>Continuous Capital is an incredibly conscientious charity that focuses in part on assisting, but also empowering those who it sets out to help.
Officially established in November 2011, the charity was founded by two students; Alexander Walls and Ryan Wilcox, both of whom are in their second year of Business Studies at UWE.
Co-founder Alex told WesternEye how the idea arose: “It began in a seminar whilst we were all discussing our futures and what we wanted to achieve. I said that I wanted to ‘die poor’, which effectively meant that I wanted to donate my life’s earnings in my Will to a good cause instead of giving it as inheritance to my children” he stated.
“Both myself and Ryan didn’t really subscribe to the capitalist philosophy of making as much money as you can for yourself. We saw money as more of a means to an end instead of an end in itself and started talking about making money as a secondary objective to doing social good.”
Much like its creators, Continuous Capital is a charity relatively different from most, focussing on four primary objectives: to improve healthcare, the environment, promote empowerment and eradicate poverty around the world, similar to those of many others perhaps, but their methodology is what makes them different.
“Firstly, we try not to rely on donations too much,” states co-founder Alex. “We do this by making investments that generate social development, as well as – but not always – a financial return. This means that the work we do can continue to be done regardless of how much people decide to donate to us, thereby making us far more independent.”
In addition to this, Continuous Capital is incredibly open in terms of its operation as Alex pointed out to WesternEye: “No other organisation participates with its entire membership by putting major decisions up for discussion and vote. We utilise an online forum so that everyone has a say in how we do business, how we raise money and which projects to invest in. We also encourage as many people as possible to manage their own events, fundraisers and even become project managers themselves to potentially receive funding from us.”
Finally, Continuous Capital’s focus on empowerment via micro-finance sets them out far above the rest: “We invest a lot of our money into a micro-finance fund which then distributes the money in the form of tiny loans to individuals – mostly women – in the developing world. This allows them to help grow their businesses and lift not only themselves, but their family and community out of poverty. The loans are used to buy, for example, a small fridge in order to keep fruit for longer, reducing the amount of waste if the individual doesn’t sell enough. We recognise that the impoverished do have the ability to help themselves, but what they lack is the means. This is something we help to give them.”
The committed duo have an ambitious, yet realistic outlook for Continuous Capital: “We see a future where we operate like a business, not a charity, employing people and investing in things that help to make the world a far better, fairer and more sustainable place. I want Continuous Capital to be at the forefront of social growth and environmental protection, whilst helping those in the most needy positions help themselves. We are very strong believers in ‘Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish, he will eat for a lifetime’, and want to spread this as much as possible.”
So how can students get involved? “We want as many people to come forward with ideas they have for businesses, social enterprises or charities and why they believe it will make a difference. If they like the sound of us, people can organise their own fundraisers like people have done in the past or even start their own social development project with the help and investment from us. People can help spread the word on social media, or even volunteer in any field, not just business related, but things like journalism are fantastic ways of helping us grow. As we are very small at the moment, every little helps. “
Alex passionately described to WesternEye that, “this is something I would, if I could, dedicate my whole life to”.
Those that could spare a day, evening or even an minute to share the charity’s page and aid the growth of a brilliant cause should visit www.facebook.com/ContinuousCapital for more information.
Continuous Capital’s forum can be found at: www.ContinuousCapital.org/forum