Colors: Purple Color

Kevon Chisolm, Esq. founder and president of Black Wallstreeter Consultation Services, is teaming up with his wife, Kim, and their 13-year old son, Kamari, to launch a weekend series that teaches African American families financial literacy skills and how to invest in the stock market. The weekend series is geared towards encouraging families and individuals to build generational wealth together while also learning about African American history and culture.

The goal is to continue the success that they had with the Junior Wallstreeters Summer Camps. One parent wrote: “I just wanted to thank you for the educational and impactful experiences you provided through the Jr Wall Street camp. I appreciate the tools used to empower our children through the convergence of African American history while teaching strategies and the importance of building future wealth.”

Kevon comments, “In addition to topics like budgeting, establishing and maintaining good credit, banking, and investing in the stock market, the weekend series teaches generational wealth building through investment clubs.”

Saturday’s series is titled: ‘Empowering Youth & Parents with Financial Wellness’. The Sunday’s series is titled: ‘Empowering Youth & Parents with Financial Wellness and African American History and Culture’. Both sessions will provide life-long financial education and resources, which can be applied to address the lack of generational wealth in the African American community.

“Our goal is to teach financial knowledge to eliminate the wealth gap by showing young people and their parents how to properly use money as a tool,” he adds. The online series will primarily be taught by Stanley Anderson and Isaiah Cromwell, a high school teacher who helped Kevon develop the curriculum.

The weekend series will be held every other Saturday (11am-1pm EST) and Sunday (1pm-4pm EST), starting on October 3rd and 4th.

All ages are encouraged to attend the series, but youth under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants must have a computer with Internet access. The cost of the Saturday series is just $250. While the cost for Sunday’s series is $350 because it is an hour longer and includes additional materials. This fee includes course materials such as an electronic student handbook, Junior Wallstreeters Envelope Budgeting System with tracking sheets, and a Stock Tracker Lite Notebook.

Limited spaces are available.

 

The latest research by leading property recruitment specialists, Rayner Personnel, has revealed which UK cities are currently proving the most competitive where the ratio of estate agents to listed properties is concerned.

Rayner looked at the number of residential estate agents operating across 23 UK cities and compared this figure to the number of properties currently listed for sale online to find the average number of listings per agent.  

The research shows that Aberdeen is currently the most competitive market to be an estate agent. Based on the number of estate agents currently listed on Zoopla (39) and the number of residential properties listed for sale (511), there is just an average of 13 properties for every estate agent in the city.

Cambridge ranks as the second most competitive city to be an estate agent, with an average of just 15 properties for every one agent operating in the city, while Edinburgh and Leicester complete the top three with an average of 16 properties per agent in each city.

Oxford (18), Manchester (21), Glasgow (21) and Bristol (22) also rank in the top 10.  

While London is home to by far the most abundant level of available stock (98,637) there are also some 4,041 agents battling it out to sell it.

This results in an average of just 24 properties per agent in the capital, with Southampton and Newcastle home to an average of 25 properties per agent, while Bournemouth (26) and Cardiff (27) complete the top 10.

In contrast, Newport (46), Liverpool (41), Plymouth (39), Sheffield (37) and Leeds (36) rank as the least competitive in terms of the stock available to the volume of agents trying to sell it.

Founder and CEO of Rayner Personnel, Josh Rayner, commented: “The market has exploded back to life in recent months and many agents will be relishing the chance to get stuck back into work after the boredom of lockdown and the industry restrictions imposed as a result.  

Estate agency has always been an incredibly competitive profession, and in fact, it’s one of the things that drives the best agents to perform day in, day out. 

While we’ve highlighted the most competitive cities based on the ratio of agents to stock, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing and agents across the UK must ensure they are on the top of their game if they want to succeed.  

This means having the best team around you, providing above and beyond service and, in more recent years, embracing technology to help improve performance. By doing so you can further your reach and list properties outside of your traditional operational boundaries which can also help you to remain profitable.

If you build a business based on a mixture of great technology and great people, there’s no reason you can’t succeed in today’s sector, even in the most competitive of spaces.” 

Rank

Location

Residential Estate Agents

Number of Properties Currently for Sale

Average listings per agent

1st

Aberdeen

39

511

13

2nd

Cambridge

71

1,084

15

3rd

Edinburgh

185

2,894

16

Leicester

114

1,829

16

4th

Oxford

81

1,490

18

5th

Manchester

236

4,876

21

Glasgow

224

4,647

21

6th

Bristol

230

5,063

22

7th

London

4,041

98,637

24

8th

Southampton

107

2,627

25

Newcastle

108

2,729

25

9th

Bournemouth

64

1,636

26

10th

Cardiff

83

2,220

27

11th

Birmingham

287

7,993

28

12th

Portsmouth

48

1,460

30

13th

Swansea

75

2,284

30

14th

Belfast

6

198

33

15th

Nottingham

164

5,760

35

16th

Leeds

164

5,868

36

17th

Sheffield

97

3,554

37

18th

Plymouth

75

2,942

39

19th

Liverpool

141

5,813

41

20th

Newport

22

1,012

46

Data sourced from Zoopla and correct as of 4th September 2020. The number of properties includes those already marked as under offer or sold subject to contract.

