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Australian Horses (Christopher Meder/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Australian Horses (Christopher Meder/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Small Business Briefing

Australian tycoon to sell horse racing business Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz.

Billionaire puts racehorse empire on the block

One of Australia’s wealthy young entrepreneurs is putting his thoroughbred breeding and racing empire on the market, according to multiple reports.

Nathan Tinkler, 37, who built his fortune on a series of mining deals, said he no longer has time to devote to the racing business. The sale of Patinack Farm – which includes more than 1,000 horses on a 3,300-acre property in Sydney and another 1,000 acres in Queensland – would also allow the billionaire to repay his debt, reported to be as high as $700-million.

Though the electrician-turned-entrepreneur was ranked as Australia’s youngest billionaire at the age of 35, he is allegedly struggling to meet creditors’ demands, with several of his companies threatened with liquidation. Recently Mr. Tinkler’s executive jet and helicopter were put up for sale by receivers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

While the sale of Patinack could fetch between $100-million and $200-million, it could take several months to attract a buyer.

Feedly fills Google Reader void

Since Google Inc. announced its plans on Mar. 13 to pull the plug on its RSS reader, Feedly – the slick so-called “heir apparent to Google Reader’s throne”  – it has picked up 3-million new users. It’s also announced plans to launch a paid premium version for power users, and today rolls out a new version of its mobile platform, with “with improved discovery, search and sharing features, for iOS and Android devices,” according to PaidContent.org. The premium version, which the co-founder Cyril Moutran says “a significant portion” of its users would happily pay for – will likely include better Evernote and Dropbox integration.

Small business owners confidence up

Sixty-two per cent of business owners across the country have a positive economic outlook for 2013, according to BMO’s small business confidence report, with those in Atlantic Canada (70 per cent) and British Columbia (69 per cent) once again leading the charge as the most optimistic More than half (52 per cent) expect 2013 to be a better year for business

  • 45 per cent anticipate their business will grow
  • 34 per cent expect the economy will improve rather than worsen (16 per cent)
  • 28 per cent indicated they plan to invest more into their business this year

Employment increases (slightly) south of the border

U.S. small business employment ticked up slightly in March, with employees earning more money and working more hours. But small business revenue continued to drop in February.

Key findings of the monthly Intuit Inc. survey, which is based on data from Intuit Online Payroll and QuickBooks Online Payroll covering the period from Feb. 24 through March 23, are as follows:

  • Employment increased by 0.06 per cent in March, adding 10,000 new jobs;
  • About 20 million people are now employed in businesses with 1 to 19 employees;
  • Average monthly compensation grew by 0.4 per cent in March on a seasonally adjusted basis, or $12;
  • Average monthly hours worked increased by 0.2 per cent, or 18 minutes.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Showing support for Small Business

Shop Small, a program to celebrate Canadian small businesses throughout the month of April, launches today in Toronto. To celebrate, American Express Canada is holding a Facebook contest for the 4,000 merchants who have joined the movement.

Torontonians are asked to vote for their favourite business on an interactive map. The top choice will be named Toronto’s Neighbourhood Gem and be featured in a Toronto Life Advertorial. In addition, the winner will receive a consultation with Facebook to better understand how to leverage the social channel to drive traffic to their business.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Seven steps to closing the deal

It’s never been a better time to close more deals. But only if you’re prepared to adapt to change while still emulating timeless approaches that work

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Video: Canadian tequila maker takes shot at big brands

Eric Brass launched Tequila Tromba with his Australian co-founder in Melbourne in 2010, after falling in love with the spirit while on exchange in Mexico. Now the signature clear-blue bottles are selling to bars across Australia and Canada and just recently started lining the shelves of the LCBO. In this edition of Inside Jobs, Mr. Brass discusses the challenges he faced out the gates, and the opportunities to come in the tequila market.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com .

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