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A combination of four photographs shows (top L-R) a worker silhouetted against an illuminated sign in a branch of HSBC; Two people walking out of the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland; (bottom L-R) a Lloyds bank branch near St Paul's Cathedral and a customer using a Barclays ATM, in central London July 23, 2010. Regulators have been looking at how banks would withstand another recession in an exercise similar to one in the United States last year which helped restore bank sector confidence. Some 91 lenders from 20 countries have faced the so-called stress tests. In Britain HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds and Barclays, are being examined.


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

U.K. banks miss small business lending target

As businesses in the Eurozone battle with high costs and little domestic demand, small to mid-size businesses in the U.K. are strugging with access to credit, according to new figures released today.

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In February, the five largest U.K. banking groups – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland – told the government they had a "capacity and willingness to lend £190-billion of new credit in 2011," under the Project Merlin agreement, with £76-billion of this specifically set aside for small to medium-sized businesses.

And while the banks increased lending to companies in the third quarter of 2011 from £53-billion in the second quarter to £57.4-billion of new loans from July to September, total gross lending to small and medium-sized firms dropped to £18.8 billion from £20.5 billion between April and June.

John Walker, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, the banks had "yet again missed the small business target".

"We need to see a clear change: more competition and new lines of credit opening for small firms if they are to help boost the recovery," he reportedly said.

The figures come as a Bank of England director called for a loosening of bank lending rules, reports the Telegraph.

Rules that hold back lending to small businesses should be relaxed when the economy is faltering, Andrew Haldane, the Bank of England's executive director of financial stability told the Financial Times.

Bomb vets get into bullet jewelry business

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Erik Spalding and Cole Evans, two Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal officers (otherwise known as bomb technicians), slipped into the jewellery business almost by accident. While Mr. Evans was cleaning out his his bulletproof vest, a bullet fell out and rolled onto his dog tag.

"It looked kind of cool lying there, so I took a picture of it and put it on Facebook," he explains in this article from Huffington Post. "And everybody was like, 'Really cool necklace. Where do I get one?'"

In June, they started Bullets2Bandages, a fashion jewellery business that donates 15 per cent of profits to veterans' nonprofits, despite having no experience in fashion or entrepreneurship and no funding. To make the necklaces, they take two brass casings from 9mm or 5.56mm ammunition we reload them with bullet tips (without explosives) and match them with dog tags.

Turning bullets into jewellery works as symbolic of the sometimes-difficult transitional process from military to civilian life.

"We're repurposing something that symbolizes destruction and war to be something that symbolizes healing through our donations to nonprofits," said Mr. Spalding.

9 buzzwords to avoid

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Want to stand out from the competition? Then steer clear from words like "innovative" and "dynamic" in your corporate communications, advises Jeff Haden in this post from

"Clichés, hyperbole, and buzzwords may sound impressive but over time – since everyone uses them – they begin to mean nothing," writes Mr. Haden.


The Entrepreneurs' Night

SIFE Carleton will be hosting an Entrepreneur's Night on November 17th to bring together students and entrepreneurs from across Ottawa. The purpose of this event is to expose students to the world of entrepreneurship, by connecting them with business leaders in the community.

Teaching Entrepreneurship

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The Future of Entrepreneurship Education Summit is the world's largest, invite-only event that convenes top leaders from the entrepreneurship ecosystem (government, foundations, education, corporations, media, entrepreneur support organizations, and entrepreneurs). The vision of the Summit is to help make entrepreneurship a viable career pathway, and in so doing, help solve the jobs crisis. The event takes place in Washington, DC from Nov. 17 to 19.


Five daily must-dos to keep your business humming

One of the realities of running your own business is the need to nurture it every day, writes columnist Mark Evans.


The accidental millionaire

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From the mountains of Beirut to the streets of Saskatoon, Karim Nasser is living proof that education, hard work and careful money management can pay dividends.

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.

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