Secret Projects Community Benefit Society – first ever Special General Meeting.

Secret Projects Community Benefit Society - first ever Special General Meeting.

 27th Jul 2020 |  Invest |  Margaret Ring


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: invest@secretprojects.org 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!

Question 1

  • 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.

Question 2

  • 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.

Question 3

  • 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.

Question 4

  • 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. 

Question 5

  • 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!

Question 6

  • Is there a minimum amount for investment? Banke: The minimum investment amount is £50.

As always we can answer any further questions at invest@secretprojects.org

We can’t wait for the next Shareholder meeting….

 

More

We are very glad to be part of #shopethicalinstead

We are very glad to be part of #shopethicalinstead

#Shopethicalinstead campaign This powerful campaign encourages people to support, small, ethical, and sustainable businesses and vote with their . . . wallets for a better world. The 2022 Christmas campaign is focused on making it easy to buy good gifts from ethical small businesses, just like Secret Projects. We are proud to be a part of it. The impact The campaign reaches thousands, if not millions of people and provides small businesses with a wonderful platform to shout loudly about the enormous benefits of supporting this particular sector of businesses. Do watch out for our posts about this campaign over the coming weeks and enjoy shopping for your gifts this Christmastime. View our Ranges of clothing and homeware produced with love by our Makers in India here.
Continue reading >
Journey with us to Eastern India to the Heart of Secret Projects - 21st-30th November 2023

Journey with us to Eastern India to the Heart of Secret Projects - 21st-30th November 2023

