Category Archives: Community Engagement

A Pilot Campaign

Blacks who are creating projects should be looking at business and project management models, since they need to create something effective, efficient and sustainable to the lives of black people

I learned from as long time ago that a pilot project should be created before you get investment. Many businesses start of small and grow or show they have a following before they ask for investment or funding. This demonstrates to the investors that your idea is viable and it is what the people want. Its and example that action is more clearer than words. Some ideas are still funded or investment is provided if the initial venture has failed but the difference it can make with the right funding is great.

Some black people who crowdfund, have a service or product already which should be the point. Others want to start from zero. The crowdfunding campaigns, which are starting a project from zero will have a higher chance of not materialising, if no work has not started before the funding campaign started. There should be more clear plans and direction of the project at least and the market should be tested, not just through research but a prototype or as said above a small scale version of the project.

The main project/business can then be created, through having a business case which in summary shows:

  • The benefits 
  • The negative impact
  • The difference it will make

The most important aspect of the persons ideals should be the difference they can make as this can determine whether it will work. If you have no project already then its not likely you can see a practical benefit (no matter how small), rather than a theoretical one.

I follow this most of the time, but like anyone else if someone has a way with psychology and I believe I have done the checks to the best of my ability then I put my hands up, but I use it as a learning experience, just like you would.

Further Information

Indiegogo Guide to Crowdfunding

Shopify Guide to Crowdfunding

Inc.com guide to crowdfunding

Pilot Project Guide

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Black Hibernation Month

For the months of October and February in the UK and America there are celebrations which look at the history and tradition of black people according to how the funders set the stall out.

The time when the celebrations are made are usually when it just starts to become dark or when it is really cold. In the UK it is dark and beginning to be cold in the month of October so events do get attendance but really you want to hibernate. In the US the month of February which can be warm or cold depending on which part of the country you are in.

The festival should be in both July and August as it is summer and most of the kids are on holiday and so it can be a time to reinforce the knowledge which people have about African history. There should not be one month of just history it should be a year round thing with the two months being festivals mirroring those in the main land of Africa, with tribal dances, drumming and story telling, and the talks which outline the importance of these activities.

Many of the topics of black history month look at social progress, though if you are talking about history, you need to look also at the political and economic factors. If you look at just the social factors then you have no economic awareness which means you rely on another group which is happening now. You should be able to get economic information about business owners, wealth black people and how you can help your communities through wealth and income, i.e. learning that money is not a contentious issue but an important on.

Politics is important too as we look at thinks on the surface and think just because someone was said to do good for black people they were good people. Rather, we should look at what the person did to improve our economic (wealth building, job creation and access to finances) situation. Like with elections, we need to learn how to get together and ask people how they will help us and what we can do to guarantee their assistance.

The reason I believe, there is political and economic factors missing in black history presentations and the same or similar people being talked about is the events are provided by the local authority. If your presentation is publicly funded then you will need to keep to an agenda, which is favourable to them. The better alternative is to have your own event, and listing it on websites within the local area you live.

There are places you can look which can suggest free or low cost buildings and rooms for rent to hold a presentation or event. The costs can be recouped if you do it through do nations or charge a price you think is reasonable for the event.

If you live in the UK and would like to find a venue for black history events or other events, you can find some here.

Further Information

Black History Month (UK) 2016

Black People and Coffee Shops

For nearly a decade now I have been going to coffee shops in my spare time, at first it was to write poetry and just detox on a Saturday afternoon after a hard week of working. Then it got to the point where I would go sometimes during the week after work, whether it was with acquaintances, project proposals or on my lonesome.

I noticed at this point in my early to mid 20’s that I was one of a few UK born Africans who was interested in going to coffee shops just to chill. I used to wonder why our people did not go to coffee shops in the 2000’s but it is for similar reasons why some still do not go now (though I notice more people in them these days). They would rather make the drink at home, though a coffee shop should not be seen as just a place where you go to drink a coffee rather a place to socialise, develop ideas, relationships or just disappear.

I find 8 years later that there are more people going to coffee shops who are African/black as more people are realising what you can do in a coffee shop and what you can discuss, without pressure of the environment or time constraints to finish your drink.

The Europeans use coffee shops to socialise and chill with each other, its only the British who think going to the coffee shop is a upwardly mobile thing to do or have it as a treat. I have noticed that coffee shops are beginning to open later and so more people who are from backgrounds which do not drink or drink little alcohol are meeting friends and family in these places.

