LoveBrum Turns 4

LoveBrum welcome guests, members, ambassadors and friends to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to celebrate the charity’s 4th birthday proudly sponsored by Tank Top. 

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Figures are yet to be confirmed but I suspect 2018 saw Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery smash the ceiling of one Million visitors. Over 250,000 came to see Dippy the Dinosaur who spent summer in Brum as part of a national UK tour. Brum knows how to put on a big event. 

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Here’s four reasons, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery deserve your attention right now;

  1. The Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition ‘A Life in Drawing’,
  2. ‘Women Power Protest’  
  3. The Edwardian Tearooms
  4. The Lucifer Sculpture by Jacob Epstein in the Round Room. Ironically just a few steps up from Paradise.  

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LoveBrum were joined by 200 guests to mark the charity’s fourth birthday. LoveBrum has come a long way in a very short time. In a recent strategy meeting, trustees painted a picture (literally) of where we want to be in 5, 10 and 20 years.

It would have been a very ambitious soul to have predicted the achievements so far. It certainly warrants a celebration.

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Co-founders of LoveBrum PJ Ellis and Tim Andrews welcomed guests thanking them for supporting the charity as it comes of age.

LoveBrum’s Chairman Tim Andrews shared his pride in ‘the level of engagement we are now achieving…with so many Brummies celebrating the change and pulling together to make that change.’ 

PJ Ellis tweeted from the event ‘An amazing turnout for LoveBrum’s 4th birthday bash. To say I’m humbled by the support we have received over the last 4-5 years is an understatement. Birmingham, be proud. You are full of some amazing people.’

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Vice Chair Rebecca Simkiss announced the launch of Membership March; individuals who introduce the highest number of new members to LoveBrum have the opportunity to win some amazing prizes.

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Thank you to Julia’s Cake Co for providing us with this amazing cake. Please give them a follow on Twitter @JuliasCakeCo 

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Many thanks to Glenn Richardson (below left) doing his magic with his Photo Booth. Glenn’s website is birminghambooths.co.uk

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Thank you to everyone who supplied Raffle Prizes. Award winning Networker Henrik Court won a night at Holiday Inn Express at Snow Hill and immediately auctioned it raising an additional £60 on the night contributing to a total of £773.16. Fabulous. 

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Editor in Chief of The Asian Today, Ifraz Ahmed won a beauty treatment. Look out for the Anjum’s Butler cartoon on this one. 

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Huge thanks to everyone who came along last night to make the birthday celebrations a great success. We appreciate you all giving up your time and hope you had a fabulous night in the museum. 

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The full set of images: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/albums/72157678618919038

For more information about LoveBrum: https://lovebrum.org.uk

 

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor for The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

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The Italian Master in Brum

Jas Sansi photographs the launch of the Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Drop your pencils, pens and paper and go see it before we bid ciao to the Renaissance Man on May 6th. 

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Birmingham is the Events City, there’s a lot going on a, a lot of the time. A city like ours has the gravitas to attract the great and the good, secure in the knowledge its citizens and those from the region will appreciate the opportunity to witness something extraordinary. 

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Last Thursday saw the preview of ‘A Life in Drawing’ by the Italian Master Leonardo Da Vinci at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery. It is extraordinary.

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The drawings form part of the Royal Collection, and are on public display to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death in 1519. 

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They are mesmerising and I encourage everyone to go see them. The drawings are usually stored, out of sight, away from the harsh effects of light and oxygen. This a rare opportunity to enjoy them in all their glory.

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The Exhibition is free to attend but donations are always welcome to support the work carried out by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

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Da Vinci is recognised as one of the most gifted people who ever walked this earth. If you have never seen any of his work, begin your journey at Birmingham.

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The drawings are on display until 6th May. There is a book available to purchase of the Da Vinci drawings for £9.95 available in the Museum gift shop. Pick one up and Enjoy it over a coffee in the Edwardian Tearooms.

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An incredible way to spend a few hours inside, away from the winter weather.

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Leonardo Da Vince ‘A Life in Drawing’ is exhibiting at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from 1 February to 6 May 2019.

Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH   0121 348 8000

www.birminghammuseums.org.uk

Free Entry (Donations Welcome)

#Leonardo500 

 

 

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham @jassansi 07930 837 505, a Trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

 

Signature Awards 2019

Jas Sansi photographs The Signature Awards 2019 at ICC Birmingham and reflects on the key message shared by Ninder Johal. 

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There are companies who embrace diversity and understand the value in drawing down from a broad church of ideas. For others, the comforts of a familiar face, background and culture continue to be the default option.

It’s unproductive to criticise taking the easier option. Organisations rarely change because of external pressures. Better to channel the energy of disappointment to exploit new opportunities. 

