NFT Of The World Wide Web Source Code Sells For $5.4 Million

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the internet

On Wednesday, 32 years after English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee penned “Information Management: A Proposal,” the genesis of the World Wide Web, Sotheby’s auctioned the Web’s original source code for $5.4 million. It was, of course, in the form of a nonfungible token aka an NFT.

The source code for the Web was sold to an anonymous buyer, according to Sotheby’s. There were a total of 51 bids on the NFT.

“NFTs, be they artworks or a digital artifact like this, are the latest playful creations in this realm, and the most appropriate means of ownership that exists, Berners-Lee said in a statement about the auction. “They are the ideal way to package the origins behind the Web.”

Sotheby conducted the auction, titled “This changed everything” from June 23 through June 30 with the bidding starting at $1,000. The British-founded global marketplace for art collectibles has recently added digital collectibles such as NFTs to its offerings. The proceeds from the $5.4 million will go toward initiatives that Tim Berners-Lee supports, including his open source technology Solid.

NFTs are rapidly becoming a way for members of the digital community to create a virtual museum and document historic moments on the internet, whether that was the $4 million sale of the Doge meme NFT or when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sold an NFT of his first tweet for $2.9 million or when digital artist Itzel Yard sold an NFT art made from the key of the first Tor Browser, making her the highest-selling female NFT artist.

Gauthier Zuppinger is the co-founder of nonfungible.com, a database that tracks the sales of NFTs and crypto collectibles. He compared the source code to CryptoPunks, one of the first non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. Zuppinger says the code’s singularity and its monumental role in the foundation of the digital world contributed to the skyrocketing bidding price for the NFT.

So what exactly does the anonymous buyer receive? It doesn’t receive any unique usage rights because the source code for the web has been public domain since 1991 when CERN released the worldwide web code library.

The NFT itself contains a myriad of technical tid-bits and gemstones in the history of the Web. The four elements include the original time-stamped files containing the code that was written between October,1990, and August, 1991. The 9,555 lines of code written in the Objective-C programming language depicts the application of three inventions made by the physicist-turned-software engineer: HTML (Hypertext Markup Language); HTTP (Hyper Transfer Protocol); and URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers). The buyer will also receive a letter from Berners-Lee, an animated visualization and a digital poster of the code.

“As people seem to appreciate the autographed versions of books, now we have NFT technology, I thought it could be fun to make an autographed copy of the original code of the first web browser,” Berners-Lee’s statement reads.

Apart from being the man behind the Web, Berners-Lee is also a director of the World Wide Web consortium, which looks over the development of the Web. As the co-founder and chief technology officer of Inrupt, he is honing open source technology called Solid to come closer to his original vision for the Web to be a shared information space for all members of the society.

Dr. Merav Ozair, an expert on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology and a fintech faculty member at Rutgers Business School, compared the NFT sale of the World Wide Web source code to the historic moment when the founding fathers of the United States of America signed the Declaration of Independence. The only difference is that the code that created the web also changed the way the world functions today.

“This was also a historic moment when he created a code that initiated everything, and this is not something only for the U.S. it’s for the global community, everywhere,” she says.

Ozair says the auction marks the kick off of Web 3.0, a version of the web where cryptocurrencies thrive.

The source code for the web is already public domain. In fact, Berners-Lee fought with CERN officials for it to be that way, says Marc Webber, the curatorial director of the internet history program at the Computer History Museum.

“It’s a little bit paradoxical. You know, you’ve got an NFT on this completely public domain open thing,” says Webber, who has been researching the history of the web since 1995.

The auction has instigated curiosity about web history, Webber says. But the commodification of computer and technology history could make it difficult for museum curators like him to procure such digital artifacts when NFTs offer the owner lump sum pay-offs and a wide audience.

Webber says that Berners-Lee has had multiple opportunities to cash in on his invention but has always chosen not to so that the web remains in the public domain. “I do know that this is not like a simple ploy to get money,” he says.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I write about tech startups and innovation. I am receiving my master’s degree in magazine journalism from the University of Missouri. I’ve previously written and worked for Vox Magazine in Columbia, Missouri and Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.

Source: NFT Of The World Wide Web Source Code Sells For $5.4 Million

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Critics:

A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, that certifies a digital asset to be unique and therefore not interchangeable. NFTs can be used to represent items such as photos, videos, audio, and other types of digital files. Access to any copy of the original file, however, is not restricted to the buyer of the NFT. While copies of these digital items are available for anyone to obtain, NFTs are tracked on blockchains to provide the owner with a proof of ownership that is separate from copyright.

The NFT market value tripled in 2020, reaching more than $250 million. During the first quarter of 2021, NFT sales exceeded $2 billion. A non-fungible token (NFT) is a unit of data stored on a digital ledger, called a blockchain, which can be sold and traded. The NFT can be associated with a particular digital or physical asset (a file or a physical object) and a license to use the asset for a specified purpose. NFTs (and the associated license to use, copy or display the underlying asset) can be traded and sold on digital markets.

NFTs function like cryptographic tokens, but unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, are not mutually interchangeable, in other words, not fungible (e.g. one bitcoin is equivalent to any other bitcoin while every NFT may represent a different underlying asset and thus have a different value). NFTs are created when blockchains string records of cryptographic hash, a set of characters identifying a set of data, onto previous records therefore creating a chain of identifiable data blocks.

This cryptographic transaction process ensures the authentication of each digital file by providing a digital signature that is used to track NFT ownership. However, data links that point to details like where the art is stored can die.The speculative market for NFTs has led more investors to trade at greater volumes and rates.The buying surge of NFTs was called an economic bubble by experts, who also compared it to the Dot-com bubble.

By mid-April 2021, demand appeared to have substantially subsided, causing prices to fall significantly; early buyers were reported to have “done supremely well” by Bloomberg Businessweek. An NFT of the source code of the World Wide Web, credited to internet inventor computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee, was auctioned in June 2021 by Sotheby’s in London, and was sold for USD$5.4

References

Open Source Brings Collective Creativity To The Intelligent Edge

The idea of open source is not new. Ideas around the power of collectives to share, iterate, and effectively innovate together in near virtual space arose in the mid-eighteenth century, during the heyday of the age of enlightenment, with groups like the Lunar Society in the UK. The Lunar Society met roughly once a month in Birmingham, at the epicenter of the industrial revolution, as a collective of great minds, including both of Charles Darwin’s grandfathers.

They explored, shared, and broke barriers across disciplines together because they had the space in which to do it, and as a byproduct they gained great energy from discovering the possibilities of the world around them. For anyone who has attended an open source event, this description may sound familiar.

The Lunar Society of the 1790s is in many ways the very essence of open source community. Getting the very best ideas, working together, reacting and sharing together in real time. One major difference, though, is that the Lunar Society was very exclusive by nature, while today’s open source community is not. It is truly open. We live in a vastly more complex and expansive world than Birmingham in the 1790s; the power of the opportunities today is global, and mostly still forming.

With billions of devices running autonomously, computing, sensing, and predicting zettabytes of data, there are endless possibilities for what business ideas and technologies will thrive on the intelligent edge. Only an open source strategy can work in this environment: millions of people, ten of millions of ideas, maybe billions of combinations of code.

Open source for the intelligent edge

An effective intelligent edge will require a robust infrastructure that can handle low latency, high availability, and bandwidth demands. This infrastructure will include three key components: a cloud platform for running applications, analytics to monitor the health of the platform and services, and an orchestration layer to deploy and manage services across a distributed network.

There are five basic ways for companies to obtain this infrastructure: build it themselves from scratch, buy a proprietary solution from a vendor, build it starting with open source, buy a vendor-supported open source solution, or use infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

In a recent survey we administered across 500 respondents in France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the U.S., a relatively small percentage selected “build your own from scratch,” and a few more selected “vendor proprietary.” The majority selected an option where open source plays a role, whether in IaaS, do-it-yourself (DIY), or vendor-supported options. IaaS was the #1 choice for all three elements (cloud platform, analytics, and orchestration). The rest were split between one of the other flavors of open source (DIY or vendor-supported).

