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Small Business Briefing

Chinese entrepreneur brews world's most expensive tea with panda poo Add to ...

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Packed with cancer-fighting nutrients, priced up to $36,000 a pound

A Chinese wildlife expert and university lecturer turned entrepreneur is brewing what will be the world's most expensive cup of green tea, fertilized with panda droppings, according to various reports.

And he plans to sell it for up to $36,000 a pound, or nearly $80,000 a kilogram, according to various reports, including this one at the New York Daily News, this one at ABC News and this one at The Telegraph.

It may not sound all that appetizing, but the tea is packed with nutrients from the panda's excrement, offering cancer-fighting agents, thanks to the animal's favourite food -- bamboo, according to the reports.

“Pandas have a very poor digestive system and only absorb about 30 per cent of everything they eat. That means their excrement is rich in fibers and nutrients,” the entrepreneur, An Yashi, was quoting as saying.

“Just like green tea, bamboo contains an element that can prevent cancer — and enhance green tea’s anti-cancer effects — if it is used as fertilizer for the tea.”

Mr. Yashi is collecting the dung at a panda breeding centre in southern China. Reports say that he has been given a patent by China Authorities to market the tea. He has reportedly resigned from Sichuan University to focus on his tea venture.

He has already collected five tons of feces, started growing the tea and expects the first harvest to be ready by spring, according to various reports.

For the first batch, buyers would get not only the tea but also a special panda-shaped tea set and two of the entrepreneur's panda paintings, according to The Telegraph.

This brew would be ten times the price of the current most expensive tea in the world, according to reports.

He's not the first to use animal feces to make a warm cup. The world's most expensive coffee, an Indonesian Kopi Luwak, is made from the droppings of the Asian palm civet, a cat-like wild animal.

Happy, happy at work

The economy may be gloomy but nearly two thirds -- 63 per cent -- of professionals around the world are "happy" or "very happy" in their current job, a LinkedIn survey of more than 12,000 respondents has found.

Canadians beat the global average, with 69 per cent of the 547 respondents surveyed indicating such happiness with their position. That ranked Canada no. 3 among 16 countries surveyed.

Top spot on the happiness meter went to The Netherlands, where 80 per cent said they were happy, followed by Sweden, with 71 per cent.

Bottom place went to Japan, where 31 per cent expressed job happiness. Second-last was Italy, with 48 per cent, and third from the bottom was Brazil, with 54 per cent.

The study also found that most professionals have a positive outlook about future opportunities with their current employer. More than half -- 52 per cent -- said they agreed that if they worked hard and demonstrated results, they'd have good opportunity to advance in their company.

On that question, Canada came in sixth, at 53 per cent.

When asked what career ambitions apply to them, the top one for Canadians, and worldwide, was getting promoted. No. 2 in Canada was being happy where they are, followed by retiring early.

Skipping the company holiday party: naughty or nice?

More than half -- 54 per cent of executives whose companies host holiday parties said there is no unwritten rule that employees must make an appearance. That means, however, that 41 per cent do expect employees to show (the remaining 5 per cent didn't say one way or the other).

That's according to a poll of 300 senior managers at Canadian companies with 20 or more employees done by staffing service Office Team.

And what kind of celebrations will take place? Top choice was an off-site party, for 48 per cent, followed by an on-site party or luncheon, for 36 per cent. Another 31 per cent said there would be office decorations and 18 per cent said there'd be an informal gift exchange. Seven per cent said their companies do not host holiday celebrations.

Small business owners more trusted than big-company CEOs: poll

Americans believe small-business owners are more ethical than big-company CEOs, reports the Washington Post on a new survey by the Public Affairs Council.

The survey found that 47 per cent of Americans said small business owners have high ethical standards, as compared to 6 per cent who said the same of CEOs at major companies. Conversely, just 7 per cent said small business owners have low ethics, versus 48 per cent who said the same of the CEOs, the Post said.

And 90 per cent of the 1,753 respondents gave small businesses a "favourable view," versus 61 per cent for major corporations. Two-thirds said they prefer to shop at a small business, even if it means paying more, according to the Post's report.


Martinis, massages and meeting

Martinis, massages and shoe shines are part of the networking experience promised at Cocktail Connections, a gathering of more than 200 entrepreneurs, executives and professionals slated to take place in Toronto on Nov. 29. For more information, click here.

CVCA president speaks

Young Canadians in Finance will hold a cocktail reception featuring a keynote address by Gregory Smith, president of Canada'’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and managing partner at Brookfield Financial, a chance to hear and ask questions about North America's private equity and venture capital scene and gather with other young professionals. The event takes place in Ottawa on Nov. 23. Click here for more details.

Social media engagement tips

Environics Communications will host a discussion aimed at post-startup business-to-business tech companies to share advice on what works best for social-media engagement. The event takes place on Nov. 21 in Toronto. For more information and registration, click here.


Marketing lessons from the Twilight zone

You wouldn’t think vampires would have much to teach small businesses, but as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 opens in movie theatres across North America today, Report on Small Business columnist and marketing expert Ryan Caligiuri offers four marketing lessons to be taken away from the wildly popular vampire saga. They're not so much about the story itself as the brilliance that went into building the brand, he writes. Join an online discussion with him here.


Cast your networking net

There are all kinds of networking groups for swapping connections, know-how, support and leads geared to small businesses in Canada. Thinking you'd like to try one out? Caitlin Crawshaw offered a roundup of a few national groups to consider in this April piece. along with some networking know-how tips.

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

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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