Archive for December, 2013

Small Business Capital Bill Seeks Less Regulation for VC Investment

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

House of Representatives 2Edit

There’s plenty of lip service in Washington about creating a better climate for startups and small businesses. So it’s disappointing to hear that a law designed to do just that is stalled indefinitely thanks to political posturing.

But that’s exactly what seems to be happening with the Small Business Capital Access and Job Preservation Act H.R. 1105.

The bill was introduced by Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) earlier this year. It was an attempt to loosen up some of the regulation on private equity companies like venture capital and growth capital firms.

Why Startup Investors Need Less Regulation

Simply put, these firms invest in startups like Facebook and Twitter when they are small and grow them into huge companies. These companies in turn create jobs and opportunities for smaller contractors and other small businesses.

Up until recently, private equity firms were assumed to manage the money of more sophisticated investors less in need of protection by the federal government.

So federal regulators who monitor publicly traded stock on Wall Street didn’t bother with these groups much if at all.

But all that changed with the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Now many private equity firms need to register with federal regulators meaning greater costs and greater regulatory hurtles.

In an official release supporting Hurt’s bill, House Committee on Small Business chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) explains:

The Dodd-Frank Act creates excessive red tape that inhibits growth, and the costly new requirements on smaller private equity funds is a clear example. H.R. 1105 helps reduce that regulatory burden on private equity funds in a common sense way, so that private sector capital isn’t unnecessarily restricted and these funds can remain focused on investments that help grow the economy.”

In short, critics of Dodd-Frank think the new regulations on private equity may be slowing the flow of capital to startups.

Small Business Capital Bill May Not Move Forward

Earlier this month, supporters of Hurt’s bill from both parties helped pass it in the House 254-159.

But opponents of the new bill like Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) say relaxing regulation, even on private equity firms, is a bad idea. And the White House has threatened to veto the bill meaning the Senate is unlikely to even consider it anytime soon, reports The Washington Post.

Certainly, there is need for some regulation where risk to investors or the public is concerned. But creating regulations that potentially hurt business and investment is a step in the wrong direction.

Image: U.S. House of Representatives

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The 3 Insurance Policies You and Your Employees Should Not Ignore

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

insurance policies

Despite all the emphasis recently on major-medical health coverage, let’s not forget three other types of insurance policies that can provide valuable protection for you, your employees and respective families in the event of injury or illness.

1. Disability Insurance

Only 31 percent of Americans are protected by disability insurance and half of those believe they need more coverage, a 2012 LIMRA and LIFE Foundation Insurance Barometer Study found. Disability insurance helps protect employees’ most valuable asset: their income and ability to earn a living.

Without steady paychecks, many would find it difficult — or even impossible — to pay the monthly mortgage or rent, car and credit card payments, utility and food bills, education costs, etc. In fact, half of all U.S. households examined would struggle to come up with $2,000 within a month, a study 2013 from the National Bureau of Economic Research determined (PDF).

Disability insurance could help alleviate some of the financial stress when disabling accidents lead to tightened purse strings.

2. Cancer or Specified Disease Insurance

An estimated 1.6 million Americans were expected to be diagnosed with cancer by the end of 2013. Cancer or specified-disease insurance can go a long way toward helping families focus on recovery, rather than on financial concerns.

A supplemental policy can help protect a patient’s savings from expenses that aren’t covered by major medical insurance. These include deductibles, out-of-network specialists, experimental cancer treatment, travel and lodging when treatment is far from home, child care and household help, and normal living expenses.

3. Life Insurance

Finally, life insurance isn’t fun to think about, but is crucial to a family’s well being should a household suddenly lose an income to death. Without it, a family’s entire standard of living could change drastically.

Life insurance policies that pay cash benefits can be used to pay remaining medical costs, cover funeral expenses, or pay monthly household bills. They can even be used to ensure a child can do something as simple as continue dance lessons or as momentous as attend college.

Women, Too, Need to Pay Attention

When providing benefit plans and making benefit choices, it should be self-evident that female employees and female business owners today have concerns just as do males when it comes to continuing the family lifestyle or caring for dependent children in the case of an emergency.

