Archive for January, 2015

The American Small Business Championship Is Coming

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

The American Small Business ChampionshipEDIT

Running a small business often requires sacrifice. The American Small Business Championship by Sam’s Club is looking to reward 102 small businesses around the US for the sacrifices they have made. This contest is open for entries until Feb. 6. If you are interested, check out the link below.

To see a full list or to submit your own event, contest or award listing, visit the Small Business Events Calendar.

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

The American Small Business Championship, Score


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Improve Sales, Increase Employee Retention and More

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

020215 retail

Improving sales can be tricky for any business. There are so many different strategies you can use to attract buyers, convert sales, and make the overall process easier for both you and your customers. This week, members of our small business community shared some tips for improving sales, along with some other updates. Read on for the full list in this week’s Small Business Trends community and information news.

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Vintage Toy Collector Turned Passion into “The Underground Lair”

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Underground Layer 1EDIT

The Underground Lair in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is proving that you can turn just about any passion into a successful business with enough planning and hard work.

Collector and business owner Dan Wirth has spent more than forty years gathering and trading memorabilia in everything from Star Wars to Care Bears.

Today his brick and mortar location and Underground Lair website sell everything from comics to toys and collectibles dating back more than half a century.

Wirth began collecting when he was 10 years old.

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OSCE Calls for Immediate Ceasefire as Situation in Ukraine Deteriorates

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic called for an immediate ceasefire on Saturday, as the situation in Ukraine has rapidly deteriorated in the past 24 hours.

Dacic’s call comes after more than 20 civilians have been killed and many more injured in the latest clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists, the Guardian reports.

The Serbian Foreign Minister urged parties in the conflict to comply with the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 and the Memorandum of 19 September 2014.

Dacic also pointed to the Declaration, adopted at a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on January 20, which called for an immediate ceasefire and full implementation of the Minsk documents.

On Friday separate shelling attacks were reported in Donetsk, Debaltseve and other areas, which left 15 Ukrainian soldiers dead and 30 wounded.

The fight has been particularly fierce around the town of Debaltseve, which is of strategic importance as it is a major rail and road junction.

The pro-Russian rebels claimed to have captured the nearby town of Vuhlehirsk and partly encircled thousands of government troops in Debaltseve.

These developments come as the contact group, which was initially scheduled to meet on Friday, is expected to gather in Minsk on Saturday.

At it representatives of Ukraine, Russia, the separatists and the OSCE will attempt to push for the implementation of the Minsk agreement and the restoration of the peace talks.


Sell Local Think Global is Loaded With Creative Marketing Ideas for Small Business

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

sell local think global

I live in a small, “Norman Rockwell” town. We have a gazebo and a whole group of retailers nestled around the square. Beyond the square, almost hidden from sight and across the railroad tracks, are several industrial parks with even more manufacturers and technology companies than you can count.

You can call these local businesses. Some are more local than others. But all of them are a contribution to our local and global economy.

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Maritsa Motorway Should be Launched by End of August – Minister

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Bulgaria’s Regional Minister Lilyana Pavlova announced in the town of Haskovo on Saturday that Maritsa Motorway is expected to be completed by the end of August.

Since the two lots of the motorway are funded under Operational Programme Transport, their completion until the end of the year is compulsory, the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA) reports.

Pavlova assured that in case there are no natural disasters, the first section should be constructed by the end of June, while the complete motorway should be launched by the end of August.

The Regional Minister also said that the budget under Operational Programme “Regions in Growth” amounted to slightly over BGN 3 B, its priority axis being urban development and restoration.

The budget allocated for the town of Haskovo under this axis was BGN 32 M, while that for the town of Dimitrovgrad amounted to BGN 23 M.

These funds could be expended on projects related with urban environment, public works, public transport, energy efficiency of schools and kindergartens.

Pavlova presented in Haskovo the national programme on energy efficiency of multifamily residential buildings.

The Regional Minister pointed that among the aims of the programme were the reduction of the heating expenses of households and the provision of employment opportunities.

Pavlova explained that the programme also aims to engage the participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which would be involved in absorbing an investment amounting to BGN 1 B.


Italian Parliament Elects President at Fourth Attempt

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

The Italian Parliament elected Sergio Mattarella as the country’s president on Saturday at its fourth attempt.

In the previous three rounds, which took place on Thursday and Friday, none of the candidates managed to gather two-thirds majority or 673 votes.

It was expected that Mattarella will be elected in the fourth round, at which only a simple majority of 505 votes is required, ANSA news agency reports.

Mattarella, who was proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his Democratic Party, had previously served as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Education and Minister of Defence.

Mattarella becomes the twelfth president of Italy, succeeding Giorgio Napolitano, who resigned earlier in January due to his old age and poor health.

