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Santa takes part in a Zombie Walk at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
Santa takes part in a Zombie Walk at the Revolution Monument in Mexico City. (ALFREDO ESTRELLA/ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)

Small Business Briefing

Entrepreneur wants to raise the undead with zombie theme park 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.

Detroit entrepreneur wants to create definitive zombie experience

Marc Siwak is betting big on zombies – and he thinks he knows how to monetize the undead, too.

Mr. Siwak is an entrepreneur in Detroit with, well, a crazy-sounding idea. His company, Z World Detroit LLC. – a “broad-based effort composed of like-minded, creative professionals” – is raising funds to transform one of Detroit’s many abandoned neighbourhoods into a zombie theme park, emulating the doomsday scenarios depicted in various video games and movies on a massive, real-life scale.

To say the plan is ambitious is something of an understatement, and there’s bound to be no shortage of political red tape – but you can read Mr. Siwak’s plan in full, and even donate to the group’s $145,000 goal on Z World Detroit’s Indiegogo page here.

The crisis strikes back
The Euro Zone crisis isn’t just limited to the likes of Greece and Spain – it looks like businesses here at home are feeling some of the effects now, too.

The latest survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business revealed its small business index dropped to 62.1 in June from 64.8 in May, essentially wiping out gains made since last summer when concerns about Europe’s debt situation first arose.

The decline is largely attributed to downward trends in world economies – namely, those affected by the ongoing Euro Zone crisis – which have driven confidence down in Canada, according to Ted Mallett, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president.

What does that mean for small businesses owners? The report said “15 per cent of business owners expect to increase full-time staffing levels in the next three to four months (compared to 21 per cent who said the same in May), while 12 per cent said they will cut back (versus 10 per cent in May).”

The CFIB’s index is measured on a scale of 0 to 100, where a level over 50 indicates that the number of small business owners expecting performance to be stronger over the next year is greater than owners anticipating weaker results.

Young entrepreneurs club on following your dreams
What does the entrepeneurial lifestyle look like to a group of 15– to 17-year-olds? New York Times reporter Quentin Hardy spoke to high school students at Palo Alto High School’s Future Entrepreneurs Club to find out.

The group has invited venture capitalist moms or engineering dads of other students to speak about their experiences in the industry, and the heart of what they consider entrepreneurship to be all about: following your dreams, and changing the world.

Are Facebook ads worthwhile for small businesses?
That’s a question people seem to have a hard time answering. A recent Reuters/Ipsos found that 80 per cent of users surveyed had never made a purchase on the suggestion of a Facebook ad. But a comScore report co-sponsored by Facebook found, perhaps predictably, that ads did indeed help – in some cases, by as much as 38 per cent versus those not exposed to the social network’s wiles.

BusinessNewsDaily decided to set the record straight – with mixed results. For example, Tyler Barnett, founder and president of Tyler Barnett PR, suggests users are more likely to trust Facebook ads than, say, a listing beside a random search result, especially when there are likes or comments from friends.

But Tom Demers, co-founder and managing partner at Measured SEM, also cautioned that Facebook ads most often fail when treated the same as every other advertising medium, where the focus is on pushing a sale. In other words, Facebook is an entirely different beast. Be sure to read what the rest of BusinessNewsDaily’s experts have to say.



Cash rules everything around small-to-medium-sized businesses
Does your small or medium sized business need financing? Not sure where to go for funds? Invest Ottawa is hosting a seminar at 1:30 p.m. next Wednesday afternoon to answer questions such as these and more.

Emily Newark, account manager at the Business Development Bank of Canada, and Ricardo Pereira, owner and principal of Liquid Capital Finadvance, will discuss the many options and programs available to finance small-and-medium sized businesses. Topics include loans, working capital, accounts receivables, inventory and tax credit financing, and registration is free.

Coffee, Conversations and Connections
For female entrepreneurs in the Vancouver area, The Connected Woman Association is holding its next networking event on Tuesday at Cheers Restaurant. The morning meet-and-greet is great way to meet other entrepreneurial-minded women and share experiences over a freshly brewed cup of coffee (or tea!). Registration is $10 for members, or $16.50 for non-members and guests.



How to keep star staff from jumping to bigger ships
Brent Wardrop is tired of losing his brightest employees to other companies. The founder and chief executive officer of Elemental Inc., a Toronto-based advertising agency, says that not long after his 18-employee company has trained and nurtured fresh-faced, just-out-of-school grads, bigger firms are too often coming along and snapping them up.

But how can Mr. Wardrop retain his company’s top talent? See what the experts think.



A literal small business gamble
Gambling is a big business in Canada – worth about $16-billion annually. But small players, however, are forced to find less obvious ways to get their piece of the gaming pie.

The gaming industry, with its booming potential for small businesses, is not an easy one to crack. It’s what Paul Burns, vice-president of the Canadian Gaming Association, calls ’privileged,’ meaning, to sell to a casino or to a gaming company one must be licensed, and go through the provincial regulator and be approved as a supplier. But some business owners are making it work.


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