The first meeting of Shareholders of Secret Projects Community Benefit Society took place on Friday 24th July 2020 via Zoom, chaired by Secret Projects Global CEO, Fritha Mason. Presentations were given by Fritha, Secret Projects Company Secretary and Finance and Operations Director, Banke Ajayi, Country Director for Secret Projects subsidiary company, Social Power India, Nirmala Rani, Communications Manager, Margaret Ring and our Indian Subsidiary Compliance and Tax Consultant, Sneha Shah.
We admit to practising many times beforehand, supporting each other and giving feedback, which meant that we were all feeling as relaxed as we could be as the meeting commenced and actually really enjoyed the entire process! We would like to say an enormous and heart-felt thank you to all our Shareholders who attended and to those who sent their apologies. A recording was taken of the meeting that will be sent to all Shareholders.
One of the key messages of the meeting was to advise Shareholders that their Shareholder Letter (a confirmation of shares purchased) and EIS certificates have been emailed to all and to ask anyone who has not received theirs to get in touch with us at: email@example.com and we will arrange for it to be re-sent and confirm email addresses etc.
We had some wonderful feedback from the Shareholders who attended;
Thanks for that meeting - really good!
I am proud to be a part of your organisation!!!
As always, when something happens for the first time, it's often a great learning curve and indeed, we did learn a number of things that we would like to share here...
- We aren’t great at time zones!
- We are going to put a new system in place, asking Shareholders to confirm receipt of our emails, to determine if any aren't getting through.
- The majority of our investment communications are sent via Mailchimp, but we will also send emails to all Shareholders alongside this again, asking for confirmation of receipt.
- Going forward, we will also post on our social media channels when official Shareholder messages have been sent, asking Shareholders to check their emails, including junk folders.
- From now on, we will ask Shareholders to confirm whether they will be attending meetings or not. It was pretty nail biting wondering how many would be attending, as we need a minimum core of 10% of Shareholders - luckily, we did achieve this (and a little more!)
A full wrap up of the meeting was sent out on Monday following the meeting, including a wish list of ways our Shareholders can help our business thrive… It's a lovely list, so we have repeated it here.
We had a number of really interesting questions to answer - we weren't surprised to receive these, as our Shareholders are such a committed bunch of people!
- Can Secret Projects introduce a system for Shareholders to forgo interest to further support you? Banke: A resounding yes! We are putting this system in place.
- Can the 'Business Dec' (a presentation we are currently working on to support our approaches to Social Responsibility Departments of big businesses), Fritha spoke about during the meeting be shared, as Shareholders may have ideas and contacts? Fritha: Yes, we would absolutely love to hear our Shareholders ideas and will share the presentation separately. If anyone has any contacts they feel may be interested in hearing from us, please do let us know.
- How long do we envisage the postal issues affecting India for? Fritha and Nirmala: Our Fulfilment Officer in India, Rozario, recently asked staff at the Post Office when they envisaged the post being back on track and was told August 1st - but we have had similar answers for the last couple of months! We are going to add 'Speed Post' to our website that will mean we will be able to post to the UK and the US, but at a premium price, should our customers wish to buy Secret Products and pay this additional cost in support. We can post to a few other countries in South Asia, for example South Korea and Thailand, but unfortunately we are still not able to post to the majority of countries. We are constantly in touch with the Post Office to keep abreast of the latest situation.
- When do we hope to begin expanding our network of Maker Groups again? Fritha and Nirmala: We set up a WhatsApp group for our Makers right at the onset of lockdown and are hearing from some of them, asking us when we are going to be able to begin production once more. We are also in the process of getting in touch with Makers that we haven't heard from during lockdown to establish contact. Many women travelled to be with their families in other parts of India, or due to lack of income, do not have any 'phone credit, but we are determined to get in touch and will keep persisting. Throughout lockdown we have worked hard to really strengthen our bases, so we can reach our Makers and further groups of women living remotely under any circumstances. We believe that our strong partnerships with Indian NGO's and our newly created Virtual Training for Empowerment Programme will help us achieve this and we are waiting for lockdown to end to cement our plans and begin making headway with our new systems.
- Can Secret Projects post goods to the Middle East, as there is a large community living there who have strong ties to India? Fritha: Yes! Anything is possible and we will be in touch to discuss this in more detail to get information and ask for advice and guidance about how to achieve this.Thank you for the suggestion!
- Is there a minimum amount for investment? Banke: The minimum investment amount is £50.
As always we can answer any further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
We can’t wait for the next Shareholder meeting….