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europeanbusinessmagazine.com

SPRING EDITION | 2018

EUROPEAN BUSINESS

MAGAZINE James Hickson CEO of Mash

Disrupting Europe’s Fintech Scene

GDPR / Blockchain Technology / Smart Cities / Croatia Invest / Alexandre Mars / Fintech / Artificial Intelligence / Robotics / Jamaica Invest / Aetna International / Miller Heinman Group / Sustainable Investing / Rino Solberg


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Table of Contents 10 Latest Technological Gadgets 2018

32 Sales Innovation - Redefining The Industry

12 European Business Magazine gives the low

36 Four Ways to Prepare Your Organization

down on some of the recent reshuffles amongst the highbrow in the business world 13 Former Volkswagen CEO Charged in U.S. Over Emission Cheating Scandal 13 Europe’s Telecom is About to be Reshaped: Vodafone and Liberty Agrees on a Deal 13 VW’s All New CEO Herbert Diess and Major

for the Future of Sales 39 Better Together 42 Fintech - Disrupting The Financial Sector 44 Mash: Distrupting Europe’s FinTech Scene 49 Expat Health Insurance - Choosing Carefully 52 Aetna Internatioanal - Leading The Pack In Expat Health Insurance

Restructuring of the Brand 14 European Commission ambitious’ plan to tackle bad loans

57 Crowdfunding - From Niche to Mainstream 60 Harmonising Data Privacy Across Europe

14 World’s First Bank Entirely Run By Robots Opens Up In China

- The New GDPR Is About To Change the Game 62 Blockchain’s Knock On Effect

15 Smart lampposts could save €2.1 billion says EU smart city leader

64 The Question Of Physical Gold Peaking and The Shortage In Paper Gold

16 International Collaboration to Strengthen the Nordic ICT 18 The War Game Of Industrial Stocks 19 German Startup N26 Raises $160 Million 20 Air France Shares Plummet As CEO

66 Investing in Paradise 70 Jamaica, Your Place To Do Business 74 Think Business Invest Croatia 76 Awarded Best CEO Sustainability 2017/18 80 Top 5 Challenges for Building Smart Cities

Unexpectedly Resigns 20 Cambridge Analytica, Shutting Its Doors

82 Social Innovation: Improving the Business Landscape

Following Facebook Scandal 21 EU Digging In Over Banks Post-Brexit Access 22 Brexit - EU Gets It’s Way On Citizens’ Rights

84 Artificial Intelligence and Robotics - The Impact on European Business 86 China’s Social Reshaping Of The Credit Score

During The Transition Period 24 Disrupting Philanthropy at its Best - Alexandre Mars Makes Charity Easy 28 Elections, Voting and The Case of

To Create The “Perfect” Citizen 88 Profit and Maximizing Data Mining to Undermining Democractic Rights 89 Crucial Tips for Buying a Business

Cambridge Analytica 30 The Entertainment Giant That Is Netflix

90 Norebo And The Case For Sustainable Fishing

europeanbusinessmagazine.com


EUROPEAN BUSINESS

europeanbusinessmagazine.com

MAGAZINE

Publishers Note

W

elcome to the Spring edition of European Business Magazine and another couple of months gone since I was last writing this. Like sand in your fingertips, it seems that you just can’t stop the time from evaporating into thin air. Think it’s an age thing. The guilty feeling when you’re not trying to squeeze it all in lurks too strongly and so time these days, never stands still.

Within our offices the gift of finding stories and worthwhile news just keeps on giving. Not much clock watching. Theresa May seems to be going from bad to worse! Trump is still not failing to provide endless stories for the press for the public to feast on - the very press that keep on insisting there was massive collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Still to this day virtually nothing has been found, even after Mueller’s report. What has come to light is the fascinating story of Cambride Analytica (CA) and the antics that they have been up to. This UK company spearheaded by their CEO Anthony Nix are to put it mildly, first class election influencers. How? Data, more data, social media and complex algorithms. Trump’s election campaign we now know was funded by Rob Mercer the hedge fund billionaire, who worked closely with CA, who then had access to millions of Facebook users data. Long story short, they used it wisely, a move in short - Hilary is still having nightmares about. And that is one of the first subjects we look at. Cambridge Analytica, data sharing and how they were able to influence elections though social media. What has been interesting is that it was only in the last month that Facebook and its CEO found themselves on trial for breaching various laws on data while Cambridge Analytica has closed its doors in London for business. Data being the pertinent factor in both of the above we look into another area of data and the biggest thing to happen to European Business in decades. GDPR is happening this month, which we cover in detail in this edition in details in this edition. Some of you may have noticed that all your terms of agreements from Facebook to Instagram, Squash and Tennis memberships have been asking you to update its terms. GDPR is why

and we explain the finer details in this issue. Make no mistake, data protection is being taken very seriously now and if not respected, fines will be issued. Moving on, for our front cover and lead focus we get to sit down and talk Fintech to the very engaging James Hickson who has taken the reigns at Mash and is making a big impact in the industry. The CEO has been at the forefront of the Fintech scene for years, mainly as a banker (Morgan Stanley) before he made the move to the Finnish outfit who are disrupting the way people will be paying for goods and services with their new technology. Our next feature is with Byron Matthews, Ceo of Miller Heiman group who gives us the low down on the sales industry, how its changed, and how companies need to adapt to their new environment. We also cover Alexandre Mars, a very interesting French entrepreneur who shows us how charity should be done. Following on from that, we have a one to one with Rino Solberg, GDPR is happening this month, which we cover in detail in this edition who tell us all about sustainability, saving forests while investing in Africa. Jamaica takes our attention for the big investment focus, while we also take a look at the new kid on the block, Croatia, who are coming into their own on the investment scene. Other areas, subjects, and features we have include AI and robotics,Aetna International who provide health insurance to global mobile workers, crowd funding, social innovation and Blockchain technology and what knock on effects it has. A read we again, when you have a bit of time, hope you enjoy.

Publisher Nick Staunton Editor Katie Winearls Deputy Editor Anthony Gill Associate Publisher Brad Adams Features Editor Patricia Cullen Head of Production Marija Hajster Head of Design Vladimir Mladenovski Subscriptions Manager Rebecca Hill Head of Business Development Paul Matthews Advertising Sales Brad Adams Tara Duckworth Advertising Sales Tara Duckworth, Mike Ray, Andy Ellis, Mark Holburn Contributing writers Patricia Cullen, Richard Fitzpatrick, Bala Murali Krishna, Shilpa Meen, Argee Laraya, Aimee Ni Mhaolcraibhe, Gordana Ristic, Jonathan Hooker, Jose Ignacio Latorre Head of Digital Stephen Scott Photographer Ben Fisher NST Publishing Ltd, 19 Leamington Spa (studio 1) Leamington Spa,Cv324tf, UK

Nick Staunton Publisher

The information contained has been contained from sources the proprietor believes to be wholly correct however no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication can be reproduced without consent of the publisher.


Latest Technological Gadgets 2018 Flow

F

or people living in big ci es, smog and pollu on are s ll common problems. Many people are concerned about pollu on levels in their communi es, but Flow is about to make a change on this one. A personal pollu on guardian can be used as a handheld sensor or a ached to pushchairs, purses and bags. It’s more than comfortable to use and easily fits in the palm of your hand. Powerful sensors monitor air quality, and Flow will let you know the situa on in an instant. Paired with your smartphone, Flow can show you what routes have the freshest air and which you should avoid. The device it set to ship before June 2018.

Proof

M

ilo Sensors, a company built around wearable sensors that detect various chemicals in your body based on perspira on from your skin, presented Proof — the first wearable wristband that can discretely analyse your BAC levels through the skin. As most breathalysers are not so comfortable to use in the moment, Proof is a unique and elegant solu on, capable of gauging your blood alcohol content and sending the informa on to an app, where you can subtly see the overall situa on and whether you should order that next drink. The goal is to con nuously track user’s blood alcohol level, instead of wai ng for a single moment to ping the phone with an alarm. The band will come out this year and the cost will be somewhere between $100 and $150.

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Frigondas

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lash freezing has been a fantasy for the home users — un l now. A startup in Korea by the name of Frigondas debuted a flash-freezer/microwave product that can take food from room temperature to nega ve 4 degrees Fahrenheit in about 6 minutes. Basically, it is a fast freezer, a defroster and a microwave — and it can fit on your countertop.

T

he HomePod is Apple’s latest product, a emp ng to change the way we listen to music forever. Besides being the first speakers that are fully integrated with Siri and Apple Music, this

Looking just like the microwave, Frigondas flash freezes food by blas ng it with cold air, exactly how many professional flash freezers work. The company holds two global patents — and one is related to the flash freezing. It will be released later this year, and the price is expected to be about $1,000 .

voice control featuring innova on is also an intelligent home assistant, capable of handling everyday tasks and controlling your smart home, as well as answering ques ons or making schedules.

This elegantly designed, compact speaker combines Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced so ware to deliver the highest-fidelity sound throughout the room, anywhere it’s placed. Price tag is about $450. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 11


CEO SHUFFLE

European Business Magazine gives the low down on some of the recent reshuffles amongst the highbrow in the business world STRENGTHENING COMPANY’S STRATEGY

Herrber et D ss Die

TAKING THE WHEEL Herbert Diess takes over Volkswagen’s wheel. Formerly the company’s brand manager, new CEO Diess is replacing Ma hias Muller, adding fresh impetus to his efforts to slim down and reorganise the way Volkswagen’s 12 brands are managed. This choice was especially cheered by analysts, saying that Diess is a man of ac on, ready to lead the group into the next phase of its transforma on.

Ronald Lotgerink is the new CEO of a Dutch meat producer Vion Food Group, a leading European company that produces and exports meat products, canned meat, snacks, soups and sauces. Coming from a family of butchers, Lotgerink is more than acquainted with the agricultural and food industry, and says that is absolutely ready to face the challenges in the internaonal meat markets.

Ron on naald ld ld Lot ottgger errink in nkk

David Schwimmer

MANAGING DAMAGES The London Stock Exchange has a new CEO — David Schwimmer, who un l recently was global head of market structure and global head of metals and mining in investment banking at Goldman Sachs. Aiming to con nue delivering value for company’s customers, employees and shareholders, Schwimmer stepped in when former CEO — David Warren — le unexpectedly, leaving company in a truly complicated situa on, a er an embarrassing six months period.

VISION IN PRACTICE C isttiian Chr n S ing Sew ngg n

REPLACEMENT IN GERMANY’S BIGGEST LENDER Chris an Sewing is to become the new CEO of Deutsche Bank, replacing John Cryan. Deutsche Bank has been struggling to turn a profit under Cryan’s tenure, and Sewing is expected to strengthen the brand in its home market. With a background in commercial banking, audi ng and risk, Sewing joined Deutsche Bank in 1989 and is a member of the management board since 2015. 12 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

Silvana Jirotkova has been named new CEO of CzechInvest. Established in 1992, company is a state contributory organisa on subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Arranging both domes c and foreign investments, the agency supports small and medium-sized enterprises and innova ve startups, business infrastructure and innova on. Jirotkova aims to a ract more foreign investments, which can change economic situa on. Silvana Jirotkova

Nick Rees R

STRENGTHENING MANAGEMENT TEAM Nick Rees is the new CEO of Blue Family Office Ltd. Spending 14 years at alterna ve asset manager Absolute Return Partners, Rees will be working alongside the Blue team building and expanding the business across Europe. Company was founded in 2010 to manage the assets and affairs of a single family. Since then, it has broadened the mandate to help others invest, grow, protect and pass on wealth to the next genera on.


Former Volkswagen CEO Charged in U.S. Over Emission Cheating Scandal

M

ar n Winterkorn, the former CEO of Volkswagen AG, has been charged with conspiracy and wire fraud over the diesel scandal. The Volkswagen scandal, which started

more than 3 years ago, reached the pping point where Mr. Winterkorn resigned from his role at Volkswagen in September of 2015, following revela ons that company had been cheating on diesel engine emissions tests, using so ware that was designed to deceive regulators. A few days a er his resigna on, the company confessed to outfi ng 11 million cars with a device that was designed to cheat at emissions testing. The charges reopen the ques on of whether other senior Volkswagen execu ves knew about the scandal, although company initially claims that the chea ng was only known by

lower-level execu ves. Interes ngly, the Jus ce Department says that “the indictment of Winterkorn alleges that he was informed of VW’s diesel emissions chea ng in May 2014 and again in July 2015. The indictment further alleges that Winterkorn, a er having been clearly informed of the emissions chea ng, agreed with other senior VW execu ves to con nue to perpetrate the fraud and deceive U.S regulators.“ However, Winterkorn is unlikely to face U.S. authori es. A few days ago, Germany’s Federal Jus ce Ministry said it does not extradite German na onals to countries outside the European Union.

Europe’s Telecom is About to be Reshaped: Vodafone and Liberty Agrees on a Deal A er years of on-and-off talks between Vodafone and U.S. billionaire John Malone’s Liberty Global, it’s finally happening: Britain’s Vodafone Group, one of the world’s largest mobile operators, is about to reshape Europe’s fragmented media and telecom market with its 18.4 billion euro ($ 22 billion dollar) deal with Liberty. The deal was announced on Wednesday, and will cover Liberty Global’s opera ons in 4 European countries — Germany, Hungary, Romania and Czech Republic. It will also transform Vodafone — the largest mobile phone operator — to the cable and broadband TV giant across Europe, providing

more scale to bundle internet, phone and TV services. With this deal, Vodafone’s CEO, Vi orio Calao is reshaping spheres of influence in a way that has already caused a harsh rebuke from his closest rival, Deutsche Telekom AG, as it’s seen as a threat to the company in its very own home market. But Mr Calao has his answer on this one: “The EU has always been talking about the need to have cross-country compe tors in telecoms. This is actually the first and biggest crea on of one of those, both in mobile and fixed.“ Officially, Vodafone will pay Liberty Global 10.8 billion euros of cash and assume 7.6 billion euros of debt.

VW’s All New CEO Herbert Diess and Major Restructuring of the Brand The Volkswagen Auto Group has announced a few major news: the company has a new CEO — Herbert Diess, and is doing a major restructuring of the brand. Mr Diess, who came to VW from BMW in 2015, stepped in just a few days a er the big VW’s scandal of emissions, and took over from Matthias Mueller, who was appointed in 2015.

