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Indian dabbawallah Arun Krusnaji Shette works during a computer class at The Dabbawala Abhyas Kendra Study Centre, part of The Agrawal Institute of Management and Technology in Mumbai on September 9, 2010. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)
Indian dabbawallah Arun Krusnaji Shette works during a computer class at The Dabbawala Abhyas Kendra Study Centre, part of The Agrawal Institute of Management and Technology in Mumbai on September 9, 2010. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE)

Small Business Briefing

Harvard 'angels' set up funding network in India 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

Angel network gets rolling in India

Alumni Raj Chinai and Ramesh Shah, in collaboration with Harvard University, have co-founded and launched Harvard Business School Angels of India (HBSAI), an angel investing organization.

According to a techcircle story, the network will support Harvard’s mission to “educate leaders who make a difference in the world,” and it will focus on technology and technology-enabled startups by investing $250,000 (U.S.) to $500,000 in each business.

The co-founders are based in Bangalore, with a core team of investors in other cities in India, including New Delhi and Mumbai. Pan-India entrepreneurs, regardless of their affiliations with Harvard, can submit pitches.

HBSAI's global network includes senior executives, investors and entrepreneurs with expertise in industries such as e-commerce, mobile, education, healthcare and clean tech. Successful applicants will also have access to experts and select faculty members from Harvard University and its various schools.

Mr. Chinai and Mr. Shah completed their master’s degrees in 2004 and 2009, respectively. Mr. Chinai, who was earlier working with SVB India Capital Partners, is a principal at the early stage venture capital firm IndoUS Venture Partners.

Mr. Shah, a serial entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of RK Group, a textile trading company and distributor. He is also an angel investor, having backed companies such as ZipDial, Hotelogix, Mobiquest and Sparsha.

Top 10 search terms

Stuff.co.nz has posted a year-end, top 10, small-business search results list from Google. Four of the terms - "business for sale," "franchise," "starting a business," and "Amway" - were all related to starting a company. "Make money" was in the No. 1 slot, followed by "business for sale, with 'survey' rounding out the top three. Global direct-selling firm Amway was the only company to crack the top 10, coming in at No. 8.

'Fair business environment' in Vietnam

Vietnam’s Politburo has posted a resolution on its website that says it plans to create a “fair business environment” for entrepreneurs due to their importance in the economy, Bloomberg reports. “It affirms that Vietnam respects the role of different economic sectors,” including private businesses, Nguyen Duc Kien, deputy head of the National Assembly’s economic committee, told the news organization by phone from Hanoi. “Business management was once considered something impure.” It's the Politburo’s first resolution on entrepreneurs, Mr. Kien said. The country seeks to “build a large and strong group of entrepreneurs who have national spirit, political awareness, business culture, high social responsibility,” and good management skills, the statement said.


Franchise Show in Montreal

Canadian Franchise Association is staging a Franchise Show in Montreal on Jan. 21 and 22, bringing together a large group of brand-name franchises under one roof with investments at all levels. Learn about specific companies and the industry as a whole. Make connections with credible franchisors, attend seminars, talk one-on-one at the Ask The Experts booth, and check out more than 100 franchise systems. A one day pass is $10, or $15 for the weekend.

Start your nGen with brand protection

Niagara Interactive Media Generator (nGen), a hub for interactive digital media project and business development, hosts a lunch-and-learn on Jan. 10, entltled Brand Protection and Legal Business Structures. Speaker is Michael Mann of Lancaster Brooks & Welch, the session runs from 11:30 to 1 pm (ET) in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and cost is $10.


Where have all the employees gone?

Many small businesses face a huge hurdle when it comes to holiday-season staffing, which can be tougher on them than larger businesses because they “don't have the scalability of more staff” when they have fewer employees to begin with, says Leslie Roberts, president and founder of Calgary-based GoForth Institute, which sells online entrepreneurship training. With more limited resources, they must handle business hours and vacation requests carefully.


Did the predictions come true?

For months, columnist Mia Pearson wrote in December, 2010, digital communications experts had been releasing what they believed to be the hot marketing trends of 2011. She was tempted to make her own predictions, but instead of guessing what she thought the trends would be, she shared how she hoped small businesses would evolve their communications strategies in 2011 – trends or no trends. She how she did.

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