Connect with us


Enterprising Britain Awards 2013: looking beyond the present



On Friday November 22, the Enterprising Britain Awards took place in the Houses of Parliament. A number of different institutions were recognised for their hard work in promoting entrepreneurship within their communities. Nicky Stubbs went along to find out more.

It is sometimes thought that business performance has a direct correlation on the state of the national economy. This is not entirely true, and the Enterprising Britain Awards certainly served as a testament to that.

From across the UK, groups gathered to receive accolades from the minister of state for skills and enterprise, Mathew Hancock MP, including representatives from colleges and further education institutions, local authorities and local businesses.

Medway council, which was highly commended by the judging panel for creating the right conditions for businesses to establish themselves and grow, received the award for the most enterprising place in Britain. The council, working in partnership with local businesses and entrepreneurs, has managed to overcome difficult economic circumstances. Back in 1984, Chatham dockyard was closed, leaving a large portion of the local population unemployed.

It’s about getting people over these barriers and telling them that you can see beyond the present”,said Jane Chitty from Medway council.

The council should not be there as a decision making body. This is about sitting down with local people, with businesses and with those out of work and saying to them, ‘How can we help you? What do you need from us?’.”

She added that local authorities should be proactive in supporting local people and businesses, rather than “just being a speaker”.

There is lots of funding out there for people to use, especially for start-ups. We’ve been proactive in rooting out these funding sources, giving businesses interest-free loans from around £50,000 to £2.5m to grow their business, to expand their facilities and to create jobs for local people.”

The success of Medway council’s hands-on approach to helping its local economy has, according to statistics, paid off. Chitty said that the council had created “a job a day”.

But should helping businesses be just about accessing finance? According to the Burnley Bondholder Scheme, this is not the case, and there is certainly a scope for councils to work in partnership with businesses to shout from the rooftops about doing business in their area.

The Burnley Bondholder Scheme is a partnership between business leaders and council leaders in Lancashire, where companies pay a subscription to be part of the scheme.

Businesses pay for the privilege of going out and telling everyone that Burnley is a great place to do business”, said Steve Rumbelow, chief executive of Burnley borough council.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘People aren’t going to buy this’, but it worked. We now have around 150 members across the borough.”

Andrew Henderson, managing director of Lanway, an IT services company in Burnley, also stressed the importance of a good working partnership between councils and businesses.

“Initiatives such as this give businesses the opportunity to meet with their local council, tell them what they need, what will work and ultimately they can provide the right conditions for companies to do business”, he said.

Henderson, who also sits as the vice-chair of the bondholder scheme and employs around 70 members of staff at his company, said that networking is one of the most powerful tools needed for successful enterprise.

The primary aim of the initiative is to be a positive voice in Burnley. We are about creating skills and innovation in young people and they will hopefully go on to replace our generation and be more successful than we are.”

But the key to achieving true economic stability whilst not endangering the prosperity of the planet and its environment is by inspiring future generations to lead the way in sustainable business. One initiative that did exactly this was recognised for its efforts at the awards.

Barking and Dagenham College was highly commended for best supporting enterprising ambition in young people. A group of students came together, put forward a business plan and pitched it to college leaders for investment.

They opened up a shop at the college which takes in end of line or used computers which would have otherwise gone to e-waste sites across the world – an issue that was recently said to be a major threat to the health of 200 million people globally.

By providing students with the skills to refurbish these computers and instilling entrepreneurial spirit, the college is certainly doing its bit to mitigate the risks involved in dumping toxic e-waste whilst inspiring and motivating young people to do it for themselves.

Further reading:

Diversity in business forms can deliver sustainable growth, says report

Unilever, John Lewis and M&S in top 10 most sought-after employers

Social entrepreneurs celebrated with awards at Good Deals conference

Millionaire entrepreneur calls for ‘growth over greed’ in banking


Report: Green, Ethical and Socially Responsible Finance



“The level of influence that ethical considerations have over consumer selection of financial services products and services is minimal, however, this is beginning to change. Younger consumers are more willing to pay extra for products provided by socially responsible companies.” Jessica Morley, Mintel’s Financial Services Analyst.

Consumer awareness of the impact consumerism has on society and the planet is increasing. In addition, the link between doing good and feeling good has never been clearer. Just 19% of people claim to not participate in any socially responsible activities.

As a result, the level of attention that people pay to the green and ethical claims made by products and providers is also increasing, meaning that such considerations play a greater role in the purchasing decision making process.

However, this is less true in the context of financial services, where people are much more concerned about the performance of a product rather than green and ethical factors. This is not to say, however, that they are not interested in the behaviour of financial service providers or in gaining more information about how firms behave responsibly.

This report focuses on why these consumer attitudes towards financial services providers exist and how they are changing. This includes examination of the wider economy and the current structure of the financial services sector.

Mintel’s exclusive consumer research looks at consumer participation in socially responsible activities, trust in the behaviour of financial services companies and attitudes towards green, ethical and socially responsible financial services products and providers. The report also considers consumer attitudes towards the social responsibilities of financial services firms and the green, ethical and socially responsible nature of new entrants.

There are some elements missing from this report, such as conducting socially responsible finance with OTC trading. We will cover these other topics in more detail in the future. You can research about Ameritrade if you want to know more ..

By this report today: call: 0203 416 4502 | email: iainooson[at]

Report contents:

What you need to know
Report definition
The market
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
The consumer
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Competition from technology companies
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
What we think
Creating a more inclusive economy
The facts
The implications
Payments innovation helps fundraising go digital
The facts
The implications
The social debt of the financial crisis
The facts
The implications
Ethical financial services providers: A question of culture
Investment power
Consumers need convincing
The transformative potential of innovation
Consumers can demand change
An ethical economy
An ethical financial sector
Ethical financial services providers
The role of investing
The change potential of pensions
The role of trust
Greater transparency informs decisions
Learning from past mistakes
The role of innovation
Payments innovation: Improving financial inclusion
Competition from new entrants
The power of new money
The role of the consumer
Consumers empowered to make a change
Aligning products with self
For financial products, performance is more important than ethics
Financial services firms perceived to be some of the least socially responsible
Competition from technology companies
Repaying the social debt
Consumer trust is built on evidence
Overall trust levels are high
Payments innovation can boost charitable donations
Consumer engagement in socially responsible activities is high
Healthier finances make it easier to go green
37% unable to identify socially responsible companies
Building societies seen to be more responsible than banks….
….whilst short-term loan companies are at the bottom of the pile
Overall trust levels are high
Tax avoidance remains a major concern
The divestment movement
Nationwide significantly more trusted
Trust levels remain high
For financial products, performance is more important than principle
Socially conscious consumers are more concerned
Strategy reports provide little insight for consumers
Lack of clarity regarding corporate culture causes concern
Consumers want more information
The social debt of the financial crisis
For consumers, financial services firms play larger economic role
Promoting financial responsibility
Consumer trust is built on evidence
The alternative opportunity
The target customer

Continue Reading


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

Continue Reading