It seems most people aren’t interested in building and/or managing their infrastructure themselves. 34% of business in the U.S. cite “lack of internal skills or knowledge” and “bandwidth constraints on people’s time” as the biggest barriers to adopting intelligent edge technologies, followed closely by “additional investments in associated technologies are unclear” and “lack of internal business support or request.” Open source options give these companies the benefits of the solution without having to shoulder the burden all on their own.

If building and supporting your own infrastructure is core to your business, then building from scratch might make sense — but even then, chances are you may still use open source components. With 180,000 open source projects available with 1,400 unique licenses, it just doesn’t make sense not to use open source to some degree.

Two key reasons why open source is so pervasive

The popularity of open source is not surprising. For one thing, you get to tap into a technological hive mind. There is some debate, and many variables, but estimates put the number of open source developers worldwide somewhere north of 20 million. Open source communities attract a wide variety of people who are interested in participating in a particular piece of technology, with communities and projects running the gamut in terms of size and scope, depending on the focus and maturity of the project.

The common thread is the community of people who are contributing and reviewing code in an effort to make the project better. Generally speaking, the more applicable the code is to a variety of use cases and needs, the more participation you might see in the community. So with open source projects you get to leverage some of the smartest people on the planet, and they don’t have to be on your company payroll.

The second reason for such widespread usage of open source — related to the first — is the fact that you don’t have to do it all yourself. It’s a pretty common scenario for a development organization to use open source code as a component of a larger solution. By leveraging that open source component they can save hundreds if not thousands of work hours by not having to develop or be the sole maintainer of that piece of code. It also allows the organization to focus on their value-add.

Not just a groovy codefest

Open source derives its success from community, and just like in any community, some boundaries and agreed-upon rules to play by are necessary in order to thrive. It’s one thing to download a piece of open source code for use in a personal project. It’s another to use open source code as a critical component of your company’s operations or as a product you provide to your customers. Just because you can get open source code “for free” doesn’t mean you won’t make an investment.

Open source projects need focus, attention, and nurturing. In order to get the full value from the community one must be an active member of that community — or pay someone to be an active member of the community on your behalf. Being active requires an investment of time and resources to give a voice and listen to other voices on a steering committee, discuss priority features to work on next, participate in marketing activities designed to encourage more participants, contribute quality code, review code from others, and more. Leaning in is strongly encouraged.

Open source technology offers a tremendous opportunity for collective creativity and innovation. When like-minded people gather together for a focused intellectual purpose, it’s energizing to the individual and can be hugely beneficial to the organization. Whether the open source code is part of an IaaS, a component of something you build, or part of a vendor-supported solution, it is a tremendous asset you can use to push your company’s value-add forward to better meet your customer’s needs.

Matt Jones is responsible for the global R&D team at Wind River. In this role, he leads the delivery of innovative products that are enabling and accelerating the digital transformation of our customers across market segments, ranging from aerospace to industrial, defense to medical, and networking to automotive. With nearly 20 years of experience in the technology industry, he oversees the development of the Wind River portfolio to expand the company’s reach in both new and existing markets.

He was previously at Virgin Hyperloop One, where as Senior Vice President he led the Software Engineering teams; tasked with providing all the software needed to manage, control, and operate an autonomous hyperloop system. This included embedded software and electronics, networking, cloud data and services, as well as customer-facing applications. Prior to Virgin Hyperloop One, he was chief product officer at moovel Group, Daimler’s mobility solutions company. Before moovel, he was director of future technology at Jaguar Land Rover. He also serves as Chairman at GENIVI Alliance, and was a member of the Board of Directors at The Linux Foundation.

He holds a Master of Engineering, Electronic and Electrical with Management, from the University of Birmingham.

Source: Open Source Brings Collective Creativity To The Intelligent Edge

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Critics:

Open source is source code that is made freely available for possible modification and redistribution. Products include permission to use the source code, design documents, or content of the product. It most commonly refers to the open-source model, in which open-source software or other products are released under an open-source license as part of the open-source-software movement. Use of the term originated with software, but has expanded beyond the software sector to cover other open content and forms of open collaboration.

Generally, open source refers to a computer program in which the source code is available to the general public for use for any (including commercial) purpose, or modification from its original design. Open-source code is meant to be a collaborative effort, where programmers improve upon the source code and share the changes within the community. Code is released under the terms of a software license. Depending on the license terms, others may then download, modify, and publish their version (fork) back to the community.

Open source promotes universal access via an open-source or free license to a product’s design or blueprint, and universal redistribution of that design or blueprint. Before the phrase open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of other terms. Open source gained hold in part due to the rise of the Internet. The open-source software movement arose to clarify copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues. 

Agriculture, economy, manufacturing and production

How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

Nothing propels a company more quickly than innovation, and nothing stifles it more quickly than a “that’s how we’ve always done it” attitude. News startup Axios is an excellent example of a company breaking barriers and thinking outside the box. The company is making a big bet that other companies will pay to learn how to write like Axios reporters.

The new communications platform, AxiosHQ, launched in February and enables companies to send Axios-style, just-the-facts internal newsletters. Its cost? At least $10,000 annually. It remains to be seen whether executives will be willing to invest that kind of money, but it’s a fascinating proposition.

Related: Why Your Marketing Team Should Be Journalists

What does it take for organizations to vet, approve and develop similarly innovative ideas? The answer is not simple, and it varies from company to company. Innovation efforts get plenty of lip service, but it’s much harder to perfect a process for selecting and implementing top ideas.

No magic wand for innovation

In the same way that data-driven decisions run many aspects of an organization, leaders need to use data to create a rubric for vetting innovative ideas. This enforces discipline and keeps everyone on the same page.

Without an evaluation process, innovation programs become short-sighted and may fall out of alignment with long-term organizational goals. Having an organized process also removes emotion from decision-making to keep project focus and dollar spend as data-driven as possible.

For innovation to succeed, leaders also have to be aligned around critical factors. This forms a living rubric that can be adapted throughout the organization as business needs shift and evolve. Generally, some sort of innovation leader — a chief innovation officer, a chief strategy officer or a business unit leader — will lead this team to ensure the process runs smoothly and stays on track.

When we developed our rubric at Coplex, we struggled to find a technical solution that was flexible enough while still enabling us to manage our ideas. We ended up building one ourselves. We now use this tool to drive the underlying engine of our entire idea management process, and it works because effective innovation strategy always starts at the top. Bring your entire leadership team together from the beginning of the process to discuss priorities and foster conversations about ideas, outlining your concrete vision along the way.

Related: Did Someone Reject Your Idea? Because of Coronavirus, They Might Reconsider

Here are three ways to evaluate your innovation ideas and create a framework to make them a strategic reality:

1. Create an innovation blueprint

Before you begin to gather ideas from your team, you have to first come up with a blueprint — such as Google’s Eight Pillars of Innovation — that defines the initiative’s overall structure. This helps put up guardrails around the problem spaces the organization is willing to play in and, more importantly, which problem spaces are off-limits.

An innovation blueprint consists of three distinct components: statement, antithesis and thesis. Your statement defines your company’s ambitions and outlines why you believe in what you’re doing, why now is the best time to do it and what makes you the best candidate for the job.

From here, develop an antithesis that defines the problems, business models and core technologies you don’t intend to address. Why? It removes distractions and keeps the focus on priorities. Finally, create a thesis that gives you a clear lens into how you’ll invest in problem spaces, business models and technologies to create the change you want to see.

2. Define innovation themes

Once you’ve developed a solid blueprint, it’s time to identify the themes of problem spaces you intend to solve. This step will define the categories in which your innovation ideas should fall while clearly outlining how your solutions could come into play.

