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Special report: How ethical businesses are happy ones
Updated 10:27am Wednesday 19th March 2014 in News
Entrepreneurs with ethics will be the theme of an event this weekend.
Projects that build a better future will be getting together to share ideas to create a business community with a conscience.
This weekend companies with a positive message will be getting together to share their ideas at the CityCamp events being held around Brighton and Hove.
The idea of business with an ethical ethos is exactly the idea behind The Happy Startup School.
Founders Laurence McCahill and Carlos Saba believe happiness makes business sense.
Mr McCahill said: “We were working with people who had ideas they wanted to turn into companies.
“About a year ago we decided we wanted to help more people and inspire people to take their ideas forward.
“Our message is about getting people to think about different ways of making a positive difference.
“If you're passionate about an idea you're much more likely to be able to make a business succeed out of it.
“We are trying to create a positive message rather than all the stuff the media about the economy. If you're positive about something it's much more likely to succeed.”
The Happy Startup School has generated a cult following of like-minded entrepreneurs online.
More than 300 people have joined their “wall of happiness” by taking a pledge to - love their jobs, love their customers and have fun along the way.
CityCamp is an opportunity for some of those people with ideas to not only make money but also improve people's lives get together in an informal atmosphere.
Organiser Toby Moore said: “CityCamp is an amazing opportunity to become a part of something really meaningful. Success stories such as Gig Buddies and A Healthy Day have gone on to have a real positive impact.
“As well as the great projects, you will meet inspiring new people, learn new skills and walk away full of motivation to create wonderful things.
“Anyone can come. We just want you to bring your skills, enthusiasm, curiosity and ideas. Whether you are a super slick app designer, charity worker, business owner or student- you will always have something that you can offer to others.”
During the event the best new projects will also be awarded up to £1,000 in prize money, free office space and mentoring.
To sign up for free tickets visit www.citycampbtn.org.
Brighton's new “ethical supermarket” is a prime example of a happy business.
Sisters Amy and Ruth Anslow opened How It Should Be - or HiSbe, with the slogan “people before profits” in York Place, in December.
Amy told The Argus last year: “It's about happiness before profits - making sure we keep customers, suppliers, staff and animals happy.
“It all feeds into a better food system when you care about the integral parts of it.”
A Healthy Day
A Healthy Day is working to create healthier lives for people in Brighton and Hove.
They create food boxes containing everything needed to create tasty, healthy family meals - including the recipes.
They began with a goal of feeding a family of two for a week for less than £20.
They have already been delivering to families around the city, and will soon be taking all of the hassle out of making a nutritious family dinner by selling their “meal in a bag” from HiSbe.
Toby Moore came up with the idea after discovering there was an almost ten year difference in life expectancy between people living in the most and least affluent neighbourhoods of the city and came up with a plan to deliver food and educate people at the same time.
They have now also created a recipe book packed full of healthy recipes.
Gig buddies is a project to help people with learning disabilities go to live music gigs.
The project pairs up volunteers with people with similar interests and taste in music so that people with learning difficulties can go to gigs together.
Gig buddies was set-up by the charity Stay Up Late - which promotes the rights of people with learning disabilities to live the lifestyle they choose.
Paul Richards said: “The idea is very simple - we match people with learning disabilities with volunteer buddies who love the same kind of music. Buddies are vetted, trained and matched and receive ongoing support.
“There's also an advisory group made up of people with learning disabilities who oversee the running of the project.
“We're calling our vision for the Gig Society “The central concept of Gig Buddies is that we're trying to make volunteering easy by turning every day activities in to volunteering opportunities, cutting through as much red tape as we can on the way.
“There's also been loads of interest from around the UK so we're now looking at creating a social franchise to enable the scheme to run in other parts of the country, which could apply to any client group, any interests, in any area.”
When The Bevendean pub was closed down its regulars and neighbours were not prepared to call time at the bar.
As it was a place that made the locals happy, they decided to set up their own happy business and branch out into pouring pints.
After a two year campaign to raise £200,000 to reopen the pub, building work began in January and it is hoped the opening day is on the horizon.
Announcing that the country's first community owned pub on a council estate would open in front of supporters at Christmas, Bevy chairman Warrent Carter said: “It will be so much more than a just a pub.
“It will not only be somewhere for the people of Moulsecoomb and Bevendean and Brighton to meet but an example to other working class estates of what can be done.”
Friday 4pm, Sallis Benney Theatre
The Happy Startup School, hiSbe Food CIC, Gig Buddies, The Bevy, NixonMcInnes, Alzheimer's Society
Saturday 10am, St George's Church
Social Innovation Hack Day,
Saturday 6pm, St George's Church
Award ceremony announcing this year's winning projects.
What is CityCamp?
CityCamp started in Chicago in 2010 as an “unconference”, focused on innovation for municipal governments and community organisations.
An unconference is a participant-driven meeting.
CityCamp has quickly spread across the world and is now hosted by voluntary organisers in over 25 different cities. CityCamp is an Open Source Brand, which means that anyone can start a CityCamp and that no one person or organisation will own it. CityCamp belongs to all the people who make it happen.
CityCamp Brighton launched in 2011 and hosts a main event each year and then small network events through the year. The annual CityCamp events are held over a three day weekend and encourage everyone to participate in all of the events and empower people to conceive and build ideas for social and community projects that better Brighton and Hove as a city.
It is hoped that the event can then offer funding and support to projects that demonstrate positive, sustainable and viable social impact on the city and its residents.
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