Aston Manor Cider has unveiled their latest multi-million pound investment – a move that has increased employment and extended the capacity and capability of the business. The Birmingham-based drinks producer has spent a further £6m in recent months to reconfigure their Aston production site and add a state-of-the-art new packaging line.

This follows investment in excess of £30m in the last five years and a further commitment that is likely to exceed £50m over the term of the long-term contracts agreed with farmers to supply apples from new orchards planted in Herefordshire.

Part of the most recent investment has been to develop the research and development capability to create new products. In order to bring these and other drinks to market meant millions to install a whole new packaging line that has enabled new formats to be produced.

Now commissioned, this and previous investment means Aston Manor’s portfolio of ciders can be packaged in bag-in-box formats, in mini-kegs, and in different sizes and shapes of cans.

Having the ability to expand the availability of cans directly responds to changing consumer preferences as three-quarters of growth in cider sales in the take home sector is from that format.

Gordon Johncox, chief executive at Aston Manor said: “We have a track record of being responsive to consumer trends and having the flexibility and agility to deliver great products in different styles and formats.

“It is for this reason we are recognised as having a broad portfolio to delight every consumer and on every occasion – from value and mainstream to the most premium.

“This is by design. We consistently invest significant sums and support our people to build our capacity and capability. It is vital to our approach and our ambition to offer new products and develop new markets.”

This work has also supported the growing demand from major drinks businesses and brand owners to work with Aston Manor as a specialist contract packer. Increased demand from growing sales has meant in the first seven months of this year nearly 127 million products have been made across production sites in Birmingham and Tiverton in Devon – over 8 million more than in the same period last year.

Johncox added: “I pay testament to the great work being done by our people – during a period of exceptional disruption they are delivering products of quality that people are enjoying as evidenced by award success, assurance from independent audits and customer care levels that exceed industry standards.”

In the latest international cider competitions, Aston Manor’s ‘Malvern Gold’ brand scooped the prize as the World’s Best (still) Cider for the second year running – after claiming top spot in the year this stunning cider was launched.

 

A fundraising campaign aimed at supporting Wolverhampton’s most vulnerable during the Covid-19 crisis has raised an incredible £90,746.Organisations across the City of Wolverhampton joined forces at the start of the pandemic to launch the crowdfund initiative to support struggling families and individuals throughout this difficult time.

A total of four campaigns were run under the One City Fund umbrella, each with a particular focus - people facing severe financial hardship as a result of Covid-19, raising vital funds to support the increased demand on the city’s food banks, supporting the homeless and helping people who have no access to technology to access important services or information.

The initiative was a collaboration between City of Wolverhampton Council, the Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council (WVCS) and local organisations.Over 250 individuals and businesses contributed to the fund; their donations have gone directly to over 15 local, not-for-profit organisations supporting people in need throughout the city, so they can get the help they need during this difficult time.

The final campaign, ‘Stay Connected’, concluded last month (August 28), raising over £15,000 for local charities supporting individuals facing isolation as a result of digital exclusion, including the Refugee and Migrant Centre, Wolverhampton Samaritans, Gazebo Theatre and Wolverhampton Learning Platform. 60% of the funds raised will be distributed to partner organisations. The remaining 40% is available as small grants to grassroots community groups supporting local people during the crisis. 

Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: “The One City Fund was created, in response to the spirit of generosity shown throughout the city, to give people a simple way to contribute to the city’s efforts to support vulnerable residents during the pandemic and make sure no-one gets left behind.

“I’d like to thank everyone who donated to the One City Fund campaigns, the organisations the fund is supporting provide a vital lifeline for people across our city. I’m delighted to say that each of the campaigns exceeded their individual targets, demonstrating the resilient, caring and community-spirited nature of our city.”

Deputy Chief Executive of Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, Saffi Price, added: “Wolverhampton’s One City Fund has shown, once again, how kind and generous the people of Wolverhampton are. Voluntary and Community Sector organisations have come together to help make the most of this crowdfunding campaign as they continue to support citizens in Wolverhampton who have felt the greatest impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

WVSC are very pleased to have played a part; working alongside other VCS organisations and statutory agencies. I know that we will all continue to work together as a city to ensure that no-one is left behind.”

Spacehive, the crowdfunding platform powering Crowdfund Wolves, waived its 5% fee for all projects created during lockdown, which means all monies raised will go directly to local third sector organisations.

The Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, and some of the charities supported by the One City Fund campaigns, have also put together this message to thank everyone who donated to the campaigns.

 

 

Youth skills development has received an encouraging shot in the arm after it was revealed that a Birmingham engineering firm has provided innovative pre-apprenticeship spots for 60 young people over the past five years.

 

Leading engineering business, adi Group, has celebrated the achievements of students on its pre-apprentice scheme since 2016, with this year’s graduation evening over the now-familiar Zoom format due to COVID-19.