Think of this as similar to how the National Association of Engineers (NAE) outlines the many challenges left to overcome in its field. In its report on the grand challenges of engineering, NAE defines themes (e.g., joy, sustainability, health and security) as areas ripe for innovation and abundant with opportunity.

The core reason for taking this approach? It allows you to consider potential ways to innovate beyond what the organization had imagined before — and to set goals with those parameters in mind.

Related: What Sustainable Innovation Might Look Like in 2021

3. Map measurement criteria back to a rubric

Once you’ve defined your innovation themes, it’s time to develop the criteria you’ll use to measure your success. Global design firm IDEO made it a goal to quantify innovation by looking at its clients’ internal team dynamics as well as other companies focused on innovation.

The firm identified six areas key to innovation and then sent its survey, coined “Creative Difference,” to larger organizations to understand how team members were performing when it came to innovation. Once the survey was complete, IDEO sent results with tangible innovation metrics and recommendations on how to follow and meet them moving forward.

As you define how you measure innovation and create your unique rubric, keep in mind that you aren’t limited to traditional metrics. Feel comfortable being creative and innovative as you decide on those! It’s possible to measure everything from societal impact and economic value to organizational scale and new market discovery.

The process of pursuing innovative ideas requires much more than a quick brainstorming session or selecting an appealing idea from a list. By creating an underlying philosophy and structure governing the prioritization of ideas that flow through an organization, you can retain control over your innovation program’s outcomes instead of leaving anything to chance.

Business ideas that solve problems are fundamental to developing the world and companies such as Curemark are one of many who do this. Curemark is a biotech company founded by Joan Fallon, who noticed that a lot of the children she treated were low on an enzyme for processing protein and since then she has quit her job and has built Curemark to solve this problem. Curemark has now raised $50 million and is on its way to solving a problem that truly exists.

Profitability is a business’s ability to generate earnings compared to its costs over a certain period of time. This is possibly the most important aspect of any business idea in the long term, as this is what makes a business survive in order to keep having the impact that it has. Profitable ideas need a strong revenue stream against its costs and this tends to create the success of the business, however, some companies defy this and make losses to begin with, yet are still exceptional business ideas that are worth billions.

Brenda Schmidt

By: Brenda Schmidt / Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

 

Source: How to Spot Business Ideas Worth Pursuing

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References

Newcomer, Eric (30 June 2015). “Uber bonds term sheet reveals $470 million in operating losses”. bloomberg.com. Retrieved 29 October 2015.

This Is The State of SMEs One Year After The Pandemic, According To Facebook

This is the state of SMEs one year after the pandemic, according to Facebook

As part of its efforts to support SMEs, Facebook presented the latest installment of its Global Report on the State of Small Businesses, a survey conducted in February 2021 of 35,000 SMEs around the world to learn how the restrictions imposed to control The pandemic impacted their operations, their income, their workforce and even their medium-term plans.

Facebook is committed to supporting SMEs on the road to economic recovery by making relevant and actionable information available to companies, organizations, government agencies and the general public to find solutions that help this important sector of the economy. This is in addition to the free tools and training that Facebook offers to SMEs to support their digital transformation.

The 2021 edition of this report studies the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on SMEs. In this context, Facebook research aims to provide insights and information that can facilitate meaningful support for this important sector.

Among the main findings of the Global Report on the State of Small Businesses it was found that, in February 2021, globally 76% of SMEs were operating or participating in some income-generating activity, compared to 75% registered in Mexico. While in October 2020, according to the last installment of last year, the percentage reported in our country was 86%.

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The SME sector is the largest employer in any economy, and it plays an even bigger role in developing and emerging economies. However, access to credit is often a big challenge for SMEs. This is mainly because of their specific characteristics, especially their opacity and lack of verifiable information on their operations. Banks have traditionally used relationship lending to extend finance to SMEs, although in recent years other innovative lending technologies have also showed a lot of promise. Link to learn more about the FDFIx course and register for the public: https://www.edx.org/course/financial-… Link to learn more and register for government officials: https://www.imf.org/en/Capacity-Devel…

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Meanwhile, in February 2021, 27% of SMEs globally reduced the number of their employees, while in Mexico it did so 38%; percentage that in 2020 was higher with 42%.

In addition, 55% of the companies surveyed globally reported a decrease in their sales, compared to the same month last year. In Mexico the impact was less, but considerable with 48%; In October 2020, 64% of Mexican SMEs reported this reduction compared to their sales in October 2019.

On the other hand, 51% of SMEs globally and 56% in Mexico reported trusting in their ability to continue operating for at least six months if current circumstances persist.

Regarding future challenges, both globally and in Mexico, 19% of SMEs surveyed in February 2021 (33% in October 2020 in our country) anticipated challenges related to cash flow, while 24% foresee challenges related to demand or lack of customers.

Entrepreneurship and women

Regarding the statistics that show the disproportionate impact among Mexican SMEs led by women, compared to those by men, it was observed that:

  • 73% of women’s SMEs are in operations, compared to 76% led by men (84% versus 88% in October 2020)
  • 52% of women’s SMEs reported lower sales in February 2021 compared to the same month in 2020 (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic), compared to 48% of SMEs run by men.

https://hamyarminer.org/?rf=14972

As the pandemic enters a new phase with the reduction of restrictive measures, it is important to understand what are the most important challenges that SMEs face on the road to economic recovery.

Entrepreneur en Español

 

By: Entrepreneur en Español / Entrepreneur Staff

Source: This is the state of SMEs one year after the pandemic, according to Facebook

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[…] Our effort to fill this information gap resulted in the launch of our LDC SME pulse survey— “The State of Small Businesses in the LDCs: Taking the Pulse of SMEs in the LDC Markets During COVID-19”—a unique surve […]
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How to Nail the Small Business Banking & Lending Market in 2021
thefinancialbrand.com – November 17, 2020
[…] A review of studies on the state of small businesses and small business banking, and interviews by The Financial Brand, indicate that banks will need to […]
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Why Digitally Mature Small Businesses Have an Advantage
blogs.cisco.com – November 13, 2020
[…] How mature is your company? Cisco commissioned IDC to assess the state of small businesses’ digital transformation and the results of the 2020 Small Business Digital Maturity Study ar […]
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Do You Have a Beauty Business? L’Oreal and Facebook Will Give Free Workshops for Entrepreneurs in Mexico
http://www.entrepreneur.com – November 4, 2020
[…] more originated on digital platforms during July, according to data from the Global Report on the State of Small Businesses prepared by Facebook in collaboration with the OECD and the Bank […]
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Historic Election Day draws steady stream of voters in Boone County | Elections | columbiamissourian.com
http://www.columbiamissourian.com – November 3, 2020
[…] ” — Marcy Coley, 59, business support specialist “I am most concerned with the state of small businesses and COVID response and schools […]
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Facebook launches a free online course for SMEs throughout Latin America
http://www.entrepreneur.com – October 27, 2020
[…] According to figures from the most recent Global Report on the State of Small Businesses , carried out by Facebook in collaboration with the OECD and the World Bank, 51% of the Mexica […]
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10,000 Small Businesses Voices
http://www.goldmansachs.com – October 27, 2020
Virtual Capitol Hill Week On June 9th -11th, more than 2,000 small business owners joined the 10,000 Small Businesses Voices Virtual Capitol Hill Week to connect with Members of Congress through 400+ online meetings to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill.  Learn More   Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Conversations We connect with US political leaders to discuss the current state of small businesses.
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SurveyMonkey Powered Online Survey
http://www.surveymonkey.com – October 19, 2020
[…] Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland and key service organizations seek to understand the current state of small businesses in this environment […]
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York Region moving to modified version of Stage 2 starting on Monday, Premier Doug Ford announces | CP24.com
http://www.cp24.com – October 16, 2020
[…] While he is concerned about the state of small businesses in his city, Bevilacqua said they are resilient […]
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3 Tips For Deciding If An Investment In Your Business Is The Right One

Most of us have heard the phrase, “It takes money to make money.” It’s often necessary to invest in order to make more. This isn’t always an easy decision, but the question that many entrepreneurs ultimately have to ask themselves is, can you really expect customers to invest with you if you’re not willing to invest in yourself? 

