Skip to main content
small business briefing

Actress Katie Holmes arrives for the premiere of 'Tropic Thunder' in Los Angeles, August 2008.PAUL BUCK

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz. Download our app here.

Actress becomes co-owner, celebrity spokesperson for Alterna Haircare

After her highly publicized surprising parting with ex, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes is now moving in yet another new direction as the latest in a lineup of celebrities to turn to entrepreneurship.  She's become the co-owner and first celebrity spokesperson for Alterna Haircare, the luxury haircare company announced.

This is not the first fashion foray for the actress, who first rose to fame on the TV series Dawson's Creek and went on to film and Broadway stage roles, not to mention becoming the mother of Suri. She also has a deal as the face of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and her Holmes & Yang clothing line, as this Women's Wear Daily piece discusses.

Launched in 1997 and now owned by San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners, Alterna's products are sold at retailers such as Sephora and ULTA on TV through QVC and at high-end hair salons.

Here's a look at the start of the partnership.

She's among many celebrities turned entrepreneurs, from Jessica Alba to Justin Timberlake.

And let's not forget little Suri, who has become a much-watched fashion plate in her own right. Have a look, for instance, at Suri Cruise Fashion Blog or Suri Cruise Clothes Blog.

Listen for mention of how Suri was spotted wearing Quebec-based Hatley wear during our Google Hangout with the children's clothing company's co-owner, Jeremy Oldland.

CRA call centre helpine graded C minus by  CFIB

For the second year in a row, the Canada Revenue Agency's call centre business helpline has received a C minus grade from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

It's part of the CFIB's Red Tape Awareness Week, aimed at promoting and lobbying for reductions in government regulatory red tape that small businesses face.

In a release, the CFIB said that while the accountability of CRA agents has improved, "service standards and agent professionalism" have fallen.

The CFIB did its grading after making 145 calls to the CRA call centre business helpline in June and July last year to gauge service and response accuracy from CRA agents. It found that 61 per cent of calls received accurate information but a quarter of calls were met with busy signals and 19 per cent got incorrect or incomplete information.

"It's not easy to comply with a complicated tax code, especially when the CRA helpline provides you with wrong information, or when you can't get through to a CRA agent in the first place," said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB vice-president for national affairs, in the release.

On the upside was the announcement of a project to require CRA agents to provide ID numbers, and receive more training.

For other stories on Red Tape Awareness Week, click here and here.

From Chinese labour camp to successful entrepreneur

To learn about the fascinating journey of Ping Fu from a Chinese labour camp to co-founding with her husband and scoring success at tech firm Geomagic, tune in to Forbes' story and discussion with the author of a new memoir, Bend, Not Break, who was previously named by Inc. magazine as an entrepreneur of the year.

Bouncing back from failure offers the tales of five entrepreneurs who bounced back from failure.


Tech leadership conference

Registration has opened for Communitech's Tech Leadership Conference being held in Waterloo, Ont., on March 7. The keynote speaker will be Research In Motion CEO Thorsten Heins, with more speakers to be announced. The attendance will include those from senior tech firm leaders to startup firms. For more information, click here.

MaRS Startup Book Club

Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup, by Brad Feld and David Cohen, is the book of focus in February for the MaRS Startup Book Club.The event will be held Feb. 5 in Toronto. For more information, click here.


Big and small: How to keep different-sized clients happy

This week's Challenge: HRdownloads targeted its services to smaller companies, but found larger ones jumping on board. Now it wonders how to best serve an increasingly diverse base of clients.


Fluke and luck: Shopify's co- founder profited from both

'It was sheer luck that what I was interested in accidentally turns out to be one of the most useful skills you can have right now,' said the CEO of the fast-growing e-commerce firm in a Success Stories Q & A published last October.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at

Join The Globe's Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues:

Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe's website, you can sign up here . Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit 'save changes.' If you need to register for the site, click here .

Report an error

Editorial code of conduct

Tickers mentioned in this story