Category Archives: Business Trends

Will Stone

With the economy in a constant flux employment news is first and foremost in the business world and our vision is to share with you employment trends, current employment opportunities, what jobs are hot and what industries are going to be the best to get involved with for the future. Jobs, careers, employment or work… call it what you will and this column will cover the news associated with it in a timely and objective manner. Our team brings their award winning writing skills and knowledge as to what is happening in the employment news sector to you daily.

The Entertainment world has more business news flowing that it is virtually impossible to keep track and you will find the most important and up to date entertainment business news available. Having our ear to the ground we catch the trending stories in the entertainment industry and give you an objective view and up to date information. Bizop.org has been covering the entertainment news beat for some time and brings her unique insight as she shares some of the most interesting entertainment business news behind the scenes.

The business of America is business and small business is the backbone of business in America.Our team brings their unique insight into the world of small business news with topics ranging from A – Z and gives a complete analysis of all small business news that crosses his path. From starting a small business to how to get funding to what businesses are hot today are all part of the menu.

The sports world is not without business news by any means and on this page you will find a plethora of sports business trends that will encompass professional sports teams and the various changes relating to the business end of those teams, salaries of prominent athletes, sporting teams that are moving or considering changing their geographical location and a variety of other events and trends that are in the sports business news arena. Our ability to get to the bottom of a story is not exceeded by anyone else and is a great daily read.

USA Business News certainly has an effect on many different economies and with that in mind we aim to give you the most pertinent news stories that relate to the business world in the United States. Typically you will find financial news that is USA based, new industries that are making noise, trends in the business news world as well as small business news as our team uncovers more USA business news trends that affects your daily lives.

On this particular page you will find current world business news that affects the majority of the world. There will be world financial news, manufacturing news, news or wars and rumors of wars that affect the business world as well as a variety of other world news stories in the business world. Our team has a handle on world business news trends like no other and will share ideas and insights that one would not get anywhere else.

BUILDING AN ANGEL GROUP

INTRODUCTION

Angel investors often work in groups for three key reasons:

  • To access more and higher quality deal flow than can be found by working alone.
  • To reduce individual effort by dividing up the work.
  • To reduce risk by tapping into the group’s varied experience.

Group participation also allows individual investors to spread their capital across more deals, resulting in better diversification and reducing risk.

Less than 20 local angel groups have been formally established in Canada, compared with more than 300 in the U.S. While each network is uniquely designed to serve the interests of its members, these groups have many characteristics in common, such as the investment screening process, and many that vary, such as organizational structure. Four groups are Continue reading

INCUBATORS: AN ANGEL INVESTOR’S BEST FRIEND?

 I.  OVERVIEW

Angel Investment Incubators were created originally as a way of making use of abandoned industrial space. However, recent events have encouraged incubators to focus on providing true value-added services. According to the National Incubator Association:

“A business incubator is an economic development tool designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services. A business incubator’s main goal is to produce successful firms that will leave the program financially viable and freestanding.

These incubator “graduates” create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, commercialize critical new technologies and strengthen local and national economies.

Critical to the definition of an incubator is on-site management, which develops and orchestrates business, marketing and management resources tailored to a company’s needs. Incubators usually also provide clients access to appropriate rental space and flexible leases, shared basic office services and equipment, technology support services and assistance in obtaining the financing necessary for company growth.”

Business incubators have experienced a tremendous surge in growth over the last two decades, swelling from just 12 in the United States in 1980 to over 900 by 2000, with 3000 in existence around the world. Much of this growth was fueled by a desire to find an active way for companies, government and the financial community to stimulate innovation and new business creation. Over 80 per cent of the incubators created in North America were “not for profit,” created as a tool of government economic development or linked to research organizations eager to see the benefit of their research work applied to the marketplace.

In the late 1990s, the dot-com boom created what appeared to be a major opportunity for a new generation of incubators in the private sector. Many saw this approach as providing a superior route to business success, as compared to traditional venture capital funding. Unfortunately, this business model was based on the false premise that money ploughed into start-ups in the first 12 months could be returned within 12 months, due to the high valuations that the stock market and acquisitions were placing on these companies. The collapse of market capitalizations for such companies resulted in a reappraisal of this model, not to mention the spectacular collapse of some incubators, such as NRG and Itemus in Toronto. Incubators created by large corporations, such as Nortel or OnX, which were seeking to capitalize on innovation from within their companies, have met similar fates. It has become obvious that current market conditions will not support such enterprises in the private sector.

