Monthly Archives: November 2014

Syndicates

In some discussions I have had this week the topic has revolved around the ability of black people to pool finances together to support community buildings and projects. This in my personal case hAs to involve a building which caribbean people in a town of the UK use for christenings, weddings and birthday celebrations.

I aim to put a proposal together to bid for the building rather than let another ethnicity purchase the building and rent it back to us West Indians and Africans. I am aware there are some business people who would be interested in buying the building if it could make business sense, though I am looking to raise finance for it so if the black people of the town could say put a pound or something in then the businesses get together in a consortium and cover a large proportion of the cost then this would be part of the way to purchasing the building, so it can continue to be used within the community.

The process I will take will be the following:

Enquiring with the local authority how much the building would cost to purchase.

Ask the West Indian community organisation if they have thought about using their funds or fund raising to purchase the building.

Officially enquire if there are any other black businesses interested in buying the businesses.

Put together a proposal for a syndicate and see if the black businesses would come together to purchase the building.

See how other black organisations in the town would be able to get involved in the project by raising funds so that the businesses can cover some of the price but the community covers the rest.

The plan would cover some of the following:

The history of the building
How the community has used it over the years
The activities which are currently undertaken at the centre
The proposal of a consortium leading the running and operation of the centre
The costs associated with the running of the building
How more activities could be undertaken at the building
The benefits to the community
The benefits to the stakeholders
A return on investment for stakeholders
The barriers to purchasing this building
Further use and development of the building
Finally, what would happen if this building is not purchased by black people.

The paper would then be distributed to potentially interested parties and used to create a fundraising platform.

This blog is used to demonstrate what happens in the Caribbean and black community in the UK. Division between islands means for the bigger picture we cannot put differences and create a cooperative. This approach should possibly be followed or one similar at least in the local community.

Like I’ve written in previous blogs I don’t think enterprise can solve all our social, economic and environmental problems but two of the three can be combined to make a huge difference in a community.

I just hope one of two things these plans are put to one side and someone has done exactly this or I can be of assistance where possible using this approach to gain more support to this initiative in the local area. I’m a planner by nature so, we’ll see how this works out.

Advertisements

Black local innovation

As a people we don’t have a major share in technology,  which can be used to develop our communities and be a substantial part of our local economy. We buy technology from all races but we very rarely, if at all use technology as a business to sell products or to repair.

Currently, there is a number of people who are qualified academically, professionally or through life experience in this area. Attempts should be made to keep the highly educated black people in the areas they grew up in with other black people by getting them to (socially, economically or politically) invest in the area through creating centres or community hubs (places where we can go to discuss technology or share ideas), funding or championing the growth of technology centres in black areas. A podcast I was listening to was talking about how as black people we are behind in technological development.

In the UK most black people who work in technology, work for the government or for private companies. This also applies to scientists as well. There should be an approach to ensuring we can utilise these skills in UK communities (where black people live, in clusters)&, in some cases these skills are taken to Africa as many scientists and engineers are of african descent.

If we can set up a structure for our scientific and engineering professionals or those with an interest in technology to wet share ideas we may as a community develop a stronger business economy selling technology and services to ourselves and others.

How can this enable black empowerment, currently there is a lot of talk and discussion about the increasing role of technology in the world and how we live. In other cultures, like in business other cultures the members of the community move away learn something the bring that extra knowledge back to provide more skills and financial capital to the local economy.

Black people do this in respects of Africans and Caribbean a going back to their respective countries when they gain more knowledge. Black people in the UK tend to live in less black areas or they tend not to get involved in volunteering within that community.

Mainly these graduates and skilled workers would add to an existing industry in the black community. This is a challenge, which we would be required to overcome as there are few jobs the professionals would be required create jobs through business creation, possibly in partnership with other skilled professionals.

This is possible through networking and using community resources to provide a platform for the talented individuals and groups within our communities to develop and pursue their skill, in keeping our race up to date with technological developments from a sellers point of view rather than just a consumers.

This economy needs some thought

Recently, I’ve listened to, watched and read numerous sources talking about the creation of a black economy or strengthening the currency within the black community. Illustrating the aim of creating power with our money, on the whole I agree with this much needed concept.

Though, my socially concious way has not allowed me to say this is the case to solve our money, community togetherness and the cleanliness of our neighbourhoods. A plan for community development is required, which connects business to social and community projects, which can then create a sense of pride, rather than the view I have concluded business will solve everything.

Considering the business aspect of this plan, the question can be asked whether or not, these businesses can create jobs, especially in the UK. Can the businesses which are involved in the plan, provide employment to the skills, which exist in the community. The deciding factor will be to ask if the community requires the product, which the business is providing.

The factor, which should also be considered when developing a black economy (business dominated or otherwise) is the creation of a partnership or cooperative working initiative between the businesses and the community groups, in respects to housing, youth, education and health as these are key to determining the cohesion of a community.

Businesses will and would be tested as to whether they would use tax breaks or sponsorship to support the running of non profit black organisations locally or if they would want the local government to continue funding this.

There are many skilled people who have come from black dominated areas and have left. Encouraging the highly skilled and trained professionals to stay in the area is important. This will provide the opportunity for them to use (social and financial) resources to build up schools, invest in businesses and get more involved in community initiatives.

People in communities (especially black ones) need to consider housing and environmental issues. A business dominated economy would need to look at investing in homes or at least being part of the discussions. The business will say it’s the governments or the individual’s responsibility but if we are creating an economy, we must ensure the participants are at least accommodated.

Talk of creating a bank is great but could still put our own people in a position with no access to money, a in the form of a bank account loans or savings. The business led economy, may not consider a cooperative, which is important to the plan to formalise credit unions for those who cannot access commercial black banks. This can increase home, property and business ownership, developing a stronger currency with in our communities.

Finally, businesses may argue community and not for profit services can get government funding and this is true, but if we can fund it ourselves too, we will be able to develop further as a whole.

I’m for the black economy, but we need to consider how we can make it work and how it can improve all aspects of the communities existence.