Thursday, November 15, 2018

Live: Theresa May pledges to fight on as Conservative MPs call on her to quit

Jacob Rees-Mogg has submitted his letter of no confidence in Theresa May.

In it, he claims it is of "considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place."

Here's the full letter:

A few weeks ago, in a conversation with the Chief Whip I expressed my concern that the Prime Minister, Mrs Theresa May, was losing the confidence of Conservative Members of Parliament and that it would be in the interest of the Party and the country if she were to stand aside. I have wanted to avoid the disagreeable nature of a formal Vote of No Confidence with all the ill will that this risks engendering.

Regrettably, the draft Withdrawal Agreement presented to Parliament today has turned out to be worse than anticipated and fails to meet the promises given to the nation by the Prime Minister, either on her own account or on behalf of us all in the Conservative Party Manifesto.

That the Conservative and Unionist Party is proposing a Protocol which would create a different regulatory environment for an integral part of our country stands in contradistinction to our long-held principles. It is in opposition to the Prime Minister's clear statements that this was something that no Prime Minister would ever do and raises questions in relation to Scotland that are open to exploitation by the Scottish National Party.

The 2017 Election Manifesto said that the United Kingdom would leave the Customs Union. It did not qualify this statement by saying that we could stay in it via a backstop while Annex 2, Article 3 explicitly says that we would have no authority to set our own tariffs. It is also harder to leave this backstop than it is to leave the EU, there is no provision equivalent to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

The Prime Minister also promised an implementation period which was the reason for paying £39 billion. As was made clear by a House of Lords report in March 2017 there is no legal obligation to pay anything. This has now become an extended period of negotiation which is a different matter.

The situation as regards the European Court of Justice appears to have wandered from the clear statement that we are taking back control of our laws. Article 174 makes this clear as does Article 89 in conjunction with Article 4.

It is of considerable importance that politicians stick to their commitments or do not make such commitments in the first place. Regrettably, this is not the situation, therefore, in accordance with the relevant rules and procedures of the Conservative Party and the 1922 Committee this is a formal letter of No Confidence in the Leader of the Party, the Rt. Hon. Theresa May.

I am copying this letter to the Prime Minister and the Chief Whip and although I understand that it is possible for the correspondence to remain confidential I shall be making it public.



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Pound falls sharply as Brexit secretary resigns - business live

Facebook confirmed Mark Zuckerberg's beef with Apple CEO Tim Cook in an official company statement

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg might run two giant tech companies just a short drive down Route 101 from each other in Silicon Valley, but there's no love lost between the two moguls.

Now it's on the record — in an official company statement from Facebook.

In response to a blockbuster New York Times report on how Facebook responded to a series of privacy scandals, Facebook published a lengthy blog post on Thursday morning.

One item was about Cook:

5. Android: Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there's been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us. And we've long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.

This was in response to The Times' implication that Zuckerberg had ordered his executives to stop using iPhones and use Android instead because he was personally upset with Cook.

Do you work at Apple or Facebook? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at kleswing@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @kifleswing. Secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

Here's the Times passage:

"We're not going to traffic in your personal life," Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said in an MSNBC interview. "Privacy to us is a human right. It's a civil liberty." (Mr. Cook's criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones — arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple's.)

The enmity between the two technology executives goes back years but heated up earlier this year when Recode's Kara Swisher asked Cook a question about the Cambridge Analytica incident, in which private Facebook user data was stolen from 50 million users.

She asked if the Apple CEO was in Zuckerberg's place, "What would you do?"

He answered: "What would I do? I wouldn't be in this situation."

Zuckerberg later hit back, calling Cook's criticism "extremely glib."

In the statement, in which a Facebook representative writes "there's been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us," the "anyone else" is referring to Definers Public Affairs, a firm of Republican political operatives that Facebook hired, which the Times report revealed had spread documents with political-style opposition research to reporters.

However, the conflict between Cook and Zuckerberg first arose at least four years ago.

Read more: Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook execs reportedly investigated if they could ban Trump after Zuck was 'appalled' by his call for a Muslim ban

Cook said in an interview with Charlie Rose in 2014 that "when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product."

This apparently got under Zuckerberg's skin even back then, with a journalist from Time noticing the tension in a profile of the Facebook founder:

"But before that happens Zuckerberg also notes — and it was the only time I saw him display irritation — that Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote something similar in September in a statement spelling out Apple's privacy policy: 'When an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product.' The shot was probably meant for Google, but Facebook was definitely in the blast radius. 'A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,' Zuckerberg says. 'I think it's the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you're paying Apple that you're somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they'd make their products a lot cheaper!'"

It's remarkable that this spat between publicly traded giants has spilled out of quips and interviews into a public Facebook crisis PR statement.



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Rocket Lab raises $140 million in 'dry powder' to fast-track business of small rockets

Rocket Lab expanded its lead on the budding industry of small rocket companies, announcing a $140 million investment round led by Australia's sovereign wealth fund.

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck told CNBC this was "a really important" moment for his 12-year-old company.

"We're kind of graduating out of Silicon Valley and into the much larger pools of capital," Beck said. "These pools of capital aren't looking for startup companies with lots of risk. They're looking for stable and for assured growth and returns."

