Today’s post comes from Tanya who writes about the first event for Elexu competition “Style it Soho”. Read about the inspiring participants and how to take part in the event.
2012 has been an unforgettable year for London we have seen fantastic sporting talent but now we are seeing the fashion talent that London has to offer during fashion week. We have astonishingly creative people working in the capital, bringing energy and ideas as well as generating business. Over just a few days fashion week showcases Britain’s best fashion designers, puts London’s creative industries on the front pages and brings in over £100 million pounds worth of orders alone. The international press are attending from 42 countries to illuminate 62 catwalk shows and 20 presentations to take place over five days. Dress smart.
Well Elexu has got caught up in the fashion spirit and is currently holding a competition for the visually creative in the fashion field giving young stylists, models, photographers and fashion bloggers the opportunity to showcase their talent and meet similarly-minded fashion-forward young people.
The ongoing competitions first date was inspiring! Many well-known retail, dining and entertainment establishments, including Aqua Spirit London and Vintage Magazine Shop, graciously donated their locations in the fashion hub that is Soho. Stylists brought their makeup and clothes, aspiring models brought their bodies and photographers brought their camera to create a number of unique photo shoot opportunities to show off the talent that they have.
This fantastic event provides a young people with the chance to mingle with one another and build connections for the future. They were able to work together with the resources they may not be able to access normally and with Elexu’s help we were able to create a great opportunity and showcase their talent. The event was charged with energy and creation and it was inspiring to watch the participants do what they love. They were all very talented and I look forward to the second event day for Style it Soho which you can be a part of!
TAKE PART IN STYLE IT SOHO!
Do you picture yourself running show at a catwalk? Modelling on the runway? Or being that influential fashion blogger who decides what hot and what’s not? If yes to one of these, enter Elexu’s STYLE IT SOHO competition for the chance to win some fashion swag and be ready for future fashion competitions.
For full details, just join the Elexu community at http://elexu.com/invite. Use VIP access code STYLEIT1 to fast-track your request.
Two of our talented interns William and Yanet talk about how Elexu could benefit their home countries of Canada and Spain.
William from Canada:
“Well I’m going back to University soon in Halifax where I know a lot of artists that have a lot of talent but there are no opportunities to connect and make progress. Elexu could really help connect these artists with the capital and resources they need to display their work and meet like minded people.
A friend of mine was a fantastic artist and sold his art to his friends and family to make money to support his education, unfortunately it was not enough and he had to quit which is a great shame. If Elexu had anything to say about it, he would be connected to every art lover in Halifax to help find the resources he needed to carry on and promote his work.
Halifax has a lot of students and most leave the city after finishing their education due to the lack of communities and opportunities. So if Elexu helped build communities around art, music, business and sport more students may stay in Halifax because they can meet like minded people who could support each other as well as have the resources they need through Elexu’s digital competitions. I might even start a few projects myself on behalf of Elexu over in Canada.”
Yanet from Spain:
“Spain is currently going through an economic crisis and there are very few opportunities for the Spanish youth to start their own businesses and projects due to a lack of spending and support. An organisation that connects youth to the resources they need is greatly needed in Spain.
In Barcelona there is a vibrant fashion community however there are very little opportunities for new fashion designers to show off their clothes so Elexu could help organise events where young fashion designers gain exposure and really help them move forward. Also students with degree’s find it near impossible to gain experience due to a lack of internships, there is no path way to working in an established company straight after university and some students never get that experience they need. Elexu can help connect companies/organisations to talented youth through the Elexu competitions
Barcelona is a metropolitan city and therefore has its own styles and culture which may be hidden away from people living outside the main cities who may not be aware of communities that appeal to their interests or opportunities that they could benefit from. For example Elexu could help connect young designers from all over Spain so that ideas and influences can have a wide spread impact and not just have their ideas completely shaped just by what is around them, so people are not limited by where they live. Elexu could help unite different communities all over Spain so that new concepts and projects can always have a different viewpoint as well as having a large population following what a person is doing that is new and exciting.”