When you consider investing in professional development such as a coach, consultant, mentor or online course, making sure this is worth both the time and financial commitment is strategic. But if the statistics are anything to go by, this strategy can quickly turn into fear for many women in particular.

Research shows that 71% of all assets held by women are in cash, but that 68% of women lose sleep because of money worries. It’s time to stop letting the fear of not having enough stop you from investing to build your wealth. 

These are my top three tips for making smart investments and minimizing money worries.  

Related: Want to Become a Billionaire? Invest in Your Own Business, Not Your 401(k).

Home in on your goals 

The first step is to write down your biggest goal for your business. What is it you really want to achieve? Is it to make six figures in fewer hours, or perhaps to build a big company that you will lead with lots of employees? Getting clear on this will protect you when you come across “shiny objects” — complex websites, funnels or branding that the sales world will try to convince you is absolutely necessary.

We usually succumb to these entreaties when we’re not focused on our end goal; when we procrastinate and look for quick fixes. Deciding what is just a shiny object or a really good investment starts with the question, “Will this investment help me achieve my goal faster?” 

Only when it’s a yes should you consider the investment seriously. 

Work out your boundaries 

Next, you need to decide if the investment is in alignment with what you want to achieve and how you want to get there. Write down what you are and are not willing to do to hit your big goal in your business. For example, will the commitment of the investment mean you’ll have to work 50 hour weeks when you only want to work 10? If so, then it’s probably not a good fit. 

It’s also a good idea to write down your values. Don’t let your feelings or mental blocks get in your way. Take your time so your fear doesn’t interfere. You might think that you don’t want to do sales calls. However, sales are a big part of a successful business. So, is it actually true that you don’t want to sell and thereby help other people, or could it be that you simply don’t want to feel like an old-fashioned salesman cold-selling by knocking on doors? If you were to feel good about selling, would selling be aligned? Most likely it’s a yes. 

Essentially, if your boundaries and values are in line with the investment, you should move forward to the last step. 

Assess the level of support

Investments are a vehicle for getting you from A to B, and it’s up to you to decide how you want to travel. Think of it like an airplane: You can go from London to Paris flying economy, Business or FirstClass. 

If you know that your money is tight and you are willing to have less support on your journey, an online course could be the way. If you know that you are willing to find the funds to get fully supported and get to your goal easier and faster, bespoke one-on-one coaching could be an option. If you want to be around other high-achieving entrepreneurs to push yourself and achieve more, a mastermind could be a great investment. 

This is when you need to ask yourself the question, “Is this investment providing the right level of support that I want?” If that’s a yes, you’re on the right track.

Related: 10 Ways You Should Invest Your Company’s First Profits

The lowdown of Investing 

Overthinking is often a massive pitfall, making you say no to things you really want and ending in you missing out on great opportunities. Investing in something is supposed to make you feel nervous and excited at the same time, and will most likely be a true game-changer in your business. 

When I started out, I had no savings at all, only debt. But I wanted to move fast, and my family couldn’t afford for me to not make money, so I found a way to make it happen. 

I started with “smaller” investments — $500 or $2,000 — which felt just as scary as the six-figure investments I make now. Since then, I have learned from experience that if the investment is not a stretch, I’m not really taking a risk, so the likelihood of me building success momentum is small.

Today, women invest with me at all levels — from $ 1,000 to $ 100,000 — and I celebrate them all for making the commitment financially, mentally and emotionally. Investment is always a risk, and having the tools to help you decide if it’s one worth taking is essential. 

By: Rikke Hundal Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

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Phil Town’s Rule #1 Investing

Everything I teach about investing in companies applies to every investment that you could possibly make, and that’s all based on the advice I’ve received over the years. Today, I’m going to give you my 5 best pieces of advice so that you can be a successful investor too. http://bit.ly/2kFiMBa Knowing you will make money comes from buying a wonderful business at an attractive price. Click the link above to learn the Four Ms for Successful Investing! Looking to master investing? Attend one of my 3-Day Transformational Investing Workshops, virtually! Reserve your seat here: https://bit.ly/r1-virtual-workshop _ Learn more: Subscribe to my channel for free stuff, tips and more! YouTube: http://budurl.com/kacp Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rule1investing Instagram: https://instagram.com/ruleoneinvesting Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rule1_Investing Google+: + PhilTownRule1Investing Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/rule1investing LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/rule… Blog: http://bit.ly/1YdqVXI Podcast: http://bit.ly/1KYuWb4 Buy my bestselling book Rule #1: https://amzn.to/2R9Gofj

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Meet The World’s Newest And Youngest Self Made Billionaire Luminar’s Austin Russell

The race to commercialize self-driving car technology has attracted billions of dollars of investment but not created many billionaires. Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell is among the rare exceptions. With the Nasdaq listing of the laser sensor company he founded at age 17, the optics prodigy is one of the first billionaires to emerge from the autonomous-vehicle world—and the youngest self-made billionaire in the world.

“It’s been insanely intense, grueling . . . everything through every day that we’ve had to go through, scaling this up. And of course it’s incredibly rewarding to have an opportunity to be able to get out there now and get into the public markets and scale through this IPO SPAC,” 25-year-old Russell tells Forbes in a video interview from his office in Palo Alto, California. “I’m still relatively young, but … a lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into it. And I was fortunate enough to be able to retain a good enough stake.”

Good enough, indeed. Russell’s 104.7 million shares, about a third of Luminar’s outstanding equity, was worth $2.4 billion at the close of Nasdaq trading on Thursday. The listing, announced in August, resulted from a merger with special purpose acquisition company Gores Metropoulos, a unit of Beverly Hills-based finance firm The Gores Group, and raised Luminar’s estimated market value to $3.4 billion prior to the start of trading. Investors in the newly public company include fellow billionaire Peter Thiel (net worth: $4.6 billion), who helped get Russell started with Luminar by making him a Thiel Fellow in 2012; Volvo Cars Tech Fund; Alec Gores of The Gores Group, another billionaire ($2.2 billion), who is also a Luminar board member; and billionaire Dean Metropoulos, the company’s chairman.

Thiel, the Paypal cofounder who famously created a fellowship offering extraordinary young people $100,000 to drop out of college to pursue their dreams, has been an advisor to Russell since he left Stanford to start Luminar in 2012. As a mentor, Thiel is impressed not just by the new tech billionaire’s intellect, but also his ability to hold on to a significant chunk of Luminar as it moved from Russell’s garage concept to Nasdaq.

“You can build a billion-dollar business but that does not mean you can become a billionaire,” says Thiel. “It’s remarkable from a financing perspective to retain a financial stake of that size.”

Russell, who’s also a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum from the class of 2018, isn’t looking to take on self-driving tech giants like Alphabet’s Waymo or GM-backed Cruise, but instead is perfecting sensors that help autonomous cars “see” their surroundings by bouncing a laser beam off objects in their path. Known as lidar for “light detection and ranging,” the technology is fundamental for autonomous vehicles. Luminar is competing in that space with Velodyne, the early leader in lidar for autonomous vehicles, and newcomer Aeva, both of which are also going public via SPAC mergers. Russell has sold prototype sensors to major auto companies for the past few years, but more recently secured production orders from Volvo Cars, Daimler and Intel’s Mobileye that may ensure revenue growth for several years. 


You can build a billion-dollar business but that does not mean you can become a billionaire. It’s remarkable from a financing perspective to retain a financial stake of that size. Peter Thiel


Luminar will likely post sales of just $15 million this year, but could generate at least $1.3 billion by 2026, based on estimates in an SEC filing.    

Russell’s abilities extend beyond the lab to the boardroom, according to Alec Gores, who helped arrange Luminar’s listing. “When we were negotiating, he was so on top of everything, the small details. Sixty-year-old guys who’ve been in the business for 40 years don’t understand this stuff, but he took time to study the SPAC,” he says. “I’m looking at this guy and saying, ‘You asked more questions than anybody I’ve seen that’s been doing this sh*t for a long time.’”

