A New Way to find your favourite Wine and Tapas

Eligant is wine and tapas discovery business that introducing customers to exclusive wines and tapas through its online shop and club at http://www.eligant.club. The business was started by Gisely Dias as she wanted to share her passion for delicious wine, tapas and the Mediterranean with the world. The business selects, sources and handpicks exclusive Mediterranean wines and Spanish artisan tapas from amazing people and local businesses.

Currently, there products include wines from Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, which are only available in the UK through Eligant. They also sell artisan tapas such as Iberian ham, manchego cheese and much more.

Eligant also hosts wine tasting sessions (currently held online) and sell celebration packs, which are the perfect gift and worry free box for those speecial moments with friends and family.

I caught up with Gisely to talk about this new venture

https://eligant.club/shop/wines/

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What makes Eligant different from other wine subscriptions?

Transparency. With Eligant you can read more than just a label. Our customers have the opportunity
to learn all about the product before committing to buy as we have collected and curated the
relevant information about our products: flavours & aromas, wine profile, food pairing suggestions
and handling, leaving no doubts about what to expect. You can imagine how a wine will taste just by
browsing on our website.

Discovery. Those who subscribe to the club will receive a handpicked selection of wines and tapas every month. Customers enjoy variety and expand their horizon and knowledge of original and local Mediterranean products.

Exclusivity. Most of the wines and tapas in our online club and shop can only be bought through us. Eligant club connects the British people with local Mediterranean producers awaking memories and dreams of a perfect holiday. We have personally visited the wineries and tasted hundreds of wines and have partnered with an incredible wine expert with 15+ years’ experience to select the best products.

Knowledge. On our website, you can learn about the main grapes in the Mediterranean, the regions and how to pair wine with food. Soon we will be sharing yummy recipes that go along perfectly with our wines.

https://eligant.club/shop/wines/

I understand you launched the business a few months ago, during the pandemic. How was that?

We launched Eligant shop 3 weeks ago, and plan to launch Eligant club in May 2021.

I believe when life gives you grapes, make wine J. We all have the power to react positively to adversity. I am passionate about Spain and used to go there on holiday twice a year. During lockdown we all felt stuck, and I’ve decided to do something to bring that Mediterranean feeling and experience to the UK.

I wanted to create something special by offering high quality products made with passion by local and in the UK unknown producers. British people ought to have great Mediterranean products in the comfort of their home with or without travel restrictions.

What are you enjoying the most in your entrepreneurial journey?

The passion that I have for Eligant gives me the energy to work incredible hard. The power to move forward and the inspiration to do something special only happens when you genuinely believe in what you are doing. Wine is my fuel.

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When I embrace a challenge, I always give my best. Prior to launching Eligant, I carried out some market research and received positive feedback on the products, online shop. The same has occurred since Eligant.club went live and customers started buying wine and tapas. Receiving such positive feedback from customers gives me a boost of motivation. Their excitement and joy when they open an Eligant box and taste the products fuels my passion every time.

As a Financial Controller I was previously only focused on my professional niche. As an entrepreneur I became curious about everything; now I want to learn more and more about the entrepreneurial world every single day and connect with people to understand their journey.  I really enjoy this curiosity and ability to solve problems and quickly move forward. Every day is a unique day.

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How do you source the wine and tapas sold on your website?

This is actually the really fun part of my job!

We visited the producers in Spain back in July 2020 and learned about their story, their products, their methods, and traditions. We have tasted over 120 of wines and selected a range from sparkling to fortified wines. Currently we offer 50+ wines on our website.

We have also partnered with two exclusive wine importers and carefully selected a range of Mediterranean wines. Like us they have visited the wineries and picked the best selection. However, the main focus lies on wines and tapas that can only be sourced through Eligant.club.

What challenges have you faced so far and how have you dealt with them?

As an entrepreneur every day brings a new challenge. There is always something to figure out or to fix.

But my biggest challenge at the moment is brand awareness. We launched 3 weeks ago and so far brand awareness has been through word of mouth, from people who have enjoyed our products and recommended us to their friends and family. This has been great so far but there is still more to be done.

Now a suitable marketing strategy and realisation is crucial: How to spread the word without spending a fortune is a challenge for a self-funded start-up. I now need to find a way to communicate my passion and make people curious to try and fail in love with the experience as much as I have.

Enjoy a Mediterranean experience in the comfort of your home when you purchase wines and tapas from https://eligant.club/shop/wines/ ! Order now and get 15% discount on all products using the code WELCOME. Customers also get free delivery for orders over £60!

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Learn how to invest in stocks with Stock Pickers Academy

Meet Debodun, founder of Stock Pickers Academy, a non-advisory community of beginners and experienced investors
coming together as one to leverage each other to create wealth. At SPA, beginners have information about their respective fields and life experiences, whilst experienced investors have the technical expertise to turn those trends into investing ideas. Debodun manages other people’s ideas by applying safe entry and reasonable exit price points in a non-advisory manner. He is also transparent with every single transaction that he makes. The community gets to see the ups and downs of his investments and track record.

