KANSAS CITY, Mo. –
Students need to know more than business theory to ace an entrepreneurship program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
They need to actually start a business with the potential for expansion.
Seven students are marketing an implantable wireless monitoring service for dog owners and their veterinarians. Two students are automating work for attorneys. One student is creating a web service for businesses to create, share and complete forms.
This spring, those students were among 32 who were part of the first class graduating from the E Scholars Program run through the universitys Henry W. Bloch Schools Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Henry Bloch, co-founder of tax preparation company Hamp;R Block, was part of the clapping crowd.
All students regardless of their major may apply if they have an idea for a business. Those who are accepted learn how to write their business plan, take entrepreneurship classes and work with entrepreneurs and business people from the Kansas City area.
Institute Executive Director Michael Song said the goal is to accelerate the formation of businesses that will make over $50,000 in revenue the first year and more than $1 million in revenue in five years.
Andy Kallenbach, who is developing the business form company, started helping people with computers while still in high school and finished a two-year associates degree in liberal arts after graduation. The 33-year-old from Kansas City worked his way up to a job managing an information technology department of a small insurance business before deciding he needed more schooling to start his own business.
He was pursuing a bachelors degree in entrepreneurship when he saw fliers in November promoting the E Scholars program. The organizers werent satisfied with a computer consulting business.
They wanted something scalable, he said. With paid help, he called 350 restaurants in the Kansas City area about whether there would be interest in the business form idea and described the response as positive.
The concept got him accepted into the program, which landed him with free office space and the chance to listen to experts in subjects such as social media use and bounce ideas off business people such as former Hamp;R Block Inc. CEO Thomas Bloch.
He recently won $400 in a business creation contest, and there is the potential for venture seed money at the end of the summer. He also has been offered investment money but so far hasnt taken any.
He said the goal is to nail the needs of the first batch of restaurant customers this summer.
Our long-term goal is a little bit grander, he said. We hope that by the end of the year we are able to allow any small business to manage business forms on our website.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Companies are prepared to spend more to send people on the road for business, newly released survey findings indicate.
V-Rooms Virtual Board Portal – An Economical Alternative
The V-Rooms Virtual Board Portal provides boards of directors with a highly secure, yet economical, Internet-based electronic board book platform for managing director level communications and activities.
Atlanta, Ga (PRWEB) May 06, 2011
V-Rooms(TM), a product of Due Diligence Online, LLC, has launched the Virtual Board Portal which serves as an online replacement for the cumbersome three-ring binders normally used for board meeting materials. At an annual base cost of only $3,000, the V-BoardPortal offers a significant cost savings, compared with the printing, binding and shipping of hard copy documents.
The Board Portal concept was initially driven by the Sarbanes-Oxley act to provide better corporate governance through timely information access and increased director visibility. Additionally, corporate board members have become more technologically savvy and weary of bulky board books. The web-based platform makes it easy for board members to access, review and exchange the crucial business data they need in order to make better, more informed decisions. Now administrators are able to build board books, upload new versions of documents and instantly distribute this information. Directors are able to search historic documents 24/7, access current information and even cast their vote in the Board Portal secure system.
“Our V-Rooms Virtual Board Portal is a natural extension of our Virtual Data Room (VDR) platform which has been assisting in streamlining financial and legal transactions for over six years,” said Dan Bradbary, CEO of V-Rooms. “We are able to easily tailor our full-featured VDR program to economically meet the needs of board members of public and private companies.”
Corporate governance is becoming increasingly more complicated. Board members, along with their associated committees, executives and outside consultants generate and share highly sensitive information relating to topics such as strategic alliances, potential acquisitions, compensation and litigation. The V-Rooms Virtual Board Portal provides corporate directors with a highly secure and cost effective web-based environment to manage this critical information. This is essential in todays highly mobile and regulated environment where board directors in various locations create logistical challenges for the directors themselves, as well as those individuals responsible for administering boardroom activities.
Due Diligence Online, LLC (800-731-6379). V-Rooms provides privately-branded online virtual board room and virtual data room solutions, designed to streamline document management, collaboration, exchange and archiving for Financial, Legal and Corporate professionals. Our document repository facilitates the compliant and auditable exchange of sensitive information to accelerate complex, information-intensive processes, while reducing the time and expenses associated with data distribution, courier, printing and travel.
