Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

On Beer: East London’s Burgeoning Beer Mile (and a bit)

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a real ale or two (or three or four…)  So, it’s great to hear about some awesome new breweries opening up close to our home in East London.

In fact, the team here thrilled that some of these new breweries are putting purpose before profit too. Opening up near each other, this new brewing scene is top tribute to a fantastic beer culture that is brewing in our corner of the capital.

So, what’s new?

The Magic Spells Brewery, Leyton

The newest and latest independent Craft Brewery in East London currently produces three bottled beers:  A Craft Lager, a Pale Ale (called Hackney Hare) and an IPA.

Magic Spells’ beers are a somewhere between modern brewing techniques and old styles and methods; taking inspiration from classics and adding a modern twist. The brewery creates distinct flavour profiles for the beers – an up front and bold hoppy flavour, a satisfying bite to the beer, smoothly balanced due to a nice malty body and warming alcohol.

The brewery sources most of the malt used in its beers from the UK plus British hops boosted by punchy flavoured hops from New Zealand and America.

It was founded by Jas Hare, an Eastender born-and-bred, who has a fantastic track record in the drinks industry as well as being a craft beer enthusiast.

Magic Spells Beers are available in both 330ml and 500ml bottles with an RRP of £2.49 and £2.99 respectively. They’re all available online, and in venues around London too.

 

Nirvana Brewery, Leyton

Another new brewery for 2017, Nirvana does something completely different. A low / no-alcohol brewery – sure a great idea for our increasingly health-conscious times.

It’s the UK’s only micro brewery dedicated to zero and low ABV craft beers. Beers on offer include Mantra (an IPA at 0.7% ABV), Kosmic (a stout at 0% ABV), and Chakra (a stout at 1% ABV). The team at Nirvana promise “no compromises” on flavour, so we’re excited about our first visit!

Pretty Decent Beer

Opening up just down the road in Forest Gate, Pretty Decent Beer Co has just opened its doors.

On Sheridan Road in Forest Gate, near Cann Hall Road, this brewery looks like one to watch. The team promise: “We make decent beer and do decent things with the money you spend drinking it. We brew our beer in London and every bottle helps to fund sustainable water projects around the world.”

 

The CultureJukebox team hasn’t had chance to visit yet, but this brewery promises to be really superb – we like what we’ve seen on Instagram so far.

And Pretty Decent Beer Co is just a few minutes walk from some of Forest Gate’s best independent venues – The Wanstead Tap for an incredible selection of real ale and provocative programming, Burgess & Hall for beautiful wines; and the quirky and delicious Hawkes cider HQ.

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A proper round-up of some of Forest Gate, Leyton and Leytonstone’s best watering holes for this summer is coming soon. Where do you think should be on the list? Send us a Tweet and let us know where we should visit..

 

On Entrepreneurship: Products That Look Good, and Do Good

Looking for some inspiration for your Christmas shopping this year? Check out ThisBecause – the super-cool online shop for social enterprise has all manner of wonderful things for sale. Products that look good, and do good.

Here’s the link to the online store.

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And this year it’s not just online. There’s an actual physical store too, a  showcase of some of the very best things for sale. It’s in Soho, you can read more about the store and what’s going on via ThisBecause’s social media feeds.

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Here’s a few images we took on our phone too…

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The CultureJukebox team highly recommend heading over, and getting your Christmas shopping off to a guilt-free start and pick-up some truly amazing products with great stories behind them too! Nice one ThisBecause!

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On Ideas: Reflections on Internet Culture after our WebSummit visit

Last week I spent a few of days working from the FutureSocieties conference at WebSummit in beautiful Lisbon. The event is Europe’s biggest technology and entrepreneurship conference – a global meeting place for web-thinkers and entrepreneurs focused on changing business and lives.

The FutureSocieties conference is a big part of WebSummit – bringing together leading thinkers, politicians and academics to discuss how our cities, our working lives and our culture are being transformed.

There were a huge amount of inspiring talks, packed with useful ideas and opportunities to connect with new companies, media and organisations who could help us to go mainstream. See below for a brief summary from talks and the entrepreneurs I met – I’m obviously happy to expand on any of these themes or connections if particularly useful for anyone’s work.

Talk 1) How is tech changing giving?

A provocative talk that claimed philanthropy and giving is stuck in the past. French entrepreneur Alexandre Mars gave a super interesting talk about how philanthropic organisations often operate in silos. How do we encourage giving to new ideas and social entrepreneurs doing things a little differently?

