Through the convergence of social media, gaming, and entertainment in the Metaverse, the combined company will empower the creator economy with a suite of tools to broaden commerce between creators and fans.
Social mediae-commerce platform Display Social, better known as the “social that pays,” today announced it has successfully completed the acquisition of both Thunder Studios and Infinite Reality. The combined entity will infuse the creator economy with an unprecedented suite of creative tools covering social, gaming, virtual and remote production, NFT minting, and metaverse creation. The consolidating companies are not disclosing details of the transaction.
With their robust combined assets, the combined company is set to offer a unique combination of metaverse creation tools, an integrated social platform for creators, and a 150,000 square foot Los Angeles-based facility featuring virtual production capabilities, an esports arena, dedicated XR stage, and motion capture and volumetric stages. The immediate focus will be to develop web-based, open metaverse tools for creators to bring Hollywood-quality production value to content broadcast in and from the metaverse.
Display Co-Founder and CEO John Acunto will continue as CEO of the combined companies, and Thunder Studios CEO Rodric David will serve as President. The broader Infinite Reality leadership team is set to include Elliott Jobe as Chief Innovation Officer, O.D. Welch as Chief Operating Officer and Helix Wolfson as Head of Production, who will join the Display Social executive team, Sean Cross as Co-Founder and President, Global BusinessDevelopment and Revenue, Scot Weisberg as Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer, Eric Cohen as Executive Vice President, Amy Savo as Chief Technology Officer, Chris Emme as Chief Revenue Officer.
“This is one of the biggest metaverse mergers to date, bringing together social media that pays the creative community, the most amazing team of metaverse builders from Infinite Reality, and the top independent production studio in California,” says John Acunto, Co-Founder and CEO of Display. “This business combination will create a disruption not seen in decades, and we intend to quickly become a market leader in all things social and metaverse. The announcements made by industry leaders in this space about the future of social and the metaverse always fail to mention how they intend to pay the creators and communities that will build the future of the metaverse. The creative community is built into the fabric of our companies and its leadership.”
Co-Founder of Infinite Reality Elliott Jobe says, “We’re thrilled to be coming together at such a pivotal moment in time – where creators can finally be at the helm of their own economic destiny. Impossible to imagine the kinds of creativity, experiences, and connections creators will unlock using this technology. Perhaps within the prospect of an open metaverse, we discover we are not alone after all.”
Rodric David, CEO of Thunder Studios says, “John, Elliott, and I share a common belief that the metaverse should be open for all creators to collaborate on unique content opportunities that deliver immersive, interactive, and engaging fan experiences. The metaverse will propel the future of the Creator Economy, and we will empower creators with a broad suite of metaverse tools to support their success. We strive to end the exploitation of creators by large technology platforms by partnering with creators, providing them resources to produce their craft, and including them in the broad range of income opportunities the metaverse will generate.”
Display Social is a venture-backed, social commerce media platform that takes the networked social experience to the next level with one simple commitment: Display believes creators should be financially rewarded for the quality content they produce. With Display’s commerce feature, creators can tag items in their post, allowing users to purchase at the point of discovery, while the creator gets paid for inspiring that transaction. When advertisers pay Display, creators earn a 50% payout on ad revenue generated from their content, and non-profit users receive a 100% payout rate on Support ads. Every day, Display members earn real money based on ad revenue and affiliate commissions. With Display, your posts promise not only purpose … but also profit.
Thunder is a fully integrated entertainment services company, led by Founder and CEO Rodric David, focused on gaming and esports, music, user-generated live content, virtual production, and the metaverse. The company’s motto is “We Empower Creators.” Thunder operates from its 150,000 square foot production studio in Los Angeles and provides integrated production and broadcast services to the entertainment industry. Thunder is the lead investor in Infinite Reality and has been collaboratively developing metaverse technologies and virtual production tools to empower user-generated live content broadcast into and from the metaverse.
Infinite Reality (iR) is the gateway to the metaverse and creator economy where creators and consumers engage live with digital content through interactive first-person social experiences. Founded by entertainment technology pioneer Elliott Jobe and event and content creator Helix Wolfson, Infinite Reality’s mission is to support the creators, artists, innovators, and companies who will help build the metaverse with the tools they need to do so and empower anyone with a phone or computer to create their own unique piece of the metaverse.
Born in South Korea during the most challenging times, while it was still recuperating from the traumatic history of colonisation, Jaewon studied his initial years there. He started his career in investment/finance in tech. Progressing gradually, he got involved in projects focusing on smart cities. Sharing his insightful experiences with the listeners, he emphasises holistic wellbeing incorporates societal wellbeing and planetary wellbeing, apart from the individualistic pursuit of happiness.
Jaewon feels that it is important that we, as citizens of a community take active participation in its wholistic wellbeing. “We usually call it the ‘Transparent Governance System’. Because most of the cities develop by very small group of entities. The Smart Cities is more open to its citizens. I mean, citizens’ involvement in these kinds of activities are more important in the Smart City initiatives”, he emphasises.
Particularly talking about wholistic wellbeing of a Smart City, Singh agrees with Jaewon:
“Smart cities should incorporate into their whole framework, how does the community in the Put the humans at the centre of a Smart City. It is about humanity and humans. It is about enabling something for humanity in a positive way. It’s almost like wellbeing should be a core value of Smart Cities”.
The ‘Living with Sunny’ YouTube podcast series is co-hosted by Sunny (Gurpreet) Singh and Thomas Power. As seekers of wellbeing, the two interview a range of figures from the worlds of business, medicine, academia, science, technology, and publishing, to explore individual wellbeing journeys and map out society’s progress towards a better, more harmonious world, across various industries.