# # #
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2011/5/prweb8385347.htm
When it comes to investing, you cannot settle for anything less than the fastest and most efficient news feed. That is why we created Benzinga Pro. Sign up for a free trial today!
James Shields’ economical pitching helps Tampa Bay Rays defeat Baltimore Orioles 6-2 – MLB Update
Tampa Bay Rays’ starter James Shields was amazing with the ball as he pitched seven innings and gave away just one run on three hits in the Rays’ 6-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park in Baltimore on May 6.
Shields permitted three walks and struck out five batters. He improved his ERA to 1.12. James expressed his feelings as, “It was raining pretty hard out there. Having to deal with the delays out there, with that team and that line-up over there, to be able
to hold them in check is pretty nice.”
The scorecard remained empty for both sides during the first inning. The Rays took three runs in the second inning to get the initial 3-0 lead when Brandon Guyer hit a solo homer, BJ Upton singled and Evan Longoria played a shot for a double. Longoria
went 2-for-4 and contributed two runs in the Rays’ scorecard.
Guyer was considered as the first player in the Rays’ history to hit a homer in his debut. He was recalled from Triple-A Durham before few days to strengthen the Rays’ roster. Guyer felt very excited as he said, “I was so ecstatic I just wanted to make sure
I didnt trip. Its the last thing I thought would have happened. For me to get a home run, its pretty cool.”
The third, fourth and fifth inning were silent for the Rays. On the other side, the Orioles were also unable to score until the fifth inning. It seemed that the pitchers overcome the batters completely. The Orioles scored in the sixth inning and reduced
the lead to 3-1 when Derrek Lee struck a one-run homer against Shields. The seventh inning also passed without a single run.
During the eighth inning, Casey Kotchman took an RBI single against the Orioles’ reliever Jeremy Accardo to extend his club’s lead to 4-1. Johnny Damon added a two-run homer in the ninth inning for the Rays while Vladimir Guerrero singled in the end to cut
their deficit to 6-2.
The Rays’ Manager Joe Maddon gave all credit to Shields who pitched superbly to restrict the score of the Orioles. He said, “Thats what hes been, hes really been sharp. Sharp on both sides of the plate, sharp with all his pitches. Hes been very frugal
with his pitches, getting deep into the game.”
The Orioles’ starter Zach Britton, who pitched well in the previous games, disappointed his team officials with his shaky performance. He permitted three runs on four hits in five innings pitched. Britton struck-out only four batters and gave away one walk
to the Rays. Koji Uehara was also expensive and allowed two runs on two hits in just one inning pitched.
HP unleashed a wave of laptop upgrades, new business laptops, and even prepaid 3G data on Monday in an effort to woo both consumers and mobile professionals. The three refreshed HP laptops–the HP Pavilion dv4, HP Mini 210, and HP Envy 14–gain updated processors and upgrades like improved touchpads. The business-oriented laptops–ProBook 5330m and EliteBook 2560p and 2760p–will come with consumer-friendly features like Beats Audio for better sound quality and backlit keyboards.
Blurring the Lines Between Business and Pleasure
HP ProBook 5330mThe new designs show HP veering towards making even their business laptops more appealing to consumers as well, upping the coolness factor at a time when Apple products are surging in popularity. The HP ProBook 5330m, for example, is less than an inch thin and sports a brushed aluminum chassis, backlit keyboard, and Beats Audio. The Beats by Dr. Dre audio system is more typically built into HPs entertainment-oriented laptops like the Envy 14; this is the first time that Beats Audio is included in an HP business laptop.
HP Envy 14 and Pavilion dv4 Get Cooler
Speaking of the HP Envy 14, the upgraded model now uses a new HP imagepad that promises better gesture support and other touchpad controls. Another new feature on the Envy 14 is HPs CoolSense technology, which automatically adjusts its cooling based on whether it senses youre using the laptop on a table or on your lap. The Envy 14 has also been updated, as expected, to the latest second-generation Intel Core processors and USB 3.0. You can pick it up on June 15 for a $999 starting price.
The HP Pavilion dv4 also gets the CoolSense treatment and processor upgrade. The sleek 14-inch laptop comes in two colors, weighs under 5 pounds, and starts at $599, available on May 18.
HP Mini 210–A Netbook that Sounds Good
HP Mini 210HPs refresh of the Mini 210 netbook adds Beats Audio, a redesigned case (available in five colors), a seamless touchpad, and easier access to the netbook parts for upgrading. Less than an inch thin now, the HP Mini 210 will start at $300 and be available on June 15.
