Category Archive For "News"
India: Opening Up Opportunities
Finding a job can be a daunting task; building a long-term career seems even more impossible. Imagine your typical Toronto job search and how competitive it is because every budding business major, scientist, lawyer, philanthropist, and writer is looking for their one shot. Now imagine doing that in a country of 1.3 billion people.(more…)
Have you been hearing the words “social innovation”, “impact investing”, and “SROI” often? Interested in social entrepreneurship and don’t know where to start (or exactly what it means)?
Take a look at these resources and organizations for a grounding in social enterprise:(more…)
Entrepreneur Culture: How Singapore Became One of the Hottest Entrepreneurial Scenes
Small republic. Big Ideas.
Singapore; a country so small, yet so highly regarded for their spectacular cultivation of entrepreneurial spirit. Regarded by The Economist as “The World’s Most Tightly Packed Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”, Singapore has truly shown the world what it is capable of. Just a few years ago, Singapore’s name was rarely mentioned within the entrepreneurial scene; however, the brilliant republic managed to completely turn this around, rendering it as one of the global entrepreneurial hotspots. How did Singapore do this?
As an African living in the UK who works in the commerce industry, Thabo Tembo was acutely aware of the advantages that other regions of the world had over Africa when it came to sourcing business opportunities. For this reason, in June of 2015 he launched Sort Africa, a pan African business directory and online marketplace that is a one stop shop for those seeking to do business with Africa.
Learning Capoeira is in itself a transformative experience; teaching it in a social enterprise, a whole different ball game. This is the initiative that Capoeira For All has taken—the desire to bring Capoeira to a main stream audience, but also to give others access to this culturally rich sport. Founded in 2014, Capoeira For All CiC, a non profit and social enterprise, has been running a variety of programs in the UK, particularly in the Northwest region of the country. They participate in and host community events and collaborate with other non profits to make Capoeira accessible to all in their community.
Guusto: Gifting with a Social Conscious
How often do you buy restaurant gift cards for friends, business partners or clients? Now what if each of those transactions enabled someone to have clean drinking water for the day? This is the business model behind Guusto, a Vancouver based company that makes giving thoughtful gifts easy. Founded by partners Joe Facciolo and Skai Dalziel, Guusto has created an app that is hoping to revolutionize the way and purpose behind how we gift.
Imagine you want to give a client a gift. Rather than taking the time to think of, look for and purchase a gift, all you do is choose the type of gift to send, decide the amount and enter their email or cell phone number and PRESTO the gift is on the way. All the recipient has to do is click on the link and redeem it at one of 1400+ restaurants in North America. For every purchase you make, a day’s worth of clean drinking water is provided to someone in need via the charity One Drop. It is truly a win-win solution.
If this wasn’t innovative enough, Guusto has also become the first Canadian company to close a round ofequity financing via crowdfunding through Vancouver based portal FrontFundr. Closing approximately$50,000 in equity this past September, and they will use these funds to grow their market share in Canada and expand into the US.
Equity crowdfunding is fairly new to Canada. In many Canadian provinces, only those registered to sellsecurities can sell shares of a company, but as of 2015, exceptions have been adopted by B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia that permit companies to sell theirshares through approved funding portals.
For the Guusto team, this is an exciting time. They will also be featured on the popular show Dragon’s Den on November 4th, 2015. It is proof that you can do social good and make a profit while appealing toinvestors. Guusto is truly an inspiration and model for all aspiring social entrepreneurs.
For more information on Guusto, check out their website at www.guusto.com and feel free to download their app in the Google and Apple Stores.
Do I need a business plan? I cannot tell you how often I get this question. Early in my career, I was an avid supporter of Business Plans. Not the business plan itself per se, but the planning process. Planning in itself is crucial to the success of a business-or so I thought. However, over the years I have become more of a cynic.
As more people became unemployed during the recession of the late 2000s, more people turned to entrepreneurship than ever before.
The challenge is keeping those businesses open. How can we better support entrepreneurs?
More businesses exited both the goods and services markets in 2009 than survived. 1 in 2 businesses surviving is NOT good enough.
As advisors, our job is to both educate and mentor new entrepreneurs. We educate job seekers, but do little for new entrepreneurs. It’s time to open up and start talking about the challenges entrepreneurs face. If we can save even a few, our economy becomes all the more diverse for it. Let’s focus on changing the numbers, empowering entrepreneurs, and becoming better business advisers.
Over the last decade, start-up initiatives have ruled the landscape. From high tech incubators to national initiatives and small business boot camps, the chorus reigns loud and clear: we need to encourage more startups. Small business, the saviour of economic woe, freer of the labour oppressed and solution to every problem of our modern time is the new demi-god and those of us so lucky to serve at its altar, must bear witness to the life-changing effects it has on our lives.
Start-up culture is a global movement, focused on encouraging small business development. Its homogeneity is ubiquitous, and its reach all encompassing. It has infiltrated national policy & creates soundbites for politicians interested in furthering their careers. It exists in nearly every sector, from the not for profit to banking, but its altar exists in the world of high tech.
Leaner, faster, stronger. This is the new mantra of business, and its gods are the high tech millionaires and billionaires, generally under 30, mainly male and very intelligent. Priests serving this deity abound. Cloaked under the auspices of “consultants”, these priests and priestesses of modern technology advise, write, speak and work to develop a culture that is focused on birthing small businesses and getting more people on a path to salvation.
There is however, a fallacy in all of this. We have a culture so focused on start-up and we do little or nothing to help people once they have a business. Anyone who has ever run a business can tell you, the hardest thing is not starting a business; the hardest day you will ever have is when you finally open the doors. This is when the real work begins.
Start-up culture is driven and focused on youth. The language it uses, the time frames it operates in, and the adjectives: leaner, faster, stronger, are adjectives of the young, or those that want to be young. The focus is on building a multi-million dollar business as quickly as possible. We focus on maximizing market penetration, and increasing shareholder returns. Our definitions of value are not long-term temporal, they are immediate.
The trouble with all of this is we only focus on the successes. We only see the tech millionaire and not the million others that never gain notoriety, fame or fortune. We have not created a start-up culture or system that is self-sustaining and business strengthening. We have not encouraged the growth of business but rather the proliferation of start-ups. The facts are staggering. Over 90% of tech start-ups fail; 75% fail to pay back investors and many successful tech entrepreneurs have failed once (or many times) before being successful. High failure rates with small business is nothing new. Consider that over 75% of restaurants fail within 5 years, nearly 90% within 8 years. Why do they Fail? They do not pay attention to their customers, the quality of their product decreases, and they run into financial trouble. This is the same for all small businesses.
It is time to stop the start-up culture, and move towards a culture of long-term sustainability, growth and shareholder value that is NOT quarter to quarter, but year to year, and decade over decade. This is real entrepreneurship and community building.