Necessity not external pressure forges change; here in the UK, we are witnessing full employment. The uncertainty in our future relationship with Europe may be discouraging worker bees from exploring new hives. The decision to Brexit has seen EU nationals transfer their skills to other countries.

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Companies who wish to scale up their operations have consequently less human resource to tap into. Great for wage inflation, not so great for corporate ambition. 

The necessity to think bigger and search wider in finding people to grow companies, throws a spotlight on the opportunities diversity offers.

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The Suffragettes marched Gender Equality to the gates of social change but it was the necessity of tapping into female workers during the World Wars that smashed those gates open. Allies fought fascism and were rewarded with enlightenment on the role of women in a post industrial world. Smashed gates never close.

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Diversity has been an aspiration for decades. The UK has championed the march of BAME Entrepreneurs as one of cornerstones of modern British success. Again this has been necessity rather than choice; if those Black and Asian entrepreneurs were given opportunities to grow early in their careers, they may not have heard the call of Enterprise and Self Employment nor would they have been tempted to explore new employment markets in North America. 

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This was my take from the Signature Awards hosted by Ninder Johal addressing a sold out Hall 4 at Birmingham ICC aided by the Brilliant Maharajah of Mayhem Tommy Sandhu.

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Ninder Johal has grown the annual celebration of our region’s business success stories to mature into a must attend event. He called on the business community to recognise there is a smaller pool of talent available because of Brexit and full employment, and to go beyond their comfort zones in providing opportunities to inject fresh ideas. 

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Signature Awards isn’t Black success, White success or Asian Success, its Business Success. There is value in having the attention of 550 business people; today and tomorrow’s leaders and urging them to harvest different fields whether its from White Working Class communities or the Muslim community. These are fields of gold. 

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The future battles in business are not mechanical, the robots are already here, automation has evolved from production lines and conveyor belts to become an art form of just in time logistics and elegant efficient satisfaction of supply and demand. 

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This is why Brexit means so much more than Brexit. Anyone can exit a relationship, all it takes is harsh words and a door, but how do you exit a complex integrated relationship developed over five decades that has shaped the fabric of our country? The simple answer is you can’t nor should you even try to.

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The future battles will be in ideas and creativity. Key Note speak Piers Linney from BBC Dragons’ Den alluded to this. Piers explained the difference between machines and humans is our ability to think creatively.

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You can program an algorithm into software, Trillion dollar corporations like Amazon demonstrate the value of doing so. But ultimately, each of the products they move around the planet via truck, van or drone evolved from a human idea or conversation. Diversity of ideas and conversations will shape the next wave of UK success stories.

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Thank you to everyone who made the night an incredible success especially the Sponsors without whom events such as these would be very difficult to deliver.

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Congratulations to all finalists and winners in this year’s Signature Awards.

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A personal highlight for me was the House of Commons Whisky bottle signed by Prime Minister Theresa May and Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn. In a week where the two struggled to sit opposite each other to thrash out a Brexit solution, their joint signatures raised £1050 fund matched by Barclays raising £2100 for Acorns Hospice contributing to a total (yet to be confirmed) for the much loved Charity headed up by Toby Porter. 

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Congratulations to my very good friend Ninder Johal who was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, announced by John Crabtree during his welcome speech. 

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The Signature Awards will be back in 2020, until then, the memories from this year are signed, sealed and delivered. 

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Complete list of the Signature Awards 2019 winners: 

Excellence in Finance (Individual) – Damon Walford (Thin Cats) and Paul Kalinauckas (BCRS Loans)

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Excellence in Law – Kulraj Dassaur

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Excellence in Finance (Organisation) – Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank Plc

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Excellence in Legal Services – Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP

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Excellence in Real Estate – Bahram Parinchy (Pro Build 360)

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Excellence in the Owner Practice for the Professions – JM Wilson Solicitors

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International / Innovation / Enterprise of the Year – Microfresh

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Small Business of the Year – KMB Shipping Group

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Business Person of the Year – Manjeet Rai

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Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion – Turner Townsend

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Entrepreneur of the Year – James Tark

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Excellence in Promoting Apprenticeships – Total Training Company

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Highly Commended Companies Recognised by Signature Awards 2019

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Business of the Year – The Staffing Group

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Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham @jassansi 07930 837 505, a Diversity and Equality Trustee for LoveBrum and Columnist for The Asian Today newspaper.

Full set of images from Signature Awards 2019 can be seen at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jassansi/sets/72157702971850092

 

 

 

With Mates like These…

You can count the number of options to settle Brexit on one hand, even if three of your fingers have been pulled off by the EU. 

Jas Sansi sets out both of them, and resists the temptation of posting a picture with two fingers up to the whole thing. 