Volkswagen appointed Herbert with a hope to take a wheel and overlook research and development across the company. The new CEO is also responsible for streamlining costs, boos ng profit margins and con nue the groundwork for building electric vehicles. Herbert Diess is well known for his cost-cu ng measures and the decision to bring him on board was

cheered by analysts, no ng that he is “a man of ac on“ and “the most plausible choice at VW to lead the group“. The German company wants to reorganise its 12 brands by crea ng 6 new vehicle divisions, as well as a special arm devoted to China, it’s largest market. The new CEO is also expected to transform the company into a leader in cleaner cars a er the diesel scandal. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 13


European Commission ambitious’ plan to tackle bad loans

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he European Commission said it had an “ambi ous” package of measures to tackle Europe’s €910bn bad-loan problem. The proposals include making banks to hold the least amount of capital, helping to set up na onal “bad banks”, and introducing out-of-court se lements once loans turn sour The commission outlined four key objec ves on Wednesday as part of its effort to reduce the vast stockpile of non-performing loans, or NPLs, that are weighing on the balance sheets

of lenders across the bloc, while also trying to prevent their future accumula on. The proposals see it to that all banks have to hold additional capital to weigh against the risk of loans souring; encouraging a secondary market where banks can sell on their NPLs; allowing banks to get access to agreed collateral once a loan goes bad without having to go to court; and laying out guidance to countries across the EU that want to set up Asset Management Companies, or bad banks, across the EU.

Valdis Dombrovskis, the European commissioner for financial services, said: As Europe and its economy regain strength, Europe must seize the momentum and accelerate the reducon of NPLs. This is essen al to further reduce risks in the European banking sector and strengthen its resilience. With fewer NPLs on their balance sheets, banks will be able to lend more to households and businesses. The European Banking Authority, the EU’s supervisor of supervisors, said es mated that the impact of the pruden al backstop would be a hit of about 200 basis points over 20 years to the average bank’s capital ra o. AFME, the lobby group for banks across Europe, said that while it welcomed the measures around out-of-court collateral enforcement, and the s mula on of a secondary market for NPLs, the plan for a “blunt, one-size-fits-all” backstop “are unnecessary”. AFME argues that supervisors can address failures by par cular banks to properly provision for NPLs on a bank-by-bank basis, rather than through a sector-wide rule. The commission’s proposals will apply only to new loans that subsequently turn sour, rather than to the large stock of bad loans le in Europe’s banking system, which are viewed as a lingering threat to the sector’s economic recovery. According to the most recent EBA sta s cs, a third of EU banks have NPL ra os above 10 per cent, with banks in Greece, Cyprus, Italy and Portugal having the highest NPL ra os.

World’s First Bank Entirely Run By Robots Opens Up In China

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hina’s second-largest lender by assets, China Construc on Bank (CCB), has opened a Shanghai branch run en rely by robots that greet customers and manage accounts. The bank doesn’t just u lize robots; it’s packed full with new technology including virtual reality, ar ficial intelligence and facial recogni on. According to South China Morning Post, as soon as customers walk through the front door they are met by a robot that

14 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

asks and answers ques ons using voice recogni on. The financial ins tu on in Jiujiang Road in Huangpu district is equipped with several smart automated tellers capable of a range of services including opening an account, money transfer, foreign exchange, gold investment and the issue of wealth management products. The bank states that the new setup will be able to handle 90 percent of the cash and non-cash demands of tradional banking outlets.


R

EPLACING Europe’s ageing streetlight network with smart lampposts would save taxpayers up to €2.1 billion each year according to the leader of an EU smart ci es programme. Sharing Ci es programme director Nathan Pierce said the annual saving would pay for more than 20,000 extra doctors.Innova ve new smart lampposts use between 50-70 percent less energy than conven onal streetligh ng. At present €3 billion is spent on streetligh ng across Europe every year according to Sharing Ci es. Upgrading Europe’s exis ng streetlight network could slash electricity bills by some €2.1 billion each year to €900 million. With some 75 percent of all streetlights across Europe more than 25 years old there would also be cost savings in reduced maintenance costs. As well as more efficient ligh ng smart lampposts can perform a range of tasks including monitoring air polluon and guiding drivers to empty car parking spaces. Smart lampposts can also use data to help ci es tackle the chronic congeson problems that are s fling economic growth and driving up air pollu on levels. Traffic jams cost EU member states €100 billion a year, with conges on exacerbated by motorists forced to waste me searching for a city centre car parking space.

Smart lampposts could save €2.1 billion says EU smart city leader

Smart lampposts use sensors to collect data on where car parking capacity exists. Motorists are then guided to empty car parking spaces via audio messages delivered by smart lampposts. This significantly reduces the amount of me cars spend on the road searching for an available space. EU smart ci es programme Sharing Ci es is pioneering the delivery of smart lampposts in six ci es across Europe. Sharing Ci es is tes ng smart lampposts with a range of func onali es in a bid to ensure that millions of Europeans can benefit from the next genera on of intelligent streetligh ng. The programme is tes ng more than a thousand innova ve new lampposts, with the aim of delivering ini al scale-up of up to 56,000 units. It is

Although for wealthy clients, that other 10% in need of human help, a private room is reserved for remote chats with client rela onship managers via direct video feed. He Fei, a senior researcher at Bank of Communica ons in Shanghai, stated the bank would be a good test ground. Unstaffed services can solve repeated and standard demands from mass clients.But human bankers are s ll needed to offer professional advices, to serve the complicated and personalised demands, for instance by wealthy clients. However, the bank may be a li le behind the mes, as cryptocurrency now exists so there is no need for banks or robots that control them

hoped the test will then be replicated in hundreds of ci es across Europe. Sharing Ci es is focused on six cities across Europe. These include lighthouse ci es London, Lisbon and Milan. The programme is also delivering solu ons in fellow ci es Bordeaux, Burgas, and Warsaw. Sharing Ci es Programme Director Nathan Pierce said: “Smart lampposts are a win-win. They help slash energy bills for taxpayers and make ci es a more pleasant environment in which to live and work. “Smart lampposts generate massive savings equivalent to employing tens of thousands of doctors or nurses every year. It’s key that ci es embrace smart lampposts in a bid to free up money to be spent on vital public services. “The latest genera on of smart streetligh ng is helping to tackle some of the issues that city mayors have grappled with for decades. Smart lampposts represent an ingenious way of tackling chronic problems like air pollu on and traffic conges on. “Sharing Ci es is pioneering smart lampposts in ci es across Europe. We are on the precipice of a smart lamppost revolu on. This is just the beginning.” when you can have your own private bank account by se ng up a cryptocurrency wallet. Then there is the other issue of robots taking away jobs. SCMP notes that China has unstaffed convenience stores and cashierless karaoke booths. But the problem is bigger than China; worldwide there are talks of replacing various jobs with robots. Recently, fast food chains like McDonald’s have decided to experiment to see if they can replace workers with robots. While McDonald’s isn’t going to replace workers overnight, the transi on will happen quicker than a lot of people think. And that’s not the only business that the robots are coming for. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 15


International Collaboration to Strengthen the Nordic ICT Recent figures show that the tech industry in the Nordic region is outpacing the rest of Europe when it comes to attracting investments. Under the name TechNordic, the three Nordic informa on and communica ons technology (ICT) clusters BrainsBusiness, Business Region Göteborg and ICT Norway will collaborate to further strengthen the Nordic ICT sector across the Skagerrak. The tech industry of the Nordic region cons tutes one of the world’s most a rac ve tech markets for private investors. According to the 2016 Nordic Tech Exit Analysis from Creandum, an interna onal venture capital fund, the tech industry of the Nordic region a racted 16 % of all venture capital in Europe, which comprise far more investments than what can normally be expected of a market this size. Addi onally, with an average exit value of about USD 4.1 billion from 2010 to 2015, the Nordic tech industry is a great investment with high return rates for private investors, while the Nordic region has also accounted for 50 % of all Europe’s billion-dollar exits from 2005 to 2015. In order to actively support this favourable development and seize the opportuni es to grow the Nordic tech industry even further, the three Nordic ICT clusters BrainsBusiness (Denmark), Business Region Göteborg (Sweden) and ICT Norway (Norway) have ini ated a close collabora on: - Under the name TechNordic, we will seek to posi on and brand the inter-Scandinavian ICT region for the benefit of both business and research. Together we are in the top three in the world with unique competencies within some of the areas that both the industrial sector and consumers demand most of all. This includes areas such as Internet of Things, embedded systems and wireless technology, Helena Peyron, Co-Cluster Manager at BrainsBusiness, explains. 16 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

- More specifically, we will render visible both companies and research across the Skagerrak with a view to increasing the many poten als for establishing co-opera ons. Put simply, the objec ve is to make the companies see the opportuni es that lie right in front of them to an even greater extent. The inter-Scandinavian culture, language and mentality incen vise that we all should increase our market scope to – at the very least – encompass the en re Nordic region as a home market with about 25 million people, Helena Peyron con nues. TechNordic originates from BrainsBusiness, the ICT cluster of North Denmark that counts 150 member companies and a strong partnership with Aalborg University, Business Region Göteborg, which works to promote business development in Gothenburg and 13 municipali es in western Sweden, and ICT Norway, which represents the en re Norwegian ICT industry. Collec vely, the three clusters represent about 9,000 companies and 120,000 employees within the ICT sector. By enhancing collabora on across the Skagerrak, TechNordic will contribute to realising the region’s growth poten al. The Nordic region is home to both market-leading companies and some of the world’s most prominent researchers within the fields of, for instance, Internet of Things, telecommunication, wireless systems, cloud solu ons, IT systems, automaon, fintech and embedded systems. According to Business Region Göteborg, ICT-related research cons tutes an area that could benefit par cularly from an enhanced inter-Scandinavian collabora on: - Our collaboration has already shown that a wide range of strong points exist across the three countries. But there are also many areas in which we can learn from each other. There is, for instance, a huge

poten al in strengthening our ability to commercialise research and create more start-ups within the ICT sector. This is also an area where we stand significantly stronger when we look beyond our normal geographical areas, Erik-Wilhelm Graef Behm, Area & Investment Manager ICT at Business Region Göteborg, emphasises. At ICT Norway, the new opportuni es that arise from establishing TechNordic are also expected to bring about significant benefits for the en re ICT sector in the Nordic region. - The companies yearn for having their horizons broadened. We are always told that we should not count on the domes c market alone but export our knowledge and products. The first na onal border is o en the hardest one to cross, and that will now become easier under the auspices of TechNordic, Fredrik Syversen, Director of Industry Development at ICT Norway, explains.


Danish clusters that are gold cer fied by the EU Commission. The network organisation has more than 150 member companies within the ICT sector. Learn more about BrainsBusiness: www.brainsbusiness.dk.

About Business Region Göteborg We work to create favourable condi ons for trade and industry in Gothenburg and 13 municipali es in western Sweden. Chalmers Ventures, Connect Sverige Västra Kretsen, Lindholmen Science Park and Universeum are all part of the project. Learn more about Business Region Göteborg: www.businessregiongoteborg.se.

About ICT Norway

MapsPeople, a Danish company established in 1897 that now develops Google Maps-based naviga on solu ons, are among the companies that are already engaged in TechNordic. During the first 100 years of its life me, MapsPeople worked with tradi onal, physical maps. Today, the company is a modern ICT business with a global poten al. However, the company will begin its global adventure by expanding its business ac vies to the rest of Scandinavia: - By means of TechNordic, we have already established contact with many Scandinavian companies, which we will now commence collabora ng with. It is a big step, yet nonetheless a step that has turned out to be far easier than expected, Toni Selvli-Buch, Area Sales Manager at MapsPeople, says. According to BrainsBusiness in Denmark, there are many Danish, Norwegian and Swedish ICT companies with a global poten al similar to MapsPeople. Hence, the most important task

right now is to generate awareness about the possibili es and establish as many co-opera ons across Scandinavia as possible: - We are situated close to each other and we are well-connected to the rest of the world with some of Scandinavia’s leading airports and ferry ports in the immediate area. For this reason, the region is also a much-coveted place to establish new departments when foreign groups look for new loca ons in dynamic environments with subcontractors and research partners right around the corner. We see a very big poten al in this, Helena Peyron concludes.

About BrainsBusiness BrainsBusiness is a regional industrial cluster ini a ve that brings together all major forces within the North Denmark informa on and communica ons technology (ICT) environment. The cluster is one of only seven

ICT Norway is the country’s leading interest group for the Norwegian ICT industry. ICT Norway has more than 460 members that represent a combined revenue figure of about NOK 120 billion. ICT Norway works to expand the market for the ICT industry and to create assurance and confidence in the use of ICT. Our most important func on is to be a problem solver for the members and to be the voice of the ICT industry. Learn more about ICT Norway: www.ikt-norge.no. For further informa on, please contact: Helena Peyron, Co-Cluster Manager at BrainsBusiness, tel. +45 25 20 15 63, email hp@brainsbusiness.dk Erik-Wilhelm Graef Behm, Area & Investment Manager ICT at Business Region Göteborg, tel. +46 31 367 61 55, email erik.behm@businessregion.se Fredrik Syversen, Director of Business Development at ICT Norway, tel. +47 92 03 24 70, email fs@ikt-norge.no Press service (Including photos, text, contacts, etc.): Publicity, Esben Lind, tel. + 45 25 14 58 16, email esben@publicity.dk europeanbusinessmagazine.com 17


The War Game Of Industrial Stocks

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orth and South Korea reached a historic peace deal last week , and as the leaders from the two na ons met in person for the first me and agreed to pursue an end to the Korean War, it signaled an incredible breakthrough in diplomacy and sent the stocks of defense contractors in the United States crashing. When North Korea’s Kim Jong-un shook hands with South Korea’s Moon Jae-in for the first me on Friday, they put thousands of people both at home and around the world at ease, as they agreed to a peace deal that has the power to break the tension that has been between the two countries for decades. However, while peace may seem like the best possible outcome to the average person who is aware of how the ongoing war has hurt both North and South Korea over the years, it is a resolu on that hurts the United States military-industrial complex, as can be seen by the results from stocks following the mee ng. On Friday (two weeks before print ), the five largest defense contractors in the U.S. lost more than $10 billion in value. Lockheed Mar n (LMT) started the week at $352.79 per share and ended it at $321.95 per share, falling 2.5 percent to a valua on of about $92 billion.

