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An image from the Ideeli flash-fashion website.
An image from the Ideeli flash-fashion website.

Small Business Briefing

Flash-sale firm tops fastest-growing list 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

Great work rewarded

Like lists? Well this one's a doozy.

The 2011 Inc. 500/5000 was unveiled Tuesday, and this year's fastest-growing U.S. private company is Ideeli, "which runs fashion shoots with the efficiency of a high-tech warehouse to produce the roughly 3,500 images that grace its popular flash-sale site each week."

The New York-based business never seems to close, and it has become the city's top employer of models. The company has shown astounding revenue growth since 2007.

"The recession propelled the flash-sale model greatly. Merchants had a lot of excess inventory to get rid of, but distributing it through odd-lots retail outlets is not brand friendly," says Dan Ciporin, an expert in on-line retail and former CEO of Shopping.com. He also told Inc. the appeal for brands is that customers are aggregated in one place and they are eager to soak up overstock.

In addition to individual awards, the magazine's "entrepreneurial superstars" issue aggregated winners in a number of categories, including:

It's exhaustive but interesting reading. Worth carving out some time to pore over the results.

Robot in the skies above Libya

A flying surveillance robot manufactured by Aeryon Labs, based in Waterloo, Ont., was used by Libyan rebels to help battle forces loyal to leader Moammar Gadhafi. After training on the unit for a day and a half, and a few "familiarization flights," the company says on its website, the rebels put the Scout into service on the frontline. "The system has been operating perfectly, with no incidents – quite impressive for those familiar with the statistics of other small UAVs in operational theatres," says Charles Barlow of Zariba Security Corp., which assisted with training efforts. Communitech recently profiled the company, and Report on Small Business has featured the firm in a video.

"Will it play in Peoria?"

Social media is today's vaudeville, writes John McGory in a post for the Chillicothe Gazette, and now our "voix de ville" comes from Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. "Many gather on common digital platforms these days to provide entertainment, social commentary and business, all on the same bill," he points out. "Statistics show more than 90 percent of Americans work to be noticed in the social media theatre." Mr. McGory then outlines five vaudeville principles that can be applied to anyone's social media efforts.


Awards for students operating businesses

The Global Student Entrepreneur Awards is now accepting nominations in its competition for high school, undergraduate and graduate students who have owned and operated businesses for at least six months while attending college or university. Nominees compete against peers from around the world. All applications will be viewed by members of Entrepreneurs' Organization, and those chosen will be scheduled to take part in a live or virtual competition held in 25 countries, with the Global Finals held during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.

The search is on for connected women

The second annual She's Connected social-media conference takes place in Toronto on Sept. 29 and 30. If you're an active social-media user and you have established relationships with influential women, you can apply to attend for free by registering for the site. Not from Toronto or not Canadian? "Not to worry, just let us know you are interested in attending," information on the website points out. "We will use that information to help us select new conference locations next year."


An ace of cakes

Lena Fevens, 29, the owner of Lena’s Designer Cakes and a recent graduate of Nova Scotia Community College, was recently named the 2011 Student Entrepreneur Nova Scotia Champion by charitable organization Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurship (ACE). In the latest of a series of monthly podcasts with ACE honourees, she spoke with Diane Jermyn about time constraints and the entrepreneurial learning curve. The hyperlink will also guide you to a live discussion with Ms. Fevens Tuesday at noon ET.


It's not just an American thing

Back in May, reporter Amy Verner wrote about Prive and other flash-fashion sites that were beginning to emerge in Canada. Anne Kothawala, senior vice-president of public affairs for the Retail Council of Canada, said customers here are diverse enough in their shopping habits for all different types of experiences to co-exist.

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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