The lanky 6-foot-4 Russell, with shaggy strawberry blonde hair and a light beard to match, was racking up notable achievements long before his new billionaire status. As the story goes, he memorized the periodic table of elements at 2 years old and rewired his Nintendo DS game console into a crude mobile phone when he was in the sixth grade after his parents forbade him from having one. At 13, he filed his first patent: an underground water recycling system that catches sprinkler water and saves it for future gardening to reduce wastewater. Rather than go to high school, he spent his teen years at the University of California at Irvine’s Beckman Laser Institute. 

Next came admission to Stanford to study physics, but that didn’t last long. He dropped out midway through his freshman year after winning a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship stipend for his lidar concept, founding Luminar not long after obtaining his driver’s license. 

Excluding inherited fortunes, Russell is ​one of about a dozen people on the planet to make a billion dollars before they turned 30.

Lidar was an early fixation for Russell as he believes it has the potential to save lives both as part of self-driving cars and as a component of advanced driver-assistance systems that Volvo and other carmakers are bringing to market in the next two to three years. As a teenager, he’d looked at what Velodyne and other companies were doing with laser sensors, but determined a completely different approach was needed to make them cheap enough to be ubiquitous.

“It should not be a 16- or 17-year-old and then subsequently a 25-year-old that can build a business like this,” says Russell. “We’ve been able to accelerate this because no one has really done this before.”

It doesn’t hurt that Russell has zero distraction from social media or time-sucking general education requirements of college and high school degrees. Unlike most 25-year-olds, he has neither Twitter nor Instagram accounts, but confesses to learning most of what he knows about the world from avid Wikipedia and YouTube explainer consumption.

As a Gen Y billionaire, Russell is also thinking about his impact. Though he has no immediate plans for Bill Gates-like philanthropy, he sees his contribution as eradicating automobile accidents. “When this becomes a new, modern safety technology on vehicles that’s integrated on every vehicle globally produced, that’s when I’d firmly say that we’ve accomplished the goals that we set.” 

Alan Ohnsman

Alan Ohnsman

From Los Angeles, the U.S. capitol of cars and congestion, I try to make sense of technology-driven changes reshaping how we get around. Find me on Twitter at @alanohnsman

Alexandra Sternlicht

Alexandra Sternlicht

I’m the Under 30 Editorial Community Lead at Forbes. Previously, I directed marketing at a mobile app startup. I’ve also worked at The New York Times and New York

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CNBC Television

Luminar, an autonomous vehicle technology startup, is set to go public through a SPAC merger with Gores Metropoulos Thursday. Luminar founder Austin Russell joins “Squawk Box” to discuss. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic Turn to CNBC TV for the latest stock market news and analysis. From market futures to live price updates CNBC is the leader in business news worldwide. The News with Shepard Smith is CNBC’s daily news podcast providing deep, non-partisan coverage and perspective on the day’s most important stories. Available to listen by 8:30pm ET / 5:30pm PT daily beginning September 30: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/29/the-n… Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBChttps://www.cnbc.com/select/best-cred…#CNBC#CNBCTV

5 Tips For Entrepreneurs Tco Better Serve Their Potential Customers

If McKinsey & Company insights from July are any indication, consumers have rediscovered their power in the pandemic. Due to a combination of product shortages, economic and job concerns, along with a general willingness to change their purchasing behaviors, 75 percent of shoppers say they’ve behaved differently since coronavirus began spreading. In many cases, their new purchasing habits have led to exposure to unfamiliar brands.

This is a huge boon, especially for entrepreneurs trying to disrupt a market or industry. Under ordinary circumstances, getting consumers to move away from their favorite companies’ products and services can be challenging. However, with so much general uncertainty in the world, customers have become increasingly open-minded about giving untested organizations a chance to wow them.

If your startup or small business hasn’t been ocusing on customer service, the time couldn’t be better to put on a huge customer-centric push. However, you need to make sure you have the infrastructure, protocols and tools to be certain that your brand’s first impression is nothing short of powerfully awesome.

Below are a few ways to up your game when it comes to serving current and prospective patrons.

1. Leverage tech to ensure your sales time is nimble and responsive

Your sales team can’t afford to drop the ball anywhere or any time, particularly when customers are moving so freely from one product to the next. Mixmax, a sales engagement tool, boasts the time management benefits of utilizing key sales tools which can help your sales team focus less on tedious tasks and more on prospecting. Ensure they have the resources they need to carry customers from lead generation to conversion by investing in the best tech stack for your needs and goals.

What type of solutions might make sense? If you’re focused on improving the responsiveness of your salespeople no matter if they’re working from home or the office, you might opt for higher-end telephone and videoconferencing software that integrates most forms of visual and audio communication. On the other hand, maybe you want to streamline the information your prospective customers receive. In that case, you may be more interested in adding a secure contract management system into your toolkit.

Related: How the Sales Process Has Drastically Evolved to Fit the Future

2. Centralize knowledge so anyone can be a customer-service star

Nothing frustrates customers quite as much as not being able to get quick answers to their questions. A fast way to ensure that anyone in your business can solve a client’s issues is to establish a centralized knowledge-management database that can be housed on your intranet or another piece of cloud-based software. You may even want to include a corporate wiki so employees can find any information with only one login.

By giving everyone on your team access to customer information such as buying history, touchpoints and other data, you avoid having to bounce consumers between service representatives. Centralized knowledge-management systems can also be invaluable if you’ve moved some or all of your workforce remote. 

3. Channel your inner Nostradamus and foretell customer questions

You want to make finding answers to potential questions as easy as possible for customers. In fact, according to Drift’s 2020 State of Conversational Marketing Report, 34 percent of consumers cite not being able to find the information they need online as their highest customer-service snag. Rather than forcing would-be buyers to hunt around for the solutions they want, begin peppering your site with rich content that gives them the insight they crave. It’s appealing to a lot of customers to be able to solve their own problems, and they’ll appreciate finding answers fast.

What should your content look like? Ideally, you should have a variety of content FAQs on your website. The content can take the shape of videos, written copy, images, blueprints, schematics, how-to charts or even GIFs. Whatever you feel will be helpful needs to have a home on your site. Of course, you may want a more traditional page dedicated to the biggest FAQs your sales folks and customer experience (CX) personnel hear. Just make sure your FAQs stay up-to-date and don’t become stale or irrelevant.

Related: 5 Tips to Help You Create Great Content While Working From Home

4. Stay alert on social media

Spend a little time social listening, and you may just figure out exactly what your customers want. And you’ll be in good company: More than half of companies are currently using social media listening to get real-time consumer information. To be sure, many customers will talk about what they didn’t enjoy about a CX. However, their honesty is exactly what you need to hear and read. Add social listening to your sales and marketing plan today. That way, you can respond quickly if you notice that a customer is unhappy with you or, better yet, with a competitor.

For example, you might discover a critical review of your latest gadgetry on Twitter. Treat this knowledge as the opportunity to jump in and resolve the problem. Connect with the user publicly or in private and work together to solve the issue. Most people are willing to work with companies to get what they want. And you could end up turning a disgruntled buyer into a raving fan if you’re fast on the draw, take crisis management seriously and empower your CX team to do what’s right in every unique situation.

5. Make being your customer a rewarding, one-of-a-kind adventure.

Why do shoppers rave about Apple, Lululemon or Southwest Airlines? Though their products and services do tend to be well-considered, the key to the brands’ almost cult followings is the culture. Wanting to be part of a community is a basic human desire, and certain companies have made being their loyal customer an amazing experience.

If you’re trying to develop a fierce following of fanatics who wouldn’t think of going anywhere else, consider the user experience from start to finish. Look for opportunities for you to go above and beyond expectations to make shopping with you not just a pleasure, but a must-do. You might just end up building a society of kindred spirits like BMW did with its MINI series of vehicles. MINI drivers consider themselves part of a movement and collective, and the brand promotes this camaraderie on their site. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the “in” crowd?