Today, Katherine Dawn Perry is a full-time office worker and the proprietor of Kit’s Baking Boutique, an online company selling delicious sweet treats made to order. Tomorrow, she sees herself pursuing this passion as a full-time career, perhaps even with the hopes of one day owning her very own boutique! In this Elexu interview, Katherine talks about how she made her dream a reality, and inspires others to have the confidence to do the same.
Tell us a bit about when you first realised you wanted to start up your own baking business. How easy was it to make this a reality?
I’ve always wanted a career where I could use my creative talents. I started off making greetings cards and cute crochet toys that I successfully sold at school fetes and on websites such as Etsy, Coriandr and Folksy. Then I had a breakthrough! In December 2011 I baked my first batch of cookies for my husband and family, and they loved them! This encouragement fuelled my passion for baking and after a few months I was making Macaroons, Whoopie Pies and Cakepops… I was officially hooked and I knew this was something that could turn in to a successful venture. My business is still in its infancy, but I believe that with the support of my family and friends, by this time next year it will have grown; it is my hope that the business will become my full-time career.
This week we have a real treat for you: a blog post directly from David Smuts, the Co-Founder and CEO of Elexu. Enjoy!
I’ve been asked to contribute to our blog and this has been long overdue I must admit. With this being my first “public” posting here, I wanted to kick off by addressing an issue which is at the core of what Elexu is here to do; empower people.
OK, so what does “empowering people” mean? What does the word “empowerment” mean? Who are the “people” we are attempting to empower and why do we think they need or even want to be empowered anyway? It all sounds so vague.
I get asked these questions all the time, sometimes with genuine curiosity, sometimes with a tinge of disbelief as if we must be so naive to think we can empower people, and sometimes with an element of some perceived threat, as if empowering people is a negative thing.
What unities us and drives us at Elexu is our shared commitment to achieving this mission. We are helpers by nature and any other mundane project just would not get us out of bed in the morning. But you’re still left with the question; so what does that mean again? The Who, How, What, When, Where and Why questions to that explanation of empowerment remain.
So let me put in terms which are more tangible. Empowerment is attained when people have access to what we call the “Three Pillars of Success”; Capital (meaning funding and resources), Content (meaning relevant and accurate information or data, both audio and visual) and Connections (people, helpers, advisers or supporters). Without access to these three pillars people will face hurdles in achieving their objectives and aspirations in life (whatever those aspirations are), be they artistic, economic, social or political.
Let me give you one example:
Jeff who has an aspiration to secure a top job in finance, is at a distinct advantage (having power) if he has access to Capital (money from mum and dad) to be able to afford to attend the best University. His access to Content (knowledge and info about which is the best University to attend, how to get in and how to pass the exams) and finally his access to Connections (daddy’s friends at the University and chums he meets there) will pretty much ensure he is able to get a top finance job. Jeff’s access to capital ensures he can buy the right content and the right connections at any time. Such is life!
Compare this situation to the student Claire who does not come from a wealthy family but still wants to land a job in finance. Her efforts are already hampered by her lack of access to Capital as she can only afford a regional college. Her lack of access to privileged or disparate Content (information which could have helped her raise some capital or introduce her to connections). Finally, the fact that her friends are not sons of wealthy businessmen, she will find it much harder to secure the top finance job she has been dreaming of. She will need to go and apply to work at small town finance company USA for lower pay and for a longer period before she will ever be able to land the top job she craves.
To top it off, Claire is actually a much better, harder working, smarter and ethical financier than Jeff. It’s just she did not have the same level of access to the 3 pillars that Jeff has. This is what we in Elexu seek to redress.
So we have identified what Empowerment is; having access to the 3 pillars of Capital, Content and Connections, now we are left with the following questions:
How do we provide access to the 3 pillars (in other words, “How do we Empower people”?)
Who do we do this for? (Who do we “Empower”?)
I will be addressing these questions in Part ll, but for now I wanted to leave you with a simple enough explanation of empowerment. Our mission and tag line states “Empowering People” and by that, we mean Elexu exists to help people connect and access the three pillars. This is empowerment explained in its simplest and most basic form. Next post will expand on this, with examples of how we do this, how this process and works and answer many more of the Who, How, Where, What, When and Why questions surrounding empowerment.