Sunny strongly believes in the Wholistic Wellbeing concept. That is what this podcast really is about. Wholistic Wellbeing makes you feel better; it is about becoming a better person, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
As a seeker, Sunny has long studied how the use of holistic health can help everyone achieve a feeling of wholeness necessary to their overall wellbeing. He calls this concept Wholistic Wellbeing, which consists of 7 pillars: Emotional Wellbeing, Physical Wellbeing, Social Wellbeing, Financial Wellbeing, Professional Wellbeing, Community Wellbeing, and Planetary Wellbeing.
You can find ‘Living With Sunny’ via YouTube, but also via LinkedIn, Apple, Google Podcast, Spotify, and over 20 podcast directories. Tune into the Living with Sunny podcast on YouTube and Podcast directories. New episodes every Tuesday.
As seekers of wellbeing, Sunny and Thomas will interview a range of figures from the worlds of business, medicine, academia, science, technology, and publishing, to explore individual wellbeing journeys and map out society’s progress towards a better, more harmonious world, across various industries.
“Why this podcast, and why now? Because the pandemic has driven wholistic health and wellbeing to the forefront of both science and business.” Sunny (Gurpreet) Singh.
The inaugural episode will see Sunny and Thomas interview the bright and brilliant Vernon Sankey, a serial executive, board director, and the author of two books: The Stairway to Happiness and The Way: Finding Peace in Turbulent Times. Sankey has made a name for himself not just as an exceptional executive, but also as a talented writer whose emotional intuition and sensitivity set him apart from his peers.
Himself a champion of Wholistic Wellbeing, Sankey dives into his past and shares nuggets of wisdom from his life in the corporate world, where he has become a pioneer of workplace wellbeing. But the conversation also goes beyond the workplace, venturing into Planetary Wellbeing, the importance of good teachers, and the need to live in the moment.
With their joint corporate expertise, Sunny and Thomas are particularly interested in addressing the issue of corporate wellbeing and manifesting the institutionalisation of Wholistic Wellbeing in the workplace. Their podcast will explore how businesses might adopt a new, preventative approach to wellbeing and replace current corporate healthcare packages with more wholistic alternatives that cover physical as well as financial, professional, social, planetary, community and emotional wellbeing, contiguous with the vision of Wholistic Wellbeing pioneered by Sunny. Combining business expertise with medical progressivism to usher forth a new era in corporate wellbeing, Sunny and Thomas hope to enact momentous change for the better.
Living With Sunny will be distributed via YouTube, but also via LinkedIn, Apple, Google Podcast, Spotify, and over 20 podcast directories. Collectively, this represents an outreach of over 10 million people a month.
Sunny (Gurpreet) Singh is the founder of RoundGlass and Edifecs, and the visionary behind the Wholistic Wellbeing concept: the practice of using wholistic health in order to feel whole and at one with ourselves.
A serial entrepreneur and paragon of corporate wellbeing, Sunny has dedicated his life to developing and sharing a sustainable and accessible holistic healthcare model. The culmination of years of work in this field, RoundGlass is Sunny’s magnum opus: a company through which he offers cutting-edge solutions, content, an app, and other technologies to facilitate people’s journeys towards Wholistic Wellbeing.
Sunny’s altruism also shines through his philanthropy, most notably through the RoundGlass Foundation in India. Among other impressive projects, the Foundation has been supporting over 700 villages in India and other exceptional work in wellbeing, education, sustainability, and sports. Offshoots like RoundGlass Sustain and RoundGlass Sports have contributed tremendous progress in their respective areas.
Business advisor and tech trailblazer, Thomas Power is an entrepreneur and serial board member, with expertise spanning multiple industries. He has worked for the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft, and now sits on the board for The Business Café, Social Power Limited, Digital Entrepreneur, and, most significantly, 9 Spokes, the software company responsible for the 9 Spokes business management app allowing companies to aggregate meaningful data across their business, apps and banks. In this capacity, Power has harnessed his technical acumen to deliver insights to small businesses so they may improve their efficiency, and offer them access to vital industry information, normally only available to bigger businesses with greater budgets. Supporting corporations from start-ups to household names, Thomas’ input is visionary and scalable to any size, helping businesses grow and thrive.
Pursuing his passion to help others on their journey to corporate success, Power founded Business is Personal, a mentoring service for businesses and professionals, in 2019. He runs the service with his wife Penny, and they offer seasoned advice on Mental Wellbeing for employees as well as bespoke services to enhance the health and vitality of businesses.
With over 1,000 speeches delivered in more than 56 countries, including a TEDx talk on ‘The Future of Social Networks’, Thomas’ three decades at the forefront of tech have earned him enviable status as a speaker. Much of Power’s present time is dedicated to travelling the world, educating and advising corporate clients, and hosting industry conferences.
Inspiring sprint runner and MBE Jonnie Peacock is sprinting into action to applaud the nation’s Apprentices and Trainees, and their hard work throughout 2021. With a desire to see individuals succeed especially those who are considered disadvantaged, Jonnie has joined forces with one of the UK’s top recruitment and training solutions providers, Qube Learning, to celebrate individuals actively changing their lives.
As a child, living with his parents and sister just outside of Cambridgeshire, Jonnie was full of energy and curiosity, and had dreamt of being a footballer but he faced an obstacle that would change the course of his life forever. In 1985, at the young age of five years old Jonnie contracted meningitis which saw him lose a leg, an unforgettable experience for him and his family, but early on he was determined his future would not be defined by the emotional event.
At school Jonnie threw himself into everything, playing all sports and not holding back, it was only at secondary school that other children noticed he was different. Wanting to be a mechanic, Jonnie loved cars and still does, he says ‘It’s not always about the traditional exams and accreditations that will get you where you want to go. Just enjoy what makes you get out of bed in the morning, keep positive and don’t let anything hold you back’. Jonnie’s mum and dad were big influences on him and embedded determination into him early.