Black people could begin to be more sociable by meeting in these places, rather than thinking there are few places to go maybe just enjoying each others company in a place where you can have a warm drink or cool drink (in summer) might be a good place to get your personal and professional goals off the ground.

To finish, I often go to a couple of well known coffee shops as I am allergic to milk so I get the milk free options. I sometimes go to independent ones, though my favourite coffee shop which had a great atmosphere decided to expand and lost the atmosphere, that is not to say all coffee shops are like that. Though some coffee shops are family friendly with child seats, as others are work friendly with chairs and tables whilst one thing which is guaranteed in all is free WiFi.

Black Based Food Quarter

In the UK it is that time of year where the sun should be out and the weather is much warmer. This means there are festivals up and down the country and this includes African and Caribbean based ones, like most cultures food is an important aspect, how its prepared and cooked which makes it distinctive from other cultures.

It is good that there are food festivals of African and Caribbean foods, but what would be a great thing would be if there was incentives for the food vendors to create more businesses in particular areas in the UK.

In the studying and working within the regeneration sector, one of the project which spring to mind which I worked on was a food quarter, which was used as a basis for developing an ethnic food quarter in South Wales. This was seen as a way you could get jobs and investement into a local area.

Like many of the blogs I have written previously, I am no expert and I am not just trying to talk about the problem, I would like to add something of value into the discussion which is actionable.

There are areas of cities and towns in the UK which have ethnicities stamps on them, just not the Caribbean and African Stamp. This is demonstrated by the South and South East Asians who have their own areas and towns, with restaurants, food shops and market stalls, like China Town and Pakistani and Indian areas, throughout the UK..

For example each area of the country where there is a sizeable South Asian population you will find a area with their businesses and restaurants.

For South Asians you have:

  • Curry Mile – Birmingham
  • Brick Lane – London
  • Golden Mile – Leicester

For China Towns they are in the following Towns and Cities:

  • Birmingham
  • London
  • Leeds
  • Leicester
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Scotland
  • Sheffield
  • Wales

These ethnic food quarters have tourist visits as they have a uniqueness to their food and goods. In African and Caribbean areas there are no food businesses which are open to tourism and the restaurants which are open, are usually all the things which are said to be part of a bad customer experience.

Based on the needs of black people in the UK and worldwide a food quarter should be created for various reasons. The main ones are for money to stay with in the community and for investement from outside. You can see this with the China Towns and the Asian area.

Asians (South and South Eastern) will shop within the food quarters for their own foods, goods and other items, but also you will see other races coming into the areas to eat food in the restaurants. If black people do create a food quarter we would need to make our food more neutral and appealing to the greater masses like the Asians do. This will be more economically prosperous for the black based food quarter.

The prices of the food would need to be more affordable, if black food businesses were to say organically create a food quarter in a particular area, the vision would need to be shared in regards to the direction which is taken, this would then make sure that there is a high standard of food and service delivery, something which is not necessarily in place at the moment, but can be worked on outside of the public sphere.

The service and food standards would be guaranteed by the level of training the businesses incorporate. Another would be the suppliers as there would be a need to buy from suppliers who supplied foods which the businesses could sell, which is safe and of a high standard. 

There are some good quality, product and customer service being provided by, black food businesses, but they are either not owned by black people or in places where the price is not affordable. This is fine for these places but then there is a lack of employment of our own people a food quarter would ensure we can create our own businesses but also employ our own people at the same time, with a stamp that we do live in the UK or which ever country we are in around the world (outside of Africa).

Further information

Balti Triangle (Birmingham)

Curry Mile (Birmingham)

Golden Mile (Leicester)

Food Quarter (Bath)

China Towns (Europe)

Birmingham Caribbean Festival

 

Critically Ill-informed

If your in the UK you have probably, noticed a big decision and if you acted within your rights you also had your input. Yes, the UK is now out of the European Union, well not yet as there are some massive loose ends, which need tying up but if you read the newspapers and the internet you’ll get at least the gist of this.

I’m here to look at the social, economic and political factors of this. Starting with the social factors, I look at those who voted in favour of staying as being silently racist but being informed of the ramifications of not leaving the EU. Those who voted out well thats clear they dont like black people (other races can speak for themselves). Black people in the UK are divided, especially as many Caribbean people cannot accept they are African and work with Africans when were are one of the same, just like the british european and the european from the penninsular are one in the same.

