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The TF-X flying car design from Terrafugia. (Terrafugia)
The TF-X flying car design from Terrafugia. (Terrafugia)

Small Business Briefing

Flying cars get a few steps closer to reality 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.

Fly away home

An out-of-control flying car crashed while trying to land last week in Vernon, B.C. The ‘Maverick’ uses a parasail for take-off and flight and needs a 100-metre runway. It appears to be impractical from a consumer standpoint, but another product may be hovering closer to the mainstream, Boston Globe writes.

Woburn, Mass.-based Terrafugia’s CEO, Carl Dietrich, says the company’s TF-X model might be the car of the future. It would be able to take off and land vertically, without the need for a runway. The hybrid vehicle would have an automated control system to do most of the flight work. Mr. Dietrich estimates it will take up to 10 years and a very large investment to turn his idea into a reality, but if he can hold the first batch to his $279,000 (U.S.) price tag, there would likely be decent market demand.

Terrafugia already has the Transition in its stable. This “street-legal airplane” is what the company calls its “first step on the road to the practical flying car.” It can fly out of about 5,000 public airports in the United States and it is legal to drive on public roads and highways. Terrafugia says it is now preparing for early production.

Train ride for broadband

Economic developer Kadie Ward is riding trains across Canada from May 21 to 29 to bring attention to broadband infrastructure challenges. Her final destination is the annual general meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in Vancouver, where she’ll be a conference speaker. As Ms. Ward makes her way from Halifax to Vancouver she will discuss the roles of transit and transportation infrastructure, as well as the emerging digital economy and the infrastructure needed for connected and sustainable municipal growth. A videographer, photographer and writer will accompany her to produce content and publish it to her website. She also plans to host related community and media events at railway stations along the way.

Student entrepreneur prizes awarded

Nick May, founder of cosmetics manufacturer Remay and a student at Carleton University, last week was named 2013 Student Entrepreneur National Champion by Enactus Canada, taking home a $10,000 prize. He was chosen by a panel of judgest that included industry leaders and entrepreneurs at the charitable organization’s annual event. He will represent Canada at the coming Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in Washington.

In related news, Ryerson University took home the award for 2013 Enactus National Champion after a 58-person judging panel of Canadian CEOs honoured the school for its ability to enable social, environmental and economic progress through entrepreneurial action. “The Ryerson team greatly improved the quality of life for individuals at home and abroad by creating and implementing innovative and forward-thinking projects,” Enactus Canada president Nicole Almond said in a press release. Ryerson will represent Canada at the Enactus World Cup in Mexico later this year.


Join the dream team

Startup Dream Team is a nine-week summer program for 45 interns and aspiring entrepreneurs from around the world. The goal is to create a favorable environment for the creation of startup teams as well as a teamwork-based framework, which enables participants to discover others with similar interests and complementary skills. It takes place from June 14 to Aug. 18, in San Francisco. The ‘late application’ deadline is May 16.

Financing and mentoring opportunity

Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) and Spin Master Innovation are giving young entrepreneurs a chance to qualify for start-up financing up to $50,000, a mentor, and a trip to the Spin Master offices in Toronto to attend a two-day innovation workshop. The application is open to aspiring young entrepreneurs between the age of 18 and 39, providing the opportunity to kick-start an innovative startup idea. Apply online by 5 p.m. ET May 21.


Web sales 101

These three entrepreneurs are successfully taking advantage of online sales platforms Ebay, Etsy and Shopify, and they outline their experiences.


Which way to go?

If you’re in the business of buying or selling – and you don’t mind being on close terms with the folks at the local post office – then online marketplaces can give you online sales capabilities without needing to build a custom website. But there are different models worth considering, Ivor Tossell pointed out in this story from November, 2010.

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