In the hospital that fitted his prosthetic leg Jonnie was informed about disability sport and was directed to a Paralympic sports talent day, and it is there that Jonnie found solace and a deep-rooted drive that took over him. After encountering life changing challenges, he was inspired to prove that no one should be discriminated against for a disability and in 2012 Jonnie stood proud as he was adorned with a gold medal, crowned a Paralympian at only nineteen years old.
Jonnie Peacock says, ‘I have built a solid foundation of resilience over the years, and I believe this is what has kept me going. When I was still at studying, I struggled to walk when my stump was sore so my mum would help carry me to school, I didn’t want to give in. Finding my inner voice that was telling me ‘I can do it’ allowed me to put the effort and time into getting to where I am now. It wasn’t an easy route, but it was the right one. Not a day goes by when I don’t look around and see where my determination has got me, I feel lucky but then remind myself it’s not luck it was me who conditioned my mindset to believe in my abilities. I was the child whose life could have taken a very different path, but I decided I am worthy and will make something of myself and that’s what I did. How we perceive achievement is slowly changing. It isn’t about who you know, how much money you have, where you live or who your parents are – the world now has the chance to change this attitude and I believe in many areas of life this is happening. To look at unlocking true potential, like Qube Learning, will engage unseen demographics who deserve to be seen whether it be at work, studying, with friends or family, they have the right to thrive just as much as anyone else’
One of the biggest obstacles Jonnie faced was representation, seeing disability athletes in adverts and on TV is the biggest step towards inclusivity. When he was younger, he did not see an athlete or role model with one leg or in a wheelchair and now you do.
Jonnie’s work with Qube Learning, an organisation that wholly champions Apprenticeships and Traineeships and encourages success for anyone no matter where you are from, will see him reward the organisation’s incredible students and the employers who take them in front of many UK business names on the 14th October 2021 in a virtual award ceremony – https://www.qube-learning.co.uk/event/qube-awards-2021/
Qube Learning is proud to be an OFSTED grade 2 (Good) Recruitment and Training Solutions Provider that works with hundreds of Employers across the country to deliver a range of training and qualifications to a multitude of Students. If you are interested in finding out more about the positive opportunities an Apprenticeship or Traineeship can bring through Qube Vision and eLearning, either as a Student or an Employer, then speak with the experts at Qube Learning.
The National Statistics’ report found that around 1 in 4 (24%) adults living in the most deprived areas of England experienced some form of depression; this compared with around 1 in 8 (12%) adults in the least deprived areas of England.
Likewise, around 3 in 10 (29%) adults who reported being unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 experienced some form of depression, compared with around 1 in 10 (11%) adults who were able to afford this expense.
Disabled (36%) and clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) adults (28%) were more likely to experience some form of depression than non-disabled (8%) and non-CEV adults (16%).
Younger adults and women were more likely to experience some form of depression, with around 1 in 3 (32%) women aged 16 to 29 years experiencing moderate to severe depressive symptoms, compared with 20% of men of the same age.
We sought the views of consultant psychologists and other mental healthexperts. Here are their views:
Lee Chambers, a psychologist at Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing: “Covid has highlighted the health inequalities we have in this country and how health and wealth are very close bed partners. Looking at those who have suffered most, young people, those with disabilities and ethnic minority communities have been impacted much more. We’ve seen increases across the board in mental health challenges over the past 18 months. For those who previously had the challenge of navigating mental illness, the uncertainty and instability along with decreased access to services, isolation and financial struggles have amplified the difficulties they face.”
James Watson-O’Neill, Chief Executive at SignHealth: “We conducted a survey of deaf people, which revealed that more than 1 in 3 deaf people felt the pandemic had a major negative impact on their mental health. 61% of respondents reported anxiety, 35% reported depression and 9% reported trauma. Many deaf people rely on lip-reading and facial expressions to understand spoken English. During the pandemic, face mask requirements and the shift to services being offered only over the phone significantly reduced deaf peoples’ access to communication in virtually every aspect of life.”
Dr Shungu Hilda M’gadzah, lead consultant psychologist at Inclusion Psychologists: “We are certainly seeing an increase in adults suffering from and complaining of depression and anxiety. For some, working from home is a curse as they have become even more isolated and find it’s easier to spend hours in bed. The impact of Covid-19 seems to affect all demographics, including children and young people, and those who are classified as vulnerable are even more susceptible.”
Nicole Woodcock, Clinical Hypnotherapist at Hummingbird Hypnotherapy: “I have seen a rise in clients with depression and anxiety across a range of age groups, but in particular adults on furlough who have lost daily routine and interaction with others. Beyond a GP consultation, people can seek professional support that enables them to recognise their strengths and the things that are going well in life and the adaptability they have demonstrated during this time.”
Luke Newman, director at For Men To Talk: “I’ve seen a huge increase in men suffering from anxiety, especially during the COVID-19 period. Their anxiety has come from worry of catching the virus, or indeed about their family and friends getting it. But there’s also a lot of anxiety over their jobs. For Men To Talk is a chance for men suffering with anxiety, depression and grief to talk with fellow sufferers.”
Helen Millington, director at Meliora Wellness: “Even though lockdown is over, the effects on our lives and mental health are still very much with us. Taking the time and energy to practice self-care is so important. From yoga, meditation or daily gratitude to taking a bath and lighting a candle you love, self care can be simple and doesn’t need to cost a fortune. The most important investment is your time and energy. Notice what makes you feel good and do it more.”
Dr Jackie Mulligan, an expert on the High Streets Task Force and founder of ShopAppy.com: “Our teams have seen a lot of anxiety from small high street business owners who have had to navigate in a fog for over 20 months, with their entire life’s work and livelihoods at risk. As a result we have seen business owners suffering from depression, anxiety and breakdowns. It has been distressing for everyone of course, but these owners are often the anchors of our communities, people we rely on to make us happy. Now these local shops and services have five and half times the debt they had pre-Covid, it’s up to us all to help them recover.”