Given this experience, universities and governments have begun experimenting with new “not for profit” models. These approaches are based on links between a community and a mixed-use incubator, and between a strong research organization, such as a university, and a technology incubator. Each of the new incubators has a different agenda, with different models achieving varying levels of success and sustainability. Today’s incubator manager needs to build on the most successful practices of other incubators, while fully engaging the local business community in fostering

Angel Investment Incubators

Angel Investment Incubators

new enterprises. Angels, too, are making an important contribution to creating regional wealth and, under certain circumstances, facilitating the growth of technology hubs.

The fundamental needs of new businesses remain the same – access to resources and support to help them survive the critical first phase of development. Indeed, the importance of business fundamentals and strong early stage development are being re-emphasized in the post-dot.com world. Incubators can play a critical role, not just as providers of space and equipment, but as a real axis of business advice and services and an environment of mentoring and encouragement.

Angel Investment Incubators can also fulfill four important functions for angel investors:

  • Supporting and developing angel investments in early stage companies.
  • Providing a source of high-potential, qualified deal flow.
  • Facilitating the creation of win-win relationships between angels and entrepreneurs.
  • Accessing a large community of interested parties who can provide networking opportunities for the new company.

Each of these roles is examined below.

SUPPORTING AND DEVELOPING AN ANGEL INVESTMENT IN

EARLY STAGE COMPANIES

The traditional model of incubators is changing. In addition to offering inexpensive and flexible space, as well as technology infrastructure and support equipment, incubators are also providing start-up companies with many value-added services and a much more comprehensive development process. This includes such help as refining the USP, active mentoring, providing the start-up with training, expertise and new businesses tools, and facilitating access to the financial community and to a range of business services, such as accounting, legal, public relations and recruitment.

Two examples of the training programs available to new business owners are the Ventures Innovation Incubator at the TIME Centre (Simon Fraser University), and the Exceler@tor (University of Toronto). Both programs offer workshops and training sessions for start-ups located in the incubator and for new technology businesses in the wider community. The TIME Centre has also held a one-day workshop focused on board governance for start-ups, designed to forge links between start-ups and the investment community.

One of the ways in which incubators help start-ups is by bringing them in contact with one another and with the wider business community. It is important for new businesses to have face-to-face contact and opportunities to network and share experiences. The Harvard Business Review, in an article entitled Networked Incubators, talked about the importance of these interactions in distinguishing successful incubation models3. Incubators, whether housing the start-ups in a collective space, or reaching them more remotely, are creating opportunities for new businesses to meet and interact. These interactions help to generate new ideas and encourage business owners to drive their enterprises forward.

The provision of shared physical space and equipment is still a core part of most incubation programs. This is especially critical for specific business sectors, such as biotechnology, which have a protracted pre-revenue development phase and where labs and equipment are very expensive. Incubators providing such facilities include the Laval Biotechnology Incubator, which provides inexpensive space and pools costly equipment so that the start-ups can focus on testing and building their businesses, rather than covering significant capital and operating costs. This is also true in IT incubators such as the Exceler@tor, where sophisticated IT technology infrastructure can be shared by the 25 companies housed in this Toronto facility.

As incubators evolve from sympathetic landlords to a source of significant knowledge and resources, they will dramatically increase the chances that a new company will succeed and grow and that an angel’s investment will be rewarded. The incubator will reduce the company’s burn rate, both by reducing its operating costs and helping it to secure more flexible financing terms. It will improve access to technology infrastructure and partners. It will allow start-ups to become better prepared to present themselves to the investment community. And it will provide a tightly formed network of colleagues and mentors, while helping enterprises to develop the necessary skills to thrive.