At SPA Debodun provides group courses, where he teaches specific proven strategies, mentoring – for ongoing learning and support, an alerts service and provides a portfolio review service. Joining Stock Pickers Academy provides a good entry point for stock trading beginners and those interested in learning about the stock market.

Here is how the conversation went, when I caught up with him.

What were you doing before you started the business?

Up until 2018 SPA has been running concurrently whilst I was working as a way to give back knowledge. It only became a business during lockdown. In addition to this, I run UrbanFounders to connect startups with Investors, and City Jobs Coaching where I work with Diversity recruitment agencies and universities to coach ethnic minorities both graduate and experienced hires into roles around the city and Investment Banking.

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How and when did you get into trading?

I first started trading at university but it was virtually and mainly forex trading. I was doing very well and winning so many competitions. However, it wasn’t real money and after securing highly competitive summer internships on trading floors of Santander and Barclays Investment Bank I eventually landed a full time job at Goldman Sachs.

Which charater from ‘The City’ reminds you of yourself when you used to work in the city?

I would say Harper but only her character inside the office not the socials – The serious side.

After a decade of working as a trader, why did you give it up?

My last role was at a Quantitative Hedge Fund in the Channel Islands – I was there for 3 years and eventually got bored of the Island and decided to relocate back to London. It was a bit of a gamble but I thought I’d be ok and land something here.

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What were some of the challenges that you faced when you first started Stock Pickers Academy?

The stock market is always moving so time management and prioritising questions for existing clients on their positions, managing money and teaching new clients is always a challenge. It is impossible to just turn my eye away from the markets for long periods of time. Lockdown has helped me to focus but some aspects of what I do are not scalable. First movers got a big advantage as my model switches from 1-2-1 service to groups and online

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How do you decide which stocks you buy?

This sounds like a simple question but a lot of thought goes into my answer – I have combined my own ideas with those from the diverse community I have created. I like to keep my methods simple and that is what makes it easier to pass on. I find an industry I believe in and prioritise stocks in that. Then I diversify by lots of different factors, volatility, beta, market value and so much more which I teach on my course. Then I have a strategy on how I execute on my transactions. My portfolio returned 129% last year and I have published that on Instagram. This is despite holding 35% as cash.

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What’s the most you’ve ever lost on a position and what went wrong?

Realised loss of £4000 – company went into administration. Canadian Lithium mining company which was meant to be a play in Electric Vehicle batteries raw materials. They still exist under a different trading name so I feel share holders were cheated but hey. That was 15% of my portfolio but still managed to return 129% in the same year so no complaints.

What are your thoughts on the future of banking?

We are moving more into a Big Data/Ai/Robots world as part of this technological revolution. More investment is going into tech and automation. Less risk is being taken and Regulatory reform is the order of the day. Block chain is also here to stay and getting more institutional attention. On the recruitment front diversity is getting more attention and hopefully that lasts.

What advice would you give to a recent graduate who wants to become a trader?

Start putting in the work and study from 1st year of uni. It is so competitive that you need to be on top of the knowledge and getting experience early. Work hard at uni too as a good degree is important for the entry criteria.  From a technical perspective commercial awareness is very key. Download finimize and follow @StockPickersAcademy on Instagram to get 34% off the annual subscription. Invest in yourself as having good commercial awareness and genuine interest is so important. Learn about the products and there is a good book called All you need to know about the City.

What are your plans for Stock Pickers Academy this year?

I just want to see people winning financially. The plans themselves are still a bit go with the flow – I didn’t expect the demand I’m currently facing so finding solutions on the fly has been interesting and fun. I would like to create SPA kids/teens at some point as well as put a bit more work on the podcast and the other non-investing fronts. I want to get some of the black celebs involved and really diversify my client base. Long story short I want to scale and carry others along the journey with me.

If you are interested in investing in stocks, learning how to trade or simply looking for a community you can discuss trade ideas with, then visit Stock Pickers Academ here

Interview with Mark Simpson

Black History Studies

Black History Studies is a family run social enterprise that was set up to teach black history from an African perspective. Due to a lack of outlets that offered a range of learning opportunities, husband and wife team Mark and Charmaine Simpson (pictured above) decided to set the business up to educate people and fill the gaps on topics that are not taught at school.

Today Black History Studies offers a range of courses (beginner, advanced and short courses), they organise and deliver events such as, museum tours, their flagship event ‘The Black Market and Film Festival’ and other independent film screenings, which included the UK premiers of Tariq Nasheed’s Hidden colours series. Under sister company Black History Study Tours, Mark and Charmaine organise trips across Europe and Africa, where they highlight the black experience. The trips also give students the opportunity to see and immerse themselves in the environments where some of that history originates. For example, some of the trips have included Andalusia in Spain, Moorish Portugal, Black Netherlands, Black Paris and Egypt.