Australia's nearly $150 billion Future Fund invested along with Rocket Lab's earlier backers including Bessemer Venture Partners, Promus Ventures, Khosla Ventures, K1W1, Data Collective and Greenspring Associates. New Zealand's Accident Compensation Corporation also invested for the first time.

The company has now raised more than $288 million in total funding. It wouldn't disclose its new valuation, but said it is "soaring past its previous" appraisal of $1.2 billion.

Adam Spice, Rocket Lab's chief financial officer, said the investment would give it "dry powder" to expand its role in the space industry. "The investors ... believe the opportunity is finally real."

Rocket Lab builds small rockets, priced at about $5.7 million a launch. The company's Electron rocket is designed to launch spacecraft up to the size of a refrigerator, especially for the premium small satellite part of the rocket market. Launching affordably and frequently were the two priorities Rocket Lab had when designing Electron. "Almost everything in" Electron is "made in-house," Spice said.

Small rockets like Electron can save customers months of time getting to orbit but come at a higher cost compared to flying as a "rideshare" on a larger rocket like the SpaceX Falcon 9. But Rocket Lab is not trying to compete with those big rockets. Beck's company is targeting customers who wants to test new technologies very quickly, with an end goal of being able to launch on demand.

The company is fresh off its first commercial launchon Saturday, which put seven spacecraft in orbit. With operations in New Zealand and California, Rocket Lab is increasing production as it tries to launch one rocket a month by next year and then one every two weeks, Beck said.

Its factories "have been specifically designed to produce one rocket a week," Beck said

Electron reached orbit for the first time in January. Despite an issue with one of the rocket's systems delaying its second orbital launch for several months, Rocket Lab has a sizable lead on the rest of the industry. Competitors Virgin Orbit, Vector and Astra Space are deep into testing programs but have yet to reach orbit. Beck estimates there are over 100 companies in total trying to catch up.

Beck said this latest investment round shows that "Rocket Lab is maturing" and attracting Wall Street interest. While investment money is the "most accessible" among venture firms and sovereign wealth, Spice said he's "getting more calls" from the likes of J.P. Morgan.

"We've got the biggest of the big names on the financial side kind of kicking the tires on participating," Spice said.

Beck said it's too early to know when a Rocket Lab IPO would happen, as the company has "a few things we want to execute first."

"We want to get the launch cadence right up there," Beck said. "There's a little bit more I need to achieve."

Rocket Lab's year began with reaching orbit, and the company has not slowed down since. The company doubled its global workforce to 330 employees, with Spice joining as CFO earlier this year after nearly 20 years in the semiconductor industry. He has done about 60 acquisitions in his career, which Spice said is one of the key reasons Beck hired him.

The company opened an 80,700 square foot mass production facility in Auckland, New Zealand, in October.

Rocket Lab also announced in October it will build its first U.S. launchpad at NASA's Wallops Facility in Virginia. Unlike its launchpad on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula, which is a private facility, the Virginia launchpad is on NASA property.

"The U.S. launch site is really to serve government customers who require launch off U.S. soil," Beck said.

Spice said Rocket Lab plans to use about one-sixth of this $140 million investment round to add second and third launchpads at the company's New Zealand facility "relatively soon." Mahia has a "strategic value" that Spice does not think many people understand.

"It's the only privately-owned launch facility and that is a huge differentiator," Spice said.

Rocket Lab is going to need multiple facilities if it is going to reach its goal of launching on a weekly basis. The company has a backlog of launches for the next year and a half, with 16 planned for next year. Beck said the company is "tracking around a $3 billion pipeline" in future launches.

Another one-third of the $140 million will go to research and development. Beck said the company is beginning to work on three major R&D projects. And Rocket Lab is already preparing for its next orbital launch, set for December.

Beck estimated Rocket Lab will soon be profitable, saying when the company completes "these couple of launches by the end of this year we'll be cash flow neutral." But the company is well aware of how difficult spaceflight can be. That mentality remained front of mind for Spice when thinking about how this new funding should be utilized.

"We basically funded ourselves to survive a pretty lengthy shutdown on the pad if we have an anomaly, any unforeseen pricing pressure from well heeled competitors, and absolutely keep our foot on the gas from an investment perspective," Spice said.



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Taxpayers' cost for Trump Jr.'s business trip to India nearly $100K, documents show

Donald Trump Jr.’s lavish trip to India to sell his family’s luxury condominium projects cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $100,000, documents obtained by The Washington Post show.

The Department of Homeland Security, responding to a Freedom of Information request, released 47 pages of purchase orders, requisition forms and planning work sheets showing Trump Jr.’s February trip cost more than $97,805 for hotel rooms, airfare, car rental and overtime for Secret Service agents. The costs were incurred on a February tour of four Indian cities — New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata — where the Trump family has licensed its name to luxury high-rise projects.

Trump Jr., 40, is the executive vice president of the family real estate company that the president still owns, although the elder Trump says he has stepped back from day-to-day control.

During his tour, Trump Jr. walked the red carpet, attended a ribbon cutting at a high-rise overlooking the Arabian Sea in Mumbai, hosted champagne dinners for buyers and had a private tete-a-tete with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Full-page glossy newspaper ads offered those who put down a $38,000 deposit of a new luxury project outside Delhi a chance to dine with the president’s son, prompting charges of conflict of interest. His team boasted to reporters they had sold $100 million worth of the pricey flats, including $15 million in a single day.