Consider these points when it comes to women business owners and women employees:

  • The number of women ages 25 to 64 currently in the labor force with a college degree roughly tripled from 1970 to 2011, according (PDF) to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The earnings of these women have also increased in proportion to men’s over the years, the Pew Research Center finds, and
  • Mothers are the sole or primary providers for children in four out of 10 homes, the U.S. Department of Labor has determined.

So don’t forget to assess the needs of the female segment of the workforce.

Insurance policies photo via Shutterstock

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Russia’s President Makes 2 New Year’s Speeches

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered two New Year’s speeches instead of one on December 31.

The first pre-recorded New Year’s address, which was heard by the residents of Kamchatka, Chukotka and Magadan region, made no mention of the Volograd terror attacks from the past two days. In this speech, Putin outlined the priorities for the coming year, according to RIA Novosti.

In the second speech, which was recorded in Khabarovsk and was aired an hour after the first one, Putin referred to the bombings in the southern city of Volograd as one of the most serious challenges which the country had faced in 2013.

He vowed that the authorities would fight the terrorists until their total annihilation.

In Volograd, at least 34 were killed and scores of people were injured after attacks by suicide bombers on a railway station and a trolleybus on Sunday and Monday. The blasts, which took place in less than 24 hours, heightened security concerns for the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics.

Putin’s Spokesman Dmitry Peskov explained the two speeches with technical imperfections, saying that the authorities had not managed to send the second speech to the Russian Far East, according to dnevnik.bg.

During his visit to Khabarovsk, a city hit by devastating floods in late August and early September, Putin met with people affected by the natural disaster, stressing that all funds for repairs had been disbursed by Moscow and had been received by the regional authorities.

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British-Bulgarian Businessman Awarded MBE in Queen’s Honours List

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

William Drysdale, Chairman at British Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, has been appointed MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for his services to Business.

The recognition was published in the list of New Year’s Honours 2014 on December  30, 2013, according to a media statement of the British Embassy in Sofia.

Drysdale is a prominent member of the business community in Bulgaria and a co-founder of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum.

He worked as an adviser to Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha during his term in office as Prime Minister and was a senior partner for accountancy firm KPMG in the region.

From 2011 to date he has served as Chairman of the Board of the British Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce.

“I am delighted to see Bill Drysdale’s exceptional contribution honoured in this way. Bill is a great patriot, both for his own country and for his adopted country, Bulgaria. He strives in all he does to improve understanding between the two, in particular through strengthening and deepening business links,” said British Ambassador to Sofia Jonathan Allen.

“As Chairman of the British Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, Bill has had a remarkable impact. He has put the BBCC on the local map and delivered a calendar of events that is the envy of longer-standing chambers. The BBCC stands in good health now, following two years of Bill’s leadership. Bill does not allow his enthusiasm to blind him to where he perceives either of the two countries could do better! I am taken to task by him on government policies that he feels do not work for his members; and he is outspoken about aspects of Bulgarian life that he believes need to change. That is the mark of a true patriot: unafraid to work openly for the betterment of the two countries that he loves,” Jonathan Allen added.

William Drysdale noted that it was great honour for him to accept the award for his work in Bulgaria.

“I share the credit with a few special colleagues who have helped me far beyond the call of duty. Bulgaria is my second home and I am pleased that my efforts here have been recognized by Her Majesty the Queen. I believe that British business has a lot to contribute to Bulgaria and that trade, investment and exchange of skilled human resources between the two countries are of enormous mutual benefit,” Drysdale commented.

The Order of the British Empire recognizes distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services outside the Civil Service and work with charitable and welfare organizations of all kinds. It was created during the First World War in 1917 by George V.

Today the Order of the British Empire is the order of chivalry of British democracy. Valuable service is the only criterion for the award, and the Order is now used to reward service in a wide range of useful activities.

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Bulgarian Students Awarded Medals at Mathematics Olympiad in Indonesia

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

A team of students from the Sofia High School of Mathematics won medals at the 2013 Asian Inter-Cities Teenagers’ Mathematics Olympiad held in Bogor, Indonesia.

