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Small Business Briefing

Silicon Valley ship designed to bypass visa restrictions Add to ...

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

A hop, ship, and a jump

An entrepreneur wants to anchor a large ship off the coast of San Francisco, in international waters, and use it to recruit professionals from other nations to work on board, Smart Planet reports.

A limit on the number of foreign entrepreneurs or workers that can enter and work in the United States has made it difficult for companies in Silicon Valley to recruit enough talent. International employees and professionals on a ship would be able to use tourist or short-term business visas — which are easier to obtain than U.S. work visas — to take regular trips to the mainland.

An early design mockup by startup incubator Blueseed looks like an aircraft carrier. “We will provide a customized environment centered around smart, proven, cost-effective legal best practices, and modern living and work accommodations," the company says in a statement.

CEO Max Marty’s goal is to attract up to 1,000 global entrepreneurs, and Blueseed plans to charge $1,855 (U.S.) a person per month in rent, and it would take a 5-per-cent equity stake in participating startups.

A novel idea, but will it float?

Arabia 500 highlights growth entrepreneurs

The Arabia 500 list is out, with a goal to "move markets in real time – generating new wealth and expanding development in the Arab world." Three years, 15 countries and 40 partners later, under the patronage of Queen Rania of Jordan, AllWorld Network has unveiled the largest collaboration of growth entrepreneurs from emerging countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan. The Arabia500+Turkey companies were divided into three categories:

  • Ranked companies, with at least three years of operating history and a minimum of $500,000 in sales.
  • Startups, usually a year or two old and growing rapidly.
  • Companies to watch, with "terrific growth until 2008" that managed to sustain sales through the economic downturn.

All winners were invited to the Arabia 500 Awards Ceremony and Global Entrepreneurship Summit now under way in Turkey.

China puts focus on small business

According to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's SME Department, small and medium-sized enterprises generate two-thirds of the country's industrial output, pay half of the tax revenues, and employ 80 per cent of the work force. But as The Nation points out, higher wages, rising raw material costs and the appreciating currency have put many companies under extreme financial pressure. Lending and financial loan policy has been focused on bigger businesses, until now. Shang Fulin, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission, has revealed a series of policies to support the development of small business, including a plan to encourage commercial banks to give more support to enterprises that borrow less than 5 million yuan ($731,000 U.S.) and increase their tolerance for non-performing loans.


The rave about Crave

The owners of Crave Cupcakes learned the art of baking on the family farm in High River, Alta. The first Crave Bakery opened in Calgary in 2004, and the company has been expanding ever since. The Saskatchewan Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs is hosting company co-founder Carolyne McIntyre Jackson at a lunch and learn on Dec. 14 at 11:45 a.m., at the Saskatoon Club.

Sell your stuff to Manitoba

The key to selling to the Manitoba government is to first understand what it buys.The range of goods and services required by departments and their programs are extensive and varied, but a roundtable discussion on Dec. 7, from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., should answer most of your questions. The free session takes place at the Canada/Manitoba Business Service Centre in Winnipeg.


Online merchants, this one's for you

Embracing the holiday season can pay big dividends for online merchants. Here are six ways to make the most of the holiday shopping rush online.


The origins of Groupon

You're probably familiar with Groupon, a business model that helps small companies market themselves in a low-risk, targeted manner online by offering discounts on products and services. Customers, in theory, do a lot of the marketing for free, spreading the word through Facebook, Twitter and other social media. But did you know disgruntled employees gave birth to the concept?

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