When deciding on where to live, many factors come into consideration, but something we rarely consider is whether it offers safe working environments and a better work-life balance.
Mental health issues in the last year alone have increased by 5% in the UK1, and with it, absence rates have increased. Mental health issues can take over 7.5 times longer to recover from than physical illnesses and it is vital that we take care of ourselves and choose wisely where to live and work.
Phoenix Health & Safety, UK health & safety training experts, have amalgamated and analysed five data sources from official national statistics to reveal the best and worst cities for your safety and wellbeing.
The Safety & Wellbeing Index analyses each city, rating them on five essential factors for safety and wellbeing and scores them on points out of 100. The chart weighs each factor, calculates a weighted total out of 100 (the lower the score, the safer the city).
The five contributing factors are:
• Non-fatal injuries in the workplace
• Sickness absence rates
• Mental health rates
• Local crime rates
• Death rates
The best cities for your safety & wellbeing
In a three-way tie, Swindon, Luton and London share the title of the safest cities to live and work in the UK.
Each city averages out as great places to live and work, with low crime rates – Swindon boasts the third-lowest crime rate in England, risks of injury – Luton sets a standard with zero workplace injuries per capita of 1,000, and sickness – London’s rate of sickness is equally low – indicating an extremely low-level metric compared to other cities.
Swindon and Luton are both cities that have moved towards service and retail-based economies, away from the riskier industries of construction and manufacturing. London is known as the economic heart of the UK for a good reason. While it has a wide variety of industries, many international headquarters are located here, resulting in a glut of blue-collar jobs for the people working and living in the capital.
Reading comes in fourth, with a workplace death rate on one alongside a physical and mental health rating in the single digits, it’s clear that it is a city that takes both its employee safety seriously.
The worst cities for safety & wellbeing
There’s always room for improvement and these five cities, unfortunately, came through short-handed in the index for the safety & wellbeing of their workers.
The last place on the index goes to Wakefield with an average score of 80/100. This is due to Wakefield receiving extremely poor scores for the number of deaths and injuries in the workplace and even when paired with the relatively average scores for mental health, crime and sickness, the city remained one of the riskiest places to live and work.
Also in the bottom five rankings were Doncaster, Salford, Rochdale and Rotherham, showing that areas on the outskirts of Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire are also not setting high standards for work-life balance and overall safety of workforces.
In fact, not only are the bottom five positions filled by northern locations but the bottom 3rd of the table consists entirely of locations from Northern England. It is clear there is a north-south divide in the standards of workplace health & wellbeing.
In terms of mental health, Liverpool dropped in at the bottom, with a disappointing 100 points which is the highest possible score, with Middlesborough only 8 points behind them. These areas have clearly got some work to do when it comes to supporting the people who live and work hard in these aresa day in, day out.
“Failure to follow government requirements and guidelines can result in hefty fines for employers, which could have been foreseen and avoided with the correct health & safety training and stronger processes which support their workforce.
“More recently we’ve seen a huge increase in demand for our stress management and wellbeing courses since the beginning of the pandemic. It is now more important than ever that you ensure employees feel safe, valued and able to talk about their mental health and wellbeing whilst at work.
Ensuring you have a well thought out policy and trained members of the team can lead to an overall increase in team happiness, retention and better adherence to the guidelines, which in turn should help the UK overall improve their Health & Wellbeing Index scores.”
The three most dangerous industries in the UK are construction, agriculture and manufacturing, hence why health & safety training such as NEBOSH and IOSH certification is a common requirement for a career in these industries.
Construction is the industry with the highest level of death rate, where it makes up for nearly 27% of the total workplace deaths in 20212. It also has a suicide rate three times higher than the national average.
The average UK salary for someone working in construction is £42,000, much higher than the national average of £27,0003, which may reflect the level of risk undertaken in construction.
Although in regards to wellbeing, the construction industry is plagued by long hours, somewhat hostile working conditions and men in the industry are three times more likely to commit suicide than the average worker2.
Farming is another notoriously dangerous industry4, it’s a solitary job and mental health is considered the most pressing concern by a whopping 88% of farmers5. The average salary of farmers is £32,5006, barely over the national average wage, and considering that 24% of all deaths in the UK occur in the farming industry4, it does not seem like remuneration reflects the dangers of the work.
Businesses can lose on average £8K for every sick employee
Last year there were over 2 million reported workplace injuries in the UK. On average, this costs the employer more than £8,300 for seven or more days off with a workplace illness and £5,100 with a non-fatal injury. This is something many smaller businesses cannot afford to compensate for7.
Fatal accidents can cost businesses up to £100,000 in fees, and employers paid over £3.2 billion in 2018/20198, not including potential fines from negligence, which can amount to millions if it leads to employee deaths9.
Three expert tips on how to improve the wellbeing and safety of your workplace
Nick Higgison, Managing Director, at Phoenix Health & Safety offers three key tips on maintaining better levels of safety and wellbeing for your workforce.
1. Take mental health as seriously as physical health – By creating a culture in which employees know, for example, they can take a sick day for mental health-related issues equally as they could if they had a physical illness, you are creating a safer environment for people to work in. Employees will feel more comfortable sharing information which can lead to much better mental health in the workplace, and in turn, increase productivity.
2. Reward employees for safe behaviour – When businesses offer a reward system for following safe behaviour, such as ensuring the correct processes are undertaken throughout their day to day role, it not only reinforces this to the workforce but would likely lead to less workplace injury. Others tend to follow suit as they understand the best way to be recognised for their hard work is to do things in the correct manner rather than the fastest way.
