EAST VILLAGE. PUTS MONEY ON MAKING A DIFFERENCE THROUGH ‘SMALL CHANGE’ INITIATIVE

As a team that is always searching for ways to do – and be – better, TeamEV. spends a lot of time asking the *big* questions. How do we make a meaningful difference? How do we become better active allies? What can we do to help make the world better tomorrow than it is today? While these questions loom large, we know that the answer lies in doing our bit little-by-little. That’s why we’ve launched our Small Change initiative, which sees us put our money where our mouths are – quite literally.

Small Change is an EV. fund, which sees us assign a set allowance every year for each team member to spend on whatever they like. The only caveats are that the money must support businesses run by minority groups and that the team then uses the EAST VILLAGE. platform to review, promote, and amplify those businesses and brands.

Whether it’s a beauty brand, fashion label, theatre group, book author, or restaurant: the team is free to spend their pot on the things that speak to their interests. It can be one big purchase or lots of little ones; spent all at once, or whenever they fancy. The idea is that Small Change encourages each of us to look beyond the mainstream, take a deeper dive into the ethos of the brands we back, and discover and support new and diverse businesses along the way. It is about being more mindful of the impact we have when we spend our money.

The Small Change initiative demonstrates that talk is cheap, and in order to make a lasting, sustainable, and meaningful difference, we have to invest in it. It’s not enough to use our hands to give ourselves a pat on the back or a round of applause; we have to use them to signal for change, by digging them deep in our pockets.

Take Black Pound Day – the social movement that encourages consumers to make a conscious effort to spend their money with Black-owned businesses on the first Saturday of every month – or the Jamii card, which is a directory of Black creators and makers who offer exclusive discounts to members. Both of these UK initiatives were founded to champion the work that Black business owners are doing; because too often, it is these businesses that are overlooked by white-centred, mainstream narratives.

According to research by British Business Bank (BBB) just last year, Black and other ethnic minority business owners made less money than white entrepreneurs; despite also often putting more time and money into their ventures. According to the BBB’s research, after starting a business, Black business owners report a median turnover of £25,000 per year… for context, that’s more than a third less than white business owners.

So many of the reasons behind this are linked to systemic racism: everything from access to housing and healthcare; through to unconscious bias and prejudice. The combination of these means that equal opportunities are unavailable, and the only way to fix it is by making conscious decisions to be conscientious consumers, buying from brands in a more inclusive and diverse way than we currently do.

That’s what we hope our Small Change initiative will nurture in the team, making each of us more aware of the brands, businesses, and experiences we buy in to, and going one step further to redress the balance by directly investing in diverse businesses.

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