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Signs in support of Fresno State student body president Pedro Ramirez who spoke to hundreds of students and faculty about getting the Dream Act passed by U.S. Congress Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 in Fresno, Calif. (Gary Kazanjian/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Signs in support of Fresno State student body president Pedro Ramirez who spoke to hundreds of students and faculty about getting the Dream Act passed by U.S. Congress Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 in Fresno, Calif. (Gary Kazanjian/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Small Business Briefing

U.S. visa backlogs prompt public plea Add to ...

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Videos aim to ease visa backlog

Visa backlogs in the United States are forcing high-skilled immigrants to return to their home countries, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Why does that matter? The organization’s research shows that immigrants founded companies at greater rates than native-born Americans, and they are disproportionately successful at starting high-tech firms. And a recent study conducted by the National Foundation for American Policy shows visa wait times are likely to increase in employment-based immigration categories.

These backlogs, states a press release from Kauffman, mean foreign nationals will have to return to their home countries, taking their skills with them.

To prove its point, the foundation released a set of videos entitled “America's Great Job Creators: Immigrant Entrepreneurs,” featuring U.S. company founders from countries such as Korea, Russia and India, who argue for an expansion of the number of green cards.

In Canada the federal government plans to replace the immigrant entrepreneur program it shelved last year with a new system aimed at identifying and speeding the path for “high value innovators.”

A king on his charitable throne

One of the co-founders of Who Gives a Crap toilet paper, Simon Griffiths, is livestreaming himself sitting on the can with a laptop until the company reaches its $50,000 (U.S.) fundraising goal, the Huffington Post reports. The money would be used to provide access to improved sanitation in developing countries. With more than $26,000 raised on the first day on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, Mr. Griffiths was halfway to his target amount in short order. You can watch the livestream on the Huffington Post article page.

Canada is looking good

Canada now ranks second overall on the Global Venture Capital and Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index, according to a post on TechVibes. The research project initiated at IESE Business School in Barcelona measures “the attractiveness of a country for investors,” including such factors as economic activity, size and liquidity of capital markets, taxation, investor protection and corporate governance, the human and social environment, and entrepreneurial culture and opportunities. Canada ranked 48th for economic activity related to venture capitalism in 2008, the last time the rankings were compiled. It has since climbed 16 spots to 22nd. The depth of capital market has also improved, climbing to second from third. The United States ranks first for 2012, as it did in 2008, and after Canada comes Britain, Japan and Singapore.


Build it and hope they will come

Shopify has teamed up with four world-class entrepreneurs for its Build-A-Business initiative, aimed at helping selected Canadian companies launch and grow their online stores. Entrants are asked to come up with a product to sell, open an online store and pick a mentor. The Shopify community and the mentors will provide advice and guidance along the way. The Canadian store that sells the most over a two-month period will win meetings with all four mentors in New York City. Competition registration runs from July 10 to Dec. 31, but you can sign up any time.

Will you be one of the Next 36?

The Next 36 is accepting applications for its 2013 cohort. Interested undergraduates have until Oct. 25 to submit their forms and win a place in its entrepreneurial leadership program. Each year, 36 promising undergraduates are selected from a variety of academic disciplines, and from across Canada, through a rigorous selection process. The young entrepreneurs build a business in the mobile or tablet space in teams of three. For eight months they are provided mentorship from some of Canada's top business leaders, up to $80,000 cash from venture capitalists, and academic instruction from some of the world's top faculty.


Confidence kicks in when you stretch out

Expansive body postures, known as “power poses,” can put us in a productive state of mind. The reason is even more interesting: The postures work by increasing your levels of testosterone.


Silicon Valley work ship proposed

An entrepreneur wants to anchor a large ship off the coast of San Francisco, in international waters, and use it to recruit professionals from other nations to work on board, stated a story cited in a blog post from December, 2011. A limit on the number of foreign entrepreneurs or workers that can enter and work in the United States has made it difficult for companies in Silicon Valley to recruit enough talent. International employees and professionals on a ship would be able to use tourist or short-term business visas — which are easier to obtain than U.S. work visas — to take regular trips to the mainland.

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