gofundme, crowdfunding campaigns, crowdfunder

Lost In Translation: Crowdfunding or Begging?

When crowdfunding blazed onto the scene several years ago as a new, democratic method of sourcing funding for businesses and worthwhile projects, it was hailed a credible source of cash for boot-strapped entrepreneurs, desperate to get their ideas into production. Combining the entrepreneur’s immediate need (cash) with the public’s perceived future need (goods), it expertly brought forward the sales in a neat swap of intent and commitment which has seen rise to some of the most successful new companies on the market.

But, somewhere along the way, things have got badly lost in translation. Search for crowdfunding in Google and top of the paid search returns are gofundme and justgiving – both charitable giving sites. A news story doing the rounds this week tells of Saatchi & Saatchi chairman Richard Huntington “crowdfunding” surgery for his dog, Edward Lear despite living in a £1 million house on Primrose Hill in London and earning a six figure annual salary.

The premise of crowdfunding is that the “funder” gets something in return for their investment. It’s usually in the form of a promise of future goods or services or, as in Brew Dog’s Equity for Punks crowdfunding scheme, it’s a piece of the business.

“Crowdfunding” to pay for your dog’s leg operation with Britain’s SuperVet is simply begging others for money, there’s no simpler way to dress it up. Any reasonable person landed with an unexpected bill to pay would borrow the money from close family, or take out a personal loan. For some bizarre reason it has become acceptable to ask perfect strangers on the internet to pay instead, for nothing in return.

With 442 “crowdfunding” campaigns – and I’m using the term loosely – being launched on a daily basis around the globe, you would think it would naturally follow that world economic growth would be soaring (it isn’t) as a result of all these new entrepreneurial ideas getting off the ground. Or charitable giving. That would be going up exponentially, surely? But it isn’t. The Charities Aid Foundation reports little to no growth in charitable donations between 2016 and 2017.

It seems people are simply giving their money away to strangers on the internet, in return for very little except sight of a few Instagram posts of a cute dog (which, arguably, would have been posted anyway).

Maybe it’s time to ask out loud: has crowdfunding got lost in translation?

THE SALES PITCH

If you have a genuine crowdfunding project to promote, get in touch with the team at Volpa. We have experience of working with clients to set achievable crowdfunding targets and successfully manage crowdfunding campaigns to completion. Give us a call on 01738 658187.

Balhousie Care Group appoints new manager in Arbroath

Award-winning care home provider Balhousie Care Group has appointed a new manager for its Antiquary care home in Arbroath.

Cath Maclean brings to the role 20 years of experience in nursing and care homes. Originally from Stornoway, Cath now calls Arbroath home. As manager of the Antiquary home, she is responsible for almost 60 residents, 20 of them in a self-contained facility for people with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

Cath joined the care home industry 18 years ago, with a long-held passion for caring for people with dementia. “My gran died at the age of 45. Although it wasn’t diagnosed at the time she had Alzheimers. I was a kid at the time but I think the stories I heard about my gran from my mother – who worked as a general nurse – stuck with me. I’ve got quite a passion for looking after people with dementia and the different characteristics they display.”

Cath’s appointment brings her together with a former colleague, Lynsey Robbie. The two worked for another care home provider. Lindsay is now operations manager for Balhousie Care Group, responsible for eight care homes including Balhousie Antiquary.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group, said:

“We’re delighted to have Cath heading up the team at Balhousie Antiquary. I feel strongly that she will provide strong leadership and inspiration for the staff there as they follow a path of high quality care.”Award-winning care home provider Balhousie Care Group has appointed a new manager for its Antiquary care home in Arbroath.

Cath Maclean brings to the role 20 years of experience in nursing and care homes. Originally from Stornoway, Cath now calls Arbroath home. As manager of the Antiquary home, she is responsible for almost 60 residents, 20 of them in a self-contained facility for people with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

Cath joined the care home industry 18 years ago, with a long-held passion for caring for people with dementia. “My gran died at the age of 45. Although it wasn’t diagnosed at the time she had Alzheimers. I was a kid at the time but I think the stories I heard about my gran from my mother – who worked as a general nurse – stuck with me. I’ve got quite a passion for looking after people with dementia and the different characteristics they display.”