The Secret Service is authorized by law to protect the president and his immediate family, although Trump Jr. briefly waived his protective guard last fall while on a moose-hunting trip to the Yukon. The idea that the U.S. taxpayers are footing the bill for Secret Service travel while the Trump children are on trips to promote the family’s brand overseas has prompted criticism from both Capitol Hill and watchdog groups.

Jordan Libowitz, the communications director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that because the president has not placed his assets in a blind trust, as others have done, he still effectively controls his real estate empire and benefits from his children’s travels. Both Trump Jr. and the president’s other son, Eric, have traveled widely to promote the Trump brand, including trips to Dubai and Vancouver.

“The issue is that essentially the president still owns his businesses, and these trips are being done to make the president money. Essentially the government is spending money for the president’s private businesses,” Libowitz said.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to emails or return calls for comment. In a statement, Jeffrey Adams, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said for security reasons the agency could not discuss “the means, methods, resources, costs, or numbers utilized to carry out our protective responsibilities.”

The Trump family will face tighter scrutiny going forward now that the Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives, experts say. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who has been a frequent critic of the strains Trump’s large family have placed on the Secret Service’s budget, is expected to assume control of the powerful House oversight committee next year.

Democrats began investigating the costs of Trump’s family travel last year, but the effort did not get far. They are now awaiting the results of two reports from the Government Accountability Office — one on the costs of presidential travel and a second on the security at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., the committee said.

Chuck Young, the managing director of public affairs for the GAO, says the family travel study is expected out in mid-December and will include travel in 2017; this means Trump Jr.’s India trip is not in the study’s scope.

During the nearly week-long trip protecting Trump Jr., Secret Service agents following Trump crisscrossed the country, staying in a variety of luxury hotels, including the Oberoi in New Delhi and the Four Seasons in Mumbai, where rooms range from $150 to nearly $500 a night. The promotional events were for properties where the Trumps have licensing deals, not properties the Trump Organization owns.

The documents released by DHS are incomplete — the Mumbai figures show an estimate of the total trip cost as $25,174, including $18,785 for rooms at the Four Seasons and $6,389 for car rentals, cellphone use and payment of local staff. Purchase orders of the final hotel bills with the General Services Administration show the government actually paid $15,166 for rooms during what it called “Don Jr Visit to Mumbai” and another bill for $3,501, a bit less than the estimate.

The documents for the Delhi days of the trip show only the hotel receipts — about $27,000 — which adjusted down to $15,360 because a member of the group whose name was redacted “will settle his hotel invoice on his own,” according to the documents.

The government spent a similar amount — about $97,830 — for hotel stays for Secret Service and embassy staffers for Eric’s trip last year to Uruguay, a Post review of purchasing orders found last year. Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington released a report in July that shows the Secret Service spent $200,000 on airfare, hotel rooms and other expenses when Trump Jr. and Eric went to the United Arab Emirates to open a golf resort last year.

David Fahrenthold contributed to this report.



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Valparaiso business owner spends three days behind bars only to learn it was all a mistake

Sparta business owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

Posted: Nov. 15, 2018 12:01 am

A Lafayette resident and Sparta tax preparation business owner admitted Tuesday before a U.S. District Court judge that for at least four consecutive years, he did not pay payroll taxes and failed to file his personal income tax return, according to U.S. District Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Thomas Kurczewski, 71, pleaded guilty in front of Judge Esther Salas to one count each of failing to pay payroll taxes and failing to make personal income tax returns. If convicted on both charges, he faces up to six years in prison and fines of up to $350,000.

According to court documents filed in the case, Kurczewski opened up his business "Tom K -- The Tax Consultant" in 1992 and was the sole owner and manager of the tax return preparation business. The business also, at some point, went by the name of "Tom K and Associates -- The Tax Consultants," records state.

The office is located in White Deer Plaza in Sparta, according to the Yellow Pages and the Better Business Bureau.

Between 2011 and 2014, Kurczewski employed two individuals at the office but Carpenito said he failed to pay payroll taxes for them.

The Internal Revenue Service requires an employer to report "employment taxes" on an Employer's Quarterly Federal Tax Return four times a year.

"Employment taxes" include withholding taxes, or the amount of taxes an employer withholds from their employees for partial payment of income tax, and Federal Insurance Contribution Act, or FICA, taxes. According to the IRS, FICA taxes are withheld from employers' taxes to protect the financial and physical well-being of the nation's senior citizens by helping to fund two federal programs: Social Security and medicare.

Court records indicated Kurczewski failed to file quarterly tax returns a total of seven times between 2011 and 2014, an approximate employment tax liability of $24,000.

Kurczewski also failed to file his own individual tax returns and did not pay federal income taxes for calendar years 2011 through 2015, Carpenito stated.

Carpenito indicated that in failing to pay payroll taxes and personal income taxes, Kurczewski failed to pay the government $338,204

Special agents in the IRS' Criminal Investigation Unit, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur in Newark, assisted in the investigation.

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 20.



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What Team Should Every Business Owner Have?

Updated: May 25, 2018:

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Ballard business owner speaks out after stabbing

It’s been nearly two weeks since a Ballard business owner risked his own life to stop a pair of tire slashers in the neighborhood.    

Johnny Robinson opened Electric Traveler Tattoo this past January.