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A pair of Bengal Tigers, prior to attacking one another have a tendency to pace around each other in a face off. They both know, in the event of battle, one will be killed and the other will die of their wounds soon after. Its a lose-lose. Remind you of anything? 

The EU Referendum in 2016 was a binary choice; In or Out. That’s it, not even an option to shake it all about, which is what the result has done with consumer confidence in the subsequent two and a half years. 

Theresa May heads back from the EU with little to add to a Brexit deal that is locked down and non negotiable. There’s no hope of it being passed by the House.

The 117 Tories who expressed no confidence in the PM won’t back it because they want an exit with no deal. Labour won’t back it because they want a General Election. Lib Dems won’t support it, they want a People’s Vote. 

SNP won’t support it because Scotland voted to Remain in the EU. DUP won’t support it because they’ve spent the £1 Billion bung and there’s no refunds. The Green Party won’t support it for all of the above, except the bung. 

This leaves the 200 MPs who did have confidence in Theresa May to vote Aye. It doesn’t take a genius to calculate the Nays have it.

Why not change the question being put to the house, instead of ‘Do you accept this Brexit deal?’ how about ‘Brexit with this deal or Brexit with no deal?’ This binary option will focus the minds of our elected representatives. 

This will cause uproar. Regular viewers of Prime Ministers Questions know MPs roar more than lions in mating season.  I, for one am mating fed up of it, I wish all the mating MPs would sort it before they mate off for Christmas.  

The only options after the PM’s deal is rejected is No Deal or No Brexit, and that there is the question for the people. 

Very few questions in life have a binary answer. But as a country we’re snookered by Brexit so what is it; Deal or No Deal?

If a People’s Vote returns No Brexit, then we Remain in the EU. If the answer is No Deal, then we leave the EU on WTO rules.

But for heavens sake, can we move on? Even David Dimbleby has left the stage and he’s overseen the election of everyone since William Pitt the mating Younger. 

 

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham, a trust for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today

07930 837 505 @jassansi

You can write a lot with 48 letters

The 1922 Chair has the 48 letters to trigger a vote of no confidence in Theresa May.

Jas Sansi suggests what you can spell with 48 letters. 

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Keep an eye on the language being used today about Theresa May, in particular the expression ‘clinging on to power.’ 

The expression questions the motivation of the Prime Minister; is Mrs May trying to solve the Brexit mess or trying to save her job? 

Media confirmed this morning the 48 letter threshold to trigger a vote of no confidence has been breached.

The 1922 Committee of backbench MPs will learn today of a meeting between the PM and its Chair, Sir Graham Brady.

The Conservative party will vote to support the motion or support the Prime Minister.

A decision to remove Mrs May at this critical stage of Brexit would be brave, and by brave I mean foolish, and by foolish I mean incredibly stupid. Using dynamite to blow out oil well fires may be fine in Texas, but the UK is a long way from Texas.

Lets imagine the PM is removed from office, what then? It was no coincidence Boris Johnson appeared on the Andrew Marr Show last Sunday with a haircut and a categorical denial he was after the top job. His mouth said no, his barnet said bring it on. 

Sitting opposite Boris Johnson, should he replace Mrs May is Jeremy Corbyn. In a General Election, will the Conservatives, who have enjoyed only one year of absolute power in the last quarter of a century be able to hold back the tide of support behind Mr Corbyn?

Mr Jeremy Corbyn, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.’ There’s 48 letters Conservative MPs may wish to consider before they make any brave decisions.

 

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer, a trustee for LoveBrum and contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Art of the Deal

The Brexit vote snatched away from the Commons yesterday is not the first audacious theft Europe has witnessed.

Jas Sansi paints a picture of what next in the not so Merry Go Round of EU negotiations.

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In 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia, tasked with making a protective glass case for Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece ‘Mona Lisa’ decided instead to steal the painting from it’s home in the Louvre.

Images of the painting and news of the theft were splashed across the world’s papers. It elevated the painting to the iconic status it enjoys today.

People queued for the first time ever outside the Louvre just to see the empty space where the artwork once hung. It would be two years before the painting was recovered and Vincenzo arrested. The queues have not dissipated in the 100 years since the theft.

I doubt MPs will queue to gather in the corridors today to stare at the space where the Brexit vote was scheduled, before being snatched away and taken back to Brussels.

The EU are insisting the deal is locked down and can not, will not and shall not be re-visited, which in politics means, it probably will be.

And if you can forgive a single sentence paragraph, what changes made to the Irish backstop which keeps Northern Ireland in the Customs Union until such time it is deemed by the EU to no longer be necessary remains as clear as the mud being slung at Theresa May by all sides of the House.

