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Parliament Hill in OttawaDave Chan/The Globe and Mail

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Partnership between Invest Ottawa and state-owned ZDG aims to help local tech startups enter Chinese market

Ottawa tech startups interested in entering the Chinese market have $10-million and Canada's first China-backed tech incubation centre to help their efforts.

Invest Ottawa, the city's economic development agency, and the state-owned Zhongguancun Development Group (ZDG) have partnered to open the ZDG Ottawa International Incubation Centre, the second such centre to open in North America, following a similar one in Silicon Valley last year. ZDG, created by Beijing's municipal government and with $11-billion in assets, has committed an initial $10-million in funding.

The centre will be housed in a 1,600-square-foot space at Invest Ottawa's headquarters and will help startups with funding of China-based research and development, marketing and office expansion, a release said.

"We're treating this as a very ambitious startup enterprise in its own right. ZDG has a plan to invest up to $1.5-billion [in technology companies] worldwide over the next five years, and we see today's $10-million announcement as a starting point for Ottawa," said Invest Ottawa chief executive officer Bruce Lazenby in a release.

U.S. small business confidence plunges

Confidence among U.S. small business owners took a big nosedive in November, according to the latest business index from the U.S. National Federation of Independent Business, falling to one of the lowest readings in the index's history.

The index fell 5.6 points to 87.5 in November from 93.1 in October, marking, according to this report, the largest monthly drop since records began in 1986 and the lowest level since March, 2010. It was based on responses from 733 small-business NFIB members.

The release noted that the two major events of November were Hurricane Sandy and the U.S. presidential election; the NFIB factored out the hurricane-affected states and found that the election was the big cause of the plunge in confidence. "Nearly half of owners are now certain that things will be worse next year than they are now," said NFIB chief economist Bill Dunkelberg in a further release about the results.

"Between the looming 'fiscal cliff,' the promise of higher health-care costs and the endless onslaught of new regulations, owners have found themselves in a state of pessimism. We are forced to ask: is this the new normal?"

Further signs of pessimism came from two separate surveys that found a drop in hiring intentions among small businesses, the quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business index survey and the Wall Street Journal/Vistage survey, both reported in The Wall Street Journal.

Rejection therapy: one way to learn to deal with 'no'

'No' is one of those words that entrepreneurs fear most. So how about a little 'rejection therapy' to overcome it?

That's the step Texas entrepreneur Jia Jiang has taken to overcome his fear of the word, according to this report. He has put himself on a 100-day rejection therapy course; each day, he asks people something "outside the box" that'll garner him a negative response, the report says, and is posting his daily results on his page on YouTube.


Bright young things step out to Globe entrepreneur event

Whether you were there or if you missed it, check out the most recent Young Entrepreneurs Night hosted by The Globe and Mail's Report on Small Business, in partnership with Rogers. Check out profiles, videos and photos of the young entrepreneurs and students from Toronto and Waterloo who mingled atVia's Panorama Lounge in Union Station in Toronto.


Ten tips for dealing with bad apples in the office

Difficult employees come in many forms, and if you want to know how to deal with them, have a look back at this article published in July, 2011.

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