Let us show you our India... Travel with us to our beloved India and experience this glorious country the Secret Projects way!  Join us in Eastern . . . India for a special journey to the heart of Secret Projects for 10 nights from 21st -30th November 2023. Book by 31st December and receive a 10% Early bird discount Important information: The beginning of our journey together Our journey together begins in Kolkata on Tuesday 21st November with a welcome dinner at 8pm local time. Please arrive in good time to join us at this special meal to celebrate the beginning of our time together.  If you would prefer to arrive in Kolkata the day before (20th November) to give yourself time to relax before the Secret Projects journey begins the following day, please let us know and we will arrange for an extra night to be added to your hotel booking. Please note: there will be an additional charge for the extra night's accommodation. On the final day of our journey together We end our journey together as we began, in Kolkata, this time with a goodbye dinner on Thursday 30th November at 8pm local time. We stay on this final night in our hotel and depart the following morning (1st December) to catch outbound flights home or, to continue your time in India. Again, if you would like to remain at the hotel for further nights, please let us know and we can make the arrangements. Please note: there will be an additional charge for the extra night's accommodation. The full itinerary and other information can be found below. We are absolutely overjoyed to warmly invite you to join us on our first post-pandemic Customer Trip.  A journey to the heart of Secret Projects in Eastern India. Our Customer Trips are very much part of the fabric of Secret Projects and we feel honoured to be able to share our story and provide our Shareholders, Customers and Friends with an opportunity to visit the beating heart of our business. Great thought and care have gone into the itinerary to ensure that our travellers experience India both on and off the beaten track in all her glory. You will be immersed in the colour and vibrancy of this wonderful country as you travel between the bustling city of Kolkata that teems with life and The Sundarbans, a World Heritage Site and one of the largest mangrove forests in the world. Travelling with Secret Projects takes you far beyond the realms of the average tourist. Of course, you will have plenty of opportunities to see the sights, savour Indian food and immerse yourself in all that India has to offer. Yet Secret Projects takes you deeper into a side of India not seen by many, as you visit our Maker Group in the Sundarbans, and witness first-hand the working relationship we have with a group of local women who stitch for us and the impactful NGO that supports the women. We absolutely can’t wait to introduce you. We will also meet up with one of our oldest friends, Molly who runs her own sewing unit for young women and was an integral part of the production of our now-famous Secret Sari Dresses. You will witness first-hand how sewing productions can drive women’s economic empowerment and see how your investment, custom and support make it possible. Your Hosts We are delighted to introduce you to Banke Ajayi, Secret Projects (UK) Finance Director, Sumathi Sumi, Director of Social Power India, our India sister company and Margaret Ring, our Communications Director of Secret Projects (UK) who will lead the trip, making sure you are well looked after. In the Sundarbans, we will also meet up with Lissy, our Quality Controller for Social Power India. Payment and booking The cost of the Customer Trip is $2,750 per person. (This is based on a group of 12 and includes all internal travel) The following is not included in the cost of the Customer Trip: International inbound and outbound flights Travel Insurance Cost of tourist visa All drinks, both soft and alcoholic during and outside mealtimes Single occupancy rooms. If you would like a single room, we can provide a quote. Payment for your trip can be made in full, or in instalments if more convenient and full details of how to pay can be found here. A booking confirmation will be sent to you via email. We will also provide you with as much useful information as we possibly can in the run-up to your Customer Trip, including our top tips for travelling in India. To book your place or to ask us questions please email: travel@secretprojects.org Just a note: If you are thinking of extending your time in India to explore other regions, we will do our best to support you with this. We may be able to make bookings on your behalf or, suggest other Travel Operators within India. What’s in store... Tuesday 21st November - day/night one: We commence our shared journey with a welcome dinner in Kolkata to provide us with a chance to get to know each other and find our ‘Indian feet.’ Wednesday 22nd November - day/night two: The day begins after breakfast followed by a 3 (or so) hour drive in a Tempo Traveller (that will be at our disposal for the entire trip) to the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans is a truly beautiful World Heritage Site and such a wonderful place to spend time. However, we can’t forget that its remoteness makes it a target for gangs of human traffickers. Women who earn an income are much less likely to fall into the hands of traffickers and that is exactly why we began our relationship with our Sundarbans Maker Group, who you will meet tomorrow, to provide women with fairly paid stitching work, empowering each one economically. Thursday 23rd November - day/night three: We travel together through breathtaking scenery to the area where our Sundarbans Maker Group is based, spending the day with the women and the team behind the NGO that also supports the group. Friday 24th November - day/night four: It’s a busy day today as we meet up again with the Sundarbans Makers, as well as one of our oldest friends, Molly who we have briefly introduced earlier. Molly runs her own sewing unit for young women in a nearby town - she is an inspiration to us. We will also fit in a visit to one of the local markets, taking in the sights and perhaps making a purchase (or two) of something to remind you of your time in this unique region of the world. Saturday 25th November - day/night five: Enjoy a day of leisure today. We have some excellent ideas for you. Perhaps get acquainted with Bengal Tigers (if it’s your lucky day!) on a Tiger Trek, visit one of the local markets for another spot of shopping, or simply relax, read and reflect on your Indian journey so far. The day is yours! Sunday 26th November - day/night six: It’s a day of competition, feedback, and insight for our Makers. We have worked with the women over the year, asking them to stitch products to showcase to you today. Your job is to choose the one/s you feel would be great for Secret Projects to produce with the Makers to sell on the international market. This is a key day for the women and will provide each one with a beneficial understanding of markets and trends. Monday 27th November - day/night seven: It’s back to Kolkata today and after freshening up at our hotel, we visit Mother House, the final resting place of Mother Theresa. A place of great peace and pilgrimage. Tuesday 28th November - day/night eight: Come with us today to Freeset, a Charity with an aim so close to our own hearts, to provide employment opportunities for women affected by human trafficking. We haven’t visited Freeset for a number of years due to the pandemic and it will be wonderful to catch up with this inspirational organisation. We know you will be as affected by their work as much we are. Wednesday 29th November - day/night nine: One can’t visit India without taking a train ride and that’s our job for today, to help you experience the joys of the Indian rail system. Tonight, your hosts take a night off, giving you all an opportunity to dine together in town at a restaurant of your choice. Thursday 30th November - day/night ten: Today is all about finding out more about traditional Indian dress, as we descend upon one of the most famous Saree markets in the city. The colours, noise and vibrancy of this market will live in your memories for many years to come. We end the day with our final meal together – a time to share our memories and highlights of the trip and swap details for keeping in touch. Friday 1st December: Make your preparations to either board your flights back home or continue your journey in this glorious land - both with huge smiles on your faces and a head bursting with new and wonderful memories. Just a note: Although we work hard to follow the itinerary closely, we do want to highlight that it may be subject to change should circumstances change. We will do our very best to notify you of any changes well ahead of time, if possible. And last but by no means least, here is what a couple of our travellers have to say about experiencing India the Secret Projects way... I could never have imagined just how wonderful the trip with Secret Projects was! Upon landing I was given such a warm welcome & immediately felt at home with the rest of the group. The days were wonderfully structured and we saw things I never thought I would experience. Meeting the women in the units was incredibly emotional on so many levels and ultimately so inspiring to see what Secret Projects has achieved with them. I really hope I get the opportunity to go back again someday & I will forever treasure the memories of this trip...❤️ Whitney, Traveller on the Secret Projects 2019 East India Customer Trip We thank you warmly and wholeheartedly for travelling with us to India and ask that you keep in touch with us. We absolutely love seeing our travellers' photographs and reminiscing with you from time to time about our time together in our beloved India. Photo montage: images from our Customer Trip to Kolkata and The Sundarbans 2019  
Continue reading >
Our Customer Trips are back! Journey with us to Eastern India November 21st -30th 2023