 

Proud parents and students gathered online, as senior adi personnel and programme mentors revealed that all twelve pre-apprentices in the Class of 2020 passed the rigorous course, with four distinctions and eight merits among the esteemed group.

 

“This was really encouraging news given the current economic climate,” said adi CEO, Alan Lusty. “Businesses of all shapes and sizes have had some difficult decisions to make over the course of the  past few months, not least our own, but we are pleased to be strengthening our commitment to young people and the engineering sector at a time when many youngsters are desperate to get their foot on the careers ladder.

 

“I started in the industry as an apprentice myself, so I know the importance of giving back to this really inspiring and talented bunch of students that will hopefully go on to have successful careers in our sector and beyond.”

 

The adi pre-apprenticeship scheme began life in 2016 as a link was forged between nearby North Bromsgrove High School and the engineering company, aiming to help foster youth skills development across the Midlands. This partnership with the school is truly mutual, with both parties achieving opportunity via the students taking up one of the annual 12 pre-apprenticeship places.

 

It was launched by then Birmingham Northfield MP Richard Burden and has since gone on to receive a number of plaudits, not least from former Prime Minister, Theresa May, who visited the company’s headquarters for a tour of the facilities and programme in 2018 and praised adi Group during PMQs. Fully 50% of the scheme’s first and second year intakes are still with adi today and the business remains committed to youth skills development with its sign-up to the 5% Club, an initiative designed to raise the number of apprentices on formal programmes to five percent of the total workforce within five years.

 

“What we’ve done at adi is continue to shine the spotlight on the importance of inspiring the next generation of engineers,” added Group strategic account director, James Sopwith. “The services and the skill sets we’re inspiring provide support to the manufacturing sector, which is only in rising demand as the UK looks to bounce back from the current economic crisis.

 

“More closely, what we feel is most important is fostering a sense of connection at a local level between businesses and educational institutions, so that each feels the reward of building a sustainable pathway to the engineers of tomorrow.”

 

News of adi’s pre-apprenticeship milestone comes as the government recently announced its new Kickstart scheme designed to get disadvantaged youngsters into working roles. With adi having developed its own starter pack for other businesses to replicate its pre-apprenticeship programme, it is hoped such schemes can help the UK turn the tide on bleak unemployment forecasts and begin to bridge the STEM skills gap.

 

One feature of the soon to launch OpenBrix property portal is their MLS function, or Multiple Listing Service, and it’s a benefit that Adam Pigott and his team are unashamedly pushing. 

Why? Well simply because it works to help all parties in the property market – not just the seller or the buyer or the agent - but all of them.

An MLS is a database or network established by estate agents to share details on current property stock listed for sale or let. It essentially allows member estate agents to see what stock other estate agents have on their books with the wider goal of connecting buyers and sellers.

It has become the norm in the US and Canada and allows agents to offer properties that fit a buyer’s requirements that they may have otherwise been unable to do, with the agents involved choosing how to split the commission of the sale when working together.

OpenBrix has researched MLS data for the Canadian property market, a market that’s similar in many respects to the UK, to ascertain whether agents that use and promote the MLS actually achieve higher prices for their clients. The answer is that they do – by 12%.

OpenBrix says that Canada residential real estate is a market worth $361billion USD in sales (2019). About half the size of the UK but nonetheless the 8th largest in the world (UK $745bn USD).

In July this year, data suggests that the average Canadian house sold at a value of $571,471 CAD. Whereas those that sold via the Canadian MLS system achieved $640,800 CAD - a difference of 12.1%. This analysis was across a sample size of 42,000 transactions.

If this were translated to the UK market it would suggest that agents could achieve £28,591 more for their sellers than the average UK house price of £235,673 (HM Land Reg). And if agents wanted to look at this purely selfishly, that could equate to earning almost £430 more per sale in fees at a typical 1.5%.

As validation of this, leading Canadian real-estate broker Irene Kaushansky of Kaushansky Brown in Toronto offers us this exclusive comment:  “Having not lived in a real estate world without MLS I personally cannot imagine doing business without it. We have over 58,000 realtors in our Toronto Board but whether it's that or 5000, or even 500, no matter how connected you are, there is no other way to know all agents and buyers. The more exposure there is for a property, the more buyers have an opportunity to see it and the greater the potential sale price for our sellers.”

“I'll give you a very current example and it's only because it happened this week.  A property was listed at $1.439m and after one week we had 47 private showing appointments.  On offer day, we received 5 offers. Here’s the thing - the top price from one local agent was $1.6m but the final sale price we achieved was actually $1.675m from one of two agents from outside the area that I didn't even know. While this is just one example to illustrate the above, it gives you an idea of the power of MLS exposure in dollar terms.”

Adam Pigott, CEO of OpenBrix in an untypically brief comment on the matter ads “Using our MLS system on the OpenBrix portal could make agents and their clients more money. The data proves it and it’s plain for agents to see once they start to be open to the power of this concept. Don’t be left behind.”