A first successful Enterprise Café has been opened successfully in Siem Reap, Cambodia by Footprint Cafés, a new chain of sustainable enterprise cafés that will re-invest 100% of net profits into local communities.
As founder of Footprint Cafés, Georgina Hemmingway’s idea is to harness the spending power of tourism for the benefit of local communities. The vision is to establish global network of Enterprise Cafés that pays forward all profits as grants for local educational programs and social enterprises as well as contributing to the establishment of new cafés in countries across the developing world.
Footprint is a triple bottom line social enterprise, meaning it judges its success on ‘People, Planet and Profit’. As well as donating its profits as grants, Footprint aims to provide its teams with the best of employment practices and strives to look after the planet. Footprint customers can not only expect a superior café experience but can also be sure that their visit is having a positive impact on the local community.
The new Enterprise Café in Siem Reap, is now open with a team of 14 and is on track to become profitable within its first 3 months of operation. Profits from the café will be used to provide grants for the local community, to employ a local team and to help fund the roll-out of a wave of cafés in Cambodia, Laos, Nepal and Vietnam.
Dr Darrin M. Disley, Trustee of Footprint Cafés, has today pledged a further $150,000 to the initiative, bringing his total contribution to $300,000. Darrin is a champion of social enterprise in the Cambridge, UK community and a key figure within ethical entrepreneurship, having received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion earlier this year. Darrin has boosted Footprint Café’s non-profit’s reserves considerably, thus enabling the opening of three to four additional enterprises in 2017/18. This will be followed by a onetime fundraise of $1.5 million to build 25 cafes, which will enable a fully sustainable global expansion model of five new cafes per year funded through established café profits. This will allow the enterprise to focus on establishing itself in every corner of the world and aims to become the brand-of-choice for ethically motivated tourists.
A key element of establishing the model is holding book drives aligned to the launch of each Enterprise Café. In June 2016, book donations from Astra Zeneca plc, Medimmune Ltd, Horizon Discovery Group plc, Cambridge University, Cambridge News as well as numerous organisations including SMEs, UK schools, charities and authors yielded 9,000 books, pushing Footprint Cafés beyond their target of 8,000. Of those, 4,000 were children’s books which will be donated to local organisations providing access to free quality education for impoverished children in Siem Reap. 1,000 were reference books which will be used to give university students in Siem Reap free access to a reference library and the final 4,000 fiction books will be sold in the café to generate $20,000 to $30,000 worth of funds that will further support the award of grants.
Benefitting from 15 years of experience working on brands such as Costa, Pizza Hut and Premier Inn, Footprint Cafés also announces the appointment of Mags Dixon as Chief Marketing Officer. Margaret’s wealth of knowledge of brand make her an invaluable asset in creating the world’s first chain of sustainable enterprise cafés.
Following the launch of the first Footprint Café we are rapidly becoming a ‘go-to’ hub for tourists wanting a quality coffee, reading or dining experience
Georgina Hemmingway, Founder of Footprint Cafés, said:
“Following the launch of the first Footprint Café we are rapidly becoming a ‘go-to’ hub for tourists wanting a quality coffee, reading or dining experience. In addition, we are becoming deeply connected to local community organisers and NGOs building our brand as a business on a mission to pay-it-forward. I am excited about the local impact we will have for years to come. This is set to continue as we expand the model next into either Vientiane or Luang Prabang in Laos, where we hope to enrich the lives of the local community and give ethically-motivated tourists a taste of local culture to the benefit rather than the detriment of the local people.”
Dr Darrin M. Disley, Trustee of Footprints Cafés, added:
“To be involved in this impacting project that uses the power of global tourism to drive sustainability and social mobility one community at a time is of real importance to me. My financial pledge is a sign of my belief in the project, its business model and helps to put Footprint Cafés in a good position to roll-out our first wave of Enterprise Café’s and then reach our scale up funding target of $1.5 million. With the help of this initial funding and experience of senior team members, such as Mags for marketing the enterprise, we can transition into a self-sustained funding model which will ensure that the chain can continue to expand exponentially funded entirely on the back of its success in other areas of the globe.”
Are the UK Governments Plans for the Energy Sector Smart?
The revolution in the energy sector marches on, wind turbines and solar panels are harnessing more renewable energy than ever before – so where is it all leading?
The UK government have recently announced plans to modernise the way we produce, store and use electricity. And, if realised, the plans could be just the thing to bring the energy sector in line with 21st century technology and ideologies.
Central to the plans is an initiative that will see smart meters installed in homes and businesses the length and breadth of the country – and their aim? To create an environment where electricity can be managed more efficiently.
The news has prompted some speculation about how energy suppliers will react and many are predicting a price war. This could benefit consumers of electricity and investors, many of whom may be looking to make a profit by trading energy company shares online using platforms such as Oanda – but the potential for good news doesn’t end there.