PROVIDING A SOURCE OF HIGH QUALITY DEAL FLOW

Angel Investment Incubators have traditionally set three major requirements for admission: technological innovation, willingness to learn and significant market opportunity. This makes them an ideal source of high quality deal flow for angel investors. In addition to helping turn technology innovations into businesses that are investor-ready, incubators can also prepare the start-up for negotiating a specific deal. The ability of an incubator to facilitate this marriage between new companies and angel investors will greatly increase the deal conversion rates and lead to higher levels of investment success.

Incubators, especially those run on or by universities, have unique access to research talent. This opportunity to build relationships with faculty and to raise the profile of business creation on campus often encourages researchers in the lab to create new businesses. This synergy is illustrated by the number of large and successful incubators located adjacent to campuses in Boston, North Carolina, California and elsewhere. Simply being close to the source of the discoveries, and connected with the research community, encourages the creation of new businesses and investment opportunities.

The second way that Angel Investment Incubatorsdevelop a strong pool of investments is by providing training and resources to make the new businesses “investor ready.” Incubators assist start-ups in developing a coherent business plan and offer presentation training, which can transform a lab researcher into an articulate businessperson. In some cases, they will find the right person, other than the inventor, to lead a technology company. Some angel investors say that this preparedness means that they pay more for investments coming out of incubators, as the business owners are more savvy and have thought through the value they bring more clearly. But this training is also reflective of their overall management skills and development, which makes them better deal partners than the average new business owner.

FACILITATING THE CREATION OF WIN-WIN RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ANGELS AND ENTREPRENEURS

Incubators serve investors by bringing them together with a hub of pre-screened investments. The creation of this unique “marketplace” facilitates deal flow and allows angel investors to identify investment opportunities that have received and will continue to receive training and support.

The incubator can also provide guidance on technology or market development to angels with limited experience. Many incubators even offer customized presentations, which introduce the angel to a set of potential investments that meet the angel’s criteria. This pre-selection allows the angel to achieve a higher deal conversion rate per presentation and makes the deal-making process more efficient. Such synergistic relationships between incubators and angels are just beginning to develop. Both sides can do a lot more to encourage this natural partnership.

ACCESSING A LARGE COMMUNITY OF INTERESTED PARTIES WHO CAN PROVIDE NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE NEW COMPANY

Angel Investment Incubators, given their role as a hub and their linkages to universities and research facilities, are in an excellent position to elicit partnerships with many organizations. For example, the Exceler@tor has strategic partnerships with Microsoft and HP, which enable it to provide more sophisticated technology solutions and a ready partner for early stage commercialization. Such partnerships also allow incubators to help their tenants by arranging for technology evaluations and collaborations and by putting these new companies in touch with prospective partners and even acquirers.

These relationships bring considerable value to the early-stage company, as do the interactions that incubators facilitate with the investment community, potential employees and the academic community. Start-ups operating outside incubators are unlikely to have the same level and number of relationships available to them.

AN EVOLVING MODEL

While Angel Investment Incubators have undergone tremendous evolution, there are still important developments underway to better align the interests of incubators, investors and innovative businesses.

In the original, rent-driven business model, incubators had little incentive to push start-ups to develop and outgrow the incubator, as this would truncate revenues. Today’s incubator is more likely to incorporate a model that allows for a return of value to the incubator at a subsequent stage, thus providing an incentive to encourage the new company’s growth. The Exceler@tor, for example, uses a warrants model to achieve this.

Angel Investment Incubators are also looking at new business models that allow them to generate revenues by providing training and continued access to services for their alumni. This could be done by taking a further equity or royalty position in the new business. Such an approach provides the incubator with much greater incentive to push the start-up to develop, leverage training and resources and grow the business, which in turn aligns the start-ups more closely with the interests of investors.

To attract investors, start-ups should be seen as ready to take on the challenges and realities of the business world. VCs sometimes consider incubators as negative selectors because the comfort of the incubator could prevent the aggressive growth of the business. If start-ups feel that their welcome at the incubator is never-ending, with cheap access to resources, they may become complacent and not push their businesses forward. To this end, incubators must set and enforce ongoing performance expectations and strict exit policies. They should also ensure that start-ups are paying appropriately for the resources they consume and meeting regular payment schedules. In some cases, substantial increases in monthly rent or service charges are advisable.