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He told KIRO 7 his shop is his home, his sanctuary. When he saw some vandals threatening his home, he didn't think twice.

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He almost lost his life protecting the neighborhood.

“When they said we're putting you out in the ambulance, I was thinking that was the last time I would see anyone,” Robinson recalled. “I didn’t think I was going to wake.”

Robinson, who also goes by his artist name of Johnny Sunset, remembers sitting in his seat the night of Friday, Nov. 2, before the shop was going to close.

“All of a sudden, I heard this sound. I made a comment, 'Hey, that sounds like my tire getting popped,'” he added.

He was right.

Without a second thought, he and fellow artist Ryan Brann chased the pair of tire slashers around the corner.

“As I came around a car, all I remember was getting stuck in the chest and thinking, 'This dude's going to kill me. Right now, that just killed me,'” Robinson said.

Fortunately, he defied the odds.

“It punctured my right lung,” Robinson explained.

After two surgeries and a week in the hospital, Robinson is now recovering at home with his wife and two daughters.

“I always loved my family. but this is something -- I'm happy I actually get to go home to them and I really do thank whatever that I'm alive,” Robinson said as he teared up.

Looking back, Robinson said he never wanted to hurt anyone. He simply wanted the vandals to stop.

“There's been a slew of smashed windows, slashed tires, all kinds of stuff,” he said. “I'd really just like all that to stop. I think this neighborhood has had enough abuse.”

Police released a picture of a person of interest who was seen urinating at the animal hospital across from Robinson's shop around the time of the stabbing.

Robinson implores folks to speak up.

“I almost died and if this guy was involved, it is important to get someone like that off the street because if it isn't me, it could be you,” he said.

He's still in a lot of pain. But he's determined to get better as soon as possible so he can get back to doing what he loves. What's helping in his healing is the overwhelming support from the community.

“I'm hoping everybody watches this and truly hears, thank you, thank you so much from me and everybody here at Electric Traveler,” Robinson said.

KIRO 7 asked if he chase after the guys again.

“I probably would,” he answered.  “I don’t feel that people should be able to do things like that and be able to walk away.”

Robinson also has a message for the community. He doesn't want them to be scared. Though he doesn't want others to put themselves in danger, he also doesn't want them to be afraid to speak up when they see something wrong in the community.



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Weslaco Business Owner Concerned about Military Base Next to Property

WESLACO – A Weslaco business owner is questioning a military base next door.

Moises Milano owns Milano’s Restaurant located just behind one of the military’s life support areas. He says he’s concerned about his family’s safety. 

"It’s a magnet so it attracts everybody, not just people that are looking to see what’s going on but also, I’m pretty sure, people who have beef with the government,” says Milano. "The compound itself, I mean, they'll be okay but what about us right? Because they're going to cut across here."

KRGV’s John Paul Barajas reached out to the U.S. North Army Command. We’re told Troops will be living and working out of these life support areas.

The original end of deployment was set for Dec. 15 but it is unknown if troops will stay until then.

Watch the video above for the full story.



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Why The UK Continues To Be The Place To Start A Micro Business

The UK continues to support new businesses. Photocredit: Getty Royalty FreeGetty

According to the last small business survey from the Enterprise Research Centre: "In 2017 there were 1.11m micro-businesses (with 1-9 employees) in the UK, employing around 4.09m people (17.6% of the workforce). This group of firms accounted for £552bn in sales, 14.7% of that by all UK firms."

As the UK continues to see year-on-year growth of new start-up businesses, does this equate to a vibrant small business landscape across the country? To answer that question I spoke with Emma Jones MBE, Founder of Enterprise Nation.

Emma Jones, Founder, Enterprise Nation.Enterprise Nation

The ONS (Office of National Statistics) seems to show a steady increase in the number of new small businesses being started each year. What’s driving this trend?

"There are a couple of things driving this trend: The first being financial. An estimated one in four people have a side hustle to earn some extra cash. But a more compelling reason as to why start-up stats remain strong is that people want the freedom and flexibility that comes with being your own boss. Entrepreneurship has become embedded in many areas of the UK which means people feel it's as normal to start your own business, as to working for someone else. This is a great place for Britain to be - we just need to sustain it!"

Is self-employment no longer something you are forced into (redundancy for instance) but an aspiration especially for younger people?

"Yes, there is a key distinction between necessity entrepreneurship (where you have no other option than to start a business) and opportunity entrepreneurship, where you elect to do so. We're seeing people make a positive choice to go self-employed across all ages, with young people particularly keen on this way of working. This is because a) they are incredibly competent with the tech that drives so many businesses and b) they want to work in a way that suits their style and values. If this can't be found in the corporate workplace, they will create these conditions themselves."

What are the main obstacles people face starting a new business in the UK? Have these changed over the years? Is it still funding?

"The main obstacle to starting a business is really your own sense of confidence and belief. There is plenty of funding available, with StartUp Loans recently extended in the Budget, crowdfunding being a popular choice and the fact that the costs of starting a business have drastically come down.

"It's easy to be daunted by all the things that need to be done when starting and growing a business so it's better to think of it in small, bite-size steps. Write a plan, make a sale, start a blog, make another sale etc. Before you know it, you're in business. What is important is to surround yourself with supporters along the way. At the outset, this might be friends and family and, as the business grows, business mentors and advisers. A support network most certainly eases the way."