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Northrop Grumman (NOC) started the week at $356.67 per share and ended it at $321.86 per share, falling 3.4 percent to a valua on of $56 billion. General Dynamics (GD) started the week at $222.92 per share and ended it at $203.70 per share, falling 3.8 percent to a valua on of $60 billion. Raytheon (RTN) started the week at $227.67 per share and ended it at $204.09 per share, falling $3.6 percent to a valua on of $50 billion. Boeing (BA) lost less than 1 percent of its stock, ending the week with an evalua on of $200 billion. When the United States invades sovereign na ons, overthrows foreign governments and launches countless drone strikes that kill innocent civilians, the military-industrial complex profits by the billions. But the industry is so vola le that while a peaceful mee ng between two leaders can send its stocks crashing, threats and angry Tweets from another leader can cause its stocks to soar. President Trump vowed to meet North Korea with “fire and fury like the world has never seen” in August 2017, and as The Free Thought Project reported, the stocks of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors increased significantly in response:

“Fear has infected the planet—so the fraught business of na onal defense is booming.‘ The level of dialogue around missile defense is now at the prime minister and minister of defense level,’ vice president of Lockheed’s Air and Missile Defense business, Tom Cahill, noted in an interview with Reuters, which added, ‘Some countries are pu ng missile defense at the top of their list of desired capabili es, Cahill said. Interest has increased over the last 12 to 18 months, as have threats, he said. Shares of Lockheed are up nearly 8 percent, to $300.10, since North Korea’s first longrange missile test on July 4. The stock is up 20 percent year-to-date.’ Of course, that was then and now Lockheed Mar n stocks con nue to rise—just prior to publica on, stocks hovered around $305 per share—and show no indica ons of falling to levels typical of a less charged global atmosphere. The United State government accounted for around 70 percent of Lockheed Mar n’s revenue in 2016, and when the Trump Administraon began threatening to launch a full-scale war against North Korea, the company’s shares skyrocketed by 8 percent, marking a 20 percent increase in Lockheed Mar n’s stock in the first 8 months of the year. If we look at Syria , the fact that Britain along with its allies decided to intervene on the back of an apparent Chemical a ack however without any confirma on form the OPCW . Very strange in the grand scheme of interna onal law, as normally you would need at least some sort of confirmaon from sort of interna onal body. This occasion - literally none .But if you look at the bigger picture and who is shareholder of big groups that have large shares in companies like BAE things aren’t so grey . Airstrikes meant that groups like Capital Group shares soared on the back of Syrian airstrikes. Again worth no ng LockheedMar n is Britain and USA’s biggest Military Supplier Now that las ng peace could be on the horizon between North and


Korea and stocks are dropping, it raises ques ons about how defense contractors in the U.S. will recover. If there is no bear to poke and no war to threaten in North Korea, will the U.S. increase tensions in Syria, at the risk of provoking Russia? Or will it resume its propaganda campaign against Iran in an a empt to convince Americans that the country is in desperate need of “freedom and democracy,” when in reality the military-industrial complex is in dire need of high stocks and successful profits.

German Startup N26 Raises $160 Million

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erman startup N26 just raised a $160 million Series C round led by Tencent and Allianz — some of N26’s exis ng investors are also parcipa ng. The company has a racted 850,000 customers and raised $215 million in total. N26 is building a retail bank from scratch. The company plans to double down on everything it’s been doing so far. It means more expansions, more partnerships with other fintech products, more features and more engineers. Allianz is inves ng through its Allianz X investment arm. “I think Tencent and Allianz are a great combina on or investors,” N26 co-founder and CEO Valen n Stalf told me. “In the last 10 years, Tencent became one of the five most valuable companies in the world — it’s a pioneer in mobile payment and also fintech in general.” Tencent is the company behind WeChat, mobile payment service WeChat Pay, WeBank, TenPay and countless of products. “On the other hand, when you look at Allianz, it’s one of the most tradi onal finance companies in the world and also from Germany,” he con nued. “It is a tradi onal brand that also believes in the changes of the financial industry.” The company goes one step further and is also se ng some aggressive goals with this funding round. N26 plans to reach more than 5 million customers by 2020. This year

alone, N26 plans to process $16 billion (€13 billion) in transac on volume. Bri sh compe tor Revolut currently processes $1.5 billion per month. It seems like there’s enough room for both of them to grow for now.

This funding round really brings N26 to a pre-IPO stage Valen n Stalf While many companies use funding rounds to share some informa on about their roadmap, N26 has already announced a few things. N26 plans to roll out its product in the U.K. and the U.S. later this year. Some products, such as savings, invest, overdra and insurance are limited to Germany and/or Austria. The company will roll out those features to more markets in the future. It’s also worth no ng that N26 is now talking about leveraging ar ficial intelligence to create a smart banking experience. So you can expect some level of automa on in the future if you’re fine with a robot managing your money. I also asked Stalf about plans to expand beyond Europe and the U.S. given Tencent’s investment, but it’s not on the roadmap for now. “It doesn’t necessarily mean anything about our plans to go to Asia,” he said. There are now 380 people working for N26. The company plans to hire more people, which should speed up product updates. And here are two things you can expect this year. First, N26 is working on shared accounts so that you can use your N26 account with your significant other. Second, you can expect some mul -currency features a er the U.K. launch. “It’s a good round to be as independent as possible,” Stalf said. “This funding round really brings N26 to a pre-IPO stage. I think we see a clear path to a very sustainable company with this funding round. Maybe in the next five years there will be an IPO.” That’s one way of saying that N26’s valua on is now too high for a quick acquisi on. Nevertheless, it’s great to see a poten al European tech giant growing so quickly and willing to remain an independent company. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 19


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Cambridge Analytica, Shutting Its Doors Following Facebook Scandal

he data firm at the centre of this year’s Facebook privacy row, is closing its doors and star ng insolvency proceedings. The company has been plagued by serious scandal since there were reports that the personal data of about 50 million Americans and at least a million Britons had been taken from Facebook and improperly given and shared by Cambridge Analy ca. Cambridge Analy ca denies this claim , but says that the nega ve media coverage has le it with no clients and moun ng legal fees. “The company is immediately ceasing all opera ons,” the data firm announced in a surprise statement on Wednesday, no ng that “parallel bankruptcy proceedings will soon be commenced.” The Bri sh firm was also exposed as working closely with the then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign to target poli cal ads to users during Trump’s 2016 run for president — which ul mately led to an admission by Facebook that its data had been improperly shared with Cambridge Analy ca.” Former Trump White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who also served as the chief execu ve of Trump’s elec on campaign, helped launch Cambridge Analy ca. Republican billionaire Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, were Cambridge Analy ca’s primary source of funding.

Cambridge Analy ca said it had been “vilified for ac vi es that are not only legal, but also widely accepted as a standard component of online adver sing in both the poli cal and commercial arenas”. The CEO of Cambridge Analy ca, Alexander Nix, was suspended in late March a er the Uk’s Channel 4 News broadcast secret recordings in which he claimed credit for the elec on of Donald Trump. He told a reporter, that was undercover : “We did all the research, all the data, all the analy cs, all the targe ng. We ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy.” He also revealed that the company used a self-destruct email server to erase its digital history. “No one knows we have it, and secondly we set our … emails with a self-destruct mer … So you send them and a er they’ve been read, two hours later, they disappear. There’s no evidence, there’s no paper trail, there’s nothing.” What is quite interes ng now is that although Cambridge Analy ca has been buried, the very same team behind it has already set up a mysterious new company called Emerdata. According to Companies House data, Alexander Nix is listed as a director along with other execu ves from SCL Group. And again , the daughters of the billionaire Robert Mercer are also listed as directors.

Air France Shares Plummet As CEO Unexpectedly Resigns

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hares of Air France-KLM crashed as much as 14% on Monday (6th of May) - the company’s biggest drop since 2002 - a er CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac, announced his resigna on as company workers rejected a pay proposal that would’ve ended a crippling strike. The company’s shares have slipped 40% since the beginning of the year, making it the worst performer in the 26-stock Bloomberg Airlines Index. Analysts at Bernstein warned that Janaillac’s departure is the “worst possible outcome” for the company’s stock, leaving Air France-KLM with

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no CEO, no labor contract, an ongoing dispute and “emboldened” unions. Following the rejec on of a pay deal by the airline’s staff,CEO Jean-Marc Janaillac’s a empt to cut costs at the carrier to keep up with compe on from budget airlines and Gulf rivals ran into strong union resistance, as had his predecessor’s efforts, raising ques ons over its ability to reform. This leaves the company with no CEO, no labor contract, an ongoing dispute, and likely emboldened unions which will be even less likely to concede on their demands, now,” Bernstein analysts said in a note.

As Bloomberg reported, while the airline had maintained almost all longhaul flights during the latest walkout, it was forced to cancel 20% of its medium-haul services on Monday. Last week, the company warned that the strengthening euro and rising wages would only compound the pressures from the company’s walkouts. Janaillac, made a huge gamble by holding an online consulta on on the pay offer with the company’s workers. He lost the gamble when 55% of staff unexpectedly rejected the proposal, which was for a 7% increase over four years. Janaillac held a short press conference late Friday to announce his planned resigna on. While it has slid under the US news radar, Air France workers have hosted 13 days of labor ac on, joined by pilots, cabin crew, and ground staff since February, on


several occasions paralyzing transit across Europe. A wave of strikes at Air France has so far cost the company 300 million euros. French unions have complained the company’s management is not serious about nego a ons. “The absence of any dialogue is clear. No one has called me this weekend. There are s ll no mee ngs planned for further nego a ons,” Philippe Evain, leader of the SNPL pilots union told RTL radio.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday urged the company and workers to resume talks, delivering a blunt assessment of the airline’s future. “If Air France does not become more compe ve ... (it) will disappear,” he told BFM television. Meanwhile, the European travel chaos is set to get worse as travelers with Air France ckets whose flights are delayed or cancelled can rebook at no addi onal cost. Travelers should expect last-minute delays and cancella ons.

EU Digging In Over Banks Post-Brexit Access

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he European Union is in prepara on to offer the U.K. a mimimal and bare bones deal for its banks a er Brexit, even as divisions are star ng to emerge within the EU about how harshly the city is being

treated According to the latest dra of the EU’s nego a ng stance, the EU will consider offering the U.K and “improved equivalence” for its financial services. That means the EU will only let U.K. banks access its market for as long as it considers Bri sh rules to be equivalent to the bloc’s. It’s a very rocky arrangement as the fundamentals of the deal means the EU can rescind it at short no ce, and Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has called it “wholly inadequate.” The dra is both grey and ambiguous in its wording , according to two EU officials and reflects internal debate among the remaining 27 countries. What ”improved” means is s ll to be defined. France and Luxembourg at opposion ends of the debate on what Brexit should mean for the City led the effort to get the new wording included in the dra . Luxembourg has called for a pragma c approach on financial services, while France has been more hardline about the sacrifices Britain has to make if it’s leaving the single market. Britain and its banks have long given up hope of keeping full access to the single market via so-called passpor ng rights. But they are now pushing for a system of mutual recogni on as they want a set of rules that is more durable and not subject to unilateral withdrawal. Hammond has said that a post-Brexit trade agreement that doesn’t include services wouldn’t be “fair and balanced.”

While the U.K. argues that keeping the City as a financial hub is in the interests of both the EU and London, the EU says its priority is financial stability and respec ng the integrity of the single market. Throughout talks, the EU has rejected a empts by the U.K. to cherry pick the best bits of EU membership. One interpreta on of “improved equivalence” is that the EU is already working to ghten up its equivalence regime -- which is used now by U.S. banks -- and is doing so with Brexit in mind. But the U.K.’s finance lobby dont see the glass as half empty. “The EU has come a long way from its stance before Christmas when we were told a deal encompassing financial services was impossible. Now it is ac vely seeking ways to include financial services in the deal,” Miles Celic, chief execu ve of TheCityUK, said. The new wording is in an annex to the dra guidelines for discussion among EU ministers. Earlier dra s didn’t menon financial services explicitly although they made clear that the trade agreement the EU intends to strike with the U.K. wouldn’t make special provisions for services. “Regarding financial services, the objec ve should be reviewed and improved equivalence mechanisms, allowing appropriate access to financial services markets, while preserving financial stability, the integrity of the single market and the autonomy of decision making in the European Union,” the new dra reads. “Equivalence mechanisms and decisions remain defined and implemented on a unilateral basis by the European Union.” The commission has already started to review financial services legisla on, to ensure that equivalence rules are appropriate for the situa on a er the withdrawal of the U.K., according to the document. The commission has recently started to address some shortcomings of its equivalence regime. In December, it proposed to ghten the procedure for allowing firms access under MiFIR, a regula on that includes a third-country regime for a range of investment services. The aim was to set out the requirements for equivalence “in greater detail,” according to the commission. In an apparent nod to the U.K., the commission made clear that an equivalence recogni on wouldn’t be easy to obtain. The assessment would have to be “very detailed and granular and also assess supervisory convergence with the EU” when it comes to third countries whose firms may be of “systemic importance” to the bloc, the commission said. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 21


Brexit - EU Gets It’s Way On Citizens’ Rights During The Transition Period

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ver the last four months or so, the ongoing nego a ons on Ci zens’ Rights have seen many twists and turns. On 8 December 2017, the EU/UK released a Joint Report on the UK’s “orderly withdrawal from the European Union”. The report laid out various points of agreement on

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Ci zens’ Rights, including the need for EU na onals in the UK and British ci zens in EU27 member states before 29 March 2019 to register for a temporary or, subject to eligibility, se led status a er that date. Freedom of movement for those arriving before the cut-off date would be protected.

