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Wu Ying, president of Bense Holding Group, waves to journalists in this January 24, 2007 China Daily file photo.
Wu Ying, president of Bense Holding Group, waves to journalists in this January 24, 2007 China Daily file photo.

Small Business Briefing

China overturns death sentence of entrepreneur 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. Download our app here.

The crime of raising money

China's Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence of a female entrepreneur whose conviction caused a public outcry, BBC reports.

Wu Ying, 31, was arrested in 2007, and found guilty of fraudulently raising money from private investors, an illegal but common practice in China.

Her supporters claimed the law was being enforced selectively, and that Communist Party officials often avoided punishment for actions of this nature. Ms. Wu was initially charged with "illegally absorbing deposits from the public," but those charges later escalated to financial fraud and fraudulent fundraising from 11 people, with the promise of high interest rates.

She was sentenced to death in 2009.

Ms Wu was raised in a rural area in Dongyang in Zhejiang, before dropping out of school and building a business empire, including the Bense Group, which runs hotels, wedding planners, laundry shops, a logistics company and other investments.

Inflation's impact on small business

If this were a "normal" economy, companies could pass along the rising costs of doing business to customers, reads this story from Huffington Post. But these days, customers are demanding to pay less, not more. Small businesses are often left with no options as inflation poses a threat to profit and expansion plans. "You have to absorb a lot," says Celeste Hilling, whose U.S.-based skin-care company has seen travel costs rise 30 per cent in the past year. Prices that businesses pay for energy, raw materials, supplies and services have gone up sharply, and they are expected to keep rising because demand for many goods and services is soaring in countries such as China and India, which offsets slower demand in the West, and sends prices higher everywhere.

Entrepreneur-stripper, or stripper-entrepreneur?

"I'm an entrepreneur. I manage a few businesses," actor Channing Tatum says in the first trailer for Magic Mike, a semi-biographical account of his early years as a male stripper. "Entrepreneur-stripper or stripper-entrepreneur?" asks the sister of one of his fellow strippers. "Either one," he responds. A glance at director Steven Soderbergh's filmography, in this post from Portfolio.com, shows that he has a real love of the entrepreneur.

Telus sets up donation program

Telus is donating up to $150,000 to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) to help seven young entrepreneurs start and succeed in a venture. For every person that attends a Telus Challenge event, the company will donate $100, up to the maximum amount, to CYBF. The events are part of a year-long series designed to support small businesses with speakers and information to help them successfully tackle business hurdles. The fundraising goal will be reached through a combination of funds raised through the event series and other efforts throughout the year. The first donation was made at Telus House Toronto on Thursday to highlight The Challenge contest, which invites Canadian small-business owners to present their biggest business challenge for an opportunity to win a $100,000 grant.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Geoff Mulgan on innovation and austerity

Geoff Mulgan, CEO of NESTA and chair of the Social Innovation Exchange will be visiting Canada for several events in late April and early May. On May 2, at MaRS in Toronto, Mr. Mulgan will discuss Innovation and Austerity as part of the MaRS Global Leadership Series. He was the founder and director of the think-tank Demos, and later became the first CEO of the Young Foundation, which became a leading centre for social innovation, combining research, creation of new ventures and practical projects. Tickets are $49, and the event runs from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Growth strategies in Penticton

Are you ready for change? Do you want to grow your business, make more money, be more efficient, or take more time off? In this workshop in Penticton, B.C., you will identify where you are in your business cycle, explore business strategies to increase sales and profits, and determine the resources required to meet your growth goals. The interactive session will help you to focus your plans and gain inspiring new ideas from other business owners. The event is April 25, from 6 to 9 p.m. Registration fee is $20, and seating is limited.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Friday case study

When Arnold Leung started Appnovation Technologies in 2007 at the lean age of 21, his mission was to create websites and mobile applications for other organizations to improve their efficiency and productivity. He also aimed to grow his company on a global scale. However, Mr. Leung soon discovered that being a startup trying to stand out from the crowd in a competitive Web services marketplace was tough.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Lasting hallmark of British rule

Around 1996, columnist Tony Wilson had lunch with a client who had moved to Vancouver from Hong Kong, but he still had a significant business presence in the soon-to-be-former British colony. He asked him whether he was worried about Hong Kong being ruled by China instead of Britain. His answer was surprising. He wasn’t as concerned about who had “political sovereignty” over Hong Kong as much as he was worried about a functioning judicial system, operated on the basis of the Rule of Law. To this client, it was the lasting hallmark of British rule in Hong Kong.

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