Many people are now developing portfolio careers or side hustles, and not moving into full-time self-employment. Is this an indication of how the working environment has changed to make this kind of self-employment viable on a practical level?

"I am loving the rise of the side hustle! Yes, this is an indication of shifting attitudes from employers. When I wrote the book 'Working 5 to 9 - how to start a business in your spare time' back in 2012, most of the spare time entrepreneurs I interviewed had not told their boss they had a business on the side. That's changing. Employers understand that people want flexibility in their working life and this might include time to pursue their passion project, outside of the day job. If you don't allow this, you risk losing talent. Employers benefit from the entrepreneurial skills being gained in the employee's own time. What must be observed, however, is that the side hustle is not sapping the energy of the employee so much that they're not doing the job they're being paid to do!"

Do you think how we measure success in self-employment has changed? Is it no longer just to earn money? Is well-being, work/life balance, improving the environment or your local community just as valid a reason to start a small business?

"This is actually an area in which I want to do more work as no, I don't feel we are sufficiently counting the positive contribution made by the self-employed to society as a whole. At Enterprise Nation, we've long known that those who run their own business tend to self-police daytime neighbourhoods (as they are working from home), spend more money in the local economy, educate the next generation of entrepreneurs, and tend to do so without placing a huge burden on the NHS as the self-employed are sick less than employees. I don't feel this has sufficiently been researched at a national level and the case made to HM Treasury who, quite worryingly, see the self-employed as a community that simply pays less tax! Please come back to me with this question in a year's time, when I hope we'll have much stronger evidence to show the full contribution (economic and social) of the self-employed."

The government, in particular, seem to want new businesses that can be scaled quickly to deliver jobs. However, is staying small also a clear and valid ambition for new micro business owners? Are ‘zero scale businesses’ a clear trend?

"Yes, we are seeing a clear division of three persona types in small business;: those who want to start, those happy to stay as they are in business, and those that want to grow. In my view, all should be celebrated and welcomed. One of the great benefits of running a business is that you're in charge of when, and indeed if, that business scales. I've seen many parents start small and then scale the business when kids leave home. I've also seen entrepreneurs who set out to scale and need eyes open on all this entails with raising money, building a team, managing investors etc. My pitch to government is that all forms of enterprise are good, regardless of size as all enterprises are paying taxes, creating wealth, and making for a fulfilled and purpose-driven population. The government prefers people to be in jobs as it's easier to tax - I think we need to change this."

Has the definition of what it means to be an entrepreneur changed? Have we moved away from individuals typified by Dragon’s Den, to entrepreneurs that define themselves in other ways?

"Yes, the definition of being an entrepreneur has certainly shifted. I'm seeing so many people start a business to write a wrong, and make their mark. People who have influenced this agenda in the past 12 months include the likes of Sam Conniff who wrote 'Be more Pirate' and Emma Gannon who is encouraging people in their droves to live life by the multi hyphen method, which places great emphasis on entrepreneurship. This, to me, paints a positive picture - where millions of people up and down the land are building the principles of entrepreneurship into their life; of resilience, commitment, hard work, purpose, and the all-important, passion. Everyone can be an entrepreneur now!"



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Walmart reports strong sales, both online and in stores

NEW YORK — Walmart reported strong sales online and in its established store sales for its fiscal third quarter, and raised profit expectations for the year heading into the holiday shopping season.

The report Thursday suggests that efforts by Walmart to improve the experience of its customers is paying off in its battle with online behemoth Amazon.

Like other retailers, Walmart is benefiting from a strong job market and rising consumer confidence. Home Depot and Macy's raised annual profit expectations this week. They're also benefiting from the misfortunes of others. Toys R Us and Bon-Ton Stores have gone out of business, while the bankruptcy of Sears Holdings Corp. is creating more opportunities to grab sales.

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Walmart sales were strong in such areas as fall seasonal goods and fresh food. That helped sales at stores open at least a year rise 3.4, a bit slower from previous quarter's 4.5 percent at Walmart's U.S. division, which marked its best performance in more than a decade. The measure, an indicator of a retailer's health, was helped by a more 1.2 percent increase in customer traffic and a 2.2 percent increase in transactions.

Since buying Jet.com for more than $3 billion two years ago, Walmart has been expanding its online business by acquiring brands and adding thousands of items. It's also been ramping up grocery delivery and pickup options. Grocery pickup is now offered at nearly 2,100 of its 4,700 U.S. stores, while grocery delivery is available in nearly 600 locations. Walmart has also revamped its website with a focus on fashion and home furnishings. That all helped to drive a 43 percent increase in online sales in the U.S. during the latest quarter. That was up from a 40 percent increase the second quarter period and a 33 percent increase in the first quarter.

"We're feeling confident going into this holiday season," said Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran during an exclusive interview and tour last week at a Walmart store in Houston. "I think the standards, the flow of merchandise, our pricing are feeling better than it was a year ago."

Walmart is promising more to come. Under Foran, Walmart is creating a tech-powered shopping experience at its stores, while transforming them into efficient distribution hubs that can fill online orders to reduce shipping costs and speed up deliveries. To do that, Walmart is doing more extensive training workers who are taking on new roles or redefined responsibilities while using scanning robots and other automation.

