In just a few days Micro Rainbow International will bid to win €50,000 for creating a hostel and providing safety, social inclusion & employment advice to LGBTI refugees in the UK.
MRI selected as finalist in EU Social Innovation Competition: ‘Integrated Futures’
Micro Rainbow International CIC (MRI) has been selected from a shortlist of 30 and a total of 1,095 applicants from 36 countries as a finalist in the European Social Innovation Competition. Along with nine others, MRI will pitch for the chance to win one of three €50,000 prizes at the awards ceremony on Thursday, 27th October.
This year’s theme ‘Integrated Futures’ sought ideas with the potential to address the reception and integration of refugees and migrants in Europe, enabling them to contribute to the social, economic, cultural and political life of their host countries.
MRI is a UK based social enterprise that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people to improve their livelihoods by setting up small businesses, finding training and jobs. It has replicated its model in the UK, Brazil and Cambodia.
Every year in the UK, MRI provides a lifeline to hundreds of LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers who come from one of the 75 countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal. Research shows that LGBTI refugees lack safe housing, often living in shared accommodation with other refugees who can be hostile and homophobic and consequently suffer abuse and violence. It also shows that they face additional challenges integrating into wider society which are not faced by the general refugee population; for example they are shunned by their own families and ethnic and religious communities in the UK. This makes LGBTI refugees extremely isolated and in turn more vulnerable to poverty and destitution as they have no one to turn to.
MRI will assist its service users to find employment by facilitating training and coaching and by offering support to set up small businesses.
Sebastian Rocca, Founder and CEO at MRI said:
“MRI’s solution to the abuse that LGBTI refugees face in housing is to operate a hostel exclusively for LGBTI refugees and to provide them with safe temporary accommodation. The profits from the hostel will allow MRI to fund social inclusion activities, such as peer support groups, life skills workshops, art sessions and employability workshops. In addition MRI will assist its service users to find employment by facilitating training and coaching and by offering support to set up small businesses”.
The hostel will be financed by social investment. On 23 August 2016 HMRC provided MRI with an advanced assurance that social investments in MRI to raise funding for its housing project for LGBTI refugees should qualify for the Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) scheme.
Mr Rocca added:
“The SITR scheme allows qualifying individuals not only to invest in, and receive returns on, a qualifying high impact social project, but also provides that certain tax relief may be claimed by those individuals on or in respect of their investment (such as deduction of 30% of qualifying investment costs from that investor’s income tax liability or deferring a capital gains tax liability on a gain re-invested into a SITR qualifying investment)”.
Some of MRI’s employees attended a mentoring academy in Berlin in July where they worked with experts in social innovation to refine their ideas and develop their business plan before pitching to the jury. The jury is made up of successful social innovators from around Europe with particular expertise in working with refugees and migrants, who critically evaluated the strength of each organisation’s business plan and have selected the 10 strongest entries.
Moud Goba, Project Manager at MRI said:
“Being shortlisted for the Competition out of 1095 entries gave us the confidence that our idea did not just sound good to us, but that it was also valued by experts in social entrepreneurship. The competition provided us not only with free coaching, information and advice to develop our business plan but also with the encouragement of peer social innovators who want us to succeed. We are very excited to be a finalist, to have the opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that LGBTI refugees face and to pitch to secure the much needed prize money. We hope to see our model replicated all over Europe, and for LGBTI refugees to experience and enjoy a greater number of opportunities to integrate into society”.
Josephine Goube, COO of Techfugees and member of the 2016 jury commented:
“I was thrilled by the diversity and the large scope of shortlisted projects this year. They proved that so much can be done to help refugees feel welcomed and thrive in Europe that benefit host communities all at the same time. The 10 finalists give a good insight into what some European citizens have been helping with on the ground instead of waiting on government to take action. I hope they not only will inspire others to put their own ideas into action but also get a well needed support from governments to scale and be sustainable solutions.”
Green Weddings Trend: Why 70% of Newlyweds Are Going Green
A couple of months ago, my best friend got married to her new husband. They are both very eco-conscious people, so they decided to have a unique twist on their wedding. They asked for the following:
- They arranged a carpool with their friends.
- They didn’t have any balloons. Instead they used umbrellas.
- They used plant materials instead of plastic confetti.
- My friend insisted her husband not purchase a diamond. In addition to being ecologically conscious, she didn’t like the idea of having a stone that was used in conflict zones.
My friends aren’t the only ones making these changes. In fact, nearly a quarter of all newlyweds are organizing green weddings.
Green Weddings Are Becoming the Norm
People are more concerned about green living than ever before. They are trying to incorporate environmental protectionist ideas into every facet of their lives, even the most intimate, such as marriage. A growing number of people are trying to have green weddings, which can make a big difference in reducing their carbon footprint.