Cath’s appointment brings her together with a former colleague, Lynsey Robbie. The two worked for another care home provider. Lindsay is now operations manager for Balhousie Care Group, responsible for eight care homes including Balhousie Antiquary.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group, said:

“We’re delighted to have Cath heading up the team at Balhousie Antiquary. I feel strongly that she will provide strong leadership and inspiration for the staff there as they follow a path of high quality care.”Award-winning care home provider Balhousie Care Group has appointed a new manager for its Antiquary care home in Arbroath.

Cath Maclean brings to the role 20 years of experience in nursing and care homes. Originally from Stornoway, Cath now calls Arbroath home. As manager of the Antiquary home, she is responsible for almost 60 residents, 20 of them in a self-contained facility for people with Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

Cath joined the care home industry 18 years ago, with a long-held passion for caring for people with dementia. “My gran died at the age of 45. Although it wasn’t diagnosed at the time she had Alzheimers. I was a kid at the time but I think the stories I heard about my gran from my mother – who worked as a general nurse – stuck with me. I’ve got quite a passion for looking after people with dementia and the different characteristics they display.”

Cath’s appointment brings her together with a former colleague, Lynsey Robbie. The two worked for another care home provider. Lindsay is now operations manager for Balhousie Care Group, responsible for eight care homes including Balhousie Antiquary.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care Group, said:

“We’re delighted to have Cath heading up the team at Balhousie Antiquary. I feel strongly that she will provide strong leadership and inspiration for the staff there as they follow a path of high quality care.”

Thousands to descend on Scone Palace as it hosts world championship in medieval combat in a first for U.K.

Scone Palace is getting back to its medieval roots this May when it plays host to the world championships for full- contact medieval combat, a sport rising in popularity around the globe.

Thousands will descend on the historic visitor attraction, known for being the crowning place of medieval kings, when it hosts the International Medieval Combat Federation World Championships from May 10th to 13th 2018.

Set to be one of the hottest tickets for 2018, the event will attract 25,000 visitors, 500 competitors and 500 officials from 31 countries worldwide. Many of the competitors will set up a medieval encampment on the grounds of the Palace. Tickets are now on sale for the event, which will include full-contact medieval battles, duelling, team fights, archery, falconry and much more.

This marks the first time that the U.K. has hosted the championships, which take place every three years at historic venues around the globe.

While medieval re-enactment fighting has been popular for decades, countries around the world are signing up for full-contact events, in which ancient combat is revived as a regulated sport featuring historically accurate weapons and armour. Organisers and participants say the sport is relatively free of injuries and that rugby players sustain more bumps and scrapes than those taking part in full-contact medieval fights.

Scone Palace’s hosting of the world championships came about after William Murray, Viscount Stormont, son of the Earl and Countess of Mansfield, learned about the growing popularity of the sport. While working in New York, William met several American and Canadian fighters and the Vice-President of the International Medieval Combat Federation. William then offered to host the 2018 World Championships at Scone Palace.

William said of his first brush with full-contact medieval combat:

“It was quite the spectacle, like watching boxing in armour. It was hugely entertaining to watch, and not for the faint-hearted. I was brought up watching the film A Knight’s Tale, so I found myself completely taken by the sport. It’s a real coup for us to be hosting the World Championships.”

Stephen Brannigan, head of House Opening for Scone Palace, said:

“We’re thrilled to be hosting the International Medieval Combat Federation World Championships at Scone Palace, which we believe is the perfect setting for the event. It’s going to be a real-life Game of Thrones and an event for everyone – adults, kids and families. We know they’ll share our excitement for witnessing this fascinating and upcoming sport.”

More information available at www.scone-palace.co.uk and tickets are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk 

Balhousie Care Home

Balhousie Care Group back in the saddle as it makes Business Insider Top 500 list

The startling revival of leading care home provider Balhousie Care Group has been acknowledged with a listing in Scotland’s Top 500 Companies from Business Insider magazine.

