Social Lender banks on UK success with accelerator scheme place

Nigerian-based financial solution service, Social Lender, has made its UK debut, as it joins the FORWARD accelerator scheme run by Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC). Having pioneered tech-based solutions to improve financial inclusion since 2018, Social Lender hopes to adapt its innovative approach to help provide access to formal financial services to those facing barriers in the UK as it expands its offerings globally. Described as a ‘social network for trust, credit and much more’ the Social Lender model has already helped over 100,000 users to become financially included. Now, the coveted space on BEC’s FORWARD programme helps the start-up –

Heart of England Community Foundation welcomes two new trustee

Heart of England Community Foundation's new trustees

The region’s leading grant-giving charity, Heart of England Community Foundation, has announced that two new faces will be joining its board. Jasmin Koasha and Calum Nisbet have been appointed as trustees, following the charity’s record-breaking 12 months, which has seen it award over £5.7m to community projects since the start of the pandemic.  Jasmin, a solicitor at Anthony Collins Solicitors, and Calum, the Commercial Director at Black Country Chamber of Commerce, will bring a combined 34 years’ of business experience to the roles, and are expected to play an instrumental part in the charity’s plans to navigate a post-pandemic world. 

All-women exhibition curated by independent curator

In a bid to highlight the phenomenal work of female artists for the masses, independent curator, Gita Joshi, has partnered with the team behind South London Women Artists (SLWArtists) to host a virtual exhibition. The online showcase, titled She answered, “Art”, launches 14 April and will include over 40 pieces created by the critically acclaimed group of visual artists.  Gita Joshi, the founder of The Curator’s Salon, has hand-selected works by SLWArtists for inclusion, comprising a range of styles including printmaking, photography, painting and textiles. Going ‘live’ on Wednesday, the online exhibition will be available to view for free throughout spring, until 23

Oaks Consultancy and Yorkshire Cricket Foundation pair up to change lives

Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, the official charity and community arm of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, has chosen Oaks Consultancy to deliver an ambitious income generation plan to support its 2021-2024 strategy. Oaks Consultancy, which is based in Birmingham, has been commissioned by Yorkshire Cricket Foundation to deliver a four-season fundraising strategy, which will feed into the organisation’s ambitious plans to increase its impact and outreach. Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, a registered charity, delivers community projects across the county and is run by over 150 volunteers annually. Using the power of cricket, the team aims to make a lasting, positive impact on communities

Sustainable plastic-free firewood retailer branches out into charcoal

After a blazing start to 2021, Midlands-based firewood start-up Love Logs is firing up its new Smoking and Barbecue Fuel Kit range. Having launched Love Logs as the UK’s first 100% plastic-free firewood retailer during last year’s lockdown, co-founders Heather Emery and Paul Strachan are now adding to their ethically sourced options, making sustainable product choices more accessible for consumers. Offering a variety of sizes and customisable options for customers on its website, the brand’s new fuel kits retail from as little as £17.95 and promise to help customers level up their barbecue game as the return of outdoor entertaining

EV Insight: 7 steps to strengthening team culture and engagement

At the start of last year, I made the scary decision that every small business owner eventually makes: to step away from the day-to-day and solely “run” the business. I set up EAST VILLAGE. because I’ve always loved PR and events, so moving away from delivering that was a big step for me. Thankfully, I have a team of incredible people who are just as passionate about delivering amazing campaigns and landing press coverage as I am, so I have no fear whatsoever about that side of things! Little did I know when I made the decision and finally took

Big Brummie Camp Out pitches up again this spring

Big Brummie Camp Out

Birmingham homeless support charity, SIFA Fireside, has announced the return of its flagship fundraiser, the Big Brummie Camp Out, following a successful debut last year. Launched as part of an urgent appeal for donations due to the pandemic, SIFA Fireside brought together campers across the West Midlands for the virtual event and raised over £50,000 for the #SIFASurvives campaign. Now, the charity hopes to fire up the same success once more, so it can continue supporting homeless and vulnerably housed adults.  This year’s Big Brummie Camp Out will take place in homes and gardens across the city on Saturday 1 May

What to pitch in April

Quarter 1 of 2021 is officially done and dusted and as we gear up for the summer months ahead, it’s time to buckle down and get ready for the return of relative ‘normality’ one year on from the start of lockdown measures. The next few weeks are set to be an exciting time: the Rule of 6 is back in play and the upcoming re-opening of non-essential retail, outdoor dining and gyms mean that people’s sense of hope and excitement will spike. If your business is affected by these changes, now is the time to put the work and in

Brummie brewery serves up tropical-flavoured craft beer

Just months after the debut of its first beverage, Birmingham-based Gypsy Brew is raising the bar once again with the launch of its second craft beer, Garrity Mash. Having co-founded Gypsy Brew during last year’s lockdown, the Midlands-based brewery owners, Gary Meads and Al Smith, have developed a blend that is essential-tasting for any beer-lover this spring. Expertly crafted in a quaint brewery in Weatheroak Hill, Garrity Mash is a tropical fruit 3.9% ABV Session Pale Ale, packed full of juicy notes of mango.  Offering a refreshing burst of complex vibrant flavours, Garrity Mash is available to buy from 25

Foundation’s £800K to support victims of modern slavery

As International Women’s Day encourages people to challenge gender bias and inequality this year, Heart of England Community Foundation is helping to ease challenges faced by women in the region. The Foundation’s capital builds programme, Building Better Lives, will soon see the opening of a 12-bed refuge and brand-new safe space built in the Black Country to protect survivors of modern slavery. Black Country Women’s Aid received £800k from a £3M funding pot created by Heart of England, which has since seen the development of a much-needed safe space which will offer urgent support to victims of modern slavery.  The