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He claimed that much of philanthropy is failing new social organisations and ventures seeking to make wide impact on problems that assail the poor. So, he set up Epic Foundation: this innovative website uses evidence-based data tools to identify innovative social ventures and organisations, giving them the tools they need to be successful regardless of prior track record, and then monitors their progress while working with them to evaluate what works and what doesn’t.

Corporate partners love Epic’s model because it demonstrates contributions unlocking their full social impact potential. Because of this, Epic helps corporations fulfil their social responsibility goals, while supporting organisations that make global social impact, whether that be feeding children in Darfur, offering underprivileged children access to technology and higher education courses, or getting homeless people out of shelters.

There is a Comms and storytelling element too. Epic also provides news, stories, photos, and videos curated by their team from each portfolio organisations, creating not only a second high-value data point for donors to monitor, but also a growing stream of content to drive their inbound traffic and marketing. The constant flow of information that the Newsfeed provides shows that their money is working hard and that Epic Foundation and the organisations it supports are constantly in motion. Lastly, each venture Epic supports comes with an individual profile. This offers data, news, and background information – building credibility they need to build their donor community.

Talk2) Is the internet making us stupider?

Comedian David Schneider led an interesting talk on how the online world is changing the way we think. It was centred around the amount of online “content” that is out there. Consequently, our brains have learned how to read differently (with constant distractions), which has reshaped how we learn. While the Internet gives us access to more information than before, paradoxically, we are becoming dimmer and more superficial as a people.

There is a science behind this too. When you encounter hyperlinked text, your brain asks the question: “To click or not to click.” Because you are constantly being interrupted to make these decisions, you rarely “get lost” in the text and consequently the information infrequently becomes deep knowledge. The WebSummit heard how this redirection of our mental resources, from reading words to making judgments, may be imperceptible at first. But it’s been shown to impede comprehension and retention, particularly when repeated frequently. Not surprisingly, Internet usage is rewiring how we think.

Talk 3) The Filter Bubble vs democracy

I was at WebSummit as Donald Trump (surprisingly?!) won the election, so the question mark about us living and working in a filter bubble was high on the agenda. Have the open channels of the internet become ‘echo chambers’ for certain viewpoints? Does this impact the democratic process? And scientifically, the way we perceive and understand information?

Charles Arthur from from The Guardian opened the session: what is the effect on democracy of the fact that search engines and social media tend to feed back to users ideas that they already agree with? He considered that the problem of the echo chambers caught everybody – possibly also search engines and social media – by surprise particularly around Brexit and the US election. He asked to his panel if in four years time, when the UK will not be a member of the EU and the US will have new presidential elections, the filter bubble will have been addressed and burst?

Ann Mettler, Head of European Political Strategy Centre, said:  “The industrial age was about standardisation, the digital age is about customisation”.

This translates into an objective problem when it comes to today’s information world, where echo centres translate into the perpetual strengthening of biases and beliefs. Before the advent of social media newspapers were the ones responsible of fact checking and of making decisions on what was newsworthy. In today’s online world the absence of “mediators” in social media, and the fact that nowadays success depends on shares, not accuracy or precision, results in a wealth of lies and rumours dressed up as news.

The panel admitted the problem is far from being easily fixed, considering that people do not appear to really care, comfortable as they are right now in the bubble. Both Gary and Ann Mettler added that something would need to go “horribly wrong” in the democratic process for a solution to become felt as urgent globally.

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Of course, WebSummit wasn’t just about the talks. See below for a few interesting start-ups trying to make the world better in their own way:

Josoor

  • A new start-up, hoping to become the first community platform for refugees and supporters
  • www.josoor.eu

Logic@

  • Social Business who empowers Entrepreneurs to become Social Entrepreneurs, by using their knowledge and technologies to help the Governments solve Local and Global Problems, creating their own Crowdfunding Campaign where the Citizens and Investors support your Social Impact
  • A new social network for social entrpreneurs basically!
  • http://wsnetwork.co/

BrowniePoints

  • A social platform that connects non-profits, businesses and individuals to facilitate greater measured impact through incentivised volunteering and donating
  • www.brownie-points.co.za

AftLeuven

  • Introducing students to technology and entrepreneurship and inspire in them a sense of entrepreneurship, a quintessential skill in today’s economy. We provide technical students the opportunity to further develop their technical knowledge and reach out to non-technical students to introduce them to the wonderfull world of technology.”
  • http://www.aftleuven.be/