How much of a difference can this make? Here are some statistics to bear in mind:
- The Center for Disease Control reports that about two million marriages are formed every year.
- Approximately 70% of all marriages have green elements today.
- This means that 1.4 million marriages are green.
There are a number ofreasons that green weddings are becoming more important. Here are a few.
People Are More Worried About Environmental Preservation than Ever Before
Green living in general is becoming a greater concern for most people. Even younger conservatives are breaking from their older counterparts by insisting on fighting climate change. According to a poll from Pew Research earlier this year, 75% of Americans say that they are very concerned about protecting the environment. Having green weddings is a good way to act on this concern.
One of the biggest changes people are making is using recycled products for their green weddings. This is explained by the research from Pew:
“Overall, 32% of U.S. adults say they are bothered a lot by people throwing away things that could be recycled. Roughly six-in-ten Americans (61%) who say they always try to live in ways that protect the environment say it bothers them “a lot” when others throw away things that could be recycled. Among those who are less focused on environmental protection, only a quarter say it bothers them a lot when others don’t recycle. People who are environmentally conscious are also twice as likely as others to say that seeing someone incorrectly putting trash in recycling bins bothers them a lot (42% vs. 21%).”
Indifferent Politicians Are Driving them to Take More Initiative
Many politicians in power have been very hesitant to take action on climate change. Many of them have openly stated that it is a hoax. These politicians are forcing people to do what they can in their own lives to make a difference. Making small changes, such as hosting green weddings, is a great way to improve the environment without waiting for political momentum.
Cost and Simplicity
A couple of the biggest reasons that people want to host green weddings have nothing to do with their concern for the environment. Running green weddings is simply cheaper and simpler than having a massive, traditional one. One of the biggest changes is that they are buying green engagement rings from the best brands.
Green Weddings Are the Future
Green weddings have become very popular over the past few years. They will probably account for close to 90% of all marriages by 2025. People that are planning to get married should look into the benefits and plan accordingly.
Green Tech Start-Ups: Are they the Future?
Endless innovations are occurring in green companies, reinventing the industries they belong to. Gradually, they are beginning to amass more success and popularity. Consequently, these factors serve as a good indicator for green technology businesses, and their development must begin somewhere.
Green tech start-ups boast a wide array of opportunities for the economy and environment, while boosting recruitment openings with valuable services. While the technology industry is littered with high revenues and competition, the green tech start-ups are the clear sign of a cleaner future.
Fulfilling a Genuine Need
Many tech companies will market themselves as the ultimate tech giants to shift stock and make profit. As they all vie for attention through warped corporate rhetoric, there is only one ethical winner; the start-up green tech company.
Some argue that mainstream tech businesses have grown far too big, branching out into other industries and standing between the consumer and practically everything they do. However, green tech start-ups go beyond the shallow ambitions of a company, answering a call to sincerely help the customer and climate in any way they can. Of course, this is an attractive business model, putting customers at ease as they contribute to a humanitarian cause that is genuine through and through.
After all, empathy is a striking trait to have in business, and green tech start-ups maintain this composure by their very nature and purpose.
Despite the pursuits for clean energy still needing more awareness, green tech is an area that is ripe for contribution and expansion. There’s no need to copy another company or be a business of cheap knockoffs; green tech start-ups can add a new voice to the economy by being fresh, fearless and entrepreneurial.
Technology is at its most useful when it breaks new ground, an awe that eco-friendly innovations have by default in their operations. Of course, green tech start-ups have the chance to build on this foundation and create harmony instead of climate crisis. Ultimately, the tech advancements are what revolutionise clean energy as more than an activist niche, putting theory into practice.
Despite the US gradually becoming more disengaged with green technology, others such as China and Canada recognise the potential in green technology for creating jobs and growth in their respective economies. The slack of others spurs them on, which creates a constant influx of prospects for the green tech sector. Put simply, their services are always required, able to thrive from country to country.
A Fundamental Foresight
Mainstream technology can seem repetitive and dull, tinkering with what has come before rather than turning tech on its head. Since 2011, technology has been accused of stagnation, something which the internet and petty app services seem to disguise in short reaching ideas of creativity.
However, green tech start-ups aren’t just winging it, and operate with a roadmap of climate change in the years ahead to strategize accordingly. In other words, they aren’t simply looking to make a quick profit by sticking to a trend, but have the long-term future in mind. Consequently, the green tech start-up will be there from the very start, building up from the foundational level to only grow as more and more people inevitably go green.
They can additionally forecast their finances too, with the ability to access online platforms despite the differing levels of experience, keeping them in the loop. Consequently, with an eye for the future, green tech startups are the ones who will eventually usher in the new era.
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