3. Provide regular meetings on workplace safety – In many cases, health & safety training is taught when onboarding staff, although a one-off approach will not suffice when keeping your workplace safe continuously over the years. Regular health & safety training allows the business to refresh and remind employees of their duty to follow protocols and how this can impact their safety. It also allows staff an opportunity to ask any questions and offer an open flow of communication in the business.
Billion Strong is a non-profit organization that is created for the people with disability, by the people with disability. They have recently launched a new crowdfunding campaign “as a humble invitation to the people globally to make tender endowments for the cause.”
According to the World Report on Disability, produced by the World Health Organization (WHO) and The World Bank, more than a billion people in the world experience disability as of 2011. In 2021, that figure rose to more than 1.3 billion. This encompasses about 15% of the world’s total population. Imagine what happens when this huge proportion of people unite together for themselves. The conception of this idea gave birth to “Billion Strong”.
What is more is that this number is on the rise. Mainly due to population growth, medical advances and ageing process. Nevertheless, an inclusive perception is the only philosophy that can promise a corroborative future. It withholds the power to overlook the limitations, and focus on the strength of individuality.
One of the major challenges related to disability includes lower educational achievements. According to UNESCO, ninety per cent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not attend school. Reportedly, students with disabilities in OECD countries remain under-represented for higher education, despite their increasing numbers. Clearly, some form of a person’s impairment becomes the barrier to the basic right to knowledge and learning.
As Prof. Stephen W. Hawking said: “We have a moral duty to remove the barriers to participation, and to invest sufficient funding and experience to unlock the vast potential of people with disabilities”.
And every bit counts.
Billion strong is a movement that realizes the perception of a globally inclusive community, that creates worthy efforts to navigate the international community by arranging for awareness programs. This is to ensure that the people with disability find the most appropriate jobs, instead of being looked down upon as someone with weakness or deficit.
For global initiatives like Billion Strong, managing finances and sufficient funding is a prime concern. It is necessary, not only to help those in need, but also to spread awareness, educate other people about the philosophy of inclusion, and encourage and invite participation. This level of support extends beyond the boundaries of technological advancements, and spans around community level upliftment programs.
Every Bit Counts: The Billion Strong Crowdfunding Initiative
The difficulties related to disability are exacerbated in less advantaged communities. Billion Strong envisions to overcome these barriers and create a world where every person finds leverage for their ability to make a difference in the world, instead of being devoid of even the basic rights because of what they lack. In other words, it helps create environments that help people with disabilities to flourish, and live a life of dignity, health and comfort.
Billion Strong Crowdfunding program envisions to take care of the monetary needs while achieving its goals. It openly welcomes the global community to contribute in a collective manner for a cause that holds an immense future for the disabled and the others.
“Crowdfunding isn’t about collecting money. It’s about making something happen with the crowd of the people who believe in something. Normal people, not rich people with lots of power, just people like you and me”. (Jozefien Daelemans)
It recognizes and celebrates the congruence as well as diversity amongst various marginalized groups with disability across the globe. It aims to conceptualize the idea of uniting the people that support and empower self-identification of those with disability.
Billion Strong Crowdfunding is a humble invitation to the people globally to make tender endowments for the cause. It encourages everyone to not to pity the disabled, but to help them overcome their limitations due to lack of finances.
A Billion Strong
Billion Strong is a commitment to create an umbrella platform with the prime objective to cater to all the challenges disability poses. Dr. LaMondre Pough, its CEO, seeks to bring the audiences to their inherent ability to empower and embrace diversity. He envisages the concept of creating environments that are unfeigned and boundless, to harness the potentials independent of any judgements or limitations.
Pough was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy before his second birthday. He refused to see his disability as an inhibition, and carved it into a positive disability identity that helped him find his purpose in life. He has lived an exemplary life and has been a sole reason for light in many others’. According to him, it is critical to focus on identity and that a person can benefit in many ways by sharing the lived experiences, personal stories, and letting others know what is happening worldwide.
Billion Strong is, thus, a shared stage where every person’s identity plays its role in a brighter and happier world.
The Mastercard Foundation (www.MastercardFdn.org) has announced that it will deploy $1.3 billion over the next three years in partnership with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) to save the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in Africa and hasten the economic recovery of the continent.
The Saving Lives and Livelihoods initiative will acquire vaccines for at least 50 million people, support the delivery of vaccinations to millions more across the continent, lay the groundwork for vaccine manufacturing in Africa through a focus on human capital development, and strengthen the Africa CDC.
“Ensuring equitable access and delivery of vaccines across Africa is urgent. This initiative is about valuing all lives and accelerating the economic recovery of the continent,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the Mastercard Foundation. “In the process, this initiative will catalyze work opportunities in the health sector and beyond as part of our Young Africa Works strategy,” she added.
The African Union’s goal as set out in the African COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Access Strategy is to vaccinate at least 60 percent of its population – approximately 750 million people or the entire adult population of the continent – by the end of 2022. To date, less than two percent of Africans have received at least one vaccine dose.
The new partnership builds on the efforts of the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX), the COVID-19 African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT), and the global community to expand access to vaccines across Africa. The number of vaccines available to Africa represents a small portion of the global supply and the financial costs to purchase, deliver, and administer vaccines remain significant. The Africa CDC is calling on governments, global funders, the private sector, and others to help meet this goal.
“Ensuring inclusivity in vaccine access, and building Africa’s capacity to manufacture its own vaccines, is not just good for the continent, it’s the only sustainable path out of the pandemic and into a health-secure future,” said Dr. John Nkengasong, Director of the Africa CDC. “This partnership with the Mastercard Foundation is a bold step towards establishing a New Public Health Order for Africa, and we welcome other actors to join this historic journey.”
