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Wave Accounting co-founder, president and CEO Kirk Simpson
Wave Accounting co-founder, president and CEO Kirk Simpson

Small Business Briefing

Government invests nearly $1-million in two Toronto startups 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



Toronto startups Wave Accounting Inc. and Guardly have received nearly $1-million from the government through FedDev Ontario's investing in business innovation initiative, it was announced today.

Wave will receive up to $755,039 to help further commercialize its free online accounting tool for small businesses, while Guardly will get up to $237,500 to further develop its security-oriented mobile application.

"This support from FedDev Ontario allows us to make the best strategic decisions for the long-term viability and success of Wave," said company co-founder and chief executive officer Kirk Simpson in a release about the announcement.

"I am extremely pleased to receive this federal funding through Investing in Business Innovation," added Guardly founder and CEO Josh Sookman.

Wave, founded in 2009, now has 55,000 businesses in 192 countries signed up for its free online accounting service, and expects to double the 21 employees it has by the end of next year.

Guardly's location-based app, aimed at decreasing the amount of time it takes to respond to emergency situations, allows smartphone users to alert, connect and collaborate with a safety network -- family, friends and authorities -- with a single tap. The company was founded last year.



U.S. small business confidence takes another spill

U.S. small-business confidence in the economy took another tumble in August for the sixth straight month in a row.

The National Federation of Independent Business's monthly small-business optimism index fell a "whopping" 1.8 points to a "disturbingly low" 88.1, according to a release from the NFIB, which based its report on random responses from 926 randomly selected NFIB members. The figure was a 13-month low, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek's coverage.

The latest figure came in the aftermath of the raucous U.S. debt-ceiling debate -- which went down to the wire and was followed by a debt downgrading -- suggesting a "vote of no confidence" among small businesses in the outcome, the NFIB said.

"The results of this month's survey are very telling," wrote NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg.

"Hope for improvement in the economy faded even further throughout the month...When people are uncertain about the future or fear it, they don't spend or invest."

The decline was also affected by other things, including poor sales, which small businesses identified as their biggest business problem, and declining expectations for future sales, as well as a decline in xpectations for business conditions to improve over the next six months.

As we previously reported, confidence among Canadian small business owners also plunged in August, dropping to the lowest reading since July, 2009, according to the most recent Business Barometer Index from The Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Humble beginnings for entrepreneurs

"Too many people think of entrepreneurs as Web Wunderkinds who stumble upon some million-dollar idea in their college dorm room," begins a piece in the Huffington Post.

The more common reality: Entrepreneurs are people who merely discover simple but overlooked solutions to everyday problems.

Repeating the well-told tale of Brian Scudamore, the brains behind 1-800-Got-Junk? as a typical example of successful new businesses, the piece also points to a book, Origins and Evolution of New Busineses, that notes that most Inc. 500 companies were started by inexperienced entrepreneurs. And book author Amar Bhide found, it's not the well-planned, well-backed, brilliant idea-based startups that are the norm, but rather inexperienced entrepreneurs with simple ideas and lots of persistence.



EVENTS AND KEY DATES

2012 ACE student entrepreneur award nominations open

Charitable organization Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE) is once again on the hunt for winning student entrepreneurs.

ACE is seeking nominations from successful entrepreneurs attending Canadian colleges or universities full-time for its 2012 student entrepreneur national competition. The grand prize: $10,000 to put toward the national champion's business.

The award celebrates entrepreneurship among students, providing not only a top cash prize but networking, recognition and guidance opportunities. For more details, click here.

And while you're at it, check out today's online discussion with Robert Dawson, the owner and operator of Top Search Result and a full-time graduate student at the University of Prince Edward Island, and the 2011 Student Entrepreneur Prince Edward Island Champion.

Enterprise Toronto event emphasizes growth

Enterprise Toronto will hold a small business forum on Oct. 18, emphasizing the theme of growth.

The annual event will feature seminars, a trade show, new technology displays and a networking evening sponsored by the Toronto Board of Trade. Keynote speaker is author, motivational speaker and business owner Nadja Piatka, founder and president of Nadja Foods. For more information, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Protect your brand from the XXX domain

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has recently approved a top-level .xxx for use by a "sponsored community," namely the adult entertainment industry, meaning that porn sites can begin to register URLs with the .xxx extension. The big challenge for businesses: Discovering that some porn site has registered www.yourvaluablename.xxx, , writes Tony Wilson in his latest column, offering suggestions to protect your brand.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Entrepreneurs are our focus, and we've written about both Wave and Guardly. Have a look-see at Mia Pearson's piece about Guardly and viral loops. Also check out our case study of Wave by Rotman School of Management professor Becky Reuber, and Mark Evans's look at the long payoff for Wave.

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

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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