Online shoppers can use its giant pickup towers which spit out online orders. Customers can now also better find items in the store because of digital maps on their smartphone. Workers, armed with new apps on their mobile device, will also be able to manage routine tasks, freeing them to serve the customer or check them out in key areas of the store.

"We can provide a much better customer experience because we are in stock of the right item, at the right time at the same time it is going to help us be much more precise," he added.

Still, Foran acknowledges it's facing stiffer competition from Amazon as well as other traditional chains like Target this holiday season. Consulting firm Bain & Co. predicts that Amazon in the U.S. will outgrow the market and capture up to half of all e-commerce sales by the end of the year, making it even stronger than a year ago. Bain estimates that Prime members increase their average monthly spending on Amazon by more than 50 percent during the holiday period.

In fact, in the free shipping arena, Walmart found itself the laggard during the start of the holidays. Target announced last month that for the first time it was getting rid of its $35 threshold for two-day delivery for the holidays. That move was followed by Amazon, which announced earlier in the month that it was going to make two-day shipping available to all shoppers including non-Prime customers, without the spending requirement of $25.

Amazon is also expanding its cashier-less physical stores, pushing Walmart and others to speed up checkout, a source of frustration for many shoppers. In time for the holidays, Walmart has rolled out a program that allows its staff to check out customers and provide receipts right on the spot in the busiest sections of the store. Foran told The Associated Press that it's looking to bring back Scan & Go, which allowed shoppers to scan items while they shop with their own personal device or a Walmart device and walk out. It had been shelved twice after customers found it too clunky.

But the first big test this holiday season is Black Friday weekend.

"If you run a good store, it's an event," said Foran, who will be on a plane from 2 p.m to midnight on Thanksgiving visiting stores and monitoring the sales. "It's a proxy for stores. If you run good stores, people will want to go them."



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SSL encryption in online businesses – The ultimate security measure?

Every online business owner nowadays has to be well aware of the various cyber threats to their company at all times.

While the Internet is vast and gives us unlimited possibilities to expand and develop our enterprise, hacker attacks lurk at every corner, and we should always be ready to fight them off.

Just started a business and want to preserve your basis?

You had an optimistic launch and need to keep it that way?

Your brand is already established and operating with thousands of customers?

All of those questionsequal a hacker-related danger to our efforts. It is simply how the Web works. Some people create while others try to steal or destroy their progress.

From online game stores to online and live casinos, the list of possible hacker targets goes on for kilometers so every owner or user can take the needed means to stay safe in the virtual world.

The SSL encryption method simply encrypts (bet you didn’t see that one coming) all sensitive information on a website to hide it from thieving fingers. Every bit of data is turned into an unbreakable key combination to secure its state.

Be it personal details, payment information, or just purchase history, SSL encryption stands in the way of hackers to produce a safe environment to conduct business.

Each site equipped with an SSL certificate is a trustworthy place to visit from any user base. We can browse, shop, sign in, read, and even gamble at those digital sites without the fear of being exploited by unknown third parties.

Having mentioned live casinos earlier, all eligible modern casinos rely on such an encryption to keep their customer accounts at a level of maximum security.

Respected live casino sites like Casinopedia are devoted to finding the most enhanced SSL-encrypted betting sites to present us with the ultimate gambling atmosphere.

While most players mainly emphasis on the game selection at any gambling platform, it is more important to check the security conditions. The presence of an SSL encryption provided by the main SSL developers (Comodo, DigiCert, Certum) grants us the peace of mind to conduct any action without the risk of losing our data to a coordinated cyber attack!




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Facebook confirmed Mark Zuckerberg's beef with Apple CEO Tim Cook in an official company statement

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg might run two giant tech companies just a short drive down Route 101 from each other in Silicon Valley, but there's no love lost between the two moguls.

Now it's on the record — in an official company statement from Facebook.

In response to a blockbuster New York Times report on how Facebook responded to a series of privacy scandals, Facebook published a lengthy blog post on Thursday morning.

One item was about Cook:

5. Android: Tim Cook has consistently criticized our business model and Mark has been equally clear he disagrees. So there's been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us. And we've long encouraged our employees and executives to use Android because it is the most popular operating system in the world.

This was in response to The Times' implication that Zuckerberg had ordered his executives to stop using iPhones and use Android instead because he was personally upset with Cook.

Do you work at Apple or Facebook? Got a tip? Contact this reporter via email at kleswing@businessinsider.com, or Twitter DM at @kifleswing. Secure messaging available upon request. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

Here's the Times passage:

"We're not going to traffic in your personal life," Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive, said in an MSNBC interview. "Privacy to us is a human right. It's a civil liberty." (Mr. Cook's criticisms infuriated Mr. Zuckerberg, who later ordered his management team to use only Android phones — arguing that the operating system had far more users than Apple's.)

The enmity between the two technology executives goes back years but heated up earlier this year when Recode's Kara Swisher asked Cook a question about the Cambridge Analytica incident, in which private Facebook user data was stolen from 50 million users.

She asked if the Apple CEO was in Zuckerberg's place, "What would you do?"

He answered: "What would I do? I wouldn't be in this situation."

Zuckerberg later hit back, calling Cook's criticism "extremely glib."

In the statement, in which a Facebook representative writes "there's been no need to employ anyone else to do this for us," the "anyone else" is referring to Definers Public Affairs, a firm of Republican political operatives that Facebook hired, which the Times report revealed had spread documents with political-style opposition research to reporters.