The 25-strong group celebrated 25 years in the business last year with a £49m refinancing deal, numerous industry awards, and top Care Inspectorate ratings for two of its facilities.

Balhousie Care’s homes and staff have won accolades for their services and for initiatives which promote a person-centred, individualised approach to residential care. The latest award, which puts Balhousie Care and the Scottish care industry on the national map, was won by Operations Director Louise Barnett, who was named UK Operations Manager of the Year in the National Care Awards.

The £49m refinancing deal means better financial security and even more improvements ahead for Balhousie Care’s homes and operations.

Chief Executive Steve White said: “We’re delighted to be recognised in Business Insider’s Top 500, which is an acknowledgement of all our hard work. This is an exciting time to be part of Balhousie Care Group. There’s a real buzz among staff, both in the homes and at head office level. We know we are on a firm footing financially and have a growing reputation as a leading care provider.”

The Business Insider list called 2017 “a year of rebounds”, with a number of Scotland’s top companies showing a turnaround in turnover or profit compared to 2016. Balhousie Care was ranked 390 out of 500 companies.

9 Tips to Succeed in Business

1. Learn to love outsourcing

You will never be good at everything, nor do you need to try to be. While it might be fun to be in charge of the whole ship, your time will become your most scarce resource and I find women business owners in particular have more difficulty letting go of “doing it all” – find experts, build a team, and point them in the right direction.

2. Be honest with yourself about work/life balance

It’s OK to love your work, it’s OK to take the morning off to get your hair done, work weekends if you like, take days off to spend with your kids. Do whatever works for you – don’t let anyone tell you what balance should be

3. Value yourself

Too many startup business owners go in with the “I’m better and cheaper” mantra. Your skills are valuable, price them according to what the market will pay, not what your competitors are charging.

4. Find a mentor

These people will help you adjust to managing the ups and downs of running a business. And there’s no law says you can have only one at a time. Meet them regularly, ask them questions, people are usually happy to help.

5. Network your socks off

Don’t beat around the bush, get out there, go to every event – regardless of whether you are interested in the speaker or not. The more people you know, the better.

6. Invest in learning time management skills

I popped myself on a Priority Management training course about 12 years ago and while it was a lot of money for me at the time, it was the best money I’ve ever spent. Knowing how to prioritise what little time you have is critical to your success. Otherwise you’ll simply become overwhelmed by the demands on your time.

7. Recognise overwhelm

And step back. At times you will be busier and under more pressure than you can ever imagine. Recognise when this is happening and step back to give yourself perspective. Focus on the future, don’t panic.

8. Invest in your marketing

Don’t (please) be taken in with offers to get cheap business cards. Stand out from the crowd. Invest in a logo, make sure your business cards and website are top notch. Cheap might be appealing in the short term but it will cost you more in the long term.

9. Trust your gut instinct

It’s vastly underestimated in an era of big data where we should always be able to analyse everything within an inch of its life but over the years my gut instinct has also served me well. You know, those times when you can’t quite put your finger on it but you just have a feeling…..trust the feeling.

Balhousie puts some Oomph into its care homes with innovative partnership

Award-winning care home group Balhousie is putting some Oomph! into the sector by becoming the first organisation in Scotland to sign up with an activity programme with a difference

Balhousie Care Group, which operates 25 care homes in Scotland, has linked up with Oomph!, which delivers engaging exercise and activity programmes for older people.

Oomph’s mission is to improve the wellbeing of older adults and they will work with Balhousie’s 25 care homes offering fun exercise and activity sessions, as well as monthly trips out for residents, to a wide range of destinations in customised minibuses. The trips are personalised and include intensive training by Oomph! staff within each care home.

Oomph!’s aim is to deliver ‘meaningful moments’ for residents and a programme which is focused on individuals. The collaboration is the latest move in Balhousie Care Group’s mission to be a trailblazer in the care home sector, delivering individualised care for residents. The Perth-based group has been tackling issues such as dementia and loneliness in innovative ways, from virtual reality technology to therapy with pets. Balhousie also ensures that its residents and family members have a say in their care, and care strategy.