In 2020, Africa faced its first economic recession in 25 years due to the pandemic. The African Development Bank has warned that COVID-19 could reverse hard-won gains in poverty reduction over the past two decades and drive 39 million people into extreme poverty in 2021. Widespread vaccination is recognized as being critical to the economic recovery of African countries.
The initiative builds on an earlier collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and the Africa CDC to expand access to testing kits and enhance surveillance capacity in Africa. Through the Foundation’s support, the Africa CDC’s Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT) deployed nearly two million COVID-19 tests and more than 12,000 trained health care workers and rapid responders across Africa. In total, the PACT has enabled over 47 million COVID-19 tests across the continent.
About the Mastercard Foundation:
The Mastercard Foundation is a Canadian foundation and one of the largest in the world with more than $39 billion in assets. The Foundation was created in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. Since its inception, the Foundation has operated independently of the company. The Foundation’s policies, operations, and program decisions are determined by its Board. For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.MastercardFdn.org
About Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC):
Africa CDC is a specialized technical institution of the African Union that strengthens the capacity and capability of Africa’s public health institutions as well as partnerships to detect and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats and outbreaks, based on data-driven interventions and programs. For more information, please visit: www.AfricaCDC.org.
In these uncertain times, we are faced with new challenges to our wellness and lifestyle, with our physical and mental health affected by stress, anxiety, lack of focus and fitness, sleep deprivation and disorders, and a host of many more issues.
The Global Wellness Institute has defined the concept of wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. However, the concepts of wellness and wellbeing are slightly different. Wellbeing encompasses more than just physical health. Wellbeing is also the cultivation of healthy, strong relationships, of practising mindfulness, and a state of happiness and being comfortable, of giving of one’s self.
The rise of selftracking is an exciting development that can contribute to people being able to take charge of their own health and wellbeing. Other than that, cities are playing an increasing role in the promotion of wellness amongst their inhabitants. This is the new age of prevention: with companies like RoundGlass aiming to help people find balance, and the rise of meditation apps, it is now more accessible than ever to take personal wellbeing seriously.
2. Defining Wellness and Wellbeing
Defining wellness and wellbeing is critical for our times.
What does wellness mean?
One of the leading resources on global health, the World Health Organization, defines wellness as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. Today, all dimensions of wellness are interrelated and crucial to a fulfilling life.
What does wellbeing mean?
Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”.
Thus, it is easy to see how the modern definitions necessarily involve some “holistic element”. Holistic wellness will be defined below.
3. The business of wellness and wellbeing
Wellness and wellbeing have become measurable, opening the door to a new wellness digital economy and what we call Wellness or Wellbeing-as-a-Service (WaaS). This thriving sector attracted more than $2.2 billion in investment in what is now called WellTech. The market is anticipated to be valued at USD 4,377.95 millions by 2027. This sector is part of the growing $4.5 Trillion Wellness business, driven by the pursuit to merge with the healthcare industry, into a whole new market.
When we speak about wellness we need to consider the following sectors and economics and research by the Global Wellness Institute:
1. Personal care, beauty and anti-aging a $1.083 Trillion ecosystem;
2. Physical activity that represents a $828B Trillion ecosystem;
3. Wellness tourism – $639B;
4. Healthy, Eating, nutrition and weight loss – $702B;
5. Preventive and personalised medicine and public health;
6. Traditional and complementary Medicine – $360B;
7. Mental wellness – $121B;
8. Wellness real estate $134B;
9. SPA economy $119B;
10. Workplace wellness $43B;
11. Thermal / Mineral $56B
Some extra data important to consider before we start:
There are more than 2,500 meditation mobile applications have been launched since 2015;
Consumers Grabbing Hold of Their Health and Wellness Drives $450-Billion Opportunity.
4. Top Meditation Apps 2019
The top 10 meditation mobile applications generated a revenue of $195 million last year. The leading apps, @calm, @Headspace and @InsightTimer, lead the market, especially in the USA. US app users invest 63% of their total time spent on InsightTimer. Other main apps are Calm and Headspace. These have a strong business model and valuations of unicorns or close.
As the financial data at hand shows us, wellbeing and all wellness sectors are the next big industries to be disrupted by tech.
5. Why the Business of Meditation and App?
There are several reasons for this sudden surge of interest in meditation apps. The ease of access means that while people are still using these tools primarily for meditation, they are increasingly useful to create a moment of peace or of self-centring in the daily chaos of ever-changing lockdown regulations and the disruption of our lives. In these uncertain times where human connections have been severely disrupted, these apps can be a strong and effective way to connect with ourselves in a meaningful way, and help to reduce anxiety and the fatigue brought on by constant vigilance and social distancing.
Statistics from the US provide evidence on how Americans practise meditation on a regular basis to relax and unwind: the US is the prime market for meditation apps.
Other interesting statistics include an 800% surge in children practicing meditation in the past eight years, and the formation of a gender gap: women are shown to meditate more regularly than men. Moreover, smartphone and digital device users are preferring varied monthly subscription plans depending on timings.
Measuring wellbeing, wellness, happiness is more and more relevant because it is a better personal, social, professional and economic indicator and the next frontier of the health of a community, country, a company or a business. That is why the concept of Wellbeing-as-a-Service (WaaS) is a hot topic now.
The wellness wellbeing digital economy is not solely granted by new, disruptive technologies; but by what lies behind them: the human wellness factor.
6. Holistic Wellness
Understanding the concept of holistic wellness requires one to look at health as a dynamic and multidimensional concept. According to the Global Wellness Institute, “health as a continuum that extends from illness to a state of optimal wellbeing”.
On one end of the spectrum, patients with poor health engage the medical system, seeking help for their ailments. On the opposite end, people focus on prevention and improving the quality of their lives proactively, driven by self-responsibility.
The origins of holistic wellness are ancient, as the main tenets of wellness can be traced back to the ancient civilizations of Greece, Rome, and Asia.
