Remove the shackles on innovation
“The barrier now isn’t lack of money,” Joi Ito, director of MIT’s Media Lab, says about innovation. “It’s lack of permission. Untapped capital gets unlocked when authority gets out of the way and lets people do what they would do if given potential and the context in which to do it.”
Mr. Ito’s comments, made to Fast Company’s Co. Exist in advance of his talk at a conference in New York, reflect his perceived need for cities to find and unleash young talent. He says small groups can have big impact when the opportunities present themselves.
“Scuzzy kids don’t need much space anymore, they just need a network and a place with a critical mass of energy to self-organize. Infrastructure comes later.”
He calls on governments and their mayors to step up and make change happen by reigning in bureaucrats who are too focused on the bottom line, and too close to property developers and wealthy business owners.
Electronic payments get popular
A new report from Greenwich Associates indicates U.S. small and medium-sized businesses are increasingly migrating toward electronic payment systems. Its research found that 35 per cent of micro businesses (revenue of $100,000 U.S. to $1-million), 43 per cent of small businesses ($1-million to $10-million) and 55 per cent of medium-sized businesses ($10-million to $500-million) are likely to use electronic payments more frequently over the next year. “Companies are motivated by the ability of electronic payments to increase cash flow, improve security, and lower costs through enhanced operational efficiencies,” says Chuck Rogers, commercial payments practice leader for Greenwich.
Paving a path to success
Joel Howlett and Kale Wudrich, co-owners of Saskatoon-based Prestige Paving Stones, are the most recent montly winner of ADP Canada’s Small Business Grant Contest. The human capital management services firm has been awarding $10,000 cash prizes and free year-long payroll services to an entrepreneur every month during the contest period. Mr. Howlett and Mr. Wudrich described the challenge of establishing a company with no business or marketing experience. The university students and friends did a lot of research and planning, they talked to experts, and watched online videos before launching in 2009. Prestige Paving Stones now has seven full-time employees and several part-timers who join in the summer months to handle increased demand.
EVENTS AND KEY DATES
Money hits the road
Entrepreneurs will have the chance to pitch to a panel of funders from the public and private sectors during the 2013 Funding Roadshow taking place in six cities across Canada. Up to 180 entrepreneurs will be in the spotlight for five minutes before answering questions and receiving feedback in a boardroom setting. A panel of government and private sector funders are participating in each city. Check out the website for dates and registration information.
Everything under the retail sun
Students are encouraged by Startup Challenge 2013 to present their big ideas for a chance to win $5,000 in cash prizes, three months of office space and mentorship. The competition is open to all B.C. college and university students as well as young professionals within two years of graduation. You must apply in teams of two or three, with at least one technical person on the team. Apply by May 19.
EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS
Secret family recipes
Introducing Keith Toppazzini, president and chief operating officer of Ont.-based Topper’s Pizza, who answers our five questions about his business in the latest installment of Who Owns That?
FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES
You’ve got to keep up
If your business isn’t paying attention to the changes online, it will be left behind, columnist Lisa Ostrikoff wrote in February.
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