Mattarella who started his career as a judge from Sicily, entered politics in 1980 after his brother was assassinated by the Mafia, the Financial Times reports.

Mattarella was one of the architects of Italy’s electoral laws in the 1990s, rising to become a judge at the constitutional court in 2011.

Although Italian governments are run by the prime ministers, the presidents also have considerable powers, especially in times of crisis.

According to the constitution, the president has powers to dissolve parliament, call new elections and influence the formation of new governments.

It is believed that the election of Mattarella will be beneficial for PM Renzi, as it is to restore confidence in his government and consolidate the support of his Democratic Party.


Bulgaria Registers 2 % Decrease in Unemployment in 2014 – Eurostat

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Bulgaria registered a 2 % decrease in its unemployment rate in the past year, according to the latest data of Eurostat, which was released on Friday.

In December 2014 the unemployment rate in Bulgaria was 10.8 %, which represents a decrease of 0.2 % compared to the previous month and a drop of 2 % compared to December 2013.

However Bulgaria’s unemployment rate remained above the average for the European Union (EU), which stood at 9.9 % in December 2014.

The number of unemployed people in Bulgaria in December 2014 was 365 000, which is 68 000 people less compared to a year ago.

Bulgaria’s youth unemployment rate in December 2014 stood at the same level as it had been a month ago – 21.6 %, which equals to 43 000 people, aged 15 to 24, being unemployed.

The youth unemployment rate remains slightly above the EU average, which stood at 21.4 % in December 2014.

In December 2014 the unemployment rate in Bulgaria continued to be higher among men – 11.6 % than women (9.9 %), which is also the case for most of the EU member states.

Although there were more than 24 million people unemployed in the EU in December 2014, the unemployment rate fell below 10 % for the first time since October 2011.

The lowest unemployment rates in December 2014 were registered in Germany and Austria, while the highest were recorded in Greece and Spain.

As regards youth unemployment, the lowest rates were observed in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, while the highest were recorded in Spain, Greece, Croatia and Italy.


New Fence at Border with Turkey Will Be 4 Times More Expensive

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

The new section of the fence, which Bulgaria plans to construct at the border with Turkey in order to limit the influx of illegal immigrants, will be four times more expensive.

The new section will have a length of 82 kilometres, it will be higher and wider with several meters and will have deeper foundations in the ground, daily Sega reports.

Therefore, its price will jump to BGN 90 M, or BGN 1 M per kilometre, which will be spent without an auction, as the government decided to build it without a public procurement procedure.

The new section will stretch between the border checkpoints of Kapitan Andreevo and Lesovo, in an attempt to compensate for the shortcomings of the already existing section.

It turned out that the facility, which was built last year, had been breached at numerous spots and it did not present any serious obstacle to people determined to cross it.

The Interior Ministry intends to include cameras with capacity for night surveillance, which would save expenses on the stationing of additional posts along the length of the fence.

At present, border officials guard the first fence against intruders, while the existing cameras are useful only in good weather conditions.

The guarding of the border between Lesovo and Kapitan Andreevo while the construction takes place is also included in the price.

The already existing section of the fence has led to a seven-fold decrease in the number of people attempting to cross the border.

The existing 30 kilometres of the fence were much cheaper, having cost the taxpayers BGN 7.5 M or less than BGN 250 000 per kilometre.

However the Interior Ministry dismisses these figures, arguing that the expenses were much higher, as the resources spent by the Defence Ministry have not been included in the total amount.

Two weeks ago, the government decided to start the building of additional 110 kilometres of fence, with initially constructing the section between Lesovo and Kapitan Andreevo.

The Regional Ministry has been entrusted with the construction of the fence, while the Agriculture Ministry will be responsible for tracing the roads.


FinMin: Bulgaria Realises Its Unpreparedness for Euro

Saturday, January 31st, 2015

Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said that although Bulgaria wants to accede to the Eurozone immediately, it realises that it is not fully prepared to introduce the common European currency yet.

Goranov added in an interview for Darik radio on Saturday that this will happen when the other members of the Eurozone agree on Bulgaria to do so.

The Finance Minister had requested from the Eurozone members to state what measures they expect from Bulgaria to take in this direction in the medium term.

Goranov explained that he had mentioned 2018 as a possible date for completing the first step – accession to the European Exchange Rate Mechanism II (ERM II).

According to him, the accession of Bulgaria to the Schengen Area and the Eurozone will present a challenge.

This would necessitate measures for improving Bulgaria’s competitiveness – labour productivity and economic growth.

At the same time, the country had taken few measures in tackling corruption and little progress was being made.

Goranov assured that arguments pointing to the possible rise of prices in Bulgaria after the adoption of the Euro were unfounded.

The Finance Minister explained the expected budget surplus for the month of January with the improved revenue collection.


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