Our Customer Trips are back! Journey with us to Eastern India November 21st -30th 2023

Let us show you our India... Travel with us to our beloved India and experience this glorious country the Secret Projects way!  Join us in Eastern . . . India for a special journey to the heart of Secret Projects for 10 nights from 21st -30th November 2023. Important information: The beginning of our journey together Our journey together begins in Kolkata on Tuesday 21st November with a welcome dinner at 8pm local time. Please arrive in good time to join us at this special meal to celebrate the beginning of our time together.  If you would prefer to arrive in Kolkata the day before (20th November) to give yourself time to relax before the Secret Projects journey begins the following day, please let us know and we will arrange for an extra night to be added to your hotel booking. Please note: there will be an additional charge for the extra night's accommodation. On the final day of our journey together We end our journey together as we began, in Kolkata, this time with a goodbye dinner on Thursday 30th November at 8pm local time. We stay on this final night in our hotel and depart the following morning (1st December) to catch outbound flights home or, to continue your time in India. Again, if you would like to remain at the hotel for further nights, please let us know and we can make the arrangements. Please note: there will be an additional charge for the extra night's accommodation. The full itinerary and other information can be found below. A journey to the heart of Secret Projects. Join us in Eastern India for a spectacular journey. Departing in November 2023 for 10 nights We are absolutely overjoyed to warmly invite you to join us on our first post-pandemic Customer Trip – A journey to the heart of Secret Projects. Our Customer Trips are very much part of the fabric of Secret Projects and we feel honoured to be able to share our story and provide our Shareholders, Customers and Friends with an opportunity to visit the beating heart of our business. Great thought and care have gone into the itinerary to ensure that our travellers experience India both on and off the beaten track in all her glory. You will be immersed in the colour and vibrancy of this wonderful country as you travel between the bustling city of Kolkata that teems with life and The Sundarbans, a World Heritage Site and one of the largest mangrove forests in the world. Travelling with Secret Projects takes you far beyond the realms of the average tourist. Of course, you will have plenty of opportunities to see the sights, savour Indian food and immerse yourself in all that India has to offer. Yet Secret Projects takes you deeper into a side of India not seen by many, as you visit our Maker Group in the Sundarbans, and witness first-hand the working relationship we have with a group of local women who stitch for us and the impactful NGO that supports the women. We absolutely can’t wait to introduce you. We will also meet up with one of our oldest friends, Molly who runs her own sewing unit for young women and was an integral part of the production of our now-famous Secret Sari Dresses. You will witness first-hand how sewing productions can drive women’s economic empowerment and see how your investment, custom and support make it possible. Your Hosts We are delighted to introduce you to Banke Ajayi, Secret Projects (UK) Finance Director, Sumathi Sumi, Director of Social Power India, our India sister company and Margaret Ring, our Communications Director of Secret Projects (UK) who will lead the trip, making sure you are well looked after. In the Sundarbans, we will also meet up with Lissy, our Quality Controller for Social Power India. Payment and booking The cost of the Customer Trip is $2,750 per person. (This is based on a group of 12 and includes all internal travel) The following is not included in the cost of the Customer Trip: International inbound and outbound flights Travel Insurance Cost of tourist visa All drinks, both soft and alcoholic during and outside mealtimes Single occupancy rooms. If you would like a single room, we can provide a quote. Payment for your trip can be made in full, or in instalments if more convenient and details of how to pay can be found here. A booking confirmation will be sent to you via email. We will also provide you with as much useful information as we possibly can in the run-up to your Customer Trip, including our top tips for travelling in India. To book your place or to ask us questions please email: travel@secretprojects.org Just a note: If you are thinking of extending your time in India to explore other regions, we will do our best to support you with this. We may be able to make bookings on your behalf or, suggest other Travel Operators within India. What’s in store... Tuesday 21st November - day/night one: We commence our shared journey with a welcome dinner in Kolkata to give us chance to get to know each other and find our ‘Indian feet.’ Wednesday 22nd November - day/night two: The day begins after breakfast followed by a 3 (or so) hours drive in a Tempo Traveller (that will be at our disposal for the entire trip) to the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans is a truly beautiful World Heritage Site and such a wonderful place to spend time. However, we can’t forget that its remoteness makes it a target for gangs of human traffickers. Women who earn an income are much less likely to fall into the hands of traffickers and that is exactly why we began our relationship with our Sundarbans Maker Group, who you will meet tomorrow, to provide women with fairly paid stitching work, empowering each one economically. Thursday 23rd November - day/night three: We travel together through breathtaking scenery to the area where our Sundarbans Maker Group is based, spending the day with the women and the team behind the NGO that also supports the group. Friday 24th November - day/night four: It’s a busy day today as we meet up again with the Sundarbans Makers, as well as one of our oldest friends, Molly who we have briefly introduced earlier. Molly runs her own sewing unit for young women in a nearby town - she is an inspiration to us. We will also fit in a visit to one of the local markets, taking in the sights and perhaps making a purchase (or two) of something to remind you of your time in this unique region of the worl Saturday 25th November - day/night five: Enjoy a day of leisure today. We have some excellent ideas for you. Perhaps get acquainted with Bengal Tigers (if it’s your lucky day!) on a Tiger Trek, visit one of the local markets for another spot of shopping, or simply relax, read and reflect on your Indian journey so far. The day is yours! Sunday 26th November - day/night six: It’s a day of competition, feedback, and insight for our Makers. We have worked with the women over the year, asking them to stitch products to showcase to you today. Your job is to choose the one/s you feel would be great for Secret Projects to produce with the Makers to sell on the international market. This is a key day for the women and will provide each one with a beneficial understanding of markets and trends. Monday 27th November - day/night seven: It’s back to Kolkata today and after freshening up at our hotel, we visit Mother House, the final resting place of Mother Theresa. A place of great peace and pilgrimage. Tuesday 28th November - day/night eight: Come with us today to Freeset, a Charity with an aim so close to our own hearts, to provide employment opportunities for women affected by human trafficking. We haven’t visited Freeset for a number of years due to the pandemic and it will be wonderful to catch up with this inspirational organisation. We know you will be as affected by their work as much we are. Wednesday 29th November - day/night nine: One can’t visit India without taking a train ride and that’s our job for today, to help you experience the joys of the Indian rail system. Tonight, your hosts take a night off, giving you all an opportunity to dine together in town at a restaurant of your choice. Thursday 30th November - day/night ten: Today is all about finding out more about traditional Indian dress, as we descend upon one of the most famous Saree markets in the city. The colours, noise and vibrancy of this market will live in your memories for many years to come. We end the day with our final meal together – a time to share our memories and highlights of the trip and swap details for keeping in touch. Friday 1st December: Make your preparations to either board your flights back home or continue your journey in this glorious land - both with huge smiles on your faces and a head bursting with new and wonderful memories. Just a note: Although we work hard to follow the itinerary closely, we do want to highlight that it may be subject to change should circumstances change. We will do our very best to notify you of any changes well ahead of time, if possible. And last but by no means least, here is what a couple of our travellers have to say about experiencing India the Secret Projects way... I could never have imagined just how wonderful the trip with Secret Projects was! Upon landing I was given such a warm welcome & immediately felt at home with the rest of the group. The days were wonderfully structured and we saw things I never thought I would experience. Meeting the women in the units was incredibly emotional on so many levels and ultimately so inspiring to see what Secret Projects has achieved with them. I really hope I get the opportunity to go back again someday & I will forever treasure the memories of this trip...❤️ Whitney, Traveller on the Secret Projects 2019 East India Customer Trip We thank you warmly and wholeheartedly for travelling with us to India and ask that you keep in touch with us. We absolutely love seeing our travellers' photographs and reminiscing with you from time to time about our time together in our beloved India.   Photo montage: a selection of images from Secret Projects Customer Trip to Kolkata and The Sundarbans 2019.
Continue reading >