HP Probook 5339m, EliteBook 2560p, and EliteBook 2760p
Ultraportables Aim for Sleekness
The previously mentioned ProBook 5330m has a 13.3-inch screen, weighs under 3.9 pounds, and is available now at $799.
Two new models in the EliteBook line also emphasize the small-and-light trend. The 2560p, which replaces the high-performance HP EliteBook 2540p, weighs 3.7 pounds, has a 12.5-inch display, and even packs an optical drive in its aluminum and magnesium body. Available on May 23, the 2560p will start at $1,100.
EliteBook 2760pThe EliteBook 2760p is a convertible multi-touch Windows 7 tablet with a 12.1-inch display (1366 by 768 or 1440 by 900 pixel resolution). The tablet is configurable with Blu-ray, up to 16GB of memory, HDD or SSD, and either Core i5 or i7 Intel Sandy Bridge processors. The EliteBook 2760p is available now starting at $1,500.
Prepaid 3G Mobile Broadband for HP Laptops
Finally, as if that all wasnt enough news, HP also announced a new pay-as-you-go 3G mobile broadband service for its laptops. The DataPass service can be purchased in blocks, starting at $5 for 75MB of data. This should be a boon for business travelers and consumers who only occasionally need mobile Internet access. My colleague Agam Shah of the IDG News Service has more information on HPs new data service.
On June 12 the citizens of Norton will line the road to watch a parade celebrating the 300th birthday of the town. It will be a wonderful way to celebrate Nortons past. The day before the parade those same citizens will go to the polls to decide Nortons future.
Norton has a chance to renovate the towns high school and put on a much needed addition while being reimbursed for 64 percent of the cost. Even with the reimbursement the cost is no small figure. The projected cost of the project after reimbursement is likely to approach $11.5 million and will require a debt exclusion to be passed at the special Town Meeting on June 6 and also by vote at the polls on June 11.
It seems like we have become a town of two minds when it comes to how we view this decision. One group will look at this decision as one that needs to be made with the improvement of Nortons schools as the relevant issue. This group believes the improvement in our childrens future should be the prevailing concern. A second group sees the decision as an economic one and wonders if it makes sense for them to put forward their hard-earned income to make this renovation and addition a reality.
The first group has an easy task. The project will clearly improve the school. It will add updated science labs that will allow our children to remain competitive in an economy that pays a premium to workers in scientific fields. It will better other areas as well: the arts, athletics. Even the windowless cafeteria will be vastly improved. Heating will no longer be an issue. There will no longer be interior classrooms where students cant tell if it is night or day. The effect on the quality of students daily life would be substantial and undeniable.
The second group has a much more elusive decision to make. The project will mean a temporary increase in taxes. The increase will not be large by most measures, but in these hard economic times, any increase is too much if there is not a corresponding benefit. Unlike the educational benefits, the economic benefits of this project are not immediately obvious. But if we look closely, the benefits become much clearer.
First there is the cost of the project. It is a $32 million project, but over $20 million is going to be reimbursed by the state. The reimbursement rate is essentially a one-time offer. It is funded through the state sales tax. However if there were to be a decrease in the sales tax rate (which was recently attempted) or a revenue problem that funding will quickly be in jeopardy. By approving the project now, we lock in this exceptional reimbursement rate. If we pass, we will be moved to the back of the line with no guarantee of reimbursement in the future. The $20 million will go to some other town.
Beyond the cost, there is the savings the town would realize by updating things like the heating system. The benefits do not end there. One way to keep taxes low is to find ways to save. This project does that. The other way to keep taxes low is to increase the potential revenue of the town. Businesses prefer to locate in towns with good school systems. Bringing businesses in means more tax revenue; each of us will have less of a tax burden than we would without those businesses. The jobs businesses would bring are just an added bonus.
If you own property there is another benefit. Every economic study tells us that homes in districts with good school systems are more valuable than those with poor schools. Norton already has great test scores, but the condition of our high school fosters the perception that Norton is a town where education is not a priority. This project would reverse that perception.
By investing in our high school, we are investing in our own homes. Owners of undeveloped land could potentially be even bigger winners. Any increase in taxes would be offset many times over by the increase in property values. On a net basis, property owners are actually coming out substantially ahead.