3,000 – 1,500 BC: Ayurveda is holistic and it aims to create harmony between the body, mind, and spirit. It operates according to the principle that maintaining a balance in one’s life contributes to a long, healthy life. Yoga and meditation, as well as other mind-body-spirit practices also originated from India. From India also originated mind-body-spirit traditions such as yoga and meditation, which are increasingly practiced in modern, Western cultures.
3,000 – 2,000 BC: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the oldest systems of medicine in the world, with a holistic approach to wellness and health. Therapies that evolve out of TCM – such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, qi gong, tai chi – are not only still in practice, but are also increasingly being integrated into Western medical practices.
500 – 300 BC: Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is considered to be the father of Western medicine; he was the first to focus on prevention of illness instead of simply the cure.
Further developments – more current times:
According to the Wellness Institute Whitepaper, in the 19th century, “new intellectual movements, spiritual philosophies, and medical practices proliferated in the United States and Europe. A number of alternative healthcare methods that focus on self-healing, holistic approaches, and preventive care – including homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, and naturopathy – were founded during this era and gained widespread popularity in both Europe and the United States”. These were based on the ancient ideas which were explained above.
In terms of how wellness was popularized in the 20th century, it was due to the work by physician Halbert L. Dunn, called High-Level Wellness (published in 1961). His ideas were then expanded upon by Dr. John W. Travis, Don Ardell, Dr. Bill Hettler, and others. These fathers of the wellness movement created the world’s first wellness center, developed the first university campus wellness center, and established the National Wellness Institute and National Wellness Conference in the United States.
The Wellness Institute explains that wellness has certain characteristics. The most important ones listed by the organization are:
1. Wellness is multidimensional
2. Wellness is holistic
3. Wellness changes over time and along a continuum
4. Wellness is individual, but also influenced by the environment
5. Wellness is a self-responsibility
It is clear that wellbeing is about more than just physical health. According to the Institute, there are at least 6 types of wellbeing. These are:
1. Physical: A healthy body through exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.
2. Mental: Engagement with the world through learning, problem-solving, creativity, etc.
3. Emotional: Being in touch with, aware of, accepting of, and able to express one’s feelings (and those of others).
4. Spiritual: Our search for meaning and purpose in human existence.
5. Social: Connecting with, interacting with, and contributing to other people and our communities.
6. Environmental: A healthy physical environment free of hazards; awareness of the role we play in bettering rather than denigrating the natural environment.
7. The Opportunities Around Quantified Self, Datafication and Personal Wellness
One important thing for society in a world of technology and fast growing acceleration are the opportunities around quantified self, datafication, and personal wellness.
The quantified self refers both to the cultural phenomenon of self-tracking with technology; “self-knowledge through numbers”.
Quantimetric self-sensing was first used to sense and measure exercise and dietary intake in 2002:
“Sensors that measure biological signals, a personal data recorder that records. Lifelong videocapture together with blood-sugar levels, correlate blood-sugar levels with activities such as eating, by capturing a food record of intake”.
The “quantified self” or “self-tracking” are modern labels. The term “quantified self” seems to have been coined in San Francisco by Wired magazine editors Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in 2007 as “a collaboration of users and tool makers who share an interest in self knowledge through self-tracking”. Later on, Wolf promoted the movement on TED, and also launched the first international self tracking conference in May 2011, in Mountain View, California.
Wolf’s idea was that companies who have large amounts of our data could use that as a force for good; and give people new ways to deal with medical problems, help sleep patterns, and improve diet.
As described by a paper from the Schumacher Institute, a good example of how self-tracking can be beneficial for the individual is shown by those who track in order to manage a chronic illness, such as type 1 diabetes.
Described by researchers as being “somewhat unique among chronic conditions in that it’s very data-intensive”, type 1 diabetics need to use technology to track and log their blood glucose levels on a regular basis.
Scientist Hayley McBain claims that other chronic illnesses, such as COPD and heart failure, also “respond positively to self-tracking methods, which results in the decrease in hospital admission rates for those who regularly selftracked”. This is important, as it gives people the power over their own health outcomes.
The writer for the Schumacher Institute explored his personal experience with selftracking in the context of diabetes:
“I have personal experience of the individual benefits that self-tracking can have on my management of the condition, especially in the context of information exchange via the internet.
Gathering data of my blood sugar in relation to factors such as exercise, food intake, and timings of meals allows me to note down values which I would like to adjust.
This process has been made faster and more constructive by the use of online forums, such as on the website Reddit or Diabetes.co.uk, where questions can be posed to other type 1 diabetics complete with necessary information and figures that are specific to me. In contrast with the process of booking an appointment with an endocrinologist, this process is far more convenient and allows for the ‘fine-tuning’ of the multitude of variables that must be considered when living with this disease. This is an example of what Briggs would describe as the empowering effect of the quantified self, as instead of being confined to the rigid and removed world of the public health sector, patients are able to take ownership of their condition by treating it with precise and personalised methods”.
Despite self-tracking being seemingly an individual endeavour, it is becoming a more and more socialised phenomenon as social media platforms allow for users to share data, methods, and results. Scientist Btihaj Ajana explained the reasons for this: these media platforms work “as a source of encouragement and acknowledgement, which are effective motivators for people to continue to self-track; to enhance expertise via the wisdom of the crowd”.
One example can be the cycling and running tracking app Strava. It encourages competition between users. According to Jesse Couture from University of British Columbia, “Strava can be a source of motivation and entertainment for its users, and even help to establish or strengthen social networks, but the platform also invites users to adopt and adapt to technologically-mediated surveillance strategies that encourage and reward displays of bodily self-discipline”.
8. Why Cities and Governments Need to Focus on Wellness, Wellbeing
It is not difficult to see why governments should focus on the wellbeing of their citizens. The whole of the healthcare system relies on that, and promoting prevention of illness can positively affect healthcare capacity. What about cities?