Hristo Popov, Maria Delyakova, Viktor Kostov and Manol Dzhambazov returned to Bulgaria after an excellent performance at the mathematical Olympiad in Indonesia.

The youths competed with 32 teams from 10 countries, according to reports of the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR).

In the individual competition, Popov won gold with 100 points, Delyakova won silver, Kostov and Dzhambazov were awarded bronze medals.

The Olympiad, hosted by Indonesia’s Ministry of Education, was held on December 26-30 and the event brought together 128 math wizards from countries such as Taiwan, China, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Iran, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, etc.

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17 Top Small Business News Stories of 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

What is Google Glass?

A lot happened during 2013 that affects small businesses.  Let’s take a look at the top small business news stories for 2013, as tracked by the Small Business Trends Editorial team:

Wearable Technology Gets Attention

Wearable technology ranges from Google Glass (the eyeglasses-like computer you wear on your head – image above) to the smartwatch.  Pebble raised a cool $10 million on Kickstarter and started shipping its smartwatch.  Not to be outdone, Samsung unveiled the Gear smartwatch as a companion to the Note 3 phone.   And 2013 saw the concept of the Smarty Ring , which raised almost $300,000 on IndiegoGo.

Maybe one day Google Glass will be perched on every head, but that day will be a while coming, if it ever arrives.   Part of the reason is due to privacy concerns people have about being filmed without their realizing it.  Already there are businesses where Google Glass is not welcome.

Accounting Software Market Changes

Competitors from offshore and with cloud products, challenge the big players in this market. And we are seeing the market stratify, with accounting and financial products designed for various sizes of small businesses:

  • Xero, out of New Zealand and Australia, still has a small footprint in the United States, but raised $150 million in funding in October, to go after the U.S. market.
  • Entrepreneurs and micro businesses are catching on that they don’t necessarily need double-entry accounting software. Freshbooks, out of Canada, is mainly an invoicing and expense tracking software, but calls itself “cloud accounting” now, and has 5 million people using it.  And there are dozens of other invoicing apps that when paired up with downloaded bank and credit card records, provide sufficient recordkeeping to meet the needs of very small businesses.
  • Sage went the other direction. It continued developing and adding features to its Sage One product — combining accounting, invoicing, time tracking, productivity and collaboration features into an all-in-one suite for businesses with under 10 employees.
  • Intuit, the largest player in the U.S. with millions of small businesses using it, went off on yet a different direction, by announcing plans to acquire document aggregator DocStoc.
  • GoDaddy acquired the Ronin invoicing app, pairing it with previously acquired Outright, to create the GoDaddy Bookkeeping software.

Facebook starred reviews

Online Business Reviews Provoke Frustration, Legal Action

Online reviews and local listings that display them continue to be a sore point.  Some of the sites where reviews appear have come across as cavalier and uncaring toward small businesses through poorly implemented review systems and uneven efforts to deal with rampant fake reviews:

  • A sting operation by the New York state attorney general resulted in fines against a number of marketing firms and small businesses for faking online reviews.
  • Yelp sued a business that it alleges was faking its own reviews – after that same business won a small claims case against Yelp.  There’s a lot of “underground” grumbling by small business owners who feel the system is too easily gamed — a common complaint remains that Yelp’s algorithms hide too many legitimate positive reviews, and highlight fake ones by competitors that know how to manipulate the system.
  • Facebook rolled out starred reviews.  The system was promptly given a poor review by some small businesses due to its clumsy implementation.
  • Google managed to confuse small businesses with its  Google Local (Places) Plus and Google+ for Business.  By the end of the year, things started to look better.  In late November, an upgrade was rolled out that allows business owners to manage and respond to reviews left on their business listings. 
  • The Better Business Bureau expanded its pilot program for verified local business reviews. The BBB review system, which is separate from its rating system of A+ through F, seemed to provoke less frustration than some of the other review sites.