Whilst the Joint Report included the usual caveat that “nothing is agreed un l everything is agreed”, it did provide a degree of certainty for UK employers in terms of EU na onals arriving in the UK before Brexit Day next March. However, the status of those EU na onals arriving during the transition/implementation


period a er March 2019 remained controversial. The UK Home Office’s leaked paper on the future of its UK immigra on policies of September 2017 (the official version was due in Autumn 2017 but is yet to be released) floated the idea of registra on for around only 2 years for those EU na onals filling lower skilled roles and those filling higher skilled being able to stay longer for say up to 5 years. This would have been a stark change from the current largely unrestricted freedom of movement. The UK was adamant that there must be a different expecta on for those arriving before and a er the UK’s exit from the EU. As recently as Theresa May’s trip to

China at the start of February, she was very clear on this point. However, on 7 February 2018, the EU released its latest nego a on posi on paper “Transi onal arrangements in the withdrawal agreement”. This paper included reference to the EU’s wish for 31 December 2020 to be the end date of the implementaon period to coincide with the end of the EU budget year and so falling short of the UK’s plans for a two-year transi on/implementa on period. Importantly, the EU’s paper also demanded that the status quo should be maintained during the implementaon period including full freedom of movement, no new trade agreements with non-EU 27 and con nued submission to the jurisdic on of the European Court of Jus ce without the UK having any legisla ve input in this period. In Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg’s words, making the UK “a vassal state”. The EU made it clear that Ci zens’ Rights are “not nego able” and that there cannot be “two sets of rights for EU ci zens”, one for those arriving before and another a er 29 March 2019. Despite the UK’s strong previous posi on that it would set its own agenda, the UK’s own nego a on posi on paper (proposing amendments for discussion to the EU’s own paper) of 21 February 2018 was conspicuous by the absence of any meaningful ‘pushback’ on the EU’s demands for freedom of movement of EU na onals to con nue unabated during the implementa on period. In fact, the only no ceable retort in the UK’s paper was a meek request for the December 2020 implementa on period end date to be discussed in view of whether it is long enough given the UK has always been planning for two years from March 2019. As a final nail in the coffin, based on the dra Withdrawal Agreement recently put to the EU 27 in March 2018, it has been agreed that the transi onal period will only last from 29 March 2019 un l 31 December 2020. Also, importantly and somewhat in contradic on to the UK’s previous posi on, those EU ci zens who arrive in the UK as late as by 31 December 2020 (not Brexit Day on 29 March 2019) will con nue to

enjoy the same freedom of movement rights as those who arrived before Brexit. Although the transi onal period is 3 months short of the two-years that the UK was hoping for, UK employers of EU na onals (and European employers of Bri sh na onals) should have a degree of certainty in rela on to the posi on of those workers arriving in the UK a er 29 March 2019. The dra Withdrawal Agreement sets out that EU na onals will s ll be required to register under new immigra on categories as someone with temporary or se led status. Of course, the posi on post-31 December 2020 is s ll under discussion and remains very unclear. Whilst some mid-term post-Brexit rules on migra on may have become clearer, there are already current signs of knock-on effects of Brexit on domes c immigra on systems. In the UK, many Tier 2 (work permit scheme) sponsor employers will have been caught by surprise that the monthly quota has been con nuously oversubscribed since December 2017. Previously, oversubscrip on was almost unheard of. If mes gone by have been anything to go by, it would be expected that the level of applica ons will even out again, and oversubscrip on will be behind us. On the other hand, these are not ordinary mes. With Brexit looming and recent Office for Na onal Sta s cs showing there are already reduc ons in EU na onals arriving in the UK and more leaving, UK immigra on policy is up in the air. The situa on is compounded by the Immigra on Minister recently being unable to rule out UK visas being offered as part of new trade deals with non-EU countries, such as the US, India and Australia. Given all that, it is no surprise the longawaited post-Brexit white paper on UK immigra on policy and Immigra on Bill have been delayed and, it is understood, are unlikely to be released un l a er the Brexit transion deal has been reached. Tim Richards, Legal Director, Clyde & Co m.richards@clydeco.com europeanbusinessmagazine.com 23


Disrupting Philanthropy at its Best-Alexandre Mars Makes Charity Easy

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iving has to give you joy, nothing else.” Meet Alexandre Mars — a serial entrepreneur, an engaged philanthropist and a man who wants to change the way we all — or at least most us — think of dona ng to charity. Numbers are really quite impressive on closer inspec on in this case: over the last

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15 years, Alexandre has successfully launched and sold several companies in Europe and North America across different business sectors — think venture capital, Internet, mobile marketing, social media and adver sing. O en dubbed the “French Bill Gates” allbeit younger with a charm and Gallic french looks to match, Alexandre is on a serious

mission, wan ng to ensure that 100 percent of philanthropists’ money reaches the people it is meant to reach. But let’s start from the very beginning of this story — and believe us, it is good. Alexandre is 41-years-old now and made much of his wealth as a serial entrepreneur, crea ng over five online and mobile marke ng


companies that were later sold to Publicis Groupe and Blackberry. He grew up feeling a significant impact from his mother, who was always helping people: “I grew up within that kind of spirit, and that’s why very quickly I said to myself, ‘How can I help other people?’” That’s when his story began, and Alexandre admits that he always wanted to use his success for worthy causes, as that’s how he was raised from an early age. Picturing his life as a quest to fulfil this goal, Alexandre wanted to create something good and efficient for social wealth, as well as create a way to empower everybody to give charity. A er selling his last startup to Blackberry, Alexandre and his wife took their children out of school for nearly a year and travelled to over 13 countries — Bangkok, Moscow, Mongolia, Sydney, Hawaii and others. The purpose of this journey was to meet with as many nonprofits and philanthropists around the globe as possible, as Alexandre wanted to truly understand the philanthropic ecosystem and find out how he could get involved. He spent a lot of me with NGO directors, philanthropists and social entrepreneurs, iden fying problems the whole philanthropic market was facing and finding ways to address those problems with effecve solu ons. That’s when Alexandre realised what he really needed to do ,and how.Having donors with lots of capacity and big, powerful networks, who wanted to do more but didn’t know where to start or who to trust was his key point. Using more than 20 years of experience as a tech entrepreneur, Alexandre started innovating the nonprofit space. Epic Founda on — a non-profit aiming to improve charitable giving — was created in 2014. Now it has 36 agencies in 13 countries around the globe and reaches a younger millennial audience that Alexandre believes is one of the most socially engaged genera ons that has existed. Carefully selecting the agencies he chooses to fund through Epic, Alexandre focuses on impact, opera ons and leadership — that’s why the current number of agencies was chosen from 3500 candidates.

Headquartered in NYC, Epic Foundaon has its offices in Paris, London, Brussels, Dubai, Mumbai, Bangkok and San Francisco. Epic’s main goal is to support children and youth globally and to achieve that, the company also works on bridging the gap between the new genera on of donors, NGOs and social enterprises. Here’s another important number: 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to Epic’s por olio of organisa ons aimed at helping children in such fields as health, educa on, protec on and employment. Epic aims to make the overall process of giving as easy as possible, making the disposi on of dona ons transparent along the way. Alexandre understood the demands of a new socially conscious generaon and found a solu on by crea ng a pla orm where donors can engage in their charity through technology, allowing them to select, monitor and experience their impact. Offering an en rely new concept when it comes to charity, Alexandre changed the way it was perceived. The new platform that he created provided an amazing opportunity to manipulate tradi onal consumer’s technology and gave donors a novel approach, allowing them to see the reach of their dona ons, ul mately driving them towards a two-way rela onship with their charity.

Now, Epic Founda on is a place where, as Alexandre says, they are disrup ng the giving industry by proposing and providing innova ve soluons — something that was never an op on before. Breaking down old barriers is always a tough mission, but when it comes to charity — even more so. Charity processes can seem tangled and vague, causing unnecessary me and many addi onal problems that people usually face once they want to donate money. Epic’s working principals are quite easy — otherwise, this platform would not be called a disruptor in this field. It builds and manages a por olio of rigorously ve ed social organisa ons, then tracks and monitors their social impact through a data pla orm, and, above all, keeps donors connected and engaged with the por olio organisa ons through ongoing repor ng or performance and accountability with a help of a mobile applica on. What’s even more interes ng is that Alexandre funds Epic’s development and overhead costs by himself, and this also means that donors don’t have to pay any costs by themselves. At first, Epic Founda on has targeted only wealthy people and companies. But in March a new pla orm called Epic Genera on was launched, and it enabled anybody to donate to charity — even if it’s just a small amount.

europeanbusinessmagazine.com 25


With the launch of the Epic Generaon, Alexandre stands by his words: “the amount you give to charity must depend on what you can afford to give. Try to define your level of pain regarding giving — when you’re 27, it’s different from when you’re 35. If it starts hur ng you, it’s no longer joyful. At Epic we want to make giving the norm because we don’t want just the Gates and Zuckerbergs of the world doing all the work. Don’t think that you must become Gates to start this. Don’t think that if you are not working at the UN, you cannot be someone who will have an impact on the world. It’s easy.” Alexandre claims that making a social impact should be easy and painless, and Epic works on enabling everyone at all levels of industry, providing the right tools to make a real difference. Alexandre is more than sure that companies around the globe are doing a poor job of engaging their employees in their impact. Things have changed now, and global businesses should 26 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

find alterna ves when it comes to social responsibility as well: the first and most crucial step, as Alexandre says, is to understand that employees are no longer interested in employer-provided health care — they care about making a difference in the world. This would be a great beginning of a new social disrup on. Alexandre sees it as a new turn of young, socially conscious individuals that want to make a difference, having clear missions in their minds, disrupting all aspects of society. It seems like Chris an Dior agrees with Alexandre Mars on this one, as the company now offers its employees the opportunity to “round off” their salary in order to support two of the social organisa ons in the Epic portfolio: the first one is M’Lop Tapang in Cambodia, which protects children’s rights and health, and promotes economic emancipa on for about 7 thousand children in Sihanoukville, and the second company is SNEHA in India, which provides health care for

more than 52 thousand children in Mumbai up to the age of 24. Alexandre is certain that things in the philanthropy sector are about to change, as today’s genera on is different and want more than just a paycheck: they want to do good. “The Millennials want this social disrup on to make things be er. Today’s genera on doesn’t belong to one state, but to one mindset. We need to engage this genera on that wants to do good.” Alexandre is ready to translate feelings into solu ons and contribuons, making sure that giving money to charity is easy, painless, systema c, op onal and transparent. If you are also one of those people who did not believe that such words could be used to describe charity and philanthropy, then it looks like Alexandre’s disrup on of this industry is successful. He also says that “business can’t do well without doing good” — and if that’s the case, Epic is about to become the most successful company of all me.


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Elections, Voting and The Case of Cambridge Analytica

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t has been a tough couple of months for Cambridge Analy ca — the hot mess was stumbled upon, and the en re world is wai ng for the massive storm, which is s ll on, to pass. Trump, Brexit, the elec ons — mul ple state a orneys are now launching inves ga ons in the US, wan ng to find out everything there is about the abuse of as many as 50 million Facebook users and their personal data. Cambridge Analy ca is a Bri sh company with headquarters in London, New York, Washington, Brazil and Malaysia. Interes ngly, it is a subsidiary company of ‘Strategic Communica on Laboratories’. Presen ng itself as a global leader in data-driven campaigning with more than 25 years of experience, suppor ng more than 100 campaigns across five con nents, Cambridge Analy ca was the first company in this field to redefine the rela onship between data and poli cal campaigns. Emphasising that knowing your electorate be er than others is the most crucial factor if you want to achieve greater influence while lowering overall costs, this company added a lot of addi onal value and played the first role in winning presidential races, congressional and state elec ons in United States,

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using the data of more than 230 million American voters. So, what does this company do? The answer is simple on this one: Cambridge Analy ca can find your voters and encourage them to act — subtly. The key is to prepare data based poli cal campaigns, and for this work, the company has a mul talented workforce of researchers, data sciensts, behavioural psychologists, marke ng experts, crea ves and poli cal analysts. The follow-up ques on is ‘who are the clients of this company?’. Basically, Cambridge Analy ca not only helped Trump in the ba le of the presiden al elec on but is also linked to various poli cal campaigns all around the world. Analysts are gathering data to generate thousands of messages which then target voters via their personal accounts on Facebook, Snapchat and others. The British press announced that Cambridge Analy ca has also provided services to mo vate Brexit via the company ‘Leave.EU’, although Nix denied this fact. The company has also worked in Italy, Kenya, South Africa, Columbia and Indonesia to name just a few. Everything looks clear at this point, doesn’t it? Well, that’s where all the drama begins: it appears that Cambridge Analy ca has Facebook data

on people who have not agreed to share it with them. Some say that this data might not have been sufficiently protected by Facebook. Also, the company may have acquired data about Facebook users under one pretext, and then sold it on to another with an inten on to use it rather differently. Skep cs say that the situa on might actually be different, due to the fact that any company in this industry — including Cambridge Analy ca — cannot have access to any data on any person, which has not been willingly shared by that person, at this point both with Facebook and several hundred other people that he or she is friends with on a certain social media channel. However, as the scandal grows and Cambridge Analy ca happens to be in its epicenter, the situa on is really tough right now: the company has been suspended from Facebook, and its CEO Nix has been suspended from the company’s board, due to many undercover reports capturing him making claims about the company using dirty tricks and bribing poli cians, or entrapping them by “sending some girls to candidate’s house”. Alongside the scandal, many discussions and ques ons have arisen — think debates in the poli cal world about what Cambridge Analytica even does, and whether it’s useful. Let’s get back to the beginning for a second: we’ve already men oned that before Cambridge Analy ca, there was SCL Group, which specialised in messaging and PR work for governments, poli cians and militaries all around the globe. SCL Group knew the importance of human psychology and how to target and persuade people, as well as a magnitude of big data and psychographic profiling. With clients in Indonesia, Thailand, Kenya, the UK and other countries, in 2013 SCL Group found a wealthy American — Steve Bannon — who invested a big amount of money and was the co-founder of Cambridge Analy ca. The story gets interes ng here, as this is the point in which Cambridge Analy ca started a new type of political targe ng that was based on modelling individuals’ personali es: the company worked with researchers to


develop a 120-ques on survey and asked all sorts of ques ons about personality and behaviour. Before that, it was all simple: think age, race or gender and other tradi onal targe ng. The results from the test were mixed together with various polls, voter records and online ac vity to create personality models for voters. This is where and when bad things happened: it looks like the company collected a lot of informa on by breaking Facebook’s rules. To start with, an outside researcher affiliated with Cambridge University, Kogan, developed an app called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’ for the company that required users to sign in using their Facebook accounts. At that me, Facebook’s rules allowed the app to take informa on from these users, as well as their friends — think educa on, locaon, liked pages and groups, rela onship statuses and work informa on. At one point, Kogan was allowed to gather all this data, but strictly for academic purposes, and he promised to use it for research. He was definitely not allowed to pass this data to a third party. But it happened.

So, what about the presiden al elecons and Brexit? Basically, as things moved forward, and Cambridge Analy ca began to work with Trump on his campaign, no one believed that big data could change so many things. The company played a key role in the campaign’s online efforts: “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targe ng, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy,” Nix said to Britain’s Channel 4. At this point things got ugly: Nix con nued to talk about Cambridge Analy ca’s efforts and claimed credit on Trump’s winning, at the same me viola ng long-held norms and causing a true hurricane. The Trump campaign hired Cambridge Analy ca to run data opera ons during the 2016 elec on. Remember Bannon that we’ve menoned before? Well, he eventually became Trump’s chief strategist and was also a vice president of Cambridge Analy ca’s board. And so, the company helped Trump’s campaign, iden fying voters to target with certain adds that were more than precise, giving advice on how to focus

its approach best, strategic communica on and other important things. Alongside the ques ons about company’s involvement in the presidenal elec on, many people s ll linger about the company’s role in the UK’s historic vote to leave the European Union. Bri sh poli cians are on to a full inves ga on about this, and suspicions reached the highest level once Nix publicly said that Cambridge Analy ca actually “teamed up with ‘Leave.EU’ to help the Brexit advocates be er understand and communicate with UK voters.” However, now Nix claims that it was all a misunderstanding and the company was not involved in the referendum — he is even ready to show bank statements to ensure his words. For now, the situa on remains tense. The future of Cambridge Analy ca is shadowy, and the scandal is s ll on. While the world is wai ng for the truth to finally be broadcasted, Facebook’s Zuckerberg is going through some tough mes as well. Each day brings out new facts and surprises, so let’s wait just a li le longer for this case to be clarified for real.