Related: How to Earn Your Clients’ Trust (and Keep It)

Customers are moving around like never before and into a phase of discovery. Meet them where they are, and amaze them with a CX unlike any they’ve had before. They’ll be more likely to rave, not to mention stick with your organization for the long haul.

By: https://www.entrepreneur.com/

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Kimberly Ann Jimenez

Find clients for your service-based business! In this series, we’re covering how to launch, grow and scale your online service business. 💸💸 ***Join The Early Bird List For The Savvy Online Selling Course DROP for FREE 👉 https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/earlyb… **Catch the entire series business series: http://bit.ly/2KwtZiE 💻Get My Best Work In One Place (And 30+ Business & Marketing Courses) Inside The Business Lounge: http://jointheblounge.com Get in-depth, practical examples of today’s episode over on the blog: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/2019/0… 📺 WATCH MORE ONLINE BUSINESS TRAINING VIDEOS: http://bit.ly/2KwtZiE ▼ GRAB THESE FREEBIES Learn How To Sell More On Your Blog Via My Brand New, Free Masterclass: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/blog-c… The Online Success Path, a step-by-step guide to launching, growing and scaling the profitable online business you’ve always dreamed about: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/succes… How To Start A Blog Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PAgJg… Learn Content Marketing Playlist:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5gui… ▼ NEW AROUND HERE? START HERE. Run Facebook Ads On A Budget: http://bit.ly/mystrategyforfbads 5 Steps To Start An Email List From Scratch: http://bit.ly/2wgV8hT 6 Stages Of A Successful Online Business: http://bit.ly/2x5CTsR ▼ MORE RESOURCES Don’t forget to subscribe to our Podcast! : https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/podcast/ Come on over and join The Business Lounge’s FREE Mastermind Group: https://kimberlyannjimenez.com/master… Learn to launch, grow or scale a profitable online business without spending thousands on a business coach. It’s my best work in one place. http://jointheblounge.com ▼GEAR I USE: Main Camera Beast: https://amzn.to/2ALA2fQ Buttery Wide Camera Lens of Life: https://amzn.to/3bN9K9N My Favorite Studio/Portrait Lens Ever: https://amzn.to/2WOGcEt Crispy Lucious Microphone: https://amzn.to/2zekiBx Softbox Light For Glowy Skin: https://amzn.to/2XhPE2l Most Reliable Tripod: https://amzn.to/36d2NOa Most Versatile Tripod: https://amzn.to/2XckysF More recommended gear for any kind of budget: https://kit.co/kimannjimenez ▼ FOLLOW ME ON SOCIAL Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimAnnJimenez/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/kimannjimenez Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/kimannjimenez Instagram: http://instagram.com/kimannjimenez

Black Women Were Among The Fastest-Growing Entrepreneurs—Then Covid Arrived

Sherika Wynter was on a roll. Since releasing an insulated luxury tote bag for professionals in 2018, and subsequently selling out three times, her Maryland-based research and development company Thomas & Wynter had been featured in British GQ and the International Business Times and on several local news segments.

She walked into February 2020 with more notches on her belt: a Google small-business award and a joint venture deal with a prominent Black law firm to create another product for professionals.

“We were growing exponentially,” says Wynter, a Black entrepreneur who, with cofounder Shallon Thomas, started the business in 2014.

As the coronavirus threat escalated in early March, their sales declined, nearly hitting zero by  April. That same month, Wynter laid off almost every member of her five-person team, save for one contract worker.

“Right now, we’re treading water and have applied for ten different grants with no success. It’s a little daunting, but we’re trying to carry the company on our backs,” Wynter says.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the pandemic has decimated small businesses and early-stage ventures, especially those owned by women and people of color. Black women sit at this juncture, bearing a disproportionate share of the virus’ impact.

For years, Black women have created new businesses at a rapid clip, far outpacing other racial and ethnic groups. But strong financial headwinds from the pandemic and a lack of access to new funding sources threaten to wipe out decades of economic progress, leaving Black female business owners in a state of perpetual uncertainty, waiting for relief they fear will never come.

Sherika Wynter of Thomas and Wynter
Sherika Wynter of Thomas & Wynter Research and Development. SW

The face of female entrepreneurship overall is becoming a lot less white. Black women represent 42% of new women-owned businesses—three times their share of the female population—and 36% of all Black-owned employer businesses.

High levels of educational attainment, coupled with overcoming barriers to corporate advancement, have prompted Black women to pursue entrepreneurship, where they’ve become a potent economic force. Majority Black women-owned firms grew 67% from 2007 to 2012, compared to 27% for all women, and 50% from 2014 to 2019, representing the highest growth rate of any female demographic during that time frame.

“There’s this assumption that entrepreneurship is a tech startup that’s venture-capital-funded because we see so much about Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. People discount informal entrepreneurship and part-time business creation, which creates a narrow view of entrepreneurship,” says Donna Kelley, who has led research on the rate of Black entrepreneurship and serves as a professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College.

But the decade-long boom in Black business creation masks deep inequities in access to the financial resources needed to create businesses that reach maturation, which is widely recognized as past the five-year mark. There are fewer established Black female business owners relative to their high rate of entrepreneurship, Kelley says. “This is persistent over time, which tells us that fewer of them are sustaining their businesses into maturity.” 

In America’s business ecosystem, it’s not uncommon for companies to operate in the red for years before becoming profitable. Their lasting power is often made possible because of outside investors or their ability to secure loans from commercial banking institutions or credit unions. But Black entrepreneurs have historically been locked out of these funding opportunities. 

“A commonality for Black people, especially women, is that it takes longer to obtain capital, and so they have to put in a lot more sweat equity,” says Laquita Blockson, director of social innovation at Agnes Scott College and co-investigator on a study about the success of African American women-led entrepreneurial ventures.

The lack of access to capital also dictates, in part, to which industries Black women flock. “If you don’t have the personal resources to get your business up and running, you may pick businesses that are easy to get off the ground, but that are crowded with competition for similar products and services, and less opportunity for differentiation,” Kelley says.

Many of those businesses are in industries that have been severely affected by the pandemic, with about 40% of revenue generated by Black-owned businesses in the hardest-hit sectors, including leisure, hospitality, transportation and retail. 

“Hair salons, catering, restaurants or anything related to events . . . all of that shut down, and so the success of business owners in those industries depends on how much they have in reserves or were able to get from the federal government—both of which pose challenges for Black entrepreneurs,” says Jeffrey Robinson, founding assistant director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development at Rutgers Business School. 

When Sundrae Miller was forced to close the doors to her Adara Spa on March 26, she immediately sought out new funding sources. She received $2,300 under the Paycheck Protection Program, a $64,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and deferred her spa’s mortgage payment for one month. The Small Business Administration covered the next six months.

“That was my saving grace. If I hadn’t received that mortgage break, I’m afraid I’d be out of business,” says the Raleigh, North Carolina, resident.

Adara Spa reopened to the public on May 22, but business remains slow, and she fears a second state-mandated closure as winter approaches. In November, she’ll have to restart her mortgage payments.

Hunting for business grants has become like a full-time job for Miller, who often finds herself searching and applying for sources of capital until 2 a.m. She has applied for 21 grants to date, securing $23,000 from five of them. While the additional funding may seem sizable, Miller says she lost $20,000 each month her spa was closed and is losing $10,000 monthly since reopening at half-capacity. “I have a few grant applications out right now and I’m thinking to myself, ‘Okay, Lord, please let something come through,’” she says.

Little of the $670 billion PPP funding reached Black business owners, largely due to built-in structural limitations, such as stipulations around minimum headcounts and revenue requirements. When Wynter received a $1,000 PPP loan for her research and development company, she laughed. “They said, ‘Here’s a 30-year loan for $1,000,’ and I said, ‘What am I supposed to do with this?’ It was a slap in the face.”