Oomph!, which was been delivering its services in England with great success, was set up by founder Ben Allen, a specialist in exercise for older adults, after he realised a gap in the market for providing better adult social care.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care, said:

“We’re delighted to be the pioneers of Oomph! programmes in Scotland, and the innovative ways they promote fitness and wellness. We know our residents will benefit hugely from Oomph’s activities. This organisation’s philosophies are very much in line with ours, which are to look at care and wellness in unorthodox, exciting ways.”

Ben Allen, Chief Executive for Oomph!, said:

“Oomph! are excited to have the opportunity to work with the team at Balhousie, one of the leading care groups in the UK. It is a privilege to be a key partner and support their drive for innovation and excellence across all homes. We share the same values and entrepreneurial spirit and are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident’s activities.”

Rights or Reputation? What’s more important?

There have been a couple of trademark stories in 2017 that have caught my attention, but for very different reasons, flagging up the important question for any brand owner: what’s more important to my business, my rights or my reputation?

And a valid question it is indeed.

When conservation charity The National Trust for Scotland pursued a small local business Hilltrek for its unauthorised use of the trademarked term “Glencoe” in 2017, it was accused of bullying and many of its members threatened to cancel their membership in protest against the organisation’s stance. While the NTS were well within their rights to pursue Hilltrek, as official owners of the trademark in that category, they did not truly consider the reputational damage that could be done as a result of protecting those rights. Rights they had only acquired two years previously.

Later in 2017, Sean Connery confirmed that he too had trademarked his name to protect it from commercial misuse in the promotion of a whole range of goods and services. One can only assume that an organisation trying to launch the “Sean Connery Martini” without authorisation and endorsement by the star would, rightly, be pursued for commercial damages.

Although both trademarks were applied for within weeks of each other, and are both legally the same, they couldn’t be more different in terms of what they offer the owner.

Sean Connery is both a person and a brand. Attaching his name to a product gives it a clear demarcation of trust and endorsement. Sean Connery has invested in developing his brand over several decades. The “Sean Connery” brand adds value to the product and, as such, should be deservedly protected in law.

Glencoe is a place. It is not, technically speaking, a brand. There has been little to no investment in the development of Glencoe as a brand. Attaching the word “Glencoe” to a product does not, de facto, give it additional value. And this is where the NTS have failed to understand the true value of trademarking. It’s only worth protecting if it has value. You can’t protect a word then hope to create commercial value out of it as a result. It’s precisely the reason that NTS decided to trademark the word in the first instance, but it is also, arguably, what they (and their lawyers) have attempted to do by exploiting their rights over the investment that companies such as Hilltrek have made over three decades – and the public has, quite rightly, called foul.

The cost of NTS pursing their rights? Their reputation, of course.

Trademarks exist to protect value propositions, and a brand offers a value proposition. A true trademark has meaning, context and quality. If ever there was proof that words, alone, are not brands, this is it.

Colours of Cluny

Colours of Cluny bows out after two successful years

Colours of Cluny – Scotland’s most northerly sound and light show in Forres – won’t return for 2018.

 

Organisers Forres Features Community Interest Company – a not-for-profit organisation where any surpluses are invested locally or in the following year’s event – made the difficult decision after a meeting this week.

 

Despite two highly successful years, with the local hospitality and tourist sector seeing a raft of positive benefits, the show was unable to generate the revenue necessary to secure its long-term future.

 

Forres Features Chairman Graeme Murdoch said:

 

“Colours of Cluny has surpassed our goal of putting Forres firmly on the tourism map and it created a welcome boost for local businesses during the quieter winter months.

 

“It’s a tribute to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved that footfall for 2017’s show increased by 14% to 14,200 visitors (compared to 12,400 in 2016).

 

“Although the show was extremely well-received, it wasn’t enough to meet the target necessary to secure the event’s future.