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The Entertainment Giant That Is Netflix “Most entrepreneurial ideas will sound crazy, stupid and uneconomic, and then they’ll turn out to be right”, said Reed Hastings, the co-founder and CEO of Netflix — the company that certainly seems to be living its best times right now, as its market value just reached 110 billion dollars.

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tarted as Kibble in 1997, the company was renamed to Ne lix a year later. Besides DVDrenting, it also introduced new subscription model. Nearly a decade later, Ne lix started streaming videos and…well, basically changed the way we watch everything. Today, Ne lix is one the biggest Hollywood distributors and producers of online video, and their story to success is fascina ng. Let’s take a closer look. 16 years ago, Ne lix went public. And honestly, there’s more than one story behind this sentence, as Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, co-founders of the revolu onary entertainment service, seem to always tell different explana ons when it comes the big “how?”. For one thing, these stories are interesting. Originally, Hastings sticks to the version that the main idea of star ng Ne lix came a er Blockbuster charged him a 40-dollar late fee for Apollo 13. Randolph, on the other hand, claims that the company was started when he and Has ngs decided a simple thing: that they want to create “the Amazon of something”. This quote is no less than legendary now if you ask us. But let’s con nue: friends decided that they want to ship DVDs because customers were willing to buy them online and they were more than suitable to be delivered via mail. However, as this was an absolutely new concept, they did not know if it was possible. And so, Reed and Marc came up with a solu on: they

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mailed a CD a few blocks to see how it would hold up through the process. It arrived intact, and they decided to start Ne lix. And the rest is history, as they say. But let’s take it step by step. Started as a subscrip on-based DVD service that provided a new service — delivering DVDs straight to customer’s home, Ne lix wanted to take things — and their business — to the next level. In 2005, Has ngs said that the company was preparing itself for an Internet-based future: “Movies over the internet are coming, and at some point, it will become big business. We started inves ng 1 percent to 2 percent of revenue every year in downloading, and I think it’s tremendously exci ng because it will fundamentally lower our mailing costs. We want to be ready when video-on-demand happens. That’s why the company is called Ne lix, not DVD-by-Mail.” And so, in 2007 Ne lix introduced its streaming service, which allowed viewers to watch thousands of on-demand TV shows and movies ad-free. At the starting point, Hastings invested 2.5 million dollars in their new business. The company had 30 employees on its first day and offered nearly 900 tles available for rent. The first strategy of a rac ng new customers was quite simple with a seven-day DVD rental for 4 dollars, and an addi onal 2 dollars for shipping. They offered discounts to a ract people, and company’s website provided users with movie reviews and automatic suggestions, tempting them to rent addi onal DVDs.

In 2000, an interes ng thing happened: Has ngs wanted to sell 49 percent of Ne lix to Blockbuster, to act as an online arm for the video-rental giant. However, Blockbuster turned down the offer, and Ne lix had to go on solo. 5 years later, as Has ngs and Randolph decided to begin internet streaming, Ne lix had 4.5 million subscribers. The growth con nued, and by 2010 company had 16 million subscribers. In 2013, Hastings moved Ne lix into an unfamiliar territory, when it started inves ng in its own original series — think Orange is the New Black, House of Cards and Lilyhammer. Its first original television series was House of Cards: the show was nominated for a nine Prime me Emmy Awards and won 3 of them. No wonder that by the end of 2013, Netflix’s stock had tripled in value. And that is not all: in 2017, Ne lix began producing feature films, aiming to release 80 — yes, 80, which means more than all the Hollywood studios’ annual slates combined — this year. And here we reach the most important ques on: what makes Ne lix so successful? Is it untradi onal ideas that seem to evolve perfectly? Or maybe unexpected solu ons and different business model that they follow? Actually, a li le bit of everything that we’ve just men oned. You see, if you compare Ne lix to other tradi onal


broadcasters, the difference is clear: Ne lix does not have a goal to appeal to as broad an audience as possible, but rather to reach niche viewers and effec vely provide a show or movie that they just could not live without. In other words, the key aim of Ne lix is to develop programs for different audience interests. What is more, even though Ne lix is acknowledged as the winning video-streaming pla orm, it did not stop there. Instead, the company is trying to constantly improve its service and quality to the customers. Speaking of innova ons, at the end of 2016, Ne lix presented a major upgrade, making customers experience even more convenient: they replaced sta c poster images with custom-created preview videos that play automa cally when you scroll over a tle card. This ensures that Ne lix viewers can now discover what they want to watch much more simply. And who does not like comfort? But, as usual with Ne lix, that is not all. The company also presented a download-and-go feature and expanded it to 130 countries. This feature gives customers the opportunity to watch desired shows or movies offline. Talk about convenience, huh? All these upgrades that we’ve just menoned are a result of a carefully and though ully developed strategy, as

Ne lix is really commi ed to standing out from its compe tors. It took years to climb to the very top of the mountain, but Ne lix certainly did it. Do you remember the point when we’ve said that once the company started out, it had 30 employees? Well, the situa on is different now, as there are 3700 staff members working in Ne lix. We have some more impressive numbers for you here: the company has more than 117.6 million members worldwide that enjoy more than 140 million hours TV shows and movies per day. Let’s take a closer look at the market: in men oned number of worldwide members, there are 1.9 million domes c and 6.4 interna onal streaming subscribers, and about 55 million of them are from the US. It was recently announced that 2017 was a good year for Ne lix, with 11.6 billion dollars revenue and 24 million new memberships. And Ne lix says that everything goes according to plan: the indicators are good and at some point, numbers were even higher than the company expected — especially when it comes to the growth of new members. More members equal more revenue, and Ne lix is planning to spend 8 billion dollars on content in 2018. Focusing on great content — and not forge ng the interna onal level and originality — is one of the key

elements when it comes to Ne lix and developing strategy. But these guys are also inves ng in innova ve technologies and overall development, and such combo seems to be a winner, as the company’s stock has never been higher than it is now. If you want to find one word to describe Ne lix, “typical” would not make a list. We think that you will agree with us when we say that Netflix is an innova ve company, and its founders are true entrepreneurs, founding and adap ng fresh solu ons in everyday situa ons. For example, presen ng itself as a forward-thinking company, in 2015 Ne lix announced unlimited maternity and paternity leave and offered unlimited vaca on me for its employees, hoping that other companies will follow as well. What is more, Has ngs doesn’t even have his own office and handles most of his work using a smartphone. How is that possible for a billion-dollar company? It turns out that the answer is simple: he just doesn’t need an office to get the work done. In fact, by 2008 Ne lix was mostly using DocuSign, and that’s also the reason why the need of signing physical papers, as well as having an office, went away. Found in 1997, Ne lix began its current subscrip on model in 1999. Now the company has over 117 million subscribers in 190 countries. So, what about the future, you might wonder? Ne lix has a strong and highly focused strategy when it comes to expanding the subscribers and making the overall experience no less than amazing for them. Original content, strong interna onal game and constant improvements are why Ne lix out-stands its compe tors. Also, Ne lix has more and more smartphone users, and to reach even be er results, more mobile-friendly features will be needed, as well as the strategy for it. But when you think about it, it’s probably already on its way, as Ne lix seems to have an amazing capability to always be one step ahead, providing its customers what they did not even know that they needed. Has ngs once said that Ne lix’s main compe tor is actually…sleep. And seeing the way that things are now, we could not agree more. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 31


Sales Innovation -Redefining The Industry

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hanges are all around us, and although this sentence looks innocent and simple, the truth is that changes can also be difficult to adjust to, especially in some cases. In other cases, however, changes are perceived as natural processes, something that needs to happen in order to make things be er and more efficient. In order to improve. Today we have a more interes ng perspec ve for you when it comes to changes — sales industry and performance. Let’s look at it closer. Innova on, efficiency, new methodologies and technologies, digitaliza on,

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enhanced customer management, new strategies and redefined approaches — all these words can be summed up to just a few: sales industry. In case you were wondering, sales industry is the one that lets you actually experience the change once it’s happening. What is more, it’s all about redefining strategies, finding new ways and unexpected solu ons, and making the overall selling and perceiving experience as a rac ve as possible. A lot has changed in this sector over the past decade — even a few years, when you think about it be er, and the impact of technology is definitely indisputable.

From the beginning of 2017 to the fall, Sales Hacker’s annual compila on of newly released sales tech nearly dubbed from 460 tools to more than 700. This year, even more new products have been released. Increased adop on of SaaS made sales so ware more specialized than ever, allowing founders to build and launch new tools without pu ng actual products on shelves. When it comes to sales teams, the adop on of CRM so ware is as high as 90 percent, and demand for technology that is specialized for a par cular industry is expected to grow even more, wai ng for so ware creators


to get in ac on and turn that wish to reality. “The world has changed,““ says Miller Heiman Group, one of the most well-known and respected brands in sales and service training industry. Nowadays, when selling processes are equated to no less than science and understood as equally important as art, reinven ng the whole sales industry came as a natural process that we’ve just spoken about. However, being careful about digitaliza on and technologies is necessary: adop ng many unintegrated or even unnecessary tools can do more damage than bring posi vity,

and can actually decrease producvity of sales teams. That’s why now — specifically, in 2018 — sales leaders simply need to get smarter about the technology that they adopt. It is more than crucial for every leader to carefully examine their funnel to iden fy the biggest areas of opportunity for improvement, then research, compare and test solu ons in order to reach the best and most efficient results. Why did we men on Miller Heiman Group, you might wonder? Being one of the largest professional services providers in the world designed to help organiza ons sell more and service be er, this company is o en mentioned alongside such words like “efficiency“, “innovation“ and “digitaliza on“. The word “disrupon“ is another one that is used frequently, as many of the largest and most respected brands in the world work with this company, which brought some new exci ng heights to the whole sales industry and its processes, and now also offers the broadest set of sales and customer service based solu ons in the whole market. Let’s talk numbers for a second: this global organiza on with 63 offices, 700 facilitators, 200 consultants and more than 70 distribu on and franchise partners available in over 40 languages claims to have it all for ensuring each company’s that is interested in redefining its sales processes success. If you’re wondering — just like us — how did they manage to be the first ones in sales innova on process, we want to tell you that it was not all that simple. In order to turn everything around, Miller Heiman Group started with analyzing various sales techniques and performances, finding unexpected solu ons and transforming problems into best prac ces, making sales teams work more effec ve and efficient. During this processes, the company also iden fied four key trends that were actually making the overall selling processes harder for businesses: such aspects like digital disrup on, urbaniza on, aging workforce and increased compe on as sector lines blur were discovered as the most influen al key points that literally stopped selling processes

for companies. However, these four aspects — once recognized in me — are also the ones that can bring posive changes around the company. As soon as company recognizes them, the adapta on process needs to take place — this will help to update current selling models and overall talent profile, leading to using be er technology that can intelligently use data to iden fy trends in individuals’ successes. When you think about it, disrup on is seen as a new norm in business now. Miller Heiman Group understood this a while ago, and pushed the limit further by changing the game completely: they did not go the usual way, which is used by many companies and businesses — and by this we mean analyzing compe tors. They did something more interes ng — made compe tors absolutely irrelevant by producing a new — improved — model of sales perspec ve, changing the whole sales industry as they went forward. Being a leader in sales performance solu ons, last month Miller Heiman Group announced a new partnership with UK’s largest professional body for salespeople — the Ins tute of Sales Management, meant to improve the standard of sales learning and take it to the next level via promo ng and recognizing excellence, improving overall sales effec veness, opera ng with ethics and delivering the very highest standards when it comes to service and learning, as well as improving customer’s experience. If at this point you’re wondering “why did they do it? Was it even necessary?“, you will be surprised to know that most businesses related to sales and services now are struggling like never before when it comes to sales. The research division (CSO Insights) of Miller Heiman Group revealed that only 53 percent of sellers achieved quota plan a ainment in 2017 and witnessed a drop of 10 percent in just 5 years. Feeling like they must keep up with the mes in order to keep their company’s revenue engine running smoothly sure gives a lot of pressure. Well, Miller Heiman Group has it all covered here as well, as company intends to help sales and service teams raise the bar europeanbusinessmagazine.com 33


and prepare for future challenges via their new Elevate 2018: Innova on in ac on conference. They promised to introduce ground-breaking solu ons there that are supposed to help leaders build world-class sales and service organiza ons by giving them innova ve tools they need to perform in this disrup ve business environment. Byron Ma hews, President and CEO of Miller Heiman Group says “it’s a fact that business leaders either adapt to change rapidly or fail.“ Nowadays, as selling simply has to be smarter in order to be efficient, those four main challenges that we’ve men oned earlier play extremely important role in search of mee ng companies’ sales targets and avoiding inconveniences. Let’s be honest: everyone around is now talking “disrup ve“, “technologies“ and “innova ons“ in the business field, always men oning the fact that selling environment is in for a big change that is…well, already happening. Pu ng all the

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dots on i’s, this change is actually not a new one — it started a while ago, alongside with the rise of social media, mobile devices and even ar ficial intelligence. These aspects have been influencing selling processes for quite some me now, making it all go forward faster than we’ve all imagined it would. “Selling is evolving from an art to a science, and it’s vital to an organiza on’s success for sales leaders to keep up with the latest technology and tools to get ahead,“ said Richard Hilton, EMEA Managing Director for Miller Heiman Group. Knowledge and understanding buyer’s roles have always been important, but now its even more than that: it’s crucial for any company that wants to see efficiency in selling. Alongside digitaliza on, some new tricks have entered the sales industry: f.e., according to data from LinkedIn, social sellers are 56 percent more likely to achieve quota, and sellers are five mes more likely to secure a mee ng when they are

introduced through a common LinkedIn connec on. It brings us to the fact that today’s consumers actually want their interacons with brands to be more human, not more automated. In this ar cle, we’ve talked about digitaliza on a lot, but the most important thing is that digitaliza on does not — and will not — replace human interac on in sales industry. What it will do, however, is make processes be er, smarter and faster for sales professionals. Did you know that high-performing sales teams actually use three mes more technology than underperforming teams? We can’t stress enough how important it is for all sales professionals to be smart about digitaliza on and new trends out there. And while you’re looking for an answer of how to walk alongside innova ons in this field of sales, let us also remind you that it’s all about customer experience and making it as unique as possible, turning selling processes to no less than science and art.


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Four Ways to Prepare Your Organization for the Future of Sales By Byron Ma hews, president and CEO, Miller Heiman Group

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any selling organiza ons are struggling in today’s global business climate. Win rates are down. The percentage of sales reps who miss their quotas is up. It’s becoming harder for companies to meet revenue plan targets. But the factors driving change in the global business climate also present new opportuni es for sales organizaons willing to embrace transformaon. The key to tomorrow’s success is knowing what’s broken and, more importantly, what your organiza on can do to fix it.