A specific challenge in university-run incubators is ensuring that decisions are based on business considerations. It is not unusual for a founder to maintain an academic mindset, instead of a competitive, commercial frame of mind. This will inevitably inhibit growth and commercial success. The incubator must ensure this issue is dealt with firmly, otherwise it will create problems for investors trying to instill a returns-driven approach to these businesses.

CONCLUSION

The mission of most “not for profit” technology-based incubators is to increase the survival rate of graduates and foster their acceleration in the commercial market space. Angels with limited technology knowledge and networks can significantly benefit by working with incubator management to:

  • identify likely incubator investment opportunities
  • rapidly complete the engagement process
  • maximize return on the investment, and
  • take full benefit of the resources and networking opportunities available through this special resource.

By forging strong partnerships with incubators and by sharing common goals, angels can identify superior opportunities among incubated companies and enjoy higher returns than they would otherwise receive by investing in individual opportunities alone.

Angel Investing Groups

Business Angel Investing Groups Growing in North America

 Business Angel Investing Groups

 Angel investing has long been an important source of financial support and mentoring for new and growing businesses bridging the gap between individual (friends and family) and institutional venture capital rounds of financing. Over the past several years, this sector of the private capital market has been formalizing in response to both growing demands and complexity.

 According to research conducted by Jeffrey E. Sohl at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Venture Research, there were approximately 50 formal business angel investing groups in the United States five years ago. He now estimates that there may be as many as 170 formal and informal organizations located throughout leading technology and business regions in the US and Canada. These groups have several characteristics: loosely to well-defined legal structures; part-time or full-time management; standardized investment processes; a public face usually with a Web site and public relations activities; and, occasionally a traditionally structured venture capital/angel investing fund.

The number of organized groups has grown in response to several factors:

  •  A desire to attract better deals and generate higher returns than angels acting alone;
  •  The growth of venture capital funds and the attraction of venture investing;
  •  A widening “capital gap” between individual and institutional venture capital investors that has                                            created a need and an opportunity for pooled investments;
  •  The legal and economic complexity of these investments;
  •  A large increase in the number of self-made, high net worth individuals who want to be more involved in their alternative asset management;
  •  The volume of deal flow; and,
  •  Social camaraderie among investors.

As a result, investment screening is fairly consistent across groups. Specific organizational and legal structures, however, remain varied. Most groups developed their own organizational structures and processes independently and have recently begun to discuss and debate best practices, some of which are discussed in this paper.

For entrepreneurs and other investors, the net results of this change are mostly positive. Although the models of business angel investing groups continue to evolve, these groups are generally better financed than ad hoc groups of individual investors. These groups provide an extended network that benefits both funded companies and co-investors by providing greater due diligence, operational support and domain expertise. Business angel groups can also provide a key source of qualified deal flow for venture firms; as well as provide intermediate capital for companies with financing requirement levels between individual investors and institutional venture capital.

This paper is the product of the first summit of organized angel investing groups, an April 2002 meeting focused on the best practices of angel investing. Thirty representatives from 18 groups across North America attended the meeting at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation coordinated the summit, working with a committee of angel organization leaders. The summit was initiated by the leader of CommonAngels, of Boston, who noted that organized angels need and are interested in opportunities to share information in order to enhance their practices. The participating angel organizations expressed a strong interest in continued sharing of information and best practices, and will hold additional summits in the future.

What Is An Angel?

From a purely legal standpoint, an “angel investor” (or “business angel investor”) is a “high net worth individual,” usually an accredited investor (as the term is defined in Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933 or SEC Rule 501) who invests his or her own funds in private companies, typically at the seed and early

Angel Investing Groups

Angel Investing Groups

stages. To most companies, though, angel investors are much more: they often bring expertise or affinity for that company’s product, market or management team, in addition to taking additional financial risks. Many serve as active advisors or mentors for entrepreneurs, provide additional relationships to aid the business’ growth, and supply industry and entrepreneurial experience.

Broadly, these individuals fall into four categories as defined by a study on angel investors by MIT’s Entrepreneurship Center:

  •  Guardian Angels, who bring both entrepreneurial and industry expertise. Many have been successful entrepreneurs in the same sector as the new companies they back.
  •  Entrepreneur Angels, who have experience starting companies but come from different industry sectors.
  •  Operational Angels, who bring industry experience and expertise, but generally from large, established companies, and may lack first-hand experience with the travails of a startup.
  •  Financial Angels, who typically invest purely for the financial return.