Get out your lawn chairs. Find a good spot on the parade route. Put your kids up on your shoulders so they can get a good view. And hope for a warm and sunny day. But before you do any of that, go to town meeting and the polls. Close your eyes. Make a wish. Then take a very deep breath and blow out 300 candles. On this birthday it looks like everyone will get their wish. How cool is that? Happy birthday, Norton!
DENIZ SAVAS is a member of the Norton School Committee.
Starbucks customers sip quietly at tables Wednesday, March 23, 2011. Carlton Zhou/ The SOTAcad Citizen – Carlton Zhou
Sunday nights finale of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business did what all great finales do: It kept us guessing as to who would win, and it provided several challenges that upped the ante from what we had seen before.
For one thing, producers made the most of the first hour of the finale in Brazil, where one team member had to learn a Carnival dance, complete with the requisite costume, of course.
Unfortunately, Zevs two left feet ended up dooming him and Justin, but not before two of the hairiest Amazing Race contestants ever took part in a Brazilian waxing(!), and unsuccessfully tried selling bikinis to women in bikinis. (The other three teams were smart enough to skip that challenge, which would obviously be tough and had a bit of a creepy factor thrown in: they had to actually change clothes in a tent on a public beach.)
The always-game Gary and Mallory were in first going into the final leg, and Gary stood a chance at being the oldest Amazing Race winner. It wasnt to be, however, as their cab driver in Miami couldnt find the location of their roadblock, involving a forklift. Things didnt improve for them in the underwater mermaid(!) roadblock, either.
In the end, it came down to Harlem Globetrotters Flight Time and Big Easy and sisters Kisha and Jen. The high winds during (what one assumes was) a winter day in Miami made the final task of – no, not answering trivia about the race, for once – but assembling a trailer to look like one in a brochure.
Kisha and Jen finished first, and took off on tricycles(!) over a seven-mile bridge to make it to the finish line. Despite never winning any legs prior to this one, the second time was the charm for them, and they were also the second all-female team in a row (not to mention, second ever) to win.
Even though I was pulling for Gary and Mallory, I was happy to see them finish the race, as well as the Globetrotters, who quit the race in their first season. Kisha and Jen stuck with it, and didnt let any bathroom breaks get in the way like their last go-round. I will pee my pants to make the final three, said Jen. Now thats the kind of winning attitude that earned them one million dollars!
What did you think of the finale? Did the right team win? Did you enjoy Cord tossing his hat away in the final moments? Share your view on iReport or comment below.
MARLTON, NJ, May 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Xtel Communications Inc. (www.xtel.net) now offers IP Voice services over cable Internet Connections. This economical service allows business customers with cable Internet connections to leverage that connection to access Xtels robust voice network for local, long distance and international calling.
In these tough economic times, many of our customers have opted to use cable connections for their Internet access, said Xtels Vice President, Brian Flynn. These same customers also have expressed a desire to converge their data and voice services onto one common connection to minimize expenses. Recognizing this, Xtel has engineered a solution that will enable its customers to have all of their phone service over their cable connection, allowing them to get rid of expensive POTs lines.
Although voice over cable is not the ideal solution for all businesses, it can be a viable option for many small companies by giving them the ability to have access to Xtels reliable voice network through a relatively inexpensive Internet connection. It also allows them to eliminate many, if not all, of their local analog lines.
Since 1994, Xtel Communications, Inc. has been providing small and medium-size businesses and public entities including townships, counties, school districts, police departments and municipal utility authorities with high-quality voice, voice over IP, Internet access, hosted PBX, integrated solutions and managed services.
For more information about Xtel Communications contact Brian Flynn at (800) 438-9835.
SOURCE Xtel Communications, Inc.
Back to top
Inside the world of business
Elan achieves long-term goal
IT HAS taken three years but Elan has finally achieved its long-term goal of selling off its drug technology business.
The move, which will significantly reduce Elans outstanding debt, increases its room for manoeuvre and turns it finally into a neurology-based biotech business. In the process, it cuts the final link with the original business started by Don Panoz in Athlone over 40 years ago.
Elan will get a 25 per cent stake, valued at $450 million, in the reconstituted Alkermes but, as Kelly Martin noted yesterday, shareholders will expect it to monetise its holding over the next couple of years once the six-month lock-in is out of the way.
