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SMALL BUSINESS BRIEFING

Britain cracks down on abusers of entrepreneur immigration program Add to ...

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Funds being recycled and fake businesses being created, Britain’s immigration minister says

Britain is cracking down on immigrants trying to get into the country by abusing its Tier One entrepreneur program, according to reports on Bloomberg and the BBC.

The program is aimed at easing the entry of entrepreneurs who must invest at least £200,000, or £50,000 for entrepreneurs who have venture capital backing.

 But UK Border Agency staff have noticed that funds are being recycled by different applicants and fake businesses are being created by some to get in under the program, according to the reports. “We need to tighten the current rules to allow for a meaningful assessment of the credibility of an applicant,” the reports quoted Immigration Minister Mark Harper.

The minister is introducing a “genuine entrepreneur test,” according to the reports, which will allow border agency staff to “test the credibility of suspicious applicants.” New measures will also require the ongoing holding or investment of funds, rather than just at the time when applications are made, the reports said.

According to Bloomberg, nearly 1,500 immigrants have entered Britain under the entrepreneur program last year                                         up to the end of September, and another 1,100 had visas extended.

Entrepreneur sells canned fresh air in polluted China

A millionaire Chinese entrepreneur is capitalizing on, and making a point about, China’s pollution by selling fresh air in soft drink cans, according to this report on the Huffington Post, citing this Sidney Morning Herald report.

The cans, in “atmospheric flavours,” are selling for five yuan a pop, according to the reports.

Chen Guangbiao is trying to demonstrate, he says, that China’s pollution has gotten so bad that the idea of selling fresh air isn’t so far-fetched any more. He is known, according to the Herald report, for carrying out publicity stunts to make a point, for instance, videotaping himself being driven over by a car and giving away bicycles to encourage the use of bikes, not cars.

Making sense of going penniless

Confused about how the elimination of the penny beginning on Feb. 4 will affect your business? Here’s an infographic of information on matters such as rounding, GST and HST calculations, electronic and cash payments. The CFIB has also published bulleted information.

KEY EVENTS AND DATES

BDC Young Entrepreneur Award

The Business Development Bank of Canada has opened applications for its 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. The competition, open to entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35, offers a $100,000 grand prize and a second prize of $25,000 in consulting services. The application deadline is April 2. For more information on eligibility and applying, click here.

FounderFuel applications open

Montreal-based accelerator FounderFuel is on the hunt for its crop of cohorts for this summer. The accelerator says it is increasing its investment of seed capital in startups to $50,000 (in exchange for 9-per-cent equity on the first day of the program), along with offering other perks and assistance. Apply by Feb. 8. For more information, click here.

MaRS Startup Book Club

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup, by Brad Feld and David Cohen, is the book of focus in February for the MaRS Startup Book Club.The event will be held Feb. 5 in Toronto. For more information, click here.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

How to avoid being a one-hit product wonder

This week’s Challenge: Magnet Forensics doesn’t want to rest on the laurels of the success of its digital forensics software.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

The case of the virtual detective and the missing Facebook chat

Read about how Magnet Forensics’ Internet Evidence Finder software helps police sift through hard drives looking for clues in this story from October, 2012.

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