An Entrepreneurial Safari
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
A start-up grows in Africa. Following Wal-Mart's announcement that it plans to buy South Africa's chain of Massmart stores, today's Fast Company explains that this December, five of Silicon Valley's finest will travel to Kenya to take part in an "Entrepreneurial Safari" and help entrepreneurs there develop their business ideas. The founders of the program, however, hope the trip will be beneficial to the American entrepreneurs as well. "By bringing Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to the continent we're exposing them to an Africa they're not familiar with--an enterprising arena full of economic potential," Garang Akau, one of the Lost Boys of Sudan tells Fast Company. "Opportunities will be exposed, fruitful dialogue started, and doors opened for investments in the region." Today's CNN also offers a few other ways investors can cash in on the growing African market.
Legal battles ensue over TV startup. Ivi, an online startup that streams live TV for a monthly fee of about five dollars, is getting sued by a slew of broadcasters only weeks after it launched. According to VentureBeat, the company claims it pays all the required licensing fees. But, the story notes, "the company got cease-and-desist letters from broadcasters. So it sued them first instead, and now it is being sued in turn." Five major networks -- ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and PBS -- are suing the Seattle-based company, as well as the company's founder Todd Weaver for copyright infringement. Unlike Hulu, Netflix, and Apple, ivi doesn't have deals with broadcasters allowing the company to stream TV shows. Networks see it as illegal. Weaver sees it as a turning point. In a statement, he said, "Broadcasters fought against cable companies, then joined them. Broadcasters then fought against satellite companies, then joined them. Now it is our turn."
Ode to a sale. A little sweet, a little flattering, and definitely a little creepy. That's how we'll describe this German start-up's congratulatory song directed at TechCrunch, in the wake of its sale to AOL.
Local businesses cash in on a literary legend. Today's Boston Globe has the story of Lowell, Massachusetts, formerly a city in decline after the loss of its textile industries, now revitalized after embracing the town's most famous son, Beat writer Jack Kerouac. After a highly successful exhibit in 2007 of Kerouac's scroll from his legendary novel, "On the Road", the town and local businesses are now catering to literary tourists who come to visit the birthplace of the man credited for being the father of the Beats. The award for the most creative homage to Jack Kerouac? That would have to go to restaurateur John Capriole who named his sandwich shop Dharma Buns Sandwich Co. after Kerouac's novel "The Dharma Bums."
Mixing business with government. Linda McMahon may be one of the most famous entrepreneurs running for office this year, but CNN explains that several other small business owners will be up for election come November as well. According to the story, their primary target is Congress. "They don't feel like Congress, specifically, and the government, generally, gets what they need, especially in a difficult economy," Jennifer Duffy, The Cook Political Report's senior editor tells CNN. For some of these candidates, it's their first foray into politics, but they feel their small business sensibilities are urgently needed, even if their businesses, themselves, suffer. Bobby Schilling, who owns Saint Giuseppe's Heavenly Pizza, for instance, is vying for a Republican House seat in Illinois. "I have been forced to... set my small business aside," he tells CNN, adding, "I can bring something to the table that is missing."
Exporting to expand. As business has slowed down at home, entrepreneurs may want to look overseas for profits. USA Today reports that currently, just over 1% of all small businesses export to other countries, but government officials believe these businesses can and should do more. Still, they understand the daunting obstacles -- the mounds of paperwork, increased costs, the risk of losing products -- that stand in the way of achieving success. The SBA, Department of Commerce and other agencies, therefore, have created 19 export assistance centers and websites such as www.export.gov to help allay these concerns and keep businesses expanding.
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