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small business briefing

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban yells at a referee from his seat behind his team's bench in an NBA game Dec. 11, 2006, in Salt Lake City.DOUGLAS C. PIZAC

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Mark Cuban's next venture

Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has signed on for 10 of the 13 episodes of season three of ABC's Shark Tank, the business-based reality series similar to CBC's Dragon's Den (and featuring some of the same panelists). The media mogul "stole the show during a trio of guest appearances" this year, the magazine wrote on its website.

Mr. Cuban will make a guest appearance on the next episode, airing Friday night, and the show's producers say "tensions rise when Mark Cuban urges entrepreneurs to ignore the other sharks and negotiate only with him."

The sneak peek available on the Shark Tank website doesn't give anything away. Little is shown of Mr. Cuban other than a few tame reaction shots. But given his fiery personality and his propensity to speak his mind, he's a perfect fit for the franchise, and a smart choice: The announcement comes on the heels of his team winning the NBA championship this year. Never mind his status as a hugely successful and high-profile entrepreneur, with a Twitter following that's more than half-a-million strong.

He just might give the " brutally honest" Kevin O'Leary a run for his money.

Financial landscape shifts in China

As China seeks to rein in stubbornly high inflation, measures to tighten borrowing have prompted fears that the country's small and medium-sized businesses will be hit hard, as credit is channelled instead to large state-backed companies, a story in The Financial Times says. The squeeze extends further into the sector itself, as it undergoes a painful restructuring process. Capital is being funnelled toward high-tech and green energy companies at the expense of traditional low-end manufacturers.

In New York, feeding yourself is an achievement

Here's a great example of an idea born of need: David Estes was looking for a better way to take notes as a college sophomore last year at the University of Washington when he created an iPad app called SoundNote. After developing the prototype himself, Jim Colgan at Poynter.org writes, Mr. Estes sold it on iTunes for $5.99, and he's already made enough money to pay off his student loans.

"I live in the West Village and I can feed myself," he said. "I guess that would be an okay measure of success."

SoundNote lets users record from the iPad's microphone, and it matches their notes with the timeline of the recording, so they can click on a word to jump to the related part of the audio.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

The legal issues you need to know

Ottawa's OCRI Entrepreneurship Centre is hosting a two-hour seminar July 21 at 9 a.m., on legal considerations for prospective small-business owners. It will cover liability issues, responsibilities of different roles, share capital, taxation and registration for sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations. The seminar will be presented by lawyer Michael D'Aloisio of Ottawa firm Kelly Santini LLP.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Young Americans in Egypt

Technology startups are creating jobs for some of Egypt's scores of unemployed youth. And to help turn their ideas into businesses, a group of young American and Danish entrepreneurs recently went to Egypt to run the NexGen IT Entrepreneurs Boot Camp, a week-long mentoring workshop.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Don't copy the big guns

"You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don't do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it." So said Wine Library TV's Gary Vaynerchuk in an interview with columnist John Warrillow in September, 2010.

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