However, the conflict between Cook and Zuckerberg first arose at least four years ago.

Read more: Sheryl Sandberg and other Facebook execs reportedly investigated if they could ban Trump after Zuck was 'appalled' by his call for a Muslim ban

Cook said in an interview with Charlie Rose in 2014 that "when an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product."

This apparently got under Zuckerberg's skin even back then, with a journalist from Time noticing the tension in a profile of the Facebook founder:

"But before that happens Zuckerberg also notes — and it was the only time I saw him display irritation — that Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote something similar in September in a statement spelling out Apple's privacy policy: 'When an online service is free, you're not the customer. You're the product.' The shot was probably meant for Google, but Facebook was definitely in the blast radius. 'A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,' Zuckerberg says. 'I think it's the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you're paying Apple that you're somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they'd make their products a lot cheaper!'"

It's remarkable that this spat between publicly traded giants has spilled out of quips and interviews into a public Facebook crisis PR statement.



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Mark Zuckerberg's spectacular failure of leadership shows why some Facebook investors are desperate to fire him

After wrangling with Amazon, Bernie Sanders has set his sights on Walmart

Bernie Sanders clashed with Amazon over its minimum wage — and prevailed. The online retailer increased what it pays its lowest-earning employees to $15 an hour.

But the senator from Vermont isn't finished wrangling with major companies over wages. The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Sanders and Rep. Ro Khanna of California planned to introduce legislation, called the Stop Walmart Act, meant to compel Walmart to boost its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

"Most Walmart retail workers are working for horrendously low wages with minimal benefits," Sanders told The Post. "The wealthiest family in America must pay its workers a living wage, and the Stop Walmart Act will do just that. Amazon did the right thing by raising their minimum wage to $15 an hour. Walmart can and must do the same."

Read more:Amazon just intensified the war against Walmart

Specifically, the bill proposes barring corporations such as Walmart from buying back their stock unless they raise wages to at least $15 an hour. Markets Insider has reported that stock buybacks have been "a solid backbone of the stock market's continued growth."

The bill, which The Post noted is unlikely to become law as Republicans control the presidency and the Senate, will also reportedly demand that such companies provide seven days of sick leave and place limits on CEO compensation.

In a statement to The Post, a Walmart representative said "the company has already raised starting wages by more than 50% in the last three years."

The retailer raised its minimum wage to $11 an hour back in January. That's still lower than the hourly wage offered by competitors including Ikea, Target, and Costco.

Business Insider previously reported that the median annual pay of Walmart workers — both full and part time — amounted to $19,177 in 2017.

Are you a Walmart employee with a story to share? Email acain@businessinsider.com.



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Five business ideas your teenager should try this December holiday

SUMMARY

Imagine not having to worry about your teen idling away this holiday

Your teenager can accomplish this by starting and running a business

Imagine not having to worry about your teen idling away this holiday. Instead, you support an occupation that keeps them busy while they earn some extra cash. Your teenager can accomplish this by starting and running a business. Just make sure they choose an idea that matches their skills, interests and can easily be monetized. Here are a few holiday business ideas that can jump start their path to entrepreneurship;

1. Organize a Yard Sale 

Yard sales are a popular and inexpensive way to make money fast. They also provide a chance to get rid of any old or unused items around the house. With a little planning and organization, any teenager can make this day a success. They’ll first need to advertise it throughout the neighborhood. They can also play music to attract people and include snacks to sell. Encourage them to find a local business to sponsor their event and reduce any costs. 

2. Run an errand service 

Home delivery services provide business owners and households extra time to manage other things. That's why so many people are willing to outsource this service to couriers. If your teen decides to venture into this business, they need to market their service to both the customers and sellers. Offering to pick up groceries, drop off dry cleaning and paying bills at the bank, are some of the errands they can start with.

3. Sell handmade crafts online 

With Christmas only a few weeks away, most people are on the lookout for the perfect gift. Having a talent for crafting can give your teenager an edge in this business, especially if they already have customers. Their customers can become part of their awareness campaign on social media. This is the best strategy to propel their business without spending money on advertising. 

4. Offer gift basket service 

If crafting is not their thing, then your teen can consider making gift baskets. All they need is some creativity and a good eye for organizing different products in an attractive arrangement. The potential market for this service is varied. They can provide gift baskets for either corporates or individuals. Some clients prefer food items and others non-food items. So they can create an option for both.

5. Become a Social media consultant

It’s true that teens are more in tune with social media than any other generation. Therefore, it is a natural step to turn your teenager's social media skills into a money-making venture. They can offer to manage social media accounts for local businesses. Doing this helps the business owner to connect, engage and grow an online audience without neglecting their daily operations. 

In conclusion, if you want your teen to be industrious this December, support them in starting and running a holiday business. It might just be the starting point to their future as an entrepreneur.

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Simply click on Post Your Story button placed at the top of the website




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CSUB event gives participants chance to pitch business ideas

Local students and other members of the community worked together over the weekend weekend to increase their business experience and pitch their ideas. 

Cal State Bakersfield is hosting an Entrepreneurs Startup Weekend, which started Friday and ran through Sunday. Through the event, participants team up and come up with projects — such as a new business or product — and presented on Sunday to a team of judges for evaluation.

