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Procter & Gamble's Tide can be seen on display at a new Wal-Mart store in Chicago, in this January 24, 2012 file photo. (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS)
Procter & Gamble's Tide can be seen on display at a new Wal-Mart store in Chicago, in this January 24, 2012 file photo. (JOHN GRESS/REUTERS)

Small Business Briefing

Procter & Gamble bets on crowdfunding site 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.

Big and small(ish)

U.S. crowdfunding website CircleUp has partnered with Procter & Gamble to help get small-business products in front of the corporation’s executives, Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports. CircleUp’s aim is two-fold: to help brands raise investment funds through its website, and get them noticed by multinationals that might be interested in aligning with or acquiring them.

Unlike most other services that offer crowdfunding – online campaigns that solicit funds from individual investors for projects or companies – CircleUp only accepts about 2 per cent of the businesses that apply, and the bulk of them are already making $1-million (U.S.) or more in annual revenue.

An “incubator day” featuring CircleUp companies and Procter & Gamble reps, is due to take place in March in San Francisco.

Proof that networking matters

“We are very pleased to welcome @bludotbeverages to #Lasiravp. A clear protein drink that is all natural and tastes great. And Canadian!” So went a tweet earlier this week from Fiona Gilligan, the CEO of Arranmore Holdings, who was one of the participants on the Globe’s “success stories” panel at the Small Business Summit in Toronto in November, 2012. Why is her appearance relevant? Because that’s where the two parties met, and clearly hit it off. LasiraVP, a small microfund, is now an investor in Blu-Dot Beverage Co. Ms. Gilligan was also featured in this video, post-Summit.

INcubes Demo Day is coming

I recently had a chance to visit the offices of INcubes, a Toronto-based startup accelerator that provides space, funding, business development assistance and other guidance to selected entrepreneurs focused on technology and innovation. Three teams with interesting ideas are now housed in its offices, polishing up their business models for a Demo Day on Feb. 27. TopThat, now in beta, is an online competition network, where users create contests, go head-to-head with friends, and judge everyone. Videogami, which is still in development mode, will convert YouTube lessons into fully interactive learning experiences. Leaders For Non Profits has developed a web-based system that connects volunteers with non-profit and charitable organizations based on their skills, interests, and passions. The trio will be “graduating” at the end of the month with representatives on hand from the venture capital and angel investor communities.


Optimize for mobile

The Centre for Social Innovation, with support from Telus, has organized a day of workshops around the Future of Mobile on Feb. 6, at CSI Annex in Toronto. It will outline how to optimize your existing website for mobile, how to make sense of what mobile strategy is right for you, and what machine-to-machine might mean in the pursuit of your mission. It’s designed for social entrepreneurs who understands that mobile is important, but have no clue what PHP, SQL or HTML5 even mean.

Take it to the next level

Are you an entrepreneur between the ages of 18 and 35? Is your company at a crossroads? The BDC wants to hear about it. Describe the turning point your business has reached and propose a solution to take it to the next level, and get a chance to win $100,000.


The 3D printing revolution

A number of 3D printing companies have started up across Canada, which is helping to reshape the country’s manufacturing sector. While it’s not expected have the same economic impact as large-scale manufacturing, the technology is helping to sustain and create jobs and to keep intellectual capital in Canada. “I think it opens the door for increased entrepreneurship, creating a lot of opportunity for business,” says Reuben Menezes, marketing manager at Proto3000 Inc., a 3D printing manufacturer and developer in Vaughan, Ont.


Crowdfunding in Ontario

The Ontario government is examining ways to loosen the rules that restrict crowdfunding, a popular method of online fundraising for startups, The Globe reported in November, 2012.

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

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Follow on Twitter: @seanstanleigh

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