; from as little as £10.
  • This is a high risk, high reward, long-term investment #investaware.

What is an EIS?

  • You can reads the government introduction here.
  • In a nutshell, The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is a series of UK tax reliefs launched in 1994. It is designed to encourage investments in small unquoted companies carrying on a qualifying trade in the United Kingdom.
  • Investment in companies that are not listed on a stock exchange often carries a high risk. The tax relief is intended to offer some compensation for that risk. The EIS offers both income tax and capital gains tax reliefs to investors who subscribe for shares in qualifying companies.
  • An individual with no more than a 30% interest in the company can reduce his income tax liability by an amount equal to 30% of his share subscription. The maximum subscription per investor is currently £1,000,000 per annum, yielding a potential reduction in tax liability of £300000 per annum (assuming the investor has sufficient income tax liability).
  • Securing EIS was critical to our plans as it creates an attractive tax relief for our supporters.

Motivation of investors?

  • Investors, “invest in companies they feel an emotional attachment to.”
  • In 2012, Crowdcube surveyed investors to better understand their behaviour. Investors were aware that most small businesses fail and they therefore spread their investments.
  • Their research highlighted that investor decisions are driven by the business’ idea, its market potential and entrepreneur’s experience.

Probability of success?

  • We have had £110,900 pledged from 102 investors for when the investment goes live. 16 others said they can’t say what they’d invest until they received the prospectus. Our target is £260,000.
  • Crowdcube has an audience of 165,746 investors who have invested £80,651,910 in 235 businesses.
  • Three recent successes on Crowdcube in our space have been TheCrowd who raised £450,000 and DoNation who raised £167,440. And on Seedrs, another crowd equity site, we have Trillion Fund who raised £537,880.

What happens now?

Risk warning and disclaimer

  • Please #investaware. Investments of this nature carry risks to your capital as well as potential rewards. Please read Crowdcube’s risk warning and disclaimer before deciding to invest at www.crowdcube.com.

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Economy

How Going Green Can Save A Company Money

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going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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Energy

5 Easy Things You Can Do to Make Your Home More Sustainable

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sustainable homes
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By Diyana Dimitrova

Increasing your home’s energy efficiency is one of the smartest moves you can make as a homeowner. It will lower your bills, increase the resale value of your property, and help minimize our planet’s fast-approaching climate crisis. While major home retrofits can seem daunting, there are plenty of quick and cost-effective ways to start reducing your carbon footprint today. Here are five easy projects to make your home more sustainable.

1. Weather stripping

If you’re looking to make your home more energy efficient, an energy audit is a highly recommended first step. This will reveal where your home is lacking in regards to sustainability suggests the best plan of attack.

Some form of weather stripping is nearly always advised because it is so easy and inexpensive yet can yield such transformative results. The audit will provide information about air leaks which you can couple with your own knowledge of your home’s ventilation needs to develop a strategic plan.

Make sure you choose the appropriate type of weather stripping for each location in your home. Areas that receive a lot of wear and tear, like popular doorways, are best served by slightly more expensive vinyl or metal options. Immobile cracks or infrequently opened windows can be treated with inexpensive foams or caulking. Depending on the age and quality of your home, the resulting energy savings can be as much as 20 percent.

2. Programmable thermostats

Programmable thermostats

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Olivier Le Moal

Programmable thermostats have tremendous potential to save money and minimize unnecessary energy usage. About 45 percent of a home’s energy is earmarked for heating and cooling needs with a large fraction of that wasted on unoccupied spaces. Programmable thermostats can automatically lower the heat overnight or shut off the air conditioning when you go to work.

Every degree Fahrenheit you lower the thermostat equates to 1 percent less energy use, which amounts to considerable savings over the course of a year. When used correctly, programmable thermostats reduce heating and cooling bills by 10 to 30 percent. Of course, the same result can be achieved by manually adjusting your thermostats to coincide with your activities, just make sure you remember to do it!

3. Low-flow water hardware

With the current focus on carbon emissions and climate change, we typically equate environmental stability to lower energy use, but fresh water shortage is an equal threat. Installing low-flow hardware for toilets and showers, particularly in drought prone areas, is an inexpensive and easy way to cut water consumption by 50 percent and save as much as $145 per year.

Older toilets use up to 6 gallons of water per flush, the equivalent of an astounding 20.1 gallons per person each day. This makes them the biggest consumer of indoor water. New low-flow toilets are standardized at 1.6 gallons per flush and can save more than 20,000 gallons a year in a 4-member household.

Similarly, low-flow shower heads can decrease water consumption by 40 percent or more while also lowering water heating bills and reducing CO2 emissions. Unlike early versions, new low-flow models are equipped with excellent pressure technology so your shower will be no less satisfying.

4. Energy efficient light bulbs

An average household dedicates about 5 percent of its energy use to lighting, but this value is dropping thanks to new lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs are quickly becoming a thing of the past. These inefficient light sources give off 90 percent of their energy as heat which is not only impractical from a lighting standpoint, but also raises energy bills even further during hot weather.

New LED and compact fluorescent options are far more efficient and longer lasting. Though the upfront costs are higher, the long term environmental and financial benefits are well worth it. Energy efficient light bulbs use as much as 80 percent less energy than traditional incandescent and last 3 to 25 times longer producing savings of about $6 per year per bulb.

5. Installing solar panels

Adding solar panels may not be the easiest, or least expensive, sustainability upgrade for your home, but it will certainly have the greatest impact on both your energy bills and your environmental footprint. Installing solar panels can run about $15,000 – $20,000 upfront, though a number of government incentives are bringing these numbers down. Alternatively, panels can also be leased for a much lower initial investment.

Once operational, a solar system saves about $600 per year over the course of its 25 to 30-year lifespan, and this figure will grow as energy prices rise. Solar installations require little to no maintenance and increase the value of your home.

From an environmental standpoint, the average five-kilowatt residential system can reduce household CO2 emissions by 15,000 pounds every year. Using your solar system to power an electric vehicle is the ultimate sustainable solution serving to reduce total CO2 emissions by as much as 70%!

These days, being environmentally responsible is the hallmark of a good global citizen and it need not require major sacrifices in regards to your lifestyle or your wallet. In fact, increasing your home’s sustainability is apt to make your residence more livable and save you money in the long run. The five projects listed here are just a few of the easy ways to reduce both your environmental footprint and your energy bills. So, give one or more of them a try; with a small budget and a little know-how, there is no reason you can’t start today.

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