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Social Enterprise Backed by Local SITR

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A social enterprise based in Bristol has received a quarter of a million pounds worth of grant money. PAPER Arts help unemployed young people progress through art. The majority of the £250,000 investment came from Resonance Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund.

PAPER Arts, has received investment to acquire a property in the St Paul’s area of the city, creating new studio spaces and training areas that will enable them to engage with at least four times the number of people their current building allows. The new Resonance Bristol Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) Fund, made its first investment into South Bristol Sports Centre just weeks ago.

The £200,000 investment from the Fund has enabled PAPER Arts, a community interest company, to purchase a building in the St Paul’s area from Bristol City Council, which had been empty for four years, helping to revitalize a previously run down area and making it one of the biggest creative spaces in the city. The new studio spaces and training areas will enable PAPER Arts to engage with at least four times the number of people their current building allows. In addition, Resonance also introduced Esmée Fairbairn as a co-investor alongside the Fund, who invested a further £50,000 in order to renovate the building.

The Resonance Bristol SITR Fund has been set up to help to dismantle poverty in all its forms around the city by funding good local businesses, which are intentionally helping to rebuild lives and affect real change.

Resonance hopes to be completing its next deal from the Fund in early May, and is in dialogue with dozens of other social enterprises around the city. Meanwhile, the Fund itself remains open for investment from individuals wishing to invest in social enterprise with an attractive tax incentive similar to the long-running Enterprise Investment Scheme.

Simon Chisholm, Investment Director at Resonance said:  “We are delighted to be investing in the growth of a highly impactful social enterprise like PAPER Arts. We were impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the team, who are using arts and enterprise to give real opportunities to young people from diverse backgrounds.”

Founded in 2014, PAPER Arts helps creative young people who are unemployed, under-employed or starting out as self-employed to develop their potential, become more enterprising and turn their  talents into fulfilling careers through a range of programmes and training opportunities. The majority of their outreach work focuses on NEETs2, young vulnerable adults with learning

PAPER Arts had reached capacity in its existing building and wanted to expand its reach into the Ashley, Easton & Lawrence Hill (AELH) Neighbourhood Partnership area. This will both enable PAPER Arts to develop its new programme, the Hive, to engage many more young people from diverse backgrounds and increase its income generation potential, as well as being more accessible to a community where there is a lack of employment and training opportunities.

Simone Kidner, CEO of PAPER Arts said: “Gaining social investment from the Resonance Bristol SITR Fund and Esmée Fairbairn has been a pivotal moment for PAPER Arts. With their support, we now have the opportunity to expand and develop a business model that will secure our long term sustainability as well as dramatically increasing our social impact.

“We are able to offer workspace space to creative and social entrepreneurs developing their businesses, but not just this, we will work with these entrepreneurs to provide work experience placements, internships and employment opportunities to local young people. This helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses as well as supporting more young people into the creative sector.”

Many of the young people that have come through the internship programme at PAPER Arts suffer with mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. PAPER Arts has found this struggle is common in the lives of the unemployed, and directly supports young people with mental health issues to use creativity to boost their confidence.

Sara Tillyer-Smith, 23, said: “The Mentoring Club has given me the confidence to re-start being creative, knowing I’m not alone in ‘the struggle’ and giving useful and practical advice.”

Alice Pain, 24, said: “PAPER Arts has been a valuable source to gain much needed knowledge of how to make what I love doing into a business and gives me the chance to discuss ideas with other creatives.”

Grace Sodzi, 19, said: “A nice relaxed atmosphere where I feel comfortable to discuss my ideas and concerns. The advice given has been really helpful and I really appreciate the support. It’s good to discuss my goals because it helps keep me focused and it’s helped me achieve a lot more in a shorter space of time.”

The employees in the organization are passionate and vibrant and find creative and nurturing ways to engage young people who may previously have struggled to engage with formal education.  In addition, PAPER Arts has already provided over twenty paid internships and work experience placements to these groups of young people over the last two years and they have become an official training provider with the Skills Funding Agency.

They are now looking to increase their service offer through providing Creative Traineeships and Apprenticeships to help more young people from diverse backgrounds into a sustainable career in an area about which they are passionate.

Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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Top 5 Renewable Energy Stocks to Watch

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Do you feel morally obligated to put your money where your mouth is? I totally get it. We all want to make the world a better place, and I want to help you put your investments to work for you and the planet we call home – we only get one.

Questor Technology – CVE:QST

Questor Technology is one of the most promising penny stocks to follow under $5. It turns out that investing in renewable energy stocks doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can get in on the ground floor by investing in penny stocks. These are companies that are just starting to make an impact. If they are successful in the long-run, you win BIG. If they fail, you’re only out a couple pennies. Small risk and big potential reward.

Questor Technology is exciting because they are solving one of the biggest barriers to a greener planet – huge waste and pollution from the oil and gas industry. When they first launched they enjoyed a couple of record years. But as the economy took a hit, so did the oil and gas sector.

I love these guys because they didn’t call it quits. Instead of hanging up the towel, they retooled and relaunched. Now, instead of selling clean energy tech to large oil and gas firms, they rent the tech out. This provides a stable, ongoing revenue. And, if the economy takes another dip, they can quickly scale operations back.

I’m expecting a major upswing. If you have a couple of extra pennies in your portfolio, chuck ‘em at these guys.

NRG Yield – NYSE:NYLD

If you’re willing to dance with the devil, NRG Yield is an exciting company to watch. They invest and offer all forms of energy – from renewable to traditional. I’m really encouraged by their massive investment in renewable energy.

In recent years, making energy more environmentally sustainable has become a focus for a company that used to be one of the bad guys. I think we should encourage companies to stop killing our planet. These guys are on a warpath on behalf of green energy – and so what if they showed up a little late to the party. Don’t we want to reward reform?

Oh, and speaking of green, they’ve had a phenomenal year for investors. I definitely recommend adding them to your portfolio.

Brookfield Asset Management – NYSE:BAM

This is an asset management firm that has gone big on renewable energy. Part of their genius is that they stayed on the sidelines while renewable firms launched and fought over access to technology and resources. While they watched the good guys duke it out, they swooped in and picked up green energy firms that stumbled.

This means that their investors are able to invest in green energy at a HUGE discount. Brookfield Asset Management has more than 100 years of experience making strong investment plays. I love that they allow investors to access green technology without paying the hype premium.

Pattern Energy Group – NASDAQ:PEGI

Based in San Francisco, Pattern Energy Group is a pure green energy play. They’ve spent that past few decades building, expanding and innovating with more than 20 renewable energy facilities. If you’re a bleeding heart with a passion for green energy, this is as good as it gets!

You can purchase stock in their company on two different exchanges – the NASDAQ and Toronto Stock Exchange. This allows investors both north and south of the border to avoid international transaction fees. Savvy investors can compare both markets to find the best bang for the green dollar.

Carnegie Clean Energy – ASX:CCE

I saved the best for last with this stock. Carnegie Clean Energy harnesses the kinetic motion of ocean waves to generate energy. Their tech has been proven by the Australian defense sector – helping to power a naval base at Garden Island.

They also have dipped into other forms of renewable energy, so they have a bright future in a variety of markets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a buyout shortly based on the proprietary, proven technology that this firm owns the rights to.

In conclusion, it is totally possible to be green-conscious while making some green for your investment portfolio. Some companies are more committed than others, but I’m not afraid of rewarding traditional energy companies if they’re making a solid effort to diversify and make the world a greener place.

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