Analog sales methodologies in a digital world Macro-level shi s in the global business climate are reshaping the way organiza ons approach the sales process. The growth of emerging economies, an aging workforce and the blurring of the boundaries between industries present serious challenges for sales organiza ons. If that’s not enough, buyers’ use of technology in the research/informaon gathering stage con nues to 36 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

widen the gap between digital innovators and analog stragglers. Sellers find it increasingly difficult to keep pace with these market changes. The problem isn’t that organiza ons aren’t inves ng enough me or resources in sales – it’s that they’re relying on sales methodologies that need to be updated to address today’s market challenges. Minor adjustments won’t do. From now on, selling success requires a completely new sales methodology that embraces a 24/7 business climate and buyer-centric behaviors based on key understandings of today’s sales cycle.

There are 4 things your sales organizations should consider right now To win sales and capture market share, your organiza on must re-envision its approach and execute methodologies that are more responsive to the marketplace. The following four areas should serve as a blueprint of the areas you need to start thinking about and inves ng

in to meet revenue plan targets and achieve business growth:

Value Engineers Historically, solu on-based selling has been a reliable strategy for sales organiza ons. Sales reps work to understand prospects’ needs and win deals by presen ng solu ons that closely align with buyers’ goals. But now, more informed and empowered buyers expect sellers to fully understand the challenges they’re up against. In addi on to understanding needs, sellers must become acutely aware of: • Buyers’ compe ve climates • Key differen ators • Specific growth drivers Sellers must come armed with insights and research to add value in the sales process, rather than just speaking to the buyer’s needs. By understanding the buyer’s world and not just the answer to one problem, sellers transi on from solu on consultants to value engineers – they generate addi onal benefit by offering new perspec ves on problems,


and problem-solving skills. There has been a no ceable shi from EQ to IQ in the skills required of successful sales reps today. Start to transi on to next-generaon talent by evalua ng the talent profile of your sales team. Influen al skills sets are s ll necessary, but they need to be augmented with analytical skill sets that are more appropriate for selling in technology-rich, value-added market environments. In some cases, this may mean retraining your exis ng salesforce; in others, it may involve hiring sales professionals with analy cal or even STEM backgrounds.

Process Maturity

solu ons, opportuni es and capabili es. The result is deeper engagement, more upsell/cross-sell opportuni es and addi onal revenue for your business.

Digital Sales Enablement During a first mee ng, buyers are o en more informed about the seller’s products than the seller is about the buyer’s global posi oning. In the digital age, organiza ons need sales enablement tools to reduce this gap and enter each mee ng from a place of strength. Sales enablement facilitates value-based selling and ensures sales reps can deliver insights at the moment they need them. This new discipline improves the effec veness and efficiency of the funnel through content, training, coaching and other sales tools. Organiza ons that invest in sales enablement benefit from a performance advantage – 88.5 percent a ain their revenue plans, compared to 80.3 percent of organizaons that neglect sales enablement. Ar ficial intelligence (AI) and deep learning technologies also provide

much-needed support to sales reps and managers by conver ng massive amounts of behavioral data into selling advantage. For example, lexical and voice recogni on technology can analyze missed opportuni es in sales reps’ live conversa ons with prospects, opening new possibili es for personalized coaching. In the future, sales managers won’t have to ask reps for summaries of client mee ngs. Instead, they will be able to view a digitally enabled mee ng analysis and offer informed insights that help the rep win the sale.

Next Generation Talent Organiza ons are not prepared for the next genera on of sales talent. It’s no accident that we’re seeing more and more STEM discipline professionals enter the sales profession. In a technology-rich, value-added sales process, salespeople can no longer lean as heavily on influen al traits. Instead, the scales are pping in favor of analy cal traits because successful selling now requires more business acumen, analy cal thinking

A consistent methodology is the backbone of successful sales organiza ons. But methodology alone isn’t enough. Organizations also need dynamic processes and a universal language (i.e., process maturity) to standardize the sales process and create common understandings across departments that support the sales func on. Process maturity equips sales organiza ons with a repeatable, scalable and predictable way to execute the sales methodology. The days of sending sales reps into the wild to win deals on their own are over. To compete, your sales professionals need to collaborate with other professionals under a common framework to achieve organiza onal execu on. The payoff for process maturity is that sales organiza ons perform 23 percent be er when they have organiza onal execu on. So, by priori zing process maturity, you can improve your organiza on’s ability to compete and win deals in a constantly changing global business climate. It’s impossible to know what the future holds for your business. But based on current trends, it’s a safe bet that sales organiza ons are doomed to fail if they cling to what they know and the way they have always sold. The me to start inves ng in a value-added sales methodology featuring digital sales enablement and dynamic processes is now. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 37


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Better Together

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he financial sector has always been resistant to technological change, a symbol of unwavering consistency, even in mes of turbulence. However, banks cannot afford to ignore the digitalisa on of financial services, which can speed up financial processes, cut costs and send the tradi onal banking landscape into disarray. Patricia Cullen reports.

Nearly 20 years ago, PayPal launched account services and peer-to-peer payments, during a me when people thought money transfers couldn’t go beyond their bank accounts and in the last decade an explosion of disrup ve fintech offerings have further challenged the tradi onal banking system. Discerning tech companies are honing-in and focusing on customer experience and, combined with the

widespread iner a felt towards the financial industry, users won’t hesitate to switch to services that are better tailored to their needs. Banks must implement new business models of engagement to keep pace with compe tors or risk becoming obsolete. Last year, addi onal high-tech developments, regulatory policies and increased customer expectations con nued to reshape the banking europeanbusinessmagazine.com 39


industry, with clients in 2018 demanding a more connected, customer-centric borrowing, saving and spending experience. Firstly, the growth of mobile internet has led to universal connec vity, allowing approximately 3 billion people internet access, and secondly, the rise and domina on of social networks con nue to revoluonise the landscape, placing customers at the core of business. The smartphone revolu on ensured customers no longer had to put up with long queues and wait mes to deposit money, trade or request a chequebook. And as the number of mobile phones con nues to rise, changing the structure of finance and banking, the challenge for both fintechs and banks is to combine internet technology with banking services. While banks remain ahead of the game by the sheer size of their customer base, most financial institutions simply can’t build the technology as swi ly and resourcefully that a start-up, with its high-end developer talent, agile methods and speedy implementa on, can. Focused on user experience and priori sing convenience, their ideas appeal to the younger digital generaon and are turning banks’ tradi onal top-down approach to managing customer rela onships on its head. Fintech investment deployed $16.6bn across 1,128 deals to VC-backed fintech companies in 2017, Europe alone saw funding grow 121% year-overyear, and, with an unprecedented amount of funding in fintech, 2018 is set to be a game-changer for retail banking. This growth is driven by the increasing dissa sfac on with tradional banking models, demands for answerability and the ever-increasing tech-savvy customer base. The number of digitally ac ve consumers has risen from just one in seven in 2015 to one in three in 2017, according to the EY FinTech Adop on Index 2017, highligh ng the impetus for banks to modernise their processes and streamline their prac ce. With this increased focus on speed and convenience, banks are looking to the fintech start-ups who are disrup ng the marketplace by offering technology and services that challenge their tradi onal brick and 40 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

mortar. By iden fying what banks offer – or more importantly, what they do not offer – these new contenders focus on the customer, and more importantly, on solu ons. Addionally, payment op ons that were once limited to cash or card, are now open to contactless, smart tap, mobile payments or even ‘pay later’ op ons. Not forge ng that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, and contactless payment pla orms such as Apple Pay technologies, once considered disrup ve or unsustainable, are now all entering the mainstream.

With the advent of PSD2 and open banking ini a ves helping to ensure maximum transparency and security, the regulatory barriers that once kept non-bank compe tors at bay, are collapsing. These new guidelines to boost financial inclusion and promote a cashless society have paved the way for 4,200 fintech start-ups in Europe alone. Banks are feeling the hot breath of compe on from PayPal, Google Wallet and others whose mobile payment technology threatens to displace them in everyday consumer transactions.


Originally seen as a hazard to the stability of tradi onal financial services, banks have recently come out as one of the main supports for the fintech community as the diversity of new services and apps essen ally merge with banks’ strategic goals. The days when banks viewed fintech companies as disruptors are numbered, and they are increasingly looked upon as allies, to team up with to take on the challenges of the new digital world. Tradi onal financial ins tu ons are recognising that networking with new industry

contenders could prove invaluable, and fintechs, in turn, understand that banks provide priceless capital, scale, data and regulatory support. Banks and fintech start-ups can – and do – collaborate, with the former providing stability as the la er drives innova on. Numerous enterprises are offering the latest, innova ve technology and services for sending and receiving money. It is like banking in an apps store. There are various players that are wri ng fintech history and defining the future in fields

like cryptocurrency, blockchain, bitcoin, mobile wallets, challenger banks, user experience, lending and big data, with none more inspired than Mash, offering customers a personalised and efficient service, with a reliable and flexible payment method. Launched in 2007, Mash (h ps://www.mash.com/) leverages its exclusive processes, machine learning capabili es and automated platform to deliver finance and payment solu ons to thousands of customers every day, demonstrating the growing compe on in the landscape. While paying merchants immediately, it offers the chance for customers to pay later, allowing for greater flexibility and increased spending capabili es over tradi onal payment methods. Mash is one of only two companies in Europe that provide both an in-store and online payment solu on, with this latest development part of a rapid scaling up across Europe. As the profitable financial sector con nues to appeal to new investors and market players, the subsequent compe ve environment will con nue to encourage innova on and drive growth. Various payment start-ups, apps and challenger banks that launched within the last decade already service millions of clients. The ever-changing regula ons and speedy digi sa on dictate that financial organisa ons and fintechs need to collaborate, not compete if they are to grow, innovate and con nue to stay current. Most importantly, fintechs like Mash help the financial services industry to reconnect and stayy connected with their customers, and by fulfilling customer demands, banks will see increased consumer acquisi on and improved customer reten on. Bankers have the experience, financial records and cash. Fintechs have the progressive nature, technology and courage. Who would you trust with your money? Banking and fintech - a combined effort and joint approach can create a solid financial system that works for all. Their partnership helps combine a large customer base with confidence, regula on and innova on-the holy trinity of prosperous banking. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 41


Fintech -Disrupting The Financial Sector

F

intech — it is fair to say that by now, most people have heard this term being used and just in case you haven’t , carry on reading! In Leymans terms it is the simply the word that describes technologies that are applied in financial services or used to help companies manage the financial aspects of their businesses. It is the buzz word in any part of the financial or technology sectors, as not only more and more startups enter the space and but also as tradi onal banks try to adopt innova ve technologies as well. Fintech is not new: it has been here since 2008. That’s the most interes ng part: the banking sector has always been the one that did not face so many disrup ve innova ons and changes. But now, as the wave of digitalisa on and computerisaon hit the shore, it simply changed

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the way that transac ons are processed and delivered, and suddenly banking solu ons and processes got more interes ng — with the new, improved Fintech. Basically, when you want to make an online purchase and use PayPal, Apple Pay or simply your credit card to do that, all the par es involved in this ac on — you (the consumer), the e-commerce retailer and the banks behind the money exchange — are using Fintech. Technologies have really changed the financial sector and its services, as what was once handled one way (think human hands), is now digitalised. And we have Fintech startups to thank this for, as this is the main reason why almost every kind of financial ac vity — whether its wealth management, banking or payments — turned the overall approach of the industry upside down.

As these things a ract a en on and massive investments, Fintech’s case was no excep on. In fact, last year was amazing for the financial technology industry: it received more than $17.4 billion in investment, and as much as a third of all consumers worldwide are using two or more Fintech services now. Interestingly, although Fintech is mostly associated with startups, the world’s top banks — think HSBC and Credit Suisse — have been developing their own Fintech ideas to make opera ons simpler. There are a substan al number of Fintech startups in the US, making it the biggest market now due to such factors like highly trained engineers, an abundance of resources and tech-centric culture. However, there are some different predic ons on the Fintech’s future, as experts say that 2021 will bring a new leader in this field — China. What is more, various Fintech companies have made huge investments in the tradi onal banking system area, and China has moved 96 percent of its e-commerce sales without the services of a bank: a lineup includes such giants like Alipay and an online baking pla orm called 91 Financial Informaon Service. The financial technology industry is booming right now, and such areas like online and mobile payments, big data, alterna ve finance and financial management have come a long way due to innova ve technological soluons and their development. Fintech had a major impact on such disrup ve innova ons like Ar ficial Intelligence, Robotics, Biometric applications, Blockchain, Peer-to-Peer lending, and many more. Experts say that 2018 will be an interes ng year when it comes to Fintech’s innova ons. Such disrup ons like Digital Wallet and Cryptocurrency Wallet with different op ons are about to hit the market — and some of them already have. The most popular Digital Wallet op ons right now are Android Pay and Apple Pay. Shortly, Digital Wallet is an electronic device that enables consumers to make an electronic transac on: it can include online


purchases using a desktop or smartphone at any physical store. There’s a link between consumer’s bank account and a digital wallet, which can also contain such things like driver’s license, health card, loyalty cards, ID documents, etc. Cryptocurrency Wallet is a type of digital wallet where private keys are stored for cryptocurrencies — think bitcoin. It can be used to receive or pay cryptocurrency transactions. Right now, the most popular Cryptocurrency Wallets in the market are Bitcoin Core, Electrum and Jaxx. We’ve talked about Ar ficial Intelligence and machine learning quite a lot in our ar cles, but it reaches new heights when it comes to Fintech. For one thing, AI and machine learning for automa on, predic ve analysis, addressing queries and many other key ac ons are liked by a vast number of Fintech players. Besides, AI is also responsible for securing financial services and transac ons, removing poten al security risks out of the process. According to PWC’s Global Fintech Report 2017, nearly 30 percent of financial ins tu ons invested in AI. Experts say that the number of financial ins tu ons that invested in this sphere indirectly is even higher. As changes in the banking industry are approaching quickly, it is important to note that mobile technologies

have a significant impact on consumers behaviour. The so-called Transforma onal shi is the most important one, as consumers are using mobile banking as much as 7 days per month, and the number reaches 10 days when it comes to millennials. This basically means that people have developed new habits when it comes to their finances. 9 out of 10 individuals are banking from home — just like that, logging into their bank accounts while si ng at their desk or in the living room. 31 percent of millennials are using mobile bank services when socialising. Some of you might be surprised by these numbers and even forms of habits, but the truth is that mobile apps provide independence and opportuni es to monitor your finances whenever the me seems convenient — with the chance to do it right here and right now, quickly. Experts say that compared to desktop use, mobile use has been on a rise for quite some me now, and the main ac vi es are no ced in e-commerce and social media spaces. This results in increased comfort and convenience when it comes to mobile payments — and this aspect is new. That’s why various Fintech companies and startups work on integra ng payment channels with as many mobile-friendly features as possible, star ng with mobile wallets and ending with QR

codes. What is more, mobile banking and payments are es mated to reach 92 billion USD mark by 2019. As bank transactions is a question that causes many concerns, you might wonder ‘but what about the safety?’. Fintech has it covered: blockchain technology has become a great alterna ve for safeguarding transac ons and related data. Security benefits play a vital role in the Fintech industry, that’s why there are so many investments in adop ng this technology. In case you were wondering what financial ins tu ons are exploring it, we must men on HSBC (once again) and Barclays — both are planning to adopt it this year. The financial services industry is experiencing change at its best right now. And the upcoming years are about to be even more interes ng. We will not surprise you by telling you that it is all because of consumers and their changed behaviour: they know what they want and where they want it when it comes to their finances. Financial companies and startups are familiar with this fact, and that’s why convenience has become such an important word in Fintech — companies are inspired to deliver the best disrup ve innova ons that would be able to meet evolving consumer’s expecta ons in financial services. And it is a game that’s worth playing.