Introducing New Technology
The plan, titled Smart Systems and Flexibility is being rolled out in the hope that it will have a positive impact in three core areas.
- To offer consumers greater control by making smart meters available for all homes and businesses by 2020. Energy users will be able to monitor, control and record the amount of energy they use.
- Incentivise energy suppliers to change the manner in which they buy electricity, to offer more smart tariffs and more off-peak periods for energy consumption.
- Introduce new standards for electrical appliances – it is hoped that the new wave of appliances will recognise when electricity is at its cheapest and at its most expensive and respond accordingly.
How the Plans Will Affect Solar Energy
Around 7 million houses in the UK have solar panels and the government say that their plan will benefit them as they will be able to store electricity on batteries. The stored energy can then be used by the household and excess energy can be exported to the national grid – in this instance lower tariffs or even payment for the excess energy will bring down annual costs significantly.
The rate of return on energy exported to the national grid is currently between 6% and 10%, but there are many variables to take into account, such as, the cost of battery storage and light levels. Still, those with state-of-the-art solar electricity systems could end up with an annual profit after selling their excess energy.
The Internet of Things
Much of what the plans set out to achieve are linked to the now ubiquitous “internet of things” – where, for example, appliances and heating systems are connected to the internet in order to make them function more smartly.
Companies like Hive have already made great inroads into this type of technology, but the road that the government plans are heading down, will, potentially, go much further -blockchain technology looms and has already proved to be a game changer in the world of currency.
It has already been suggested that the peer to peer selling of energy and exporting it to the national grid may eventually be done using blockchain technology.
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
Don and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution (2016)
The upshot of the government’s plans for the revolution of the energy sector, is that technology will play an indelible role in making it more efficient, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable.
4 Case Studies on the Benefits of Solar Energy
Demand for solar energy is growing at a surprising rate. New figures from SolarPower Europe show that solar energy production has risen 50% since the summer of 2016.
However, many people are still skeptical of the benefits of solar energy.Does it actually make a significant reduction in our carbon footprint? Is it actually cost-effective for the company over the long-run?
A number of case studies have been conducted, which indicate solar energy can be enormously beneficial. Here are some of the most compelling studies on the subject.
1. Boulder Nissan
When you think of companies that leverage solar power, car dealerships probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind. However, Boulder Nissan is highly committed to promoting green energy. They worked with Independent Power Systems to setup a number of solar cells. Here were the results:
- Boulder Nissan has reduced coal generated electricity by 65%.
- They are on track to run on 100% renewable energy within the next 13 years.
- Boulder Nissan reduced CO2 emissions by 416,000 lbs. within the first year after installing their solar panels.
This is one of the most impressive solar energy case studies a small business has published in recent years. It shows that even small companies in rural communities can make a major difference by adapting solar energy.
2. Valley Electric Association
In 2015, the Valley Electric Association (VEA) created an 80-acre solar garden. Before retiring from the legislature, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid praised the new project as a way to make the state more energy dependent and reduce our carbon footprint.
“This facility will provide its customers with the opportunity to purchase 100 percent of their electricity from clean energy produced in Nevada,” Reid told reporters with the Pahrump Valley Times. “That’s a step forward for the Silver State, but it also proves that utilities can work with customers to provide clean renewable energy that they demand.”
The solar energy that VEA produced was drastically higher than anyone would have predicted. SolarWorld estimates that the solar garden created 32,680,000 kwh every year, which was enough to power nearly 4,000 homes.
This was a major undertaking for a purple state, which may inspire their peers throughout the Midwest to develop solar gardens of their own. It will reduce dependency on the electric grid, which is a problem for many remote states in the central part of the country.
3. Las Vegas Casinos
A number of Las Vegas casinos have started investing in solar panels over the last couple of years. The Guardian reports that many of these casinos have cut costs considerably. Some of them are even selling the energy back to the grid.
“It’s no accident that we put the array on top of a conference center. This is good business for us,” Cindy Ortega, chief sustainability officer at MGM Resorts told Guardian reporters. “We are looking at leaving the power system, and one of the reasons for that is we can procure more renewable energy on the open market.”
There have been many benefits for casinos using solar energy. They are some of the most energy-intensive institutions in the world, so this has helped them become much more cost-effective. It also helps minimize disruptions to their customers learning online keno strategies in the event of any problems with the electric grid.
4. Boston College
Boston College has been committed to many green initiatives over the years. A group of researchers experimented with solar cells on different parts of the campus to see where they could produce the most electricity. They discovered that the best locationwas at St. Clement’sHall. The solar cells there dramatically. It would also reduce CO2 emissions by 521,702 lbs. a year and be enough to save 10,869 trees.
Boston College is exploring new ways to expand their usage of solar cells. They may be able to invest in more effective solar panels that can generate far more solar energy.
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