 

“We did make a surplus, but it is insufficient to reinvest and deliver the necessary ‘wow factor’ which is vital if we want to grow the event.

 

“The bottom line is that the market growth isn’t sufficient to give us the confidence that the show would be sustainable in future years.

 

“However, Forres Features Community Interest Company will continue to operate and the committee will review its future strategy over the coming months.”

 

Colours of Cluny relied heavily on volunteers, sponsors and local business people to stage the family-friendly spectacular which was inspired by the stunning natural setting of Cluny Hill in Forres.

 

Mr Murdoch added: “What made Colours of Cluny so special was that it was a community, not a commercial, operation. It relied entirely on our army of over 80 volunteers and we’d like to offer our sincere thanks to all these people for their hard work, dedication and enthusiasm over the last two years.

 

“In addition, Forres Features is very grateful to our external sponsors, local companies, organisations and individuals who either provided services free of charge or at greatly reduced rates which allowed us to make tickets prices as affordable as possible.

 

“Despite this incredible support we didn’t get the audience numbers that would have secured the event’s future and it is with great sadness that we’ve had to make this decision.”

 

Colours of Cluny 2017 cost over £200,000 to stage and principal funders were Highland and Islands Enterprise (HIE), EventScotland (part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate), The Budge Foundation and Berry Burn Community Fund.

 

Laurie Piper, Operations Manager, Moray Speyside Tourism, said:

“Although obviously saddened by this announcement, I want to recognise the efforts of, and congratulate the Colours of Cluny team on their achievements over the last two years. Each year has seen the event grow and develop and Colours has been fundamental in showcasing both Forres and Moray Speyside in to local people and to visitors from Scotland and beyond during a traditionally quiet period.

“I know that every avenue has been explored to secure the event’s future, but the reality is that without the tickets sales it’s impossible to secure a long-term future for the event.”​

4 Shocking Reasons Tayside Businesses Are Failing To Pro-tect Their Intellectual Property

If there is one term that will become the ‘business buzzword’ for 2018, it’s innovation. Businesses are built on good ideas, and great businesses make sure they keep coming up with new ways to push their company forward, staying ahead of the competition.

“Intellectual property is a minefield filled with potential for (expensive) litigation, product sabotage, and risk,” says Alistair Duncan, head of the Commercial Law Department at Tayside-based solicitors Miller Hendry.

“But as British business starts to rely once again on Research & Development, intellectual property is being taken more seriously, and is now regarded as a tangible asset rather than just a valueless concept or idea.

“What may seem a little strange, though, is that although the UK is without doubt one of the most innovative and inventive places in the world, it actually has a considerably lower number of patent and IP protection applications than other EU countries, particularly among SMEs.”

Alistair reveals the 4 Shocking Reasons British Businesses are failing to protect their intellectual property:

#1. Cost

Top of the list has to be cost. While applying for a patent can be relatively inexpensive, hanging onto that protection once it’s been granted can cost a business a small fortune. The ubiquitous ‘Patent pending’ is all but meaningless when it comes to protecting an idea, and the old adage of mailing yourself a copy of the plans and then keeping the envelope unopened is a misnomer – it’s highly unlikely that it’ll win you any court battles about who thought of what first by waving an unopened A4 envelope around.

#2. The Patent Box

To try and get around the concern regarding the financial cost, in 2013 the Government came up with the Patent Box (which was updated in 2016). This is designed to give SMEs with a bright idea some tax incentives to encourage them to register and protect their innovations and IP. The whole point of this was to boost economic growth and promote new business development. Very few businesses are even aware that the Patent Box exists, and even then, it only really rewards businesses once they have gone through the entire IP and patent process.

That still means that the idea needs to be protected initially, and that can cost a lot of money. For SMEs on a very narrow profit margin, the thousands of pounds it can cost just to protect an invention in the UK (let alone the rest of the world) could be the difference between profit and loss. That initial cost discourages many businesses to follow through on what could be a ground-breaking idea, scuppering new developments and potentially brilliant ideas purely on account of the cost.