Others had some success. The majority Black-owned architecture and engineering firm Sabir, Richardson & Weisberg (SRW) received a $150,000 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and a $280,000 PPP loan less than one month after applying for each.

“We usually have far under three months of runway. Without the PPP loan, we would have had to lay people off and not take a salary,” says Yvette Richardson, one of the company’s four partners, three of whom are Black. 

SRW, Sabir, Richardson & Weisberg
Yvette Richardson, on the far right, at SRW. Peek Photography, LLC

Access to capital is a major predictor of business success and Black entrepreneurs find it difficult to weather economic duress, reach scalability and pivot away from unsustainable business models without financial backing.

“A lot of Black businesses will not survive this pandemic without more help. That is the sobering truth,” says Asahi Pompey, president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

Black business owners who apply for funding have a rejection rate three times higher than that of their white counterparts, according to a Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses report that surveys participants in a program bearing the same name.

Some 43% of Black-owned businesses in Goldman Sachs’ entrepreneurial program say they are likely to lose their cash reserves by the end of 2020, versus 30% of the overall program’s population, and 31% say less than 25% of their pre-Covid revenue has returned, compared to 16% of the overall population. The report defines growth-oriented entrepreneurs as individuals with businesses that have revenues of around $150,000 and two to six employees.

“This data lays bare the structural inequities Black people face and that’s born out in their entrepreneurial endeavors,” Pompey says. Already, Covid-19 has shuttered 41% of Black-owned businesses, compared to just 17% of white-owned businesses.

Blockson warns that not only will Black female entrepreneurs find it difficult to survive this period of economic downturn, but also that those who temporarily close shop will find it far more challenging to reopen. 

“It will be a huge shock in the economic system, and it is raising alarms,” she says. “But I am also very hopeful and optimistic that this could be a great opportunity for those who are positioned for it and able to make a shift.”

Some Black businesses are getting creative and diversifying their offerings to stay afloat. SRW, for example, has sought out more healthcare projects and is dabbling in HVAC technology, anticipating the services clients will need as the demand for indoor ventilation systems grows. 

However, many small businesses aren’t easily adaptable without a massive infrastructure overhaul, which requires a significant financial investment. And most Black and women-led businesses only have a few weeks to a month of cash flow. 

“This is a critical moment in time that is going to set us on a trajectory that could certainly be problematic in terms of the state of Black businesses for years to come,” says Goldman Sachs’ Pompey.

When small businesses flourish, so do their communities, and Black business owners often intentionally locate themselves in Black and Brown spaces, acting as economic spigots in these neighborhoods. Their erasure comes with far-reaching consequences, including the loss of jobs, community development and new economic opportunities for residents of underserved areas.

Nearly 75% of Black business owners in Goldman Sachs’ survey say they recently mentored others in their communities, compared to 50% of white business owners.

“It’s not just that it’s a single business that shuttered. It’s that it’s a pillar of the community and someone who’s a leader or a mentor. The blast radius impact of the pandemic on Black communities is something that can’t be overstated,” Pompey says.

The pandemic’s paradoxical silver lining is that it has brought increased attention to revitalizing small businesses, which provide almost half of all jobs in the U.S. At the same time, a resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement has generated an influx of support for Black-owned businesses and corporate grants that cater to Black entrepreneurs. 

Wynter is capitalizing on this surge in public interest and has seen a spike in online sales since the national reckoning on racial injustice began in June. Sales jumped from 7 orders in May to 87 in June, she says. “People have really been a free marketing mechanism for small businesses, which has been a blessing.”

Even still, she and her cofounder are wary about the longevity of their company. They tapped into their savings in September, putting a combined $8,000 into the business, and are raising new funds through a friends and family round.

“As a business owner, you plan and you try to bob and weave through things,” she says. “But there is no way to bob and weave this pandemic. You have to take its hits and hope that you don’t get knocked out.”Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip

Ruth Umoh

Ruth Umoh

I’m a reporter covering the various aspects of diversity and inclusion in business and society at large. Previously, I was a reporter at CNBC, where I focused on leadership and strategic management. I’ve also dabbled in video journalism, working as a breaking news digital producer for New York Daily News, followed by a yearlong stint as a producer at Rolling Stone. My work has been featured on New York Daily News, Yahoo Finance and Time Out. I’m a proud alumna of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, receiving honors for my investigative thesis on the alarming number of physicians dying by suicide. Tweet me @ruthumohnews or send tips to rumoh@forbes.com

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These Are The 5 Brands With The Most Complaints For Their Online Service, According To Profeco

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

  • Whirlpool.
  • Walmart.
  • Liverpool.

“You already exhibited us!” as the meme would say. Undoubtedly, online purchases have increased in 2020. The circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted consumers to purchase their products via the web.

In this context, the Federal Consumer Prosecutor’s Office (Profeco) registered 227 complaints from users who asked to make valid the guarantees of purchases they made through online platforms.

5 out of 10 companies in Mexico are doubling their growth on the Internet, and 2 out of 10 register growths greater than 300% in the volume of online sales, according to a study carried out by the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO).

But, despite this growth, many of them have had problems meeting the needs of their customers in this channel and although 9 out of 10 complaints were adjusted, Profeco released the five brands with the greatest dissatisfaction by consumers , among which are:

  1. Whirlpool, with 27.
  2. Walmart, with 17.
  3. Liverpool, with 9.
  4. Samsung Electronics, with 7.
  5. Best Buy, with 6.

All of the annoyances were related to purchasing faulty or non-working products online. Faced with this situation, Profeco explained that it is necessary to verify the information offered by the sellers, as well as the product policy and if it received the order form to verify the characteristics of the merchandise.

If you do not get the product that the online store offered you or the documents mentioned above, you will be entitled to a replacement, a refund of the money or a bonus of no less than 20% of what you paid. On the other hand, if it is broken or has flaws, you should check that the warranty protects the item from damage.

By: Entrepreneur en Español

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Three Attractive Health Care Growth Stocks

Healthcare stocks have gained nearly 18.0% in the first nine months of this year, compared to the S&P 500 index’s gain of 3.2% over the same time frame. While the coronavirus pandemic has been disruptive, there are pockets within the healthcare sector that have benefited. Some companies had benefited from increased sales of over-the-counter drugs and personal care items as people stocked up. However, sales were simply brought forward and may level off with a slowdown in sales going forward.

There has been a sharp drop in doctor visits and delays in elective surgeries. In addition, fewer medical visits translate into fewer diagnostic tests and drug prescriptions. However, as the economy slowly reopens, healthcare companies have seen some of this reverse and the earnings outlook has improved. Some companies within the biotech and pharmaceutical industries may benefit if they produce tests and vaccines for the virus, but at high cost and potential delays of other trials.

In terms of risks, healthcare reform and prescription drug prices have become a focus during the run-up to the 2020 election, triggering an increase in volatility.

Some growth stocks deserve their high valuations, while many do not. Partha Mohanram, who holds the John H. Watson chair in value investing and is area coordinator of accounting at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, developed a scoring system to help separate the winners from the losers among stocks trading with high price-to-book-value (P/B) ratios. The grading system looks at company profitability and cash flow performance, adjusts for likely mistakes due to naive growth projections and considers the impact of conservative accounting policies to form a growth score, or G-score. Recommended For You

Mohanram’s work identified fundamental factors that are useful when studying growth companies. Investors tend to naively extrapolate current fundamental growth stocks or even ignore the implications of using conservative accounting to project future earnings. Mohanram refers to the signals of his grading system as “growth” fundamental signals since they measure the fundamental strength of these companies in a context appropriate for growth firms. Mohanram feels that stocks with stronger growth fundamentals stand a better chance of expanding earnings and are more likely to beat earnings forecasts.