Health and well-being in the cities is a critical matter: “it is a public health issue that will result in widespread human distress and enormous financial costs in the long-run if we do not take the appropriate measures in the short term”.
According to the King’s Fund Whitepaper, in the case of UK:
• Elected mayors and other city leaders have “soft powers beyond their formal responsibilities that they can use to drive pro-health policies”.
• Compared with other countries, “the fiscal regime in the UK is highly centralised, with more than 90 percent of tax revenue being raised at the national level. Policy-makers should explore the case for giving cities further fiscal and regulatory freedoms to enable them to tackle population health challenges more effectively”.
Case study: environmental wellbeing / climate change
There is an increasing role of cities in promoting environmental sustainability. As the King’s Fund argues, cities such as New York, London, Copenhagen, Paris, Barcelona, Oslo, Stockholm and Vancouver have committed themselves to carbon reduction targets, which are more extensive than the Paris climate accord ones.
And whilst the US national government decided to pull out of the Paris agreement, almost 250 US cities have agreed to continue honouring the commitments. It is clear that the actions cities can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions also confer health benefits for the citizens.
9. Case study RoundGlass
A case study for a company that is in the holistic wellness space, can be done using the example of RoundGlass. RoundGlass is a global Wholistic Wellbeing* company founded in 2014, dedicated to empowering and enabling people on their personal wellbeing journey.
Wholistic wellbeing is a concept centred around the words: whole + wellbeing = wholistic wellbeing. The mission of RoundGlass is to “inspire people to embrace a life of Wholistic Wellbeing to create a happier, healthier, and more joyful world” and “to transform the prevailing reaction-based approach in the healthcare world to one that’s proactive, focused on prevention in addition to treatment”.
The full RoundGlass experience consists of various initiatives, all of which are described below:
• RoundGlass Meditation Collective: A new method to life through meditation leads to more harmony, clarity, confidence, and joy.
• RoundGlass End of Life (EOL) Collective: Turning one of life’s taboo conversations into a deeply engaging, insightful, compassionate, and empowering experience.
• RoundGlass Sustain: Bringing India’s rich biodiversity to a global audience in a media-rich digital encyclopedia of the species and ecosystems.
• RoundGlass Sports: Investing in the future of Indian sport through world-class coaching and talent development and a fully integrated Wholistic Wellbeing approach.
• RoundGlass Foundation: Driving Initiatives to bring sustainable improvements in wellbeing across all aspects of life in villages and underserved communities.
Most of their work is currently being done in India. Yoga and Ayurveda have been benefitting Indian people since ancient times, but over the years these wholistic concepts have gained more popularity in the Western world. RoundGlass is currently working on executing the model village projects in Punjab and after their successful implementation, we plan to go pan-India.
RoundGlass services offer a range of wellbeing experts and meditation and mindfulness teachers offering classes and courses in physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. More about teachers and their stories can be found here.
RoundGlass are working with 90 villages in Punjab and plan to expand to 150 villages. The initiatives that they implemented in these villages range from creating football academies, installing solar panels, and establishing proper waste management mechanisms, to setting up Learn Labs in schools.
In a village near Mohali, RoundGlass’ sports programme has helped significantly curb drug addiction. Involving young people in sports such as football has given them something to work on and perfect, which contributed to creating a more widespread sense of purpose in the community.
The Wellness Digital Economy is growing. Even though holistic wellness has its roots in ancient times, it is currently going through a revival. With the rates of depression and anxiety rising in previous years, it is now vital that the appropriate wellbeing tools are at one’s disposal. The market has responded to the need: the meditation app boom has followed, alongside the trend of “the quantified self”. Furthermore, companies like RoundGlass are trying to create a new paradigm of prevention instead of simply curing illnesses. The idea is to transform the prevailing reaction-based approach in the healthcare world to one“that’s proactive, focused on prevention in addition to treatment”.
Workplace Wellness and Employee Mental Health—An Emerging Investor Priority, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance. Posted by Andrea K. Wahlquist, Sabastian V. Niles, and Lauren M. Kofke, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
RoundGlass, a global “Wholistic Wellbeing” company, aims to revolutionize people’s wellbeing through a combination of technology, expert-driven content, and immersive experiences. And through this livestream, the company hopes to “encourage and empower people to take the next step.” Something that is more needed than ever.
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered what mental health experts call a second pandemic. Mental health crisis has soared in the last year and though more people than ever are comfortable discussing mental health, finding effective resources and knowing how to get help remains a challenge. That is what RoundGlass, MTV and this livestream is willing to tackle.
The “Mental Health Strategies for Optimal Wellbeing” livestream round table will take place on May, 20. It will be divided into two sessions: one starting at 10am PT / 1pm ET following up by a second session at 11am PT / 2pm ET.
The round table will be included within the different events planned for the first ever Mental Health Action Day, an open-source movement of more than 1000 brands, organizations, and cultural leaders to drive culture from mental health awareness to mental health action.
Host and Guests
The event will be hosted by Prakriti Poddar, a global authority on mental wellness, the Global Head of RoundGlass the Managing Trustee of Poddar Foundation / Poddar Wellness. Prakriti Poddar works and focuses on mental health and wellbeing and marries technology and ancient wisdom to deliver contemporary and effective solutions and unleash people’s inner potential and to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
Founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur and wellbeing and corporate wellness leader Sunny “Gurpreet” Singh, RoundGlass is a global Wholistic Wellbeing company dedicated to empowering and enabling people on their personal wellbeing journey.
RoundGlass aims to revolutionize people’s wholistic wellbeing through a combination of technology, expert-driven content, and immersive experiences. They are committed to expanding wellbeing opportunities to everyone in every stage of their life’s journey.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.