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Although it's often impossible to distinguish the former East Berlin from West, some remnants still remain that haven't been gentrified. (K. Jill Rigby)
Although it's often impossible to distinguish the former East Berlin from West, some remnants still remain that haven't been gentrified. (K. Jill Rigby)

Small Business Briefing

Mozilla gives boost to Berlin startup scene Add to ...

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Factory builds its brand

Berlin is hoping to give a boost to its tech startup scene with an initiative called Factory, but it has now attracted a bigger, more high-profile tenant: Mozilla.

TechCrunch has confirmed that the web-browser maker is not only anchoring the facility, the company also plans to do a round of hiring there. Six startups have already been tagged to populate Factory: 6Wunderkinder, Four Sektor, Toast, Urge iO, Views, and local tech blog Silicon Allee.

TechCrunch wrote about the incubator back in April, when Mike Butcher pointed out that “there is something uniquely Berlin” about it. There will be offices and a conference area, as well as a fitness room, a basketball court, a restaurant, a deli and an art gallery. “This concept will not be formed by investors, but rather the scene itself,” says Simon Schaefer, partner at JMES, an angel and seed investor involved in the project, scheduled to open its doors by the end of the year.

Mr. Schaefer and his fellow investors are hoping Factory will kick-start a more collaborative entrepreneurial culture, one that in Berlin has traditionally been dominated by a few players.

Portland: It’s not just the coffee

People in Portland absolutely love small businesses, Rob Pitingolo writes in an opinion piece on WashingtonPost.com. He claims its citizens make a concerted effort to buy from entrepreneurial ventures rather than chain stores. He argues the opposite culture exists in his home town of Washington, D.C., where residents “get excited about the prospect of a new Dunkin Donuts at least as much as a new local donut shop.” Why the difference? Mr. Pitingolo’s theory is that Washington is more of a melting pot of people who moved there from across the United States, so they tend to cling to familiar brands.

Lots of talk, not enough action

Failed contenders for the Republican U.S. presidential nomination have yet to pay some small businesses for services rendered during their campaigns, Politico.com reports. Michele Bachmann owes a total of $935,000 (U.S.), Newt Gingrich has debts of $4.85-million, Rick Santorum is on the hook for $1.69-million, while, “Jon Huntsman vendors lawyered up earlier this year, and the former Utah governor responded by personally loaning ... his campaign $1.54 million since March to clear most, but not all, debts.” Unfortunately, the story points out, getting paid by defunct campaigns often takes time. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Dennis Kucinich, Pat Buchanan, Al Sharpton, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards are among the high-profile politicians who need to close their books.


Calling all eBay sellers

The call has gone out by eBay Canada to enter its Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which recognize and reward the country’s most successful and innovative eBay sellers. This year brings two new categories to the eighth annual event: Fashion-preneur and International-preneur of the Year. The winner receives $3,000, while the fashion-preneur international-preneur champs get $2,000 each, in addition to promotion of their eBay business to more than two million online buyers. The deadline to apply is Aug. 19.

Information is just a phone call away

Women's Enterprise Centre is hosting a free information session designed to help residents of B.C. start, grow and succeed in business. Learn what services and resources are available to new and existing female entrepreneurs. Register for the next session, which is at noon on Thursday.


Chronic complainers impact productivity

The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but it can also set everyone’s teeth on edge. And in a business setting, chronic complainers do more than fray nerves – they can actually cause real harm to productivity, performance and profits, say business and workplace experts.


How creative companies pull it off

Here are highlights of the creative ways that five companies – deemed among the best in the United States by the Great Place to Work Institute in San Francisco – are solving common business problems, including reducing turnover, raising productivity and other workplace-related challenges.

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