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David Pitcher had been planning to construct a hotel and year-round recreation complex in the Fort Whyte area near Winnipeg. (GEOFF HOWE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
David Pitcher had been planning to construct a hotel and year-round recreation complex in the Fort Whyte area near Winnipeg. (GEOFF HOWE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Small Business Briefing

Was this a $4.8-million fraud? Add to ...

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Federal funding questions

David Pitcher had been planning to construct a hotel and year-round recreation complex in the Fort Whyte area near Winnipeg – that is, until he was accused of defrauding a group of investors. Now, his company is being sued.

Recently filed court documents allege Mr. Pitcher and his wife used forged documents to convince Alberta-based fund Teresa McCrae Investments Inc. to provide more than $7-million in bridge financing. The firm claims it was led to believe Mr. Pitcher was to receive another $21-million from Ottawa – funding that had allegedly not been secured. Though Mr. Pitcher repaid $2.3-million, the firm is pursuing the remaining $4.8-million in court.

The Winnipeg Free Press reports the Pitchers have denied the allegations, and that any fraud had occurred. They claim Teresa McCrae Investments “made the loans because of the profit they were going to make on the deal.”

Some Fiber for your digital diet

What would you do with Internet speeds about 100-times faster than your average connection? Entrepreneurs in Kansas City have a few ideas.

The city is playing host to a trial initiative from Google, called Google Fiber, which will see Kansas City wired with a cutting-edge, high-speed fiber-optic network – faster than almost any consumer offering on the market. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Google Fiber hopes to spur a new wave of technological innovation, from telemedicine to cloud computing, that can capitalize on its network’s ability to stream high-definition videos and transfer large files.”

For example, one entrepreneur hopes to use the abundance of bandwith to power his health-monitoring system, which will allow patients to video conference with doctors and family. Another plans to embed sensors in slabs of pavement to track potholes and cracks, and to use Google’s high-speed network to gather the data – something the entrepreneur figured his company would have to develop itself.

Helping good ideas grow

How do you expand your one-person operation into a fully fledged company, employees and all? That’s the question Michelle Nahanee is hoping to answer as part of the Vancity Community Foundation’s new Vancouver-based pilot project.

Her company, Michelle Nahanee Communications Design, works primarily with First Nations communities on various awareness campaigns. But she wants to do more. The program, reports The Vancouver Sun, will pair “women entrepreneurs with business coaches who will help them develop growth plans.”

Participating businesses range from “lumber trading to home décor retail to communications, social media, marketing, textbook rental, manufacturing of environmentally friendly feminine hygiene products, video production and flower and floral services.”

Women Entrepreneurs: Financing Opportunities for Growth Project is funded by Status of Women Canada, and it will run for five months, after which participants will pitch their growth plans to a panel of Vancity account managers and other financiers.

Big loan, small loan

When your business needs a loan, where do you turn? There are banks both big and small, but what are the pros and cons of each? This post on Resource Nation breaks down the advantages of big versus small banks into a few key points.

Some highlights: While large banks can obviously loan more money than smaller banks, the latter are not as affected by economic volatility abroad. Also, smaller, regionally-focused banks often have a better perspective on local economic conditions.


Be a better blogger

Blogging is a business tool – but only if you do it right. The Women In Biz Network is holding an event on Aug. 23 titled 24 Blogging Business Strategies You Need NOW, with topics ranging from SEO to social media help. Registration is $30 for members, or $40 for non-members.

How to start a business in Manitoba

Pretty self-explanatory, right? If you’ve been thinking of taking the entrepreneurial plunge, this seminar promises to cover “all the issues you will need to consider when starting your own business.” That includes legal considerations, name registrations, taxation and more. Cost is free. You can find more information on The Canada/Manitoba Business Service Centre’s website.


Phone bill shock? New app reduces data use

Mobile phone contracts allowing unlimited data traffic are rare, and the latest phones are encouraging us to use more and more data, writes Grant Buckler. The result is often extra charges on your bill. So how do you avoid bill shock and make the most of your data cap? Here are a few app suggestions and data tips to help cut back and curb your usage.


Startup needs a cash infusion or it's game over

When Vancouver resident Ted Nugent found himself out of work, he did what many entrepreneurially minded people had done before him: He launched his own business. But Mr. Nugent's video game company, Genius Factor Games, needed what new business lack: money. How can he find external investors to keep his fledging company in flight?

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