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Buses negotiate traffic on the Second Ring Road in Beijing Friday Dec. 8, 2006. (GREG BAKER/AP)
Buses negotiate traffic on the Second Ring Road in Beijing Friday Dec. 8, 2006. (GREG BAKER/AP)

Small Business Briefing

The ultimate ride? 48 buses to get home Add to ...

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Such a long journey

It may be the ultimate example of passion and dedication. Xu Zhengguo, a 27-year-old electronics entrepreneur from China, rode 48 buses to travel the 660 kilometres from Hangzhou to his hometown of Linyi for Chinese New Year. It took him seven days, and also required lots of walking and a ferry ride. He passed through 10 cities along the way.

Mr. Xu “believes that anyone with passion can achieve success in their career and life,” reads a story from China Daily.

The trip was inspired by adventure-travel stories he read online, but he was presented with some harsh and timely realities along the way. “The air was filled with vehicle exhaust fumes, and the leaves of plants along the road were turning dark. I could feel the environmental problems on the road,” he said about the route between Jiaxing and Wuxi.

Beijing hit record levels of air pollution in January.

Pearson lands at No. 1

“Canadians seem to love their airports,” according to a study conducted on behalf of Concur. Business travellers who were polled placed four of the country’s international hubs in the top five, citing them as the “most accommodating and hassle-free frequently travelled North American airports.” The top five, in order of most accomodating, are: Toronto Pearson International Airport (24 per cent of votes), Calgary International Airport (15 per cent), Vancouver International Airport (13 per cent), Montreal’s Pierre Trudeau International Airport (6 per cent), and Los Angeles International Airport (5 per cent). Factors that were under consideration include clear signage, food options, lineups and wi-fi coverage. The survey was conducted in August, 2012, by KRC Research with 1,000 employed adults in the United States and 500 in Canada (500). All respondents regularly travel for business and submit expense reports as a part of their travel.

Excellence in sustainability

The GLOBE Foundation, at a luncheon at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto, announced the winners of its 11th annual GLOBE Awards for Environmental Excellence, honouring Canadian companies that lead in sustainable business practices and show progressive development in technology and services. Awards were handed out in seven categories, including:

  • Excellence in Emerging Technology, which went to B.C.-based Diacarbon Energy Inc., for achieving “a carbon-neutral drop-in replacement for coal (biocoal), and a soil conditioner that has been shown to improve soil health (biochar).”
  • Technology Innovation and Application was awarded to B.C.-based Cascadia Windows Ltd., “for demonstrating cutting-edge technology pertaining to energy efficiency and durability.”
  • Next Gen Entrepreneur Award to Lindsey Goodchild, who at the age of 28 is co-founder and CEO of software company Greengage Mobile “and she remains actively involved with many volunteer roles in both the sustainability realm, and women–in-tech space.”


Information station

The 2013 Small Business Information Expo in Vancouver is a trade show that brings together organizations and government departments that support small businesses. Meet face-to-face with these groups, and learn about the many services available. The free expo also features free educational seminars on a variety of topics.

Charge what it’s worth

Under-pricing is one of the most common mistakes made by any company, but especially small businesses. The Canada-Manitoba Business Service Centre presents a basic level seminar on pricing, costing and break-even analysis. Its assumes no prior knowledge of accounting, and introduces concepts of fixed and variable costs, as well as direct and indirect costs. It takes places in Winnipeg on Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to noon.


Over to you

This week’s Challenge looks at how Warren Houston, president and CEO of NetConneXion, can best pass on client-management responsibilities to someone else – likely a new hire who would focus exclusively on it.


Tread carefully

For decades now, the lure of low prices on just about anything has had businesses of all sizes looking to China as a source of goods, Chris Griffiths wrote in October, 2012. Add to low prices the ease with which the Internet has made it possible to search out and begin a dialogue with these factories directly online, and many small businesses that are tempted to import do so too soon and with a lack of appreciation for all of the pitfalls and expenses.

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