Coaches with experience in starting a business have come in to help the participants with their projects.

“The biggest goal is to really jump-start the startup community — entrepreneurs, the mentors, the judges, investors — and bring them all together for a pure entrepreneurial activity to create more businesses, to create more partnerships and to further stimulate the local economy,” said Navjot Brar, one of the organizers of the event.

The three-day event is sponsored by Bank of America and held in partnership with Techstars, a company that provides guidance and resources to help people successfully start their own business.

The company organizes startup events across the country. This is the first such event held in Bakersfield.

Highland High School student Melissa Duenas said she and her team are working on a project that involves gun safety.

Under this proposed project, schools, hospitals, restaurants and other businesses would be able to purchase a device that would let them know immediately if shots are fired in the vicinity.

“I like (the event) so far. It’s a little nerve-wracking, but it’s something new that I’ve enjoyed,” she said. “I like all my team members, all the networking that’s going on. My main goal is to get to know who’s in the business community.”

For Nolan Byers, who takes classes at the Kern High School District’s Regional Occupational Center, the reason he wanted to participate in the event was to gain some business experience.

“If my project fails, it fails. If it succeeds, it succeeds,” he said. “At this point, I’m willing to see what I can gain from this through experience. I’m just hoping I can get a lot of business background that could be useful for me in the future.”

Byers’s project is a proposal for a new business called Gravity Tattoo Studios. On Saturday, Byers and other members of his team were working on creating a website and doing some market research and analysis.

“I wanted to do a tattoo shop because I have always grown up around people with tattoos, so to me, it feels like home. It’s comfortable for me,” he said.

While Byers said he’s considering a career as an English teacher, he’s keeping his options open for possibly opening his own business in the future.

Fellow ROC student Nate Waldron was working on a proposal for a new mobile application that would allow people to track colleges they’re looking into, scholarships, financial aid and more all through one place.

“It organizes everything so that it’s not so much of a hassle, not so messy,” he said.

Waldron said he wanted to participate in the Entrepreneur Startup Weekend because he’s interested in working for a graphic design company — or even starting his own company — in the future and wants to have a good understanding of how business works.

“I’m looking for more skills toward prototyping, marketing and management,” he said. “I want to be a manager and know how to market and how to design very well.”

Waldron said he enjoys participating in events like this because they give him the opportunity to test his skills.

“I get to express my creativity here and develop my skills. I like using my mind to design stuff,” he said. “I like coming up with ideas with other people and working on them. It’s been a fun experience.”



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Business ideas fly in UofL's 16th LaunchIt class

Small business ideas you can start from home

Starting a business with an actual office, headquarters or even a shop down street requires significant investments, therefore someone who wants to do it needs to take a loan or have substantial savings.

Yet starting something small online requires much fewer investments, sometimes – even none, if you won’t count the promotion of your new business. Here you’ll find a few excellent ideas that can help you start your business on the web right away, maybe even today.

Social media consulting

Social media is one of the leading advertising forms at the moment. Each business finds the best platform for a specific product or service – either it’s Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, SnapChat, Twitter or any other. So this opens the door to so many different platforms you could work on. You can become a social media expert in general or specialize in one or two. After you choose your favourite social media channels, you can pick either you want to create strategies or content. Or maybe both?

Becoming a remote translator

Translating is a job that can be done live when you participate in specific events or meetings, or it can be done remotely online. By becoming a remote translator, you could be translating so many things like books, websites, documents, and so much more. More to it, it is a profession that is always in demand, especially if you know the language very well and can translate it to another with high precision.

Creating online courses

Being an expert in a specific field can bring you many benefits, there’s no doubt about that. But even if you have quite a great experience in anything, for example, PhotoShop, languages or anything else, you can earn money from teaching other people. And, to make it even more efficient, you can create an online course of your own and sell it. This way, you’ll save up a lot of time because you won’t have to host separate sessions on specific days.

Opening an online T-shirt store

There’s actually a really easy way to start an e-shop without any significant investments or worries. By using print on demand, you can have an online t-shirt store, all you’ll need to take care of is creating t shirt designs that can be easily prepared by online mockup tools. You’ll be selling amazing t-shirts to the wide world, and the third party will take care of printing, shipping and keeping the t-shirts in stock.

Photography

If you don’t have the time to participate in all the wedding and special events to take photos, but it is something you like to do, and you’re good at, there is still a way to make money out of it. You can sell your photos for photo stocks or sell them on photo banks – this way you can take the pictures at any time you are free and let it sell itself. There’s also a chance to sell your photography on your website, but in this case, you’ll have to invest and put additional effort into promoting and advertising your art.

Graphic design

Every business, especially an online one needs a logo and other graphic elements for their brand, not to mention the content creation for the social media channels. As a professional, you should always keep up with the latest trends in graphic design –  to deliver the trendiest content to your clients and give great advice if needed. And to help your potential clients reach out to you easier, make sure you have a website with your portfolio and use a WordPress Contact Form Plugin | CaptainForm – for faster communication.

Youtube Vlogging

Youtube is more popular than ever nowadays, and there’s no need to argument that. But the important thing is that it’s expanding to more comprehensive and broader ranges of use.  Some time ago people used to create vlogs about their lifestyle and similar things. Now even CEO’s and many other important business people are recommended to start vlogging in order to reach out to their audience.



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