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L'Oreal cosmetics are displayed in a shop in Riga April 13, 2012. (INTS KALNINS/REUTERS)
L'Oreal cosmetics are displayed in a shop in Riga April 13, 2012. (INTS KALNINS/REUTERS)

Small Business Briefing

L'Oreal makes big deal with Kenyan 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.

Not making this up

Paul Kinuthia has sold his company to cosmetics giant L’Oreal, in a deal worth “billions of shillings (tens of millions of dollars),” Forbes has reported. Who is Paul Kinuthia, you ask? Good question.

Mr. Kinuthia is the founder of Interconsumer Products, a personal care and beauty products manufacturer in Kenya. He got his start making shampoo and conditioner in an apartment in Nairobi and delivering them by cart to customers. He initially had difficulty selling to large businesses, but his products were popular and increasing demand gave him the opportunity to expand his space and offerings.

Within a few years he had landed retail and wholesale clients, and by 2001, his expansion busted outside his country’s borders and into Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Interconsumer Products is now the biggest player of its kind in East Africa.

The Forbes story states that under the terms of the deal, L’Oreal has picked up the health and beauty business of Interconsumer Products, and Mr. Kinuthia will own and run the non-health and beauty operations.

OMERS subscribes to Fusebill

Automated subscription billing and payment solutions company Fusebill has landed a $2-million investment led by OMERS Ventures, with participation from Covington Capital Corp., according to a press release. The financing will help move Fusebill closer to its goal of becoming a significant player in the small to mid-market software-as-a-service (SaaS) billing and analytics space. “Fusebill fills a big gap for small and medium-sized businesses that in the past haven't been able to access or afford this kind of technology,” says Derek Smyth, managing director of OMERS Ventures. “This, combined with a very experienced management team, which has achieved great success together in the past, makes Fusebill a very compelling investment ...”

Hyperdrive graduate gets bought

Incentivibe has become the first graduate of Waterloo’s technology incubator Hyperdrive to be acquired by a larger company, a press release points out. Waterloo-based Rebellion Media, which connects users to personalized content and communities, has added to its roster a business that pools small and medium-sized companies together to save money by holding shared contests with expensive prizes. Incentivibe co-founders Adeel Vanthaliwala and Abdul Basit Munda will remain with the company and now have access to more infrastructure and expertise. “With Rebellion’s deep expertise in digital media and online marketing at our disposal, we’ll be able to scale Incentivibe to thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in a short period of time,” Mr. Munda says.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Positive role model wanted

The Sara Kirke Award for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is presented to a woman who has shown leadership “that has significantly expanded the frontiers of Canada's advanced technology industry,” creating a positive role model for others. The award is presented annually by CanWIT, a division of CATAAlliance. Nominations are open until April 19, at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Management 3.0 comes to Canada

The goal of Management 3.0 is to help companies grow and transform their organizations into great places to work. The facilitators hold “inspiring events, effective courses, and practical books and exercises.” Three are coming up in Canada: May 14 and 15 in Quebec City, May 22 and 23 in Ottawa, and June 3 and 4 in Toronto.

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Sales is a blue-collar game

Business-to-business selling is as much blue-collar work as building something from the ground up, including the planning, the heavy lifting and the finishing, columnist Tibor Shanto writes. A blue-collar seller is more likely to focus on and speak about the process, the execution and the outcome, while the white-collar seller tends to focus on the relationship, often putting it ahead of deals and revenue.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Vancouver coffee shop busts out

Vancouver-based Caffè Artigiano -- Italian for artisan or craftsman -- is attempting a Starbucks-like ascent, not in sheer scale but in geographic scope, David Ebner wrote in February, 2010. The same difficult equation exists: to maintain a delicate quality as the company gets larger and further flung. Like Starbucks before it, Artigiano has staked its expansion on developing quality workers at its existing cafés to open new stores and finding top-quality busy locations to draw in new customers one by one.

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