Fiona Smout is one of Elexu’s newer interns; her passion is performing on stage in a local amateur theatre group. In this blog post, she talks about her experiences and wonders what the future could hold for her group, if only it could form an alliance with a company that could help move it into the realms of professional theatre…
It’s opening night. The adrenaline is pumping and backstage the rest of the cast and I are putting the final touches to our costumes before going through the ridiculous, (yet hilarious!), ritual of singing “Zip-a-de-do-dah”, as we will do before the start of each of the four performances in this run. Panic sets in. Three minutes to go. Heart pounding. Two minutes to go. Palms sweating. Why do I put myself through this? It is my passion; my purpose in these next two hours is to show the audience that I am this character. With one minute to go, I take a deep breath and enjoy the familiar flutter of excitement as it courses through my body, reminding me of how great it feels to be alive and living my dream. Then suddenly…applause. The curtain is up! Hearing my cue, I step out onto the stage and bask in the warm glow of the spotlight…
In a little over two days, this will be me. As a member of an amateur theatre company, called Leighton Buzzard Drama Group (http://www.lbdg.org.uk/), I have always enjoyed the sense of belonging to a group of like-minded individuals who share the experience of exploring a text, spending weeks rehearsing in order to get it just right, and then giving it the recognition it deserves in front of a full audience. An amazing prospect for the future would be for the theatre company to tour its productions around the country to gain broader public interest, with the hope of moving from the realm of amateur to professional theatre. Making this prospect a reality is where we would need help. Where would we even begin to look for the information to access how to pursue such a goal? How could we contact people with the right connections in this industry to put our plan into action, and where would we get the much needed money to finance such a venture? Luckily, the answer to all of these questions is simple: Elexu. By hosting competitions (called “Endowments”), Elexu can enable anyone with an aspiration access to the right content, capital and connections to make their dream a reality. The Endowments are sponsored by brands, charities and other organisations who have themselves benefitted from the Elexu platform. If this alone doesn’t inspire you, Elexu members have the facility to set up their own Endowment for whatever grant needed, whilst encouraging other members to vote for and financially back their ideas. As member Endowments are set up under the Elexu Foundation, you (or your company) are saved the personal and financial expense of creating your own charity for this purpose. So very simply, my theatre company can advertise through Elexu, increasing public awareness of itself, and informing members of why it is eligble for their votes, and if so minded, their donations. Sounds like an efficient, stress-free and exciting alternative to taking out a loan or putting your dreams on the back burner, doesn’t it? In the future, individuals and companies such as the theatre company I belong to will reap the benefits produced by Elexu, but it all starts with you. Please follow the Elexu journey today, and who knows, maybe my theatre company will be performing in a town near you in the future.
My favourite word? It would have to be: courage. Without it, you will probably achieve very little.
’The Importance of Being Earnest’ runs from Thursday 12th July 2012 – Saturday 14th July 2012 at 8pm, at Leighton Buzzard Theatre, Lake Street, Leighton Buzzard, LU7 1RX. Tickets are £9.50, or £8.50 for concessions. For bookings, please contact the box office on: 0300 300 8125.
Our mission at Elexu is to “Empower People.” As part of our commitment and dedication to achieving this goal, we have set up a charitable foundation: The Elexu Foundation (Registered Charity No.: 1145975). The aim of the Foundation is specifically to promote social inclusion and support the great charities and NGO’s working in this sector.
The Foundation will help charities by helping them to gain the maximum benefit from using the Elexu platform to host their own competitions to showcase their work and help raise funds. We also want to help young people and charities find new and meaningful ways to reconnect in a digital age. To emphasise this, we have invited an Elexu follower to post about her own charity awareness day next week (Abigail Stafford), so stay tuned for that.
Another benefit of our foundation will be the ability for Elexu members themselves, to easily set up their own competitions and reality formats around social causes as an innovative, entertaining and transparent way to award grants to organizations and individuals, while encouraging Elexu members (both individuals and companies) to get involved and top up the donations. Members have the advantage of setting these up under the umbrella of the Foundation rather than setting up and registering and administering their own charity, which can be quite time consuming as well as costly and burdensome and can receive additional donation top up through our Gift Aid service.