Profitability, naive extrapolation and accounting conservatism are examined using popular ratios and basic financial statement data to create the G-score. Mohanram found that high price-to-book stocks with higher G-scores outperformed growth stocks with lower G-scores. AAII modified Mohanram’s scoring system to create a seven-point G-score seeking out strong-performing healthcare stocks with attractive G-scores.

Mohanram awarded up to three points for profitability—one for return on assets (ROA) above the industry median (midpoint), one for a ratio of cash flow from operations to assets above the industry median and one point if the cash flow from operations exceeds net income. Mohanram highlights academic research indicating that ratio analysis benefits from industry comparisons.

ROA examines the return generated by the assets of the firm. Operating cash flow is reported on the statement of cash flows and is designed to measure a company’s ability to generate cash from day-to-day operations as it provides goods and services to its customers. Mohanram also measures profitability by dividing the cash flow from operations by total assets. This is like the ROA calculation, but it is based upon cash flow instead of net income.

The final profitability score examines the relationship between the earnings and cash flow. A growth point is awarded if cash from operations exceeds net income. This measure tries to avoid firms making accounting adjustments to earnings in the short run that may weaken long-term profitability.

Naive Extrapolation

Too often the market simply examines the past growth pattern of a company and expects it to continue into the future. Two companies with the same historical growth might have the same high valuation, but a company with more stable and predictable earnings and sales is more desirable and more likely to continue its growth. Mohanram feels that stability of earnings may help to distinguish between “firms with solid prospects and firms that are overvalued because of hype or glamour.” Mohanram measures earnings variability as the variance of a firm’s return on assets in the past five years. A company is awarded one growth point if its variance in ROA is below the sector median. A company must have at least three years of data to calculate the variance or it is given a value of zero for this signal.

The second growth signal in this category relates to the stability of year-to-year sales growth. A firm that has stable growth is less likely to disappoint in the terms of future growth. Mohanram examined the stability of sales growth to help overcome the issues of negative earnings that many early-stage growth stocks may have. Sales growth may also be more persistent and predicable than earnings growth because it is less subject to accounting judgments. Here again AAII compares the company variance of year-over-year sales growth to its sector median. Companies with lower variance than their sector median are awarded a growth point.

Accounting Conservatism

The final two growth signals deal with company actions that might depress current results but should result in greater growth and profitability in the future. Conservatism in accounting standards forces companies to expense outlays for many research and development (R&D) efforts even if they create valuable intangible assets that do not show up in a firm’s book value calculation.

A firm is awarded a growth point for R&D intensity if its ratio of R&D to assets is higher than its sector median. The same is true for capital expenditures (capex). One point is given for capex intensity if its ratio of capex to assets is higher than its sector median.

Grading Three High-Growth Health Care Stocks With A+ Investor Stock Grades

The G-score system looks at company profitability and cash flow performance, adjusts for likely mistakes due to naive growth projections and considers the impact of conservative accounting policies to form a growth score, in this case, for health care sector stocks. Companies in the health care sector with the highest G-scores (a minimum of six or seven points) were then analyzed using AAII’s A+ Investor Stock Grades grading system to identify three stocks positioned for long-term growth.

A+ Stock Grades is a stock-grading system based on percentile rankings of multiple key metrics within five investment factors: growth, momentum, EPS revisions, quality and value. They represent a summary of a company’s fundamentals.

The three health care companies that are doing the right activities to grow in the future are: Incyte , a biotech company that primarily focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of proprietary oncology therapeutics; Motus GI Holdings (MOTS), a medical technology company that provides solutions associated with the diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal conditions; and X4 Pharmaceuticals (XFOR), a clinical-stage biopharma company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for the treatment of primary immunodeficiencies and cancer.

Growth

All three companies saw year-over-year sales increases for the first half of 2020 compared to the same period a year ago. Incyte saw sales increase 22.3% for the six-month period ended June 30, 2020, compared to the same period the year prior. Both Motus GI Holdings and X4 Pharmaceuticals saw sales increase more than 400% compared to the year-ago period.

All three companies saw earnings increase for their latest quarter versus one year ago. Incyte saw earnings increase 171.9% for its latest quarter versus one year ago, while Motus GI Holdings and X4 Pharmaceuticals saw earnings increase 42.3% and 25.6%, respectively.

The A+ Growth Grade looks at quarterly year-over-year growth in sales, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations and operating cash, as well as annualized growth over the last five years for these three elements.

Incyte has the highest growth grade among the three companies with an A, while X4 Pharmaceuticals has a grade of B and Motus GI Holdings a grade of C.

Momentum

All three companies rate a C or lower when it comes to price momentum based on the weighted four-quarter relative strength, which gives extra weighting to price performance over the last quarter compared to the prior three quarters. Momentum is based on the price change of a stock over a specified period relative to all other stocks.

Estimate Revisions

The A+ Estimate Revisions Grade is based on the magnitude of a company’s last two earnings surprises, using the SUE score and percentage change in the consensus estimate for the current fiscal year over the last month and last three months.

All three companies have a grade of C, with their scores ranging from 44 for Motus GI Holdings to 60 for Incyte.

Quality

The A+ Quality Grade is based on how many of the five tests a company passes—management’s use of accruals, asset turnover improvement, buyback yield, dividend growth and earnings estimates. The more tests a company passes, the higher its Quality Grade.

Incyte has a Quality Grade of B, having passed three of the five quality tests, while Motus GI Holdings is a C after passing only two of the five tests.

Value

The last of the five A+ Stock Grades is value. The Value Grade is the percentile rank of the average of the percentile ranks of six common valuation measures:

  • Price relative to sales
  • Price relative to earnings
  • Price relative to book value
  • Enterprise value relative to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda)
  • Price relative to free cash flow
  • Shareholder yield

X4 Pharmaceuticals is very expensive and has a Value Grade of F based on its score of 81, but it is doing the right activities to grow in the future. The company does not have positive trailing earnings, positive enterprise value

to Ebitda or positive free cash flow, so its Value Grade is based on three of the six metrics. For these other three metrics, its ranking ranges from a low of 38 for the price-to-book ratio to 96 for the price-to-sales ratio.

Incyte has a Value Grade of F derived from its score of 84. It has valid readings for three of the six metrics, with the ranking ranging from a low of 61 for shareholder yield to 87 for the price-to-book ratio.

Finally, Motus GI Holdings has a Value Grade of F and a score of 92 (remember, the lower the score the better for value). This is the worst value score any of the three stocks received.

Motus GI Holdings has valid scores for three of the six metrics, with the ranking ranging from a low of 68 for the price-to-book ratio to a high of 99 for the price-to-sales ratio, with lower values being preferable for value.

Summing It Up

Overall, Mohanram found that high-growth stocks with stronger G-scores outperformed those with lower G-scores, suggesting that the market fails to grasp the future implications of current fundamentals. Even with these financial tests, it is important to perform a careful analysis of any passing stock. However, the individual components of the G-score combined with the grades from AAII’s A+ Stock Grades represent a useful checklist for investors examining growth stocks.

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If you want an edge throughout this market volatility, become an AAII member. Check out my websiteCharles Rotblut

I am the VP for American Association of Individual Investors & AAII Journal Editor. I am also the author of Better Good than Lucky: How Savvy Investors Create Fortune with the Risk-Reward Ratio (published by W&A Publishing/Trader’s Press). I write about stocks, ETFs, investing and provides insight about individual investor sentiment as well as market and economic analysis.

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Here are my 5 favorite dividend stocks for 2020 (Safest): https://youtu.be/XvARPTeLOAQ 10 Safer but Great Stock Picks for 2020: https://youtu.be/vAIYNoOGAsI 7 Riskier Stocks for 2020: https://youtu.be/2uch9VXjmPA-Charlie Winning Stock Strategy with ETFs: https://youtu.be/5BtNKcP-gQ8 -Charlie ⭐ Get $10 FREE at Rakuten: https://www.rakuten.com/r/CHARLI7019?… My recording equipment and favorite books: https://www.amazon.com/shop/charliechang #Stocks #HighGrowth #Healthcare

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