Twitter Goes Public; Focuses on Revenue and Spam

  • The company went public in November, trading on the NASDAQ under the symbol TWTR.  The stock has gone up and down in the past two months, but currently is up over 40% and the company has a market cap of $35 billion.  That’s more than 16 times the size of the New York Times’ market cap of $2.3 billion.
  • In anticipation of its IPO, Twitter continued rolling out advertising products and improved its business resources.  It announced plans to acquire MoPub, a mobile ad platform.  We expect the focus on advertising and sponsored offerings to only increase, given the need to meet quarterly earnings expectations.
  • Perhaps anticipating closer scrutiny, Twitter changed its spam algorithms, cracking down on DM spammers and other abusers.  We saw a spate of legitimate small business users having their Twitter accounts banned in error – apparently it is now trickier to follow a lot of accounts without tripping a spam filter.

Matt Cutts Google spam team

Scrutiny Increases on Content Marketing

Content marketing continued to grow in 2013.  We published not one, but two lists of content marketing books during 2013, so that ought to tell you how much interest there is.  Native advertising also grew — native advertising comes in many forms, but newspapers have long published a form called advertorials.

Guest blogging and advertorials became so popular that they were over-used and abused by some.  It seemed like an epidemic of plagiarism and “spun” articles.  Fake writers and rings of “made-for-links” sites proliferated.  What was the goal?  Build links.

In May of 2013 Google’s head of Web spam, Matt Cutts (pictured above), spoke out and explained how advertorials need to be handled under Google’s guidelines.   Then later Cutts cautioned against “low quality” guest blogging.  The U. S. Federal Trade Commission also updated its advertising guidelines to address disclosures needed in social media.

There will always be value in high quality content in marketing.  But 2013 was the year that saw abuses of content explode, and a resulting crackdown start.

Counterfeits and Mass-Produced Goods Irk Entrepreneur Artisans

Etsy was originally set up as a marketplace for handmade items — and supposedly a refuge from mass-produced stuff.  But shop owners, who number nearly one million on Etsy and are mostly entrepreneur-artisans and small businesses, have been vocal about mass produced goods being allowed.  Even Etsy’s “be honest” rule is not enough, some say.

Some hand-crafted items from Etsy also are copied. Fakes end up on wholesale sites such as Alibaba. Alibaba announced an anti-counterfeiting campaign in advance of its rumored 2014 IPO.  While counterfeiting is often thought of as a “big brand” type of plague, it also affects small businesses like artisans.

Self employed and Obamacare

Obamacare Confusion Reigns

The year 2013 has been one of confusion.  With many media reports being politically motivated either left or right, millions of small businesses had a tough time planning their healthcare:

  • An estimated 5 million people had their health insurance policies cancelled or costs increased for individual policies, due to the Affordable Care Act requirements.  The cancellations and higher premiums hit self-employed freelancers and small business owners as a group hard, because they tend to have individual policies.
  • The Federal healthcare.gov website rollout was almost universally regarded as a disaster.  On a positive note, some website improvements have been made since October and it seems to be getting better.
  • Many government workers and other select groups have been exempted from the new healthcare law.  Larger employers (including small businesses with 50+ employees) got a one-year delay in their employer requirements, until 2015.  But that delay does not benefit the estimated 5 to 7 million self-employed and small business owners who rely on individual policies.
  • The online SHOP exchanges, which are supposed to enable small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to shop for affordable coverage (and in some cases get tax credits), were delayed until November 2014.  Small businesses can still use the SHOP exchanges — they just have to apply through brokers or by mail.

The words of Professor Scott Shane take on added meaning: “Despite (or because of) our policy makers’ efforts, employee health insurance remains a burden for small business owners. ***  Only time will tell whether our policy makers’ efforts to help have alleviated or exacerbated the problems.”

Social Media & Mobile Valuations Hit Records

Are we living through another tech bubble, like the Dot Com bubble of 2000?  Judging from some of the valuations, possibly.

Remember Instagram, the company with no revenue that was valued at $1 billion back in 2012 when Facebook acquired it?  The year 2013 saw a redux of sorts, when Snapchat’s 23-year-old founder turned down an offer of $3 billion from Facebook.  Meanwhile, at least 16 million small businesses had Facebook pages, and Facebook was placed on the S&P 500.  Despite all that success, a report by Oklahoma Senator Coburn suggests Facebook will for the second year in a row pay zero taxes.