Market analysts welcomed the deal and shares in both companies rose yesterday. At first glance, it certainly appears that both sides have gained from the transaction.
Elan has argued consistently that much as it admires its drug technology business, it is a fundamentally discrete operation from the biotech side. With any money available going to develop biotech, particularly multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri and its Alzheimers pipeline, the EDT business would best get access to capital elsewhere either as a standalone business or in a sale. Back in 2008, before the financial crash, it got a valuation of $1 billion on the business. It has effectively secured that with this deal.
The money will allow it to cut net debt by over a third and still allow resources for investing in new areas. The company will, for the first time in its recent past, boast revenues of 1 billion and be both profitable and cash positive. In the short term, it also gets to benefit from any upside in the Alkermes price as the deal settles down.
For its part, Alkermes gets an extensive portfolio of products that is expected immediately to boost revenues from about $180 million per annum to about $450 million. As much of the portfolio, like EDTs Ampyra, is new and holding long-term patents, the forecast is that figure should rise strongly.
The bottom line, though, is Elans faith in Tysabri. The company recorded year-on-year sales growth of 20 per cent in the first quarter and, with more reliable safety indicators and tests now in place, sees no reason for this to subside. Our confidence around the business of Tysabri has grown exponentially in the last six months, Mr Martin said yesterday.
That, ultimately, was the catalyst for finally doing a deal that had been over six months in gestation.
Hopes that jobs plan will lead to on-job training
WHEN THE carefully drafted statements accompanying todays launch of the Fine Gael-Labour jobs initiative make their inevitable nods towards training, skills and innovation, it is worth remembering that political and public relations sops of this kind in recent years have yet to translate into an explosion of on-the-job training opportunities in the typical Irish workplace.
Despite the strong policy focus on skills, the proportion of employees who had recently participated in employer- provided training remained virtually unchanged between 2003 and 2009, standing at just under 50 per cent, write the ESRIs Dorothy Watson, Helen Russell and Philip OConnell in a recent research bulletin, called The Changing Workplace.
Training provision was lowest in the hotel and restaurant sector; at small firms; among older workers and among employees with low initial qualifications, the 2009 National Workplace Survey of 5,110 public and private sector employees indicated.
However, as the ESRI researchers note, employment practices such as human capital development (which mostly means training), employee involvement (tendencies to consult and devolve decision-making to employees) and co-working (working across divisions, reducing hierarchy) all tend to be positively associated with innovation.
Add together all the pieces of these fuzzy concepts and the big picture comes into focus.
Using the 2009 National Workplace Survey of 2,668 private sector and 259 public sector employers as their base, the ESRI researchers found that 82 per cent of employers who combined these practices had introduced new products or services in the previous two years, compared to just 45 per cent of employers who had a low adoption rate, sticking their fingers in their ears and running away as soon as an employee came within sniffing distance of head office.
Better business outcomes and an emphasis on innovation may be the cause of rather than the result of more modern workplace practices, the ESRI notes, but they do suggest the importance of paying attention to workplace practices in the first place and following through on them too.
CarTrawler sale was typically under the radar
THE WEEKEND reports that the sale of CarTrawler may have netted brothers Greg and Niall Turley between 30-40 million each for anywhere between 50 and 100 per cent of the companys equity is typical of the way the firm operated.
Despite having revenues of 141 million last year and the company attracting significant interest before British private equity house ECI Partners invested at a 100 million valuation, CarTrawler has largely flown under the radar since it was founded in 2004.
The online car rental broker changed to unlimited status a couple of years ago, which meant the media and competitors didnt see its accounts. The Turleys also avoided the media spotlight.
CarTrawler grew out of the family car hire business Argus Car Hire, which was disposed of in 2007 as the online business started to take off.
Chief executive Greg Turley is stepping back and taking on a non-executive director role.
After his success he is likely to be much in demand as an angel investor and mentor to other internet start-ups.
Speaking to this newspaper in February, Turley talked about the power of the internet to shake up the distribution model in the car rental industry which had previously been dominated by a small number of global players. He said he had repeatedly been asked why he did not apply his model to other industries but decided to stick to the knitting.
There will be plenty of interest in seeing where Turley decides to focus his attentions next.
For regular commentary on business and economic issues visit our blog, Current Account, at irishtimes.com/ blogs/business
Twitter users can receive links to the latest business news and blog posts by following us at twitter.com/IrishTimesBiz