…however bad your mathematics, 52% has always been bigger than 48%

And if no amendment is forthcoming, the only options are No Deal or No Brexit; the two most extreme outcomes of this most sorry episode in British Political history. 

No Deal will plunge us into Economic crisis. No Brexit leaves us with a constitutional one which threatens Democracy because however bad your mathematics, 52% has always been bigger than 48%.

And to cap it all off, the European Court of Justice has announced they will refund Article 50 without proof of purchase as long as we haven’t worn it to the Nigel Farage leaving UKIP party..!

If the EU refuse to budge on the Northern Ireland question in order to protect the Republic of Ireland, the only feasible option is what the ECJ suggested regarding Article 50, ‘a democratic undertaking.’

There is no appetite for a Commons vote which will reject the deal. It can be argued, all an increasingly number of people want for Christmas is a People’s Vote. 

The two years the world waited for the Mona Lisa to be safely returned is a drop in the ocean compared to the three years we have waited, so far, to see a vote bought to the Commons.

In 1911, the French press used the Mona Lisa theft to criticise an incompetent Government who ran the Louvre and the head of Paris Police retired in shame. Just like the French Revolution, in times of chaos, heads often roll.

Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer, a trustee for LoveBrum, the charity for an even better Birmingham, and a contributor to The Asian Today newspaper.

@jassansi 07930 837 505

Maven Capital – Funding for SMEs

Jas Sansi drops in at the Maven Capital workshop at PwC Birmingham to learn more about funding opportunities for SMEs

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The Midlands has long been a maternity ward for Enterprise. It was here the newborn screams of the Industrial Revolution were first heard. The region has benefitted from the dividends of Commerce; the parks, public spaces and libraries have proved great levellers for generations not born into wealth. Profit and its legacy should be applauded. However Commerce has to be fuelled with investment before that journey begins. 

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Andy Povey from Maven Capital delivered a workshop this morning on the funding opportunities available to SMEs. Taking an overview on success in business, he suggested ‘Turnover is vanity, Profit is sanity but cash is reality.’

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The Government has made available a Midlands Engine Investment Fund to encourage growth and job creation. This is available through Maven who are fund managers to businesses who want to take their companies to the next level.

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A number of funding sources exist including banks, crowd sourcing and specialist providers. Andy explained ‘I would always recommend business to have a conversation with banks in the first instance. They offer the cheapest access to finance because they take on the lowest levels of risk.’

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Banks may suggest businesses seeking finance undertake a collaborative funding package made up of some funding from the Bank and some from Fund Managers such as Maven. This allows them to spread the risk. 

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Joel Blake OBE, a champion for business represented the GBSLEP (Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership) Growth Hub. 

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Joel set out the support mechanisms the GBSLEP Growth Hub offers to businesses who are seeking finance for growth. The partnership approach will be very welcome from businesses who are specialists in their industry but may not have access to knowledge in developing  their offer. 

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The GBSLEP Growth Hub steers businesses towards finance providers and advisors. It is a gateway service that acts as a bridge between business and providers that support business owners. Joel added ‘The biggest issue for scaling up is having the right leadership and management capability. Is the right team in place to take the business up to the next level?’

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Joel explained the key elements of growth;

  1. Strategy – Is the right plan in place for you to achieve your ambitions?
  2. Operations – Are you efficient  and able to deliver your promise?
  3. Talent – Do you have the right team around you? 
  4. Marketing – How do you communicate your offer and are you adopting technology to drive efficiency? 
  5. Selling – Is there a market out there for your offer? 

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Sajjad Hassam and Matt Palmer from PwC welcomed delegates with the words ‘London enjoys a monopoly on business funding but it cannot claim a monopoly on the best ideas.

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PwC is well known for its work with FTSE 100 and multi national companies but Sajjad was keen to share the support they offer SMEs. 

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In the lead up to Parliament’s Brexit vote on Tuesday, one of the PwC slides rang very true; You cannot predict. You can only prepare.

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A very insightful start to the day and invaluable groundwork for what Andy Povey summarised as preparing your business to be worthy of attracting investment funding.

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Andy was very honest in his advice that the cheapest source of funding is your own cash because it doesn’t cost you anything. But if this isn’t an option, reach out to Maven Capital and the GBSLEP Growth Fund who will advise you on the best source of funding. Support mechanisms exist to help you realise your ambitions. 

See more information about:

Maven Capital funding: http://funds.mavencp.com/meif

GBSLEP Growth Fund: gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

PwC Midlands: pwc.co.uk/midlands

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Jas Sansi is a freelance photographer based in Birmingham. A contributor for The Asian Today and trustee for LoveBrum, the Charity for an even better Birmingham.

@jassansi 07930 837 505