#3. Potential Earnings Of A Brilliant Idea

However, if an idea, product or service is truly original, innovative and potentially a ‘game changer’, then that initial investment may well be worth it. The potential for a new product to transform the fortunes of an SME could be huge – but only if it genuinely is a ground-breaking idea. A rehash of an existing concept may be cheaper, but in the long run it could have a very limited market appeal, a short shelf life, and could even pollute a company’s existing brand. To turn a great idea into a genuine business asset it needs to:

  • Be 100% original
  • Be something customers actually want
  • Have low production/high return ratios
  • Have the potential for further development
  • Be patentable – not just in the UK but around the world

#4. Thinking Outside The Patent Box

There is plenty of opportunity for UK businesses, especially SMEs, to benefit from the Patent Box and to keep that innovative spirit alive. However, both legal experts and those who specialise in patents and IP all agree that there needs to be more front-end support at the start of the process, in the form of loan financing for the patenting process. Take into account the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) fees, legal costs, searches and global protection fees and you’re talking about tens of thousands of pounds and up to four years’ commitment.

For any business, that level of financial commitment has to be considered very carefully. But if the idea really is that good, you could be investing in a major business asset that could transform your operation and catapult you to the next level.

For further advice or information on Commercial Law or other legal issues, visit www.millerhendrysolicitors.co.uk

V&A and Discovery

Dundee Heritage Trust recruiting as it prepares for Dundee’s Big Year and its own £500,000 facelift

With the city of Dundee topping the world’s New Year travel lists, the operator of two of Dundee’s favourite visitor attractions is recruiting as it gears up for a busy 2018, including a dramatic £500,000 facelift.

Dundee Heritage Trust, which operates RRS Discovery and Verdant Works, is currently looking for an enthusiastic and creative Audience Engagement Officer. This new position is a two-year post funded by Museums Galleries Scotland and the Foyle Foundation. The successful candidate will help develop and deliver a programme of events, activities and resources to attract new audiences to the Trust’s two accredited and 5-star rated museums, Discovery Point and social history and jute museum Verdant Works.

The appointment comes as DHT prepares to play its part in welcoming visitors from across the globe. 2018 is set to be an important and exciting year for Dundee, which features on a set of prestigious New Year travel lists.

The Wall Street Journal recently named Dundee as one of the top 5 locations in the world alongside the likes of Madagascar and Shanghai, The Observer named it a must-see destination for 2018, while leading US business magazine Bloomberg ranking the UNESCO City of Design next to Los Angeles, Singapore and Florence in their roundup of the 22 best places to visit this year.

A recent VisitScotland survey highlighted that 40% of visitors are drawn to Dundee and Angus to visit an attraction, far more than the Scotland national average.

With the neighbouring V&A opening in the second half of 2018, Discovery Point has begun its own £523,000 facelift project, to dramatically enhance the award-winning visitor attraction and capitalise on the anticipated surge in visitors to Dundee’s waterfront.

Generous funding from the Coastal Communities Fund and Dundee City Council has contributed towards significant improvements and several new Antarctic-related exhibits at Discovery Point, which celebrates its 25th Anniversary in the summer of 2018.

The new gallery spaces will feature fresh graphics, audio visual shows, and hands-on digital interactives, as well as displays of objects from the museum’s nationally significant polar collection that are not presently on view. The redevelopment will also create a new multi-purpose learning and activity space.

Paul Jennings, executive director of Dundee Heritage Trust, said: “Dundee is now firmly on the international map as a cultural and design centre, and we’re proud to be part of that. The innovative High Mill Project at Verdant Works has just secured a prestigious award for its outstanding architecture and RRS Discovery itself is nearing the end of a £350,000 restoration and preservation programme.

Our venues welcome more than 190,000 visitors a year.  As we head into an exciting event and exhibition programme for 2018, the creation of this new position will ensure we exceed expectations and engage with visitors in new and interesting ways.”

The closing date for applications for the DHT post is 19th January 2018.

For job description and application forms please email Val King on admin@dundeeheritage.co.uk

For more information visit www.rrsdiscovery.com