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Mark Simpson is multi-tasking when my zoom call gets through to him. He asks me to excuse him for a few minutes while he sets up another computer for his daughter to do her school work. This juggling act has become the norm for most parents, something that would have never been thought of until the global pandemic forced us all to spend more time at home. I say to him that his daughter can join us in the interview, to which he replies “No, because she’ll take over”.

Mark wears a red short-sleeved T-shirt with the ‘Black History Studies’ logo printed on the left pocket. He looks like a normal dad. Relaxed with a lock-sock on his head to cover his dreadlocks. There is a lot of African art and sculptures hanging on the wall behind him. It’s clear to me that this is a family that is really involved in the study and understanding of Black History and arts.

“I am ready to start when you are sista” says Mark, once all audio issues are fixed and daughter is happily getting on with her work in the background.

Thanks so much for taking the time to have this interview, especially during home schooling hours.

Mark Simpson: That’s fine sista. My daughter will be fine now that she is busy getting on with her own work.

When did you start Black History Studies and what was your motivation to start it?

We started BHS in 2006 because we felt there was a lack of readily available information on the subject matter. Therefore, we felt that rather than complain, we’d set something up ourselves and be the change that we wanted to see.

“We’d set something up ourselves and be the change that we wanted to see”

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I love that mentality and totally agree with it. Which is why I am doing this interview with you today. So, what were you doing before starting Black History Studies?

I was a civil servant for 20 years and worked in various government departments before being made redundant. When that happened, me and my wife deliberated whether to invest the redundancy pay in bricks and mortar or to pursue our passion of educating people. We chose the latter 😊

Interesting, so had you or your wife worked in education or done some work outside of your day job that prepared you for this business?

We actually used to organise small events, but had also attended a number of educational events. To be honest my wife and I just felt that people deserved better. The people needed a service that was professionally set up. For example, there were times when we’d attend an event but when we got to the venue, there was no one or the venue had not been set up yet or they’d be last minute venue changes.

We got frustrated by the disorganised manner in which these events were being delivered. We felt that a professional set up would encourage more people to attend these courses, which would help to instil confidence in the service they were getting.

Where can people find your courses, tours and books?

Everything can be found on our website. All of our courses are now online although I do miss running our face to face classes. We sell our products through our online shop.  

If people like what we do and what to support us, they can donate via the website as well.

I know people are not interested in travelling at this time, but we do organise tours and details for those can also be found on the website. All tours have been pushed back until 2021 given the situation surrounding Covid-19.

What are your thoughts about black history especially the type that you cover on your courses being included on the school curriculum?

Everything that we teach can be taught on the current school curriculum. It comes down to what the schools want to teach. For example, if schools taught about Egyptian history, they would likely only cover ‘New Kingdom (mid – 17th Century BC)’ and not ‘Old Kingdom (5717 – 4430 BC)’ and ‘Middle Kingdom (3440 – 1674)’.

It is our opinion that the reason for this is that the New Kingdom part of this history is a lot more cosmopolitan and teachers can point to themselves in history and take some of that legacy for themselves.

“The scope is there to teach all these things in the current school curriculum, its what the schools choose to teach”

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The way we look at it at BHS is that rather than petition or lobby and make noise about teaching these things in our schools, there is nothing stopping us from teaching it ourselves. It’s a better use of our time and efforts.

So how long did it take you to build the customer base to make it a viable business for both you and your wife?

To be honest we are still building as there is always room for improvement. It took us 2 years to get established. Luckily for us, we had support from Lorna Campbell and Sonia Scully from PCS – Public & Commercial Services Union. The Public & Commercial Services Union allowed us to use their office space as part of their contribution to Black History Studies. This helped us to establish ourselves because we had a place where people could find us.

Do you have a certain age group that you target for your courses or are they age agnostic?

We focus on adult education therefore our core customers, on average are adults aged 22 – 45. We do deliver programs for children as well but this is not as frequent. Interestingly, we have also found that our classes are usually made up of 80% women. This seems to be the trend in everything we do. 

“Our classes are usually made up of 80% women”

Tell us about some of the challenges you faced while running your business

Surprisingly, one of the challenges we found was generating interest for the classes from the Black community. I think this is potentially due to false stigmatization of Black businesses in the past.

Everyone is welcome to our events and we do not target a specific demographic because we believe that everyone should know this information. However, it was difficult at first to get support and trust from the Black community. For example, people would ask if our courses were approved and accredited by authorities before signing up.

What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?

The only advice I would give anyone wanting to set up their own business is to:

  1. Make sure that you research the market
  2. Do it for the right reason
  3. Put 100% into what you are doing, otherwise it will fail

Thanks so much for your time Mark. If you have enjoyed this story, share it with everyone and subscribe to our weekly newsletter!