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Mash Distr Euro FinTe Scen European Busiiness caught with our front cover focus James Hicksonn CEO of Mash. Havinng been at the forefronnt of Fintech for many yearss with Morgan Stanleey, James joined Mash in May 2017 too drive the next phasee of company grow wth. With major parrtnerships now under theeir belt, including Veriffone, Mash is delivering seriiously disruptive solutions for consumers and Merchants by delivering superior Finance and paayments solutions to thousands of customers every day. We get thhe low down on James and wheere he is looking to go with Massh.

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In which compa any, when and where, did you start yo our financial career? I started my careeer at Morgan Stanley in London 15 yearrs ago when I joined the Technology grad duate program. It was a fantas c start ffollowing my academic and advanced studies and quickly highlighted thee need to think about technology and d data as a compe ve capability. Onee of the exci ng things about working ffor an organisa on like Morgan Stanley is the exposure to complex business an nd technical problems at significant scale, that’s a fantas c environment in whicch to grow. Have you alway ys been in banking? Following my m me in London, I moved to Saudi Arabia forr two years to establish Morgan Stanley’’s full service investment bank; this was a fantas c opportunity to focus on entrrepreneurship and learn how to build a full service investment bank in an emerging market. Hungary, as country hea ad, followed for three years, which wa as a fantas c opportunity to build and d manage a large organisa on that neeeded to grow rapidly. I concluded my me working in Fintech – collabora ng w with external companies and our interna al organisa on to help iden fy businesss opportuni es, collabora on partners, IPO & M&A targets and opportuni es to o spin out our own technology through V VC funding or asset sale. Outside of my w work at Morgan Stanley, I ac vely investeed in and coached companies as well as star ng new ventures independently th hat focused on the convergence of data a and product. You have had qu uite a lot of interna onal experience in the field of Fintech and you have esse en ally been at the forefront of th he financial landscape and its huge cchanges over the last five years, esp pecially with Morgan Stanley. Which h role has given you the greatest e experience to lead a dynamic Finte ech company such as Mash and why?? A house takes m many bricks and I would say that careers are similar; it is not one specific experience that helps but the collec on as a whole. w I was fortunate to

have developed a very broad set of skills - be that my strong technical foundaon, experience working with the regulator in an emerging market, building an organisa on of thousands in Hungary or mee ng and coaching 1000+ fintech companies in New York. I wouldn’t say I had a par cular plan in mind, I just focused on what I enjoyed doing which was the intersec on of technology and business. Equally, I have been fortunate to have excellent mentors that helped me evaluate my choices and helped me develop my capabili es and thinking. That said, I would say that my last role in Technology Business Development helped me bring together my experience in a holis c and meaningful way and for that, I am deeply grateful. It is common for many in those teams to make the leap into industry given the calibre of the individuals and access to business leadership. In general, banks (and other large interna onal companies) like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, are great environments to learn both hard and so skills. I would recommend the experience to anyone. When you were offered the role of CEO in Mash was it a tough decision to leave your previous role? What were the prospects that excited you most about leading Mash as CEO? Joining Mash was frankly the easiest decision of my career despite the leap from New York to Luxembourg. There existed a solid underlying business, a strong technology founda on,

a passionate team and a founder Tommi Lindfors - that I deeply trusted and respected. My wife taught me that, ‘Life is not a dress rehearsal’ and it is in that spirit I said yes. For me, my aspira on was to build a fintech business that added real value to consumers and one that employees and shareholders were proud of. I also believed that there was real opportunity to bring together a number of different fragmented businesses to build a single value proposi on. I believe we are well on our way at Mash, most recently with our partnership with Verifone in Europe. We will con nue to build out our partner eco-system where we are convinced we can build mutually accre ve partnerships. We will make mistakes along the way, either self-inflicted or because of fantas c compe on, but at our core, I believe we will win. You have been an employee with Morgan Stanley for many years throughout your career but where did you really begin to think that Fintech would eventually challenge the big banks such as Morgan Stanley? That’s a good ques on. In many ways, that realisa on didn’t crystalise as a core belief un l I le Morgan Stanley. I now spend a lot of me with banks and am amazed at how far behind they are from delivering the fintech promise. Many are slow in their decision making, lack vision or see risk and regula on as inhibitors of great ideas rather than business catalysts. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 45


This offers fintechs a great opportunity, but I s ll don’t think the future (yet) is to go it alone. Winners will be those that find ways to collaborate with banks or industry partners successfully with mutually accre ve partnerships. That spells bad news for banks that do not have a partnership strategy staffed with people that are empowered to think and act like entrepreneurs (e.g. own P&L, resourced correctly and with direct access to the CEO). While I believe that the European market will largely stay fragmented, there is clearly going to be a convergence of banks and banks & fintech companies in the future. I see a world where there are 3-4 bank winners that are able reinvent themselves (the bar is low today), new players with exis ng large customer pools expanding their services in a category I call ‘banks via the backdoor’ (i.e. Amazon, Google, Facebook) and banks largely ac ng as commodity pla orms e.g. leasing their bank charters to nimbler compe tors. 46 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

Can you tell us what Mash does, the story behind it and the objec ves of the firm? Mash has been at the forefront of FinTech innova on since 2007. We leverage our advanced proprietary

algorithms, machine learning capabilies and automated pla orm to deliver superior finance and payments soluons to thousands of customers every day. In addi on to direct consumer loans, we provide pay later solu ons and credit cards. Does Mash have Mash have any direct compe tors? We are one of only two companies in Europe that can deliver online and offline payments solu on; although we expect the space to become increasingly compe ve as US players enter the market. That said, the market today is fragmented across Europe, which provides a unique opportunity for us as we scale rapidly with our partner Verifone. There is a partnership with Verifone. Can you outline the expansion plans with Verifone? Verifone has proved to be a phenomenal partner and we are excited to be collabora ng with them. We plan to con nue


to expand the distribu on of our pay later solu on across Europe and reach hundreds of thousands of merchants. Moreover, the intersec on of technology, data, merchants and consumers opens up new business models that we will naturally explore in due course. Our singular focus today is on executing our immediate opportunity and impressing our customers. Can you discuss the most diďŹƒcult challenges you have had with Mash? This has been a phenomenal first year. We significantly strengthened our execu ve leadership team, hiring a deep bench of new talent across finance, opera ons, sales, marke ng and business development. We revised our core values and realigned the organisa on internally. We completed a detailed review of our product fit, resul ng in a shi away from fee-based pricing to interest-based pricing. We focused relentlessly on our exis ng partnerships – with brokers, aďŹƒliates and data providers. We expanded our market

opportunity with strategic partnerships including a European agreement with Verifone to provide our pay later solu on to hundreds of thousands of merchants across Europe and a partnership with Shopify. We completed a detailed review of new markets and established a presence in Spain. Finally, we reposi oned our brand away from a product lead brand (Euroloan) to

Mash, a consumer lead FinTech brand for which we secured a pan-European trademark. Further, our board has been integral in iden fying new equity to fuel our growth. Against that backdrop, there is more opportunity than me and capital and we con nue to be though ul about how we execute while also preserving our focus on customer happiness.

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We s ll have much more work to do. We have bigger and bolder goals yet to accomplish. The story of Mash is s ll being wri en, but 2017 was a transforma ve year in our company’s history. Mash won the award for Best Europe Fintech Firm 2017/18 from our readers, which is a huge accolade considering the compe on. Can you tell us why you think it is being voted as Europe’s leading Fintech firm? We are incredibly honoured to receive the award. Thank you to you and your readership. If I were to reflect on why we are being voted as Europe’s leading Fintech firm I would have to say it is the result of the passion and energy of our Mashers – our employees and partners like Verifone that have worked relessly to impress our customers one transac on at a me. This reward reflects the hard work and dedica on of the Mash team and I am privileged and humbled to have played a part in that. 48 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

What is the plan for the next five years for Mash? An unrelen ng passion to impress our customers. We are focused on building products and services that merchants and consumers trust and want to use. When you focus relentlessly on your customer

and how you can disrupt the current way of doing business you change how you compete in the market. Yes, we expect to lend more than 0.5B EUR next year, yes, we will increasingly add new partners and products, but none of this is possible if we don’t wow our customers every day, every me.


Expat Health Insurance -Choosing Carefully

T

he last decade has brought changes to many aspects of business. We’ve witnessed the effects of globalisaon, disrup ve innova ons in various business industries, the rise of a changed working environment, increased mobilisa on of the workforce, and new ,improved, ways to do business. The changes that we’ve just menoned has also affected global based companies, especially over the last 10 years. Due to various improvements in the telecommunica ons area and the expansion of Internet services worldwide, the availability of private healthcare insurance to expats has never been more appropriate. When we look at number’s , the expat health insurance market is growing at about 10 percent annually, on a global

basis, with more and more available op ons and plans. However, sta scs show that of the 30-40 million es mated expats that are living or working globally, it is es mated that under half do not have valid healthcare insurance plans. A very undesirable situa on but what are the reasons for this ? A lot has to do with the fact that companies are now sending their employees to work abroad more than ever before. Usually the insurance is usually covered under the company’s health insurance plan. However, in some cases, expats are not covered by their company’s policy and have to nego ate an insurance clause into their contract. So what is vital to understand is the type of insurance that is offered by your employer, as it makes the biggest difference.

There are many pi alls when choosing both individual and corporate expat health insurance plans. Commi ng the biggest schoolboy error of all is being naive and assuming that you and your family are young and healthy and not actually obtaining the health insurance available. This is is sadly omnipresent amongst mobile workers and has led to dire situa ons and very he y bills to pay. Another mistake that expats tend to do is choosing a plan that is based on price alone. Let us put it this way: if one plan is a lot cheaper than other plans in the market, there’s always a good reason for it. Quality when taking care of your health should come first!! There are many insurance providers out there but but one of the most popular choices when it comes to europeanbusinessmagazine.com 49


expat insurance is Aetna Internaonal. Hugely popular amongst the expat community and for good reason .The company has gone to every length to make sure it provides universal care especially for those who work abroad.It has a solid background in providing an umbrella of insurance products, including health, Medicaid, dental, pharmacy, group life and disability insurance. It is also one of the leading providers of health insurance for the mobile worker and where it is very strong and why so 50 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

many mobile workers choose them is that it been recognised by having an outstanding customer service experience. This is something very high on the list of expats and for obvious reasons.Last thing you want is when your in a foreign country and possibly not speaking the language and you don’t have the professional backup to deal with hospital and medical emergencies. One of the many reasons why Aetna’s health insurance is so popular is the fact that there are so many different

op ons to choose from, as the company offers its customers a wide range of individual, family, Medicare and employer health insurance products. It also offers long-term care insurance and employee benefits, primarily through employer-paid (either fully or partly) insurance and benefit programs, and through Medicare. Aetna has even gone so far as to collaborate and develop world-class health systems for governments, corpora ons and providers all around the world.


When it comes to choosing a plan it is important to choose a plan that can cover a pre-exis ng medical condi on. It seems people somehow tend to oversee this, as most insurers usually exclude pre-exis ng medical condi ons or charge an addi onal premium to approve the applica on. That’s why finding the right company with proper insurance plans is of utmost importance. People also tend to not obtain maternity, evacua on coverage or a plan that covers treatment in the USA.

Moreover, if you are an expat with prescribed drugs or under chronic medical condi ons, obtaining prescrip on drug coverage is no less than vital. And of course when choosing an expat health insurance policy, it is always worth looking over the fine print with a tooth comb, as it is the fine details can be the difference of what is covered and what is not . Sadly some providers deliberately obfuscate the small print which is why it should never be overlooked.

Choosing the right health care coverage has always been a difficult decision, and it strongly depends on where you are going and under what condi ons. Some countries provide free state healthcare, while others don’t. But in the end, interna onal expat healthcare insurance is all about being able to sleep peacefully at night, knowing that you are covered in case of emergencies or the peace of mind so that a very expensive medical bill is not lurking around the corner. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 51


Global Health Insurance is big business .With the increased mobility of workers for those not only seeking work in other countries but also those who need to move to different countries, it is tricky business trying to navigate the insurance aspect for not only you but your family. There a myriad of firms out there and choosing the right one is imperative .We turned to Award winning Aetna International to get a better insight and David Healy, CEO of Aetna International’s EMEA Region


In 1960 the company made its first foray into interna onal markets with the acquisi on of Canadian insurer Excelsior Life. The purchase of an Australian assurance company followed in 1968, and a Chinese office in 1993. Aetna entered the interna onal private medical insurance (iPMI) market in 2007, with the acquisi on of Goodhealth Worldwide, followed by the purchase of InterGlobal in 2014. Now Aetna Interna onal, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aetna, serves over 800,000 members worldwide.

What services does Aetna International offer? Aetna Interna onal is one of the largest providers of interna onal private medical insurance in the world. iPMI addresses the medical needs of expatriates, local na onals, and business travellers, providing fast access to first-class health care when and where it is required by globally mobile individuals. Our suite of products includes a wide range of plans and op onal benefits that allow our customers to maximise their health care investment and manage costs based on varied employee popula ons.

Service and wellness are also central to how we serve our members

When was Aetna originally founded? How did the business grow? Aetna began as a life insurance and annui es provider in 1835. Over the next 100 years, the company branched out into different financial lines, including car insurance, farm mortgages and, in 1951, major medical insurance. In 1991, following its

acquisi on of Pruden al Health care, Aetna became the largest provider of health benefits in the United States, with more than 21 million members. Today, Aetna serves an es mated 46.5 million people, offering health insurance products and related services to employers and individuals, health plans and health care providers, governmental units, and expatriates.

