I was very excited to be short-listed to be one of Honda’s Cultural Engineers. I didn’t win but I did get invited to join the Honda Hack, which took place at The Guardian offices on Sunday 20 November. This was an incredible experience where the whole floor had been taken over by developers and IT experts, people who are using their knowledge of the Internet to disrupt current flows of communication and to create apps and information for change. I got to interact with Simon Berry, the founder of ColaLife, who has been a massive inspiration – if you don’t know, ColaLife has piggy-backed on the Coke distribution channels to get drugs out to rural areas around the world.
We’ve also been selected to launch a new way of banking. It’s an online crowdfunding platform called civilised money, which is a peer-to-peer or people-to-people funding, borrowing and investing platform (you can donate at HYPERLINK “http://crowdfunding.civilisedmoney.co.uk/” <crowdfunding.civilisedmoney.co.uk/>).
Very late I know, but I’ve realised that there’s a whole world out there online and our obsession with people and plants hasn’t led us to engage with it yet, so we’re now on the hunt for collaborators and people who want to develop the Thinking Flowers? experience online. We’d like to become more present in that space and maximise the ability to share.
The 5th annual PRECIOUS Awards took place on Thursday 27 October 2011 at the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, an absolutely exquisite venue. The ceremony took place during the afternoon, which gave it a beautiful and celebratory feeling – a bit like being at a Christening. The awards raise the profile and celebrate the achievements of women of African and Caribbean descent in business. They are run by Foluke Akinlose MBE with the aim of recognising the success of and inspiring other women of colour to launch their own business. It was incredible and really moving and I made connections with some amazing women, including one of the 10 black women professors in England – Professor Green – whom I sat next to. I was presented with the award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year and Thinking Flowers? was also a finalist for the Social Enterprise Business of the Year. I’d been nominated for both of these awards last year but didn’t win either of them, so it was great to be back there and be recognised as being young, which made me feel as though I still have a chance to do other great things. I also got to connect with the other nominees for Social Enterprise of the Year, including Sabrina Ben Salmi and the woman who won, Rioch Edwards-Brown of So You Wanna Be in TV.
Beautiful change makers in business and community
Rioch is also a fellow with me on a programme called ‘Make a Wave’, which is female investment incubator created through a partnership between Oguntê and the Royal Society of Arts. They selected 12 women-run high-potential growth organizations to support and introduce to different types of investment. I’ve been able to look into venture philanthropy, look into investment through equity, funding and different types of revenue and potential income streams to support the growth of Thinking Flowers? It’s been an incredible experience and runs from September 2011 to February 2012.
I received an award the same day too as one of One World Action’s 100 Unseen Powerful Women who Change the World. It was a wonderful event, held at the King’s Fund. It was also their 22nd and final year so I got to hear a closing speech from Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow. And it was a chance to connect with inspiring women from all over the world doing phenomenal things.
Jose D'arby, Angelica Ball and Michael Underwood
On Sunday16 October I attended the Screen Nation Film and TV Awards for black British talent at the O2 arena. It was an amazing celebrity-attended event hosted by husband and wife team, Angellica Bell and Michael Underwood. We had created two bouquets, one for Angellica and the other for Josie d’Arby, Events Director.
We had the chance to have a chat with Top Boy stars Ashley Walters, Kano.
Film Producer of Dead Man Running Piki (who lived up to his name) and songtress Shingai from the Noisettes.
We received a very special commission from the Corporate Sustainability team
at PwCwho have started a Centre for Social
Impact (CSI) for social entrepreneurs at the Fire Station on Tooley Street. The Fire Station brings together a unique combination of organisations including the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE),
, Social Enterprise UK and Brigade, which is a social enterprise restaurant
and cook school.
The commission was for us to
create two installations, four table arrangements to celebrate the launch of
the CSI plus a bouquet for the birthday of the
PwC Director of Corporate Sustainability, Bridget Jackson,
. The programme will support social enterprises, for examplein mapping their social
and environmental impact and using that to assess the amount of funding, finance and
support they need or could potentially gain and measure the ripple effects they have in
We then created a floral donation from that commission, which meant the flowers were
shared between the Karibu Centre – a community initiative in Brixton that provides
educational support to people in the local area – and Lambeth Women’s Project, and
we were supported by Brixton Women’s Institute to collect and redistribute the flowers.
Elaine Holness, Director of the Karibu Centre, is also currently a student at the SSE,
so we created a whole closed loop whereby the SSE had invested in Elaine, Elaine had
invested in the community, PwC had invested in us and we then invested in Elaine.