Yahoo, trying to reinvent itself, acquired Tumblr, a blog platform known for its porn, for $1 billion.  Shortly thereafter, Tumblr jumped on the sponsored posts bandwagon. And Yahoo is currently a Wall Street darling, with its stock price at a five-year high.

If you want to create a high-valuation startup, mobile and social are hot spaces to be.  At least for now.

new dell venue tablets

Traditional Tech Companies Retrench, Reinvent

Remember those traditional technology companies so many of us run our businesses on?  Here’s what happened with a few of them:

  • Dell went private again after a battle by Michael Dell to retain ownership of the company he founded in his dorm room in 1984.  Dell expanded its traditional laptop and desktop computers to include tablets and tablet hybrids. It is aggressively investing in innovative startups, acquiring other companies, and entering into partnerships to reinvent itself into a combined hardware, cloud software and services company.
  • Microsoft announced the retirement of CEO Steve Ballmer as it began its own reinvention with strong moves toward mobile.  Along with aggressive marketing campaigns for its Windows Surface and RT tablets, Microsoft made a bid to acquire Nokia to gain a bigger footprint in the mobile space.
  • BlackBerry – well, pundits have been predicting its demise for the past two years.  After the disappointing launch of BlackBerry 10, the company changed CEOs in November.  For awhile it planned to go private, then scrapped that.  Right now the focus seems to be on serving businesses in regulated industries and government.

Netting it out: the changes at Microsoft and Dell are good news for small businesses. BlackBerry is becoming less of a player in the small business market with each passing month.

Phones Get Bigger, Tablets Smaller, Voice Minutes Go Away

  • Mobile devices become big then get cheaper. We saw plenty of data about the increased popularity of mobile devices with consumers this year. And manufacturers responded with more phones and tablets. There were also hybrids like the phablet. And then the devices started getting cheaper too.
  • The responsive Web design approach gained steam.  Instead of creating a separate .mobi site, today a responsive design can make sure all visitors experience your site in the best possible way – whether they are using a smartphone, tablet or computer.
  • Voice minutes are becoming almost a thing of the past in the United States. The reason is that mobile carriers have realized charging for data transfer is the more lucrative approach. Carriers are beginning to do away with hardware subsidies, too.
  • Apple, meanwhile, announced that its app store had generated $10 billion in revenue for the third-party developers. The demand for mobile apps on other sites like Google Play also is strong.

Grumpy cat meme

Grumpy Cat and Gangnam Style Memes Cool Off

Two of the hottest viral memes  in recent memory became big news this year and later faded. Though the Gangnam Style video was posted in 2012, by 2013 it had became the most watched online video in history. Grumpy Cat still has her fans, but the adorable cat (pictured above) is not quite as hot.

Independent Worker Marketplaces Grow, Merge

oDesk and Elance announce a merger. The two online freelance marketplaces decided to pool resources. That fact, along with 30+ other freelancer sites, shows how the labor market is changing, with more hiring of independent workers being done online.

Crowdfunding Sites Grow

Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo became instrumental in funding startup projects. And sites like CrowdBrewed are springing up to represent niche markets like brewing. Meanwhile, the SEC issued “no action letters” that made it a bit easier to do online venture crowdfunding.

Internet Sales Tax Heats Up, Stalls

The issue continues to divide small business owners, depending on their business interests.  An effort to pass national legislation — the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act — appears stalled in Congress.  Meanwhile, various states tried attacking related issues from another angle, by taxing affiliate marketing.

3D printing for small business

Printing Evolves From Laserjet to 3D

Traditional printing remained in demand, despite our move to electronic data. The HP laserjet turned 30 years old and HP shipped its 200 millionth printer. But 2013 also was the year that saw 3D printing start to hit the mainstream (image above). Some UPS Stores now offer 3D printing to customers.

Bitcoin: Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing?

Bitcoin, the alternative virtual currency, was much discussed throughout 2013.  Some Web entrepreneurs use it because it makes it harder to track their money.  However, Bitcoin has a long way to go to catch on with mainstream small businesses.

Privacy and Security Woes Increase

By now you’ve read about the NSA reading emails and listening to phone calls.  But it’s not only the government digging into your privacy.  News came out that Facebook knows more about you than you might think.  And hackers found small businesses to be easy targets.