As the Elexu Foundation is just starting up and growing alongside Elexu it is not yet in a position to start its grant-making activities. However, based on our current projections, we expect to begin to do so in late 2012. We have already started building a network of organizations that are doing some amazing work that would truly deserve support. If you believe your charity or NGO could benefit from working with the Elexu Foundation please subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss the opportunities once they arise.
If you would like to get to know us and our community better join us on Twitter and Facebook.
Connections are an essential part of any aspiration and establishing a network of other passionate people and industry professionals. This is something Elexu is looking to give our members through our exciting and interactive platform.
If you’ve ever had a great idea or dream but just haven’t had the right people or network to make it happen, you’ll understand why Connections is one of our Pillars of Success along with Capital ($) and Content (info). Getting the right connections in place is an essential part of any aspiration or dream. Establishing this network of fellow aspirants, industry professionals and fans makes all the difference.
The key to building a strong network is one’s activity. The more active you are, the more visibility you get, and this is what will in turn attract more followers. Now we understand that there are already social networks in place that do this, but most platforms focus strictly on a specific industry (example: a platform for graphic artists where there are only the artists, platform for entrepreneurs with only entrepreneurs there). Elexu recognizes that what aspirants really need is the connection with viewers – potential fans, supporters, and industry/brand professionals – and that’s what we plan to do better than anyone else – utilizing Online Competitions and Social Interactive TV platform.
While we prepare to launch the fully equipped live site, we are building our community on our social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Here you can begin connecting with one another and through joining us there, you could potentially be invited to Elexu’s invitation-only beta test.
As always, Elexu is here to empower you and Connections are one of the ways we look to do that. For now, check out: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and more to come! And remember, it only takes 5 minutes to send a tweet and reach out to find the right connections!
If you want to achieve anything in life you need relevant and accurate information. That’s why Information (or generally Content) is one of our Pillars of Success along with Capital ($) and Connections.
It might seem strange that we see access to content as an issue in the world where Google is always at hand. The problem is that there is so much information that the really important and relevant content gets lost in the noise.
At Elexu we are building a tool that will enable us as well as our community to generate high quality filtered content and keep it easily up to date.
While we prepare to launch the fully equipped live platform, we will keep sharing great content with you via Facebook and Twitter. This will be anything from inspiring articles and videos, links to opportunities to showcase your talents, and also links to tools that can help you achieve your dreams.
We all know that money makes the world go round, but when funds are drying up, your dreams can be stunted in their infancy.
One of Elexu’s missions is to offer aspiring under 25’s the access to funds through our online competitions (for more information on Elexu read Elexu introduction)
Here is an example from The Princes Trust on how funds can change a young person’s life and make their dreams become a reality. This is something that we here at Elexu are passionate to achieve.
“Leanne, from Gloucestershire was determined to set up her own salon. After leaving school with no meaningful qualifications, she maintained several jobs in an attempt to gather enough resources to start a business. Leanne realised that money was not the only thing she needed to achieve her dream, and after seeking support from her friends, she approached The Prince’s Trust.”
Who we are: Elexu (pronounced elects-you!) is a Social Interactive Television platform that combines social networking and entertaining reality-TV. Our concept is based around competitions which will be sponsored by meaningful brands and charities.
What’s in it for you: Here’s where you come in. In any career path, there will be obstacles: lack of funds, connections and information being a few. So how can we help you? Elexu wants to give you access to what we call the “3 pillars of success”; Capital, Content and Connections.
How it works: Elexu hosts online interactive competitions that you can enter. Our sponsors create competitions aka “Endowments,” members can then vote for whom they want to win and then, and you guessed it; the prize will be Capital, Content and Connections (remember those 3 pillars from before).
And a bonus: Membership is free and each member is entitled to one free share, making you not only a member but a shareholder. You get exposure in your chosen field and build up a community of like-minded people and don’t have to pay a penny; it’s a win, win situation.