Aiden

Speak.social

  • Helping refugees and migrants connect with locals through the language barrier
  • www.speak.social

Quorom

  • A new app that changes volunteering – making it more accessible for people & efficient for organisations. Allows people to organise for action
  • http://quorumapp.co/en/

The Happiness Network

  • The Happiness Network is a social enterprise that focuses on creating technologies, brands and campaigns to empower people to maximise their quality of life and happiness.
  • http://happinessnetwork.co.za/about-us/

GiveBox

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The CultureJukebox team left WebSummit full of new ideas and promising new connections. Obrigado!

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On Tech: Looking back on WebSummit2016

The CultureJukebox team are just back from a fantastic few days in Lisbon, working from the WebSummit event.

We were particularly impressed with the FutureSocieties strand of the huge event, getting inspired by some big thinking about how technology can create a better and fairer society.

Talks from Alexander Mars (How Technology Can Change The Act Of Giving); Sam Kriss (Has The Internet Done More Harm Than Good); and Rallying Tech For Refugees were all particularly memorable. A few of the WebSummit talks are here.

Anyway, our team came away with lots of new contacts, big ideas and are writing stories for various start-ups based on our meetings there.  btw, there’s loads of images from the event on the WebSummit Flikr page here.

A few stats:

  • 53,056 people from 166 countries joined attended Web Summit

  • Its Women in Tech initiative meant that the female/male gender ratio at Web Summit 2016 is 42% to 58%. Nearly half of the registered attendees in Lisbon this week were female (well played WebSummit!)

  • And circa 97,000 Pasteis de Nata consumed (A few by us we’re pleased to say!)

Maybe see you in Lisbon next year…

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@ WebSummit

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Admiring the bonita azulejos… 😉

On Ideas: Introducing A New Way To Get Things Done

As you’ve probably read already, the CultureJukebox team like to get things done…

So, it was great to be introduced to a whole new way of sorting your life out, and saving some money too. Bidvine recently launched in the UK, and we’ve been really impressed with the website so far.

The website has a clear mission – “to enrich lives through fulfilling outcomes that improve relationships, make us smarter, and ultimately increase our ability to spend time on meaningful things”. Sounds good, right?

The website does this by connecting people with things to be done with those who are skilled at doing them. So, what does this mean in practice?

Essentially Bidvine allows you to search for a service via a postcode – finding the right expert at the right price to get something done. This could mean window cleaning, video editing, Spanish lessons, putting together Ikea furniture or something else entirely different.

What’s great about Bidvine is that once you put your job request out there, you get a variety of quotes back – meaning you can choose the one that best fits. There could be cost or timing implications or something else, the choice is yours really.

In total, Bidvine offers more than 600 services at dozens of locations around England. They have an app, and it’s worth exploring the website to find out more: https://www.bidvine.com/

Easy to use, smart and (potentially) a big time-saver too. Thumbs up!

 

 

 

On Ideas: An Airbnb For Local Farm Tourism

As someone who grew up in rural North Lincolnshire, I was immediately intrigued by this Farmcation idea. It aims to connect the food-curious to local farmers, reducing food miles and (I guess) helping people to eat more healthily.

See below for more details.

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Farmcation is a U.S. born initiative that facilitates a meaningful connection between consumers and the origins of their food by allowing them to meet the individuals who grow it, and the places where its produced.

The founders – Grace Lesser and Caitlyn Toombs – are hoping to combine a contemporary preference for experiences over possessions, by giving farmers the platform to share their knowledge.

The website – check it out here - allows for a both a ‘Guest’ and a ‘Host’ sign up and matches a tick list of interests to the relevant farm. Activities include: farm tours; fruit picking: canning, jamming, pickling and cooking workshops; cheese making classes and farm to table meals.

Grace and Caitlyn hope that their idea will help to foster support for small-scale farmers while connecting an increasingly food curious population with the land. How long before it comes to London we wonder..?

 

 

On Creativity: the UK’s top 50 most creative companies

I’ve worked in the creative and culture industries for the past ten-years, and it’s always brilliant to read that it is doing so well – both creatively and commercially.

I wrote this piece for The News Hub, on today’s announcement of the UK’s top 50 creative companies. Great news for British culture and creativity.

~ https://www.the-newshub.com/business/creative-england-identifies-its-top-50-creative-companies