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South Stream Is Economic Engine for Bulgaria – Russian Ambassador

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Russia’s direct capital investments in Bulgaria for the past ten years exceeded USD 2 B, according to Russian Ambassador to Bulgaria Yuri Isakov.

In an interview for Moscow-based daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta, he noted that a number of Russian companies were interested in developing investment cooperation with Bulgaria in the spheres of transport, banking and insurance, logistics, etc.

Isakov cited energy as one of the priority spheres of bilateral cooperation.

He referred to the South Stream gas pipeline project as an engine of the Bulgarian economy, adding that it would benefit all European countries interested in ensuring long-term supply stability.

The Russian diplomat explained that the South Stream gas pipeline project would result in the upgrade and expansion of the gas transmission infrastructure in Central and Southern Russia.

He claimed that Bulgaria would secure estimated revenues of EUR 2.5 B by 2040 through the gas pipeline project, adding that both international and local experts agreed that it would assist the implementation of the revenue side of the state budget.

Isakov also drew attention to the fact that the implementation of the South Stream gas pipeline project would create over 600 jobs in Bulgaria, provide Bulgarian construction companies with unique experience and  give a strong boost to the development of the depression-stricken Northwestern Region, on whose territory a substantial section of the pipe was located.

He also said that the project would fetch additional investments in transport infrastructure and increase the workload of Bulgaria’s largest Black Sea port, Port Varna, and the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) company.

He described South Stream as “an engine for the Bulgarian economy and its sustainable development.”

Isakov was not asked to comment on the calls of the European Commission to renegotiate all bilateral intergovernmental agreements on the South Stream gas pipeline project in order to make them compatible with EU law.

The Russian diplomat suggested that Bulgaria had great opportunities to develop alternative forms of tourism such as pilgrimage tourism, balneological tourism, wine tourism and eco-tourism.

He also informed that the 135th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bulgaria and Russia would be celebrated in 2014, as well as the 135th anniversary of the first Bulgarian Constitution, reminding that it had been drafted “with the active participation of prominent Russian legal experts.”

Isakov went on to mention other upcoming anniversaries, such as the 100th anniversary of the Russian Church in Sofia, officially known as the Church of St Nicholas the Miracle-Maker, and the and the 90th anniversary of the sanctification  of the St. Alexander Nevski Cathedral.

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Mechel names new chief executive

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Struggling Russian steel and coal producer looks at ways to manage its heavy debt burden, such as covenant holidays, amid depressed commodity prices

MEP Urges Strong Response to Campaign against Bulgarians, Romanians

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Bulgarian MEP Ivaylo Kalfin has insisted that the efforts to counteract the reinforcement of negative attitudes towards Bulgarians and Romanians must not stop.

In a Tuesday interview for the Bulgarian National Radio (BNR), the Bulgarian MEP from the Socialists&Democrats group argued that the negative campaign was triggered by political and pre-election motives.

Kalfin called for a strong reaction to the negative publicity, citing an “undeserved stain on all Bulgarian citizens,” despite the fact that the pledges to adopt draconian measures could not possibly be fulfilled.

He emphasized that Bulgarians would face absolutely no restrictions to travel, study or get a job anywhere in Europe without needing special permits as of January 1, 2014.

Kalfin pointed out, however, that Bulgarians intending to leave the country to claim higher social benefits would face problems.

He advised Bulgarians abroad to contact the Bulgarian embassy in the respective country, or the local authorities, if they believed that their rights had been violated.

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Over 1/3 of Employers in Bulgaria to Offer Pay Rises in 2014

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

A survey of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) shows that over 1/3 of employers plan to offer salary increases in 2014.

According to the survey requested by private TV station bTV, the companies which plan pay rises in 2014 are mostly businesses relying on external markets.

The most frequent salary increase is by an average of 10%.

In around 1/3 of the cases, the pay increases will amount to 10-20%.

However, the survey also shows that half of the companies will not hire new staff in 2014 and that every tenth firm plans staff cuts.

Hiring new employees will be the exception rather than the norm in the private sector in 2014, according to BCCI data.

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