All are present within today’s angel organizations, but many Continue reading

How to Get Your Piece of the 700 Billion Bailout, Jobs For All

Damn the banks, damn the Wall Street traders, damn the Fed, damn them all…damn every last single voice of negativity that want us to believe that the economic good times are over. I don’t believe a single word of it. Things aren’t that bad, in fact, since I discovered this new web site called “GovernmentContractsforAll” I am convinced, more than ever, that our ship has just rolled in. Don’t believe me; check out some of these opportunities.

Printing

The US government is offering contracts to any printers or counterfeiters who feel qualified enough to reproduce $100 bills at a rate of 5 million dollars per hour. Apparently, banks in desperate need of cash will not accept money transfers from the Fed. They don’t believe the government is good for the funds. As a result of this request for cash, the US Mint will not be able to meet the increased demands for cash from the banks. In fact, demand for cash is so strong sources in the government predict that any Tom, Dick or Harry with experience working a Xerox machine have a fair to good chance of landing a contract.

Trucking

Moving around billions of cash requires some serious equipment. In a stampede, similar to the Alaskan gold rush, truckers, the country over, are applying for government contracts to haul the cash to the banks. “We haven’t seen demand Continue reading

How To Find Out If Something Is A Scam

Is it a real deal?

I was recently made redundant and decided that between job interviews etc, I would see what money I could earn via the Internet, rather than just sleeping in or going fishing.

Well I was instantly blown away but the 40 million money making opportunities you’ll find without too much trouble via just a couple of simple google searches. And once you sign up for one newsletter or opportunity, you Continue reading

Mount Allison offers Conversational French courses in Moncton

Want to brush up on your linguistic skills? Mount Allison University is pleased to offer non-credit conversational French courses in Moncton starting February 12. Introductory and intermediate classes are being offered to meet a wide range of skills and interests.

Heather Patterson, Mount Allison’s director of continuous learning, says, “Whether you are just learning French or simply wish to brush up on your skills, we have courses that fit the bill as they offer not only Continue reading

It’s Time to Ditch Abusive Corporate Management Styles

What is a Cycle of Abuse?

In mid-October of 2008 I left a job that provided me with health insurance, a 401k, life insurance, and a regular income because I just couldn’t stand to do the work for one single minute more in good conscience. But beyond that, I realized that by staying in that particular work environment, I was legitmating a management style that is based on something psychologists refer to as a ‘cycle of abuse’.

What is a cycle of abuse?

In the first part of the cycle, the abuser, frustrated by factors often totally unrelated to his/her relationship to the abused, lashes out in a negative way through violence, harsh and/or unwarranted criticism, or verbal and/or emotional abuse, (such as swearing, demeaning put-downs, withholding praise and affection when it is clearly warranted, etc). Unreasonable expectations are often placed on the victim with harsh penalties for not meeting these expectations. This kind of treatment leads to a crisis of confidence and an erosion of the Continue reading

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do

Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do

Rejecting the Consumer Economy

As Wall Street continues to fret and fuss over whether or not Americans will return to spending money we don’t have on cheap crap we don’t need, I would like to offer an idea that’s been nagging at me for a couple of years now:

How about we just knock it off?

Seriously, maybe it is at least possible that a “consumer driven economy” is complete madness and the time has now come to admit it and get real.

I recently accepted a paid project ghostwriting an E-book on 100 Money Saving Recipes for a website that aims to help people through the coming recession by sharing common sense solutions most of our grandparents took for granted. I quickly realized that most of the consumer-madness that has been driving the US economy is a fairly recent form of insanity.

For example, when I was growing up in the late 50s and early 60s, buying convenience foods was considered to be just a step up away from killing puppies and sleeping in your own vomit after a night of debauchery. No woman in my extended family would have been caught dead making Pillsbury canned biscuits. To this day, I can make biscuits, cornbread, pie crust, and muffins without a recipe, in about 3 to 5 minutes, tops.

So what, you say. (Thanks Dick Cheney.) Well, so, a dozen big biscuits made from Continue reading