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Social Enterprise Backed by Local SITR



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.


These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis




Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens |

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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