Economically, this is a problem, if you dont have a diverse income then you will be in trouble as European British people will employ thier own, whilst black people will have to fend for ourselves. Im not sure how many black people own thier own businesses, which is making profit, but this will need to exponentially grow in the next 5 years (preferably 2). If you are starting out like myself you have a chance, also if you are researching and wanting to create a income that too will be good enough.

If you do not have the motivation to start a business, investing might be an answer if you can, otherwise you may find you will struggle to make ends meet of find a job as black people in the UK have economic well as the numbers of businesses is low.
Our political position is linked to the economic position, if we dont have businesses then how can we elect councellors or MPs or even ask MP’s to campaign on our behalf for services we need or even sponsor services we need. This falls down to the point of view that the average black adult believes the government (local and national) should pay for the service or facility. No we should be paying for this.

This vote should be a kick up the backside but Im sure it wont be rather it will be just another thing to sit around and discuss then get up and live your normal life, I hope I’m wrong.

Crowd – Gifting

There has been much emphasis on crowdfunding though there should be a view point towards people crowd gifting. I will explain further, suppose people were to donate items to persons who are seeking funds to raise for a venture.

This would occur by providing them with items which you do not want and listing through Ebay or a second hand selling site, you would then be able to take the proceeds from the sale after the item has been sold.

This would mean you could donate to a campaign if you did not have the funds by selling an item and pledging the proceeds to the campaign.

My viewpoint came from my experiences of giving to charities in the UK, where I often donate books and DVD etc to charity shops as I just cannot be bothered to sell them online and besides some of the smaller charities do some good work and I am very supportive of local charities who do good community work, I also buy many books and redonate them once I have finished.

There are online services online which can allow you to donate items and they will take the proceeds and pass them on to the charity/thrift organisation you would want the items to go to.

As stated above there are other ways in which you can ensure your funds go to another party, this could be through arranging with the individual or group recieving the funds that you will pledge the value of the item if it is sold.

There are things which can be looked at to see how and if it can work, at least it is something to think about.

Considerations:

  • Whether or not an agreement can be made to accept donations in this manner.
  • The items donated for sale may not sell.
  • To get the funds will require much effort as going to a charity/thrift shop as you will need to post and package the item to the sellar.
  • Unknown value of the item until sold.
  • Difficult to get a standard price of all items as most venutres will be for business, rather than charitable.

The Benefit:

  • More donations as many people will have items to sell.
  • Very Accessible to those with little funds but many items
  • Pledges do not have to be made until the item is sold and the value from that item gained.
  • More access to others who might have a passing interest rather than a full interest.
  • Takes dedication and interest in the campaign and the projects of the person/group asking for the donation.
  • This could be a way of asking businesses and organisations if they have any old stock which they can donate to sell for the cause/project you have.

Further information:

Selling for Charity (Ebay)

Audio And Visual Plugging

Remembering back to the late 80’s and the early 90’s when
I would listen to pirate radio stations which would play
reggae and black music. These were ways in which black
people could play their music on the UK as the costs to
get a radio mast would be huge and for a Licence to play
songs this would be large too.

The radio stations still exist (on Analogue radio and as
internet radio stations) today in towns and cities across
the UK with a Afrocaibbean population. This is because we
originally created them to play our songs and music,
which would not be played on mainstream radio. Despite
them being illegal, many reggae artists do shout outs to
these radio stations, as they are channels which can be used to
bring more awareness of their music and songs.

The thing which these radio stations did which many of
the black people who talk about enlighted matters dont do
is promote local black owned businesses. As a kid when
recording these stations annoyance would set in as the
adverts would play but as a more enlightened adult I like
and understand the need for these adverts.

This links into the point of view that the enlightened
persons who provide information for black people should
have adverts on their audio and video posts for
businesses which are local or regional to them and some
of their following.

This will be useful to those with a large following and
the advertising would be for businesses which are
relevant to the demographic of the audience. On pirate
radio local black businesses advertise and you begin to
find out which businesses exist in that town or city and
also what events are going on locally and regionally.

As well as being able to provide opinions and information
you may also provide information on local businesses on
your videos and radio shows. The finer details in terms
of economic details for both parties are to be discussed
between yourselves.