The cheese stands alone
Today's top post is short but sweet.
Wisconsin lawmakers are getting ready to honour the man who used cheese to create one of the state's most beloved cultural symbols, Associated Press is reporting. The state assembly is voting on a joint resolution Tuesday regarding entrepreneur Ralph Bruno, who created the foam cheesehead hat that has become an enduring symbol.
Mr. Bruno made the first one in 1987, using stuffing from his couch, after Chicago Bears fans, in the wake of a Super Bowl victory, taunted him and called him a cheesehead (now also the nickname for fans of the Green Bay Packers).
The resolution would also honour Mr. Bruno's employees at his Foamation Inc. in Milwaukee, where the hats are made. The 18,000-square-foot operation pulls in more than $1 million (U.S.) in annual sales.
Cheesehead hats are sold in all U.S. 50 states and in more than 30 countries.
Can this 'fix' unemployment and underemployment?
The Young Entrepreneur Council, a U.S.-based group comprised of some of that country's top young small-business owners, has launched a campaign called # FixYoungAmerica to "overcome the epidemics of youth unemployment and underemployment." The movement will feature a crowdfunding and mainstream media campaign, various events across the United States, and an official #FixYoungAmerica book, a compilation of essays on entrepreneurship written by intellectuals, non-profit founders, philanthropists, educators, politicians, and business owners. Its goals are to put a copy of the book into the hands of every politician, college president and leader in America; to testify in a Congressional hearing about issues facing young entrepreneurs and ways to solve them; to rally support from major U.S. corporations, celebrities and noteworthy entrepreneurs; to raise enough funds to bring the campaign to the masses; and to get hundreds of new solutions from leaders to expand the conversation.
Better business through crowdsourcing
British oil supplier Universal Fuels has raised £100,000 ($157,000) through business crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, making Universal's founder Oliver Morgan the youngest entrepreneur to successfully raise investment funds from the site, according to growthbusiness.co.uk. Mr. Morgan, 20, told sister publication Business XL in February that he took the decision to break his fundraising target of £250,000 into chunks to encourage investors to get involved at any earlier stage: Universal Fuels has an additional £50,000 pitch that is 20-per-cent committed, and it has secured the remaining £100,000 through bank finance. According to a statement, the London-based company's new investments will be used to expand into the retail sector and to build international sales for its lubricants products.
EVENTS AND KEY DATES
Young Entrepreneur Award process begins
Business Development Bank of Canada has launched the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest, with a grand prize of $100,000. The web-focused contest invites entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 35, to submit a one- to two-minute video to share their plans for an innovative project designed to drive their business to new heights. After the application process, which runs until April 8, 11 panels of judges — one for each province and one for the combined territories — will review the submissions and select 11 finalists to compete in the next round. BDC will ask Canadians to vote for their favourite from May 2 to 22. The winner will be chosen May 28.
Present to top VCs, angels and influencers
Aspiring entrepreneurs from around the world will compete to present to top venture capitalists, angel investors and tech influencers at this year's Launch: Silicon Valley. The submission process is now open for startups to enter their newest products and services The event — designed to uncover and showcase products and services from the most exciting companies in information technology, mobility, digital media, next generation Internet, life sciences and clean energy — will be held June 5, at Microsoft in Mountain View, Calif. For the past 6 years, more than 100 start-ups have leveraged the annual Launch: Silicon Valley, raising more than $145 million in venture capital, securing customers and partners along the way. Interested companies with a product or service available just before and up to June 5, should send an executive summary of no more than two pages to Launchsv@SVForum.org by April 27.
EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS
The Top Tens, Part One
In honour of International Women's Day this week, 10 female entrepreneurs of the Rotman Next Steps program at the University of Toronto offer their advice to business owners looking to grow.
FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES
The Top Tens, Part Two
In October, 2011, Report on Small Business magazine profiled 10 companies in the food industry that are changing the way we eat.
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