How Supporting a Small Business Can Change a Life

At my office we have a mistake jar. Every time we make a silly mistake or don’t use common sense to solve a problem we put money in a jar. That jar gets pretty rich and we typically use that money for a pizza lunch every month. This month we did something different. We came across a video online by an actor named Varun Pruthi who goes around donating money to people and created the #BringingHumanityBack movement. In the spirit of that movement we thought we’d help some businesses out by paying a bit extra for their products. You can see what happened in the video below.

These are incredibly small businesses. However, this is the reality for more than half the world that lives on under $10 per day. Most of the working world doesn’t need motivational quotes sent to them on social media every day to be productive. For them, survival is a pretty strong motivating factor.

Entrepreneurs like this are born into poverty or are knocked into a different life and doing whatever they can with whatever skills they have to get out of it. Unfortunately they didn’t win the genetic lottery of being born in a developed country or with affluent parents. Nonetheless, to help them doesn’t take much. With around $50 and a few hours on a Saturday afternoon our team was able to help a handful of businesses smaller than we were. $10 is 10 days worth of income for some of these businesses. That’s not even two lattes at Starbucks.

What if every business made a pact to help five businesses smaller than they were each month and give them 10 days worth of income? There are millions of businesses throughout the globe of all shapes and sizes. Some businesses are worth billions and some are worth pennies. Each one of them is capable of giving and receiving help. Generosity and poverty don’t have any bias to religion, geography or race either. I’m no religious scholar, but I’m sure every book has a clause that says ‘help each other out’ in there somewhere. Maybe in the footnotes?

In business the more you give the more you get. Giving customers more than what they expect, supporting your local community and actually solving problems for people will automatically yield you rewards.

Join the #bringinghumanityback movement and #supportsmallbusiness today.


Teen Can Play Guitar Thanks To A 3D-Printed Prosthetic Hand

guitar3 Diego Corredor wanted to play guitar but lost his right hand at birth. While he could use a prosthesis to grab a glass of water or pick up objects, he wasn’t able to hold a pick and strum the strings. Then a group of makers at 3D Gluck came along. The team worked with Corredor, who lives in Colombia, to build a custom prosthetic that he could use to play guitar. Because it didn’t… Read More

‘Neflix For Lego’ Pley Launches A Kit Crowdsourcing Platform And Raises $10M

Gorilla-Comp.jpg While Lego’s own crowdsourcing platform exists, letting users submit ideas for community voting, eventually resulting in some being made, the process is slow and somewhat difficult to navigate. Now Lego set sharing platform Pley is debuting a crowdsourced set creation platform called PleyWorld that can see a submission go from concept to shipping product in as little as two weeks,… Read More

Energy bills could be lower – Which?

Recent cuts in consumer energy bills could have been much bigger and made much earlier, research from consumer body Which? has found.

What Was Really Being Talked About in Davos

Just prior to the World Economic Forum at Davos, I attended the CCCE annual conference of Canadian and North American CEOs in London. The conference was designed as a precursor to the World Economic Forum, which was focused, among other things, on income inequality and an increasing concern over the one per cent.

It struck many of the North American CEOs at the conference in London as being odd that, at a time when the EU is suffering from low growth, this year’s Forum is focused on income redistribution. In a taste of what to expect at Davos, Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, challenged big corporations to rethink their business model to show a greater sense of responsibility to the world in which they operate. According to Carney, many corporations and their CEOs are avoiding taxes and not paying their “fair share.”

Carney makes a good point, but it’s also worth noting that big corporations and the one per cent are not a static elite. The old, established circle of power and wealth is being disrupted by a new generation of young, tech-savvy startups that are destroying the wealth that was created by established businesses.

The average job turnover rate for CEOs is now five years versus 10 years in the 1990s. A recent book by Moises Naim, The End of Power, makes a compelling case that barriers to market and political power are coming down. Yes, there is a one per cent. But, a company in the top fifth of its industry now has a 25 per cent chance of falling out of that spot compared to in the 1980s, when the risk was only 10 per cent, and when a company falls, so does the CEO.

This new technology-driven world provides the backdrop for what is really interesting to the delegates at Davos. While income inequality captured the media narrative, what’s really concerning the Switzerland delegates is weak economic growth in the EU and a raging debate about the merits of a common currency.

Last weekend, for example, Greek voters voted decisively to renegotiate the country’s debt. The Syriza party, led by a former communist, Alexis Tsipras, handily outpolled the new democracy party that was pushing an austerity package demanded by the central EU bank and the IMF. It’s only because Germany is worried about the repercussions that it will likely agree to the renegotiation. If Greece leaves the European community, this would trigger a potential exit of weaker southern states such as Italy and Spain, which could undermine German competitiveness since southern states would devalue their currency.

The debates of European integration are also being played out in stronger markets like Britain and France, where right-wing parties are exerting significant pressure on national governments to change their EU relationship. All of this created a somber mood at Davos.

To be sure, the Forum once again generated news and social content about business trends, societal needs, industry insights and new voices in the global economy. But the real conversations in the hallways were that global business leaders are more concerned over the threat of Euro collapse than debating problems of income inequality.


RadioShack May Sell Off Stores As Bankruptcy Looms

Troubled electronics retailer RadioShack is reportedly close to filing for bankruptcy and is in talks to sell half of its more than 4,000 stores to Sprint while shuttering its remaining locations.

That’s according to Bloomberg, which cites anonymous sources in reporting that the Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer is close to a deal that would see the RadioShack locations sold to Sprint operated under the wireless carrier’s name. Under those terms, the deal would represent the end of RadioShack’s existence as a stand-alone retailer once the rest of its locations are closed. The deal is not yet finalized and could still fall apart, or the two companies could agree on a co-branding arrangement, Bloomberg’s report noted.

In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that the 94-year-old RadioShack was preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by February after reporting losses in each of the last 11 quarters. The chain reported worse-than-expected losses in September and required help from hedge fund Standard General, which led a financing that helped RadioShack continue operating through the holiday season.

Now, the Journal reports that Standard General, which became RadioShack’s biggest shareholder last year, is in talks to be the lead bidder in the troubled chain’s potential bankruptcy auction. The Journal cites anonymous sources in reporting that Standard General could become the so-called stalking horse, or the first bidder, in a court-supervised auction of RadioShack’s assets. The hedge fund could also potentially purchase a slimmed-down RadioShack that has fewer stores, the paper said.

RadioShack’s stock fell during Monday’s trading session and is down nearly 90% in the past year.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.

Apple To Build A $2 Billion Data Command Center In Arizona

applehq Apple will build a $2 billion global command center located in Mesa, Arizona, the company revealed on Monday (via CNBC). It will employ 150 full-time personnel, and will also result in between 300 and 500 construction and trade jobs, and will play host to the company’s data operations across the globe.
Apple’s arrangement involves repurposing a facility that previously housed GT… Read More