Service for Aetna Interna onal starts from day one with our Care and Response Excellence (CARE) team providing a diverse range of servicing and support needs to members. Pretrip planning is available to members needing assistance before travelling, including advice on loca ng medical facili es and pre-no fying a medical facility should the member need specialist care. Pharmacy drugs can be sourced and supplied to members experiencing problems accessing the medicine they need. And, where necessary, the team proac vely gets involved with a member’s care, to ensure treatment is appropriate. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 53


David Healy, CEO of Aetna International’s EMEA Region

Wellness is viewed in a broad context, from keeping members healthy – through the use of preventa ve programs – to suppor ng members in managing their medical condions. Our health insurance products incorporate a variety of wellness programs, including health assessments, biometric screenings, on-site health promo ons, online wellness programs, and advice to coaching programs. As well as the iPMI proposi on, our Popula on Health team works with governments, large employers, and associa ons around the world to deliver insurance and health soluons to local and/or defined populaons. This team aims to make health care and insurance costs predictable and sustainable delivering affordable care with superior outcomes.

Can you tell us about a bit about your career? When did you first begin with Aetna International and what were your previous experiences? I spent 14 years as CEO of Aegon Ireland before moving to Aetna 54 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

Interna onal as General Manager for Europe. The role at Aetna Internaonal was an exci ng challenge and had distribu on and geographical similari es to my previous posi ons at Aegon. Interna onal health insurance was new to me, but the market was expanding and I was keen to learn more. Soon my role expanded to include responsibility for global opera ons, and in recent months I was asked to head the newly merged Europe, Middle East, and Africa region. I’m now based in the high-energy environment of Dubai. I believe there’s a great opportunity for Aetna Interna onal to con nue its successful expansion across the region over the next few years.

What are the main USPs for Aetna International customers? Why would say global customers choose Aetna over its competitors? Aetna Interna onal’s core iPMI offer is very strong. Our members have fast access to first- class medical care from a comprehensive network

of 1,200,000 medical providers in the United States and over 165,000 throughout the rest of the world. This combines with a globally compliant product, strong service standards, and a focus on keeping our members healthy. 2017 saw the launch of our global virtual health solu on – called vHealth by Aetna – that will con nue to be rolled out across our key regions in 2018. vHealth provides easier and faster access to health care by enabling members to connect with a primary-care doctor via their smart phone, tablet, or computer. A er a virtual consulta on, follow-up care, drug prescrip ons, and other services all can be arranged by the vHealth doctor. vHealth will be an important differen ator for Aetna Interna onal over the next few years. We’ve also recognised the need to complement our iPMI offering to include a more regional product suite at a relevant price point to the local market. Most expats in Dubai, for example, only want access to the Dubai health care system. So we are looking to complement our global proposi on with new products that offer a more regionalised slant and provide access to medical facili es in Dubai at a lower cost point. This will add flexibility to our offerings for individual clients, and also for corporate customers looking to match health cover to the needs of different interna onal assignees.

Who is the target customer for your products? Is your client base generally highly mobile mid-20s to mid-50s working for multinationals? Aetna Interna onal supports a variety of members and partners. Our core iPMI offering is ideal for globally mobile individuals who value the peace of mind of comprehensive health care wherever they are in the world. Many have families, so it is par cularly important that we can cover their spouses and children. Some of our members work for


mul -na onals or government organisa ons, and others have relocated for personal or business reasons. As Aetna Interna onal con nues to expand, we are increasingly offering domes c solu ons, applying our global exper se and infrastructure to local markets. Our 2017 acquisi on of Bupa Thailand is a good example of this; we now are excited to be launching our first domes c clinic in the country. Where it is mutually beneficial, we partner with organisa ons with exper se in the local geography. We also have recently signed a partnership agreement with Humanis in France that will allow us to grow our footprint in con nental Europe.

Who are your biggest customers? We have a huge range of customers, both large and small, and usually with very different requirements. We work with mul -na onals and governments, with many internaonal employees, and individuals

with specific interna onal health care requirements. Other clients need domestically focused health-insurance programs; some require the health care framework and popula on health management solu ons delivered by our Populaon Health team. Our iPMI offering is core to the business and, from a regional standpoint, we have a significant footprint in Asia and the Middle East, with rapid expansion throughout Europe and the Americas. In India we operate the Indian Health Organisa on (IHO). IHO offers vHealth to local residents and organisa ons domiciled in India. Impar al referrals to secondary care are also provided, enabling IHO members to access medical treatment at a discounted fee.

What is Aetna’s next two-year plan? This is an exci ng me for Aetna International as we continue to execute on our ambi ous growth

strategy. Our focus on growth and reten on in the iPMI market includes the strategic pursuit of partnerships in local markets, such as our agreement with Humanis. We will con nue to go ‘broader and deeper’ into selected markets around the world, applying our global experience within local markets to develop regionalised solu ons customised to local needs. We also are commi ed to offering broader health care solu ons. Our priority is to launch a new customer experience region by region, introducing a central online health care management facility where our members will be able to manage their health and wellness, make claims, view their health history, and even book primary-care consultaons online. This service – offering 24/7 access to primary care, where possible the delivery of prescrip ons, long-term condi on management, wellness advice, and onward referrals – will put our members more in control of their health.

europeanbusinessmagazine.com 55


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Crowdfunding - From Niche to Mainstream


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e have all heard it - it is omni present amongst start up’s and even personal projects but where did it spring from and how does it work? European Business reports. Crowdfunding is one huge booming industry right now and is proving beyond doubt to be the best op on for all small businesses out there to raise cash and quickly !Crowdfunding allows startups to collect small sums of money from many individuals, being a great alterna ve to banks and other financial ins tu ons. Tradi onally known as business angels, private investors changed the game via crowdfunding for all small businesses out there. Numbers of crowdfunding platforms are scaling up in Europe, providing more opportunities for various firms and entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas to a wider base of funders like never before. It’s not a niche anymore — quite the opposite. The success of crowdfunding comes down to the basic fact that to grow small businesses might need to borrow capital at some point. However, when it comes to loans, this is the point where the problems begin, as such businesses o en don’t fit the requirements of banks, which basically leads to not ge ng the funding. And that’s where crowdfunding takes the stage, offering solu ons for small businesses. But let us start from the beginning: crowdfunding first started to develop between 2006 and 2009. The pping point of crowdfunding’s success was the moment of technological innova ons that started across Europe in different industries and sectors. Along the way, these technological innova ons also constructed new business development frames, adding user par cipa on to the big picture — which, by the way, is the core element of most businesses today. Tradi onally before crowdfunding you had what were termed “Business Angels”. Essen ally these were individuals who use their personal wealth to provide capital to start-up and early-stage businesses in return for a share of the company’s equity. What

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people didn’t like about this was that they were effec vely giving away their freedom of running their own business to investors who wanted instant profit and were generally too hands on. That was how business raised cash if the banks weren’t prepared to loan. That was un l about five years ago, when crowdfunding was s ll a niche. Now, being a young and quickly growing market, crowdfunding is booming in Europe. It brings together individuals who commit money to projects and companies they want to support. It also transforms the way that people behave with their money, as well as how businesses raise capital now. . It’s all about ge ng the business

heading in the right direc on and adding value. Crowdfunding is also a fantas c way to boost the regional economy, and there are more than 600 crowdfunding pla orms in Europe right now. Crowdcube, Kickstarter, Seedrs, just to men on a few of them — are now central pla orms to many business plans. Entrepreneurs that need investment really like the idea of having an ability to pitch a business plan online and receive funding in return for either equity or rewards. Interestingly, among the most successful pitches are food and drink brands. Even brands like Brewdog and Chapel Down have arisen due to crowdfunding. Demand


for beer and wine was so intense that there are special crowdfunding sites dedicated to them now — check CrowdBrewed and Fundovino if you have some me. According to Lasse Makela, CEO of the Invesdor crowdfunding pla orm, global crowdfunding reached more than 30 billion euros a few years ago. Its growth rate is more than 100 percent per year now, and it’s going to be larger than venture capital financing this year and some experts even say that crowdfunding is about to become a 300-billion-dollar industry in just a few years. How did crowdfunding get so popular? Besides being incredibly versale compared to tradi onal business

loans, it also gives individuals and small businesses an opportunity to seek funding for individual products and projects without having to deal with many eligibility requirements by banks and other larger financial ins tu ons. That’s why it’s so popular — when a certain project or product does not feel like qualifying for the tradi onal funding, crowdfunding is the answer that many startups have discovered and…well, simply loved. If you’re looking for an answer to a ques on “why should crowdfunding be considered?”, when searching for new ways to get capital into the company, let us tell you that there is more than one core reason: people tend to choose to crowdfund because

its efficient, fast, cheap and — most importantly — non-bureaucra c. It all comes down to the human factor at the end, and this is the best part: once a person becomes a shareholder of a company, he acts like an ambassador of a brand, promo ng products or services, or even selling them. Experts say that in a way crowdfunding can be like insurance, as it divides the financial risk that is involved in the project among a larger number of investors. Besides, it gives project owners a terrific opportunity to market-test their products or services via their campaigns. In many European countries crowdfunding legisla on has come into effect just recently. What is more, the European Commission and the European Parliament have shown an ac ve interest in crowdfunding as well, releasing a few reports about the overall situa on. They showed that crowdfunding is developing quickly but is s ll concentrated in a few countries — United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The UK has the largest number of crowdfunding platforms as well — 143, which equals 28 percent of the EU’s overall crowdfunding pla orms number. Although the biggest players in the crowdfunding field are countries that we’ve just men oned above, experts note that the share of crowdfunding in the total funding of European businesses in other countries is growing fast as well. The alterna ve finance industry is s ll a young one. But that doesn’t stop crowdfunding from being extremely popular when it comes to small businesses, especially in Europe. In fact, experts say that more and more serious interest in crowdfunding in all levels of society has been no ced. What makes crowdfunding great for all non-profit projects and start-ups, as well as small businesses, is the fact that project owners have greater control, and financial risk is divided among many people. Crowdfunding can even be called a trend, and the poten al of it is high — what is more, it can become a key source of financing for small businesses over the long term. The days of business angels, it seems long gone. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 59


Harmonising Data Privacy Across EuropeThe New GDPR Is About To Change the Game

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he new EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is coming on May 25th — after 4 years of efforts to update data protec on for the 21st century, everyone is going to feel the effect of it: internet users are about to get some new rights, while businesses and public sector organisa ons will have to take a more responsible look at data processing and maintenance. Being the largest overhaul in as many as 20 years when it comes to data protec on rules, GDPR will change how the customers’ informa on is handled and European Business is here to tell you all about it. The last 12 months have been intense when it comes to data, as there’s been a high number of massive data breaches, including millions of Yahoo, LinkedIn and MySpace account details, let alone men on the Facebook’s Cambridge Analy ca data scandal. All the big tech companies — think Google and Facebook

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— will have to face the regula ons of the new GDPR as well. Once the new GDPR takes effect, the destruction, loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure of, or access to people’s data will have to be reported to a country’s data protecon regulator. Basically, GDPR seeks to give people more control over how organisa ons use their data, and its main purpose is to ensure that data protec on law is iden cal — as much as possible — across the whole of the EU. At this point, it is important to menon that GDPR will also give individuals a lot more power to access informa on that’s held about them. Everyone will have the right to get confirma on that certain organisaons have informa on about them, access to this informa on and any other addi onal and relatable informa on. In short, this means that all companies and startups will have to give users more control over their personal data.

Those that fail to comply with the new rules, will face penal es — alongside harsh fines as well. This right here is the biggest and most talked about element of the new GDPR. If you think that we’ve just used a word that may be too strong when it comes to fines, well…we did not. Smaller breaches may cause fines of up to 10 million Euros or 2 percent of annual worldwide turnover (whichever is greater), while more serious consequences may result in breaches a rac ng up to 20 million Euros or 4 percent of annual worldwide turnover. The penal es and sanc ons will apply directly to both data processors and data controllers. Experts say that this will push data protec on up the priority list, and such transparency can be a good thing for those consumers that are interested in their personal data. The new GDPR will cover individuals, organisa ons and companies that are either controllers or processors of personal data. In other words, both personal data and sensi ve personal data are covered by it. If you want to get deeper, personal data basically relates to a complex category of informa on, which can be used to iden fy a person: name, address, even IP address. Sensi ve personal data covers gene c data, informa on about religious and poli cal views, sexual orienta on, and otherr similar aspects. The new GDPR brings many new concepts to the game — such te erms like the right to be forgo en, priivacy by design, data portability and personal data breaches. It will also be a game changer to the validity of dataa subject consent: new strict rules will apply to this one, and consent will hav ve to be freely given, specific, inform med and unambiguous. What is more e, it will need to be given by the data subject taking “affirma ve ac on”. It basically means that if you or your co ompany are relying on consent to con ntrol or process personal data, you will have to ensure that this consent iss under the GDPR. At this point, many of you might wonder: “But…don’t we already have data protec on laws”?? And


the answer is yes, we do: each member state in the EU operates under the current 1995 data protec on regula on and has its own na onal laws. What GDPR does is it changes the main aspects of how personal data can be used. In fact, the EU’s GDPR website uses an interes ng word when it comes to data privacy laws across Europe: “The EU General Data Protec on Regula on replaces the Data Protecon Direc ve and was designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe”. The main difference between the new GDPR and current data protec on law is that once it comes into force, companies will have to be more accountable for how they are handling people’s personal informa on. The key word is simplicity at this point, as the new GDPR really aims to give people easier access to the data that companies and businesses hold about them. So who will be influenced by the new data usage update? Well, the new GDPR is important for all businesses and non-profit organisa ons that process personal data concerning employees, customers or prospects who h are in i th the EU and/or d/ are EU ci zens. To be more specific, it applies to all businesses and organisa ons that are established in the EU, regardless of whether the data processing takes place in the EU or not. Even non-EU established

organisations fall under the new GDPR. This means that the new GDPR will automa cally apply to all UK businesses as well, even though the EU membership ques on and Brexit situa on are s ll complicated. Experts note that while all the large companies and businesses are aware of the upcoming changes and are preparing for them, smaller companies, including startups, need to catch up and do it fast. In fact, the new GDPR is most likely to have a greater impact on smaller companies: a recent study showed that more than 82 percent of small and medium-sized enterprises are unaware of the new legisla on and how they should be preparing for it. We have more numbers for you right here: a study examined 800 IT and business professionals that were responsible for data privacy at companies with European customers. As much as 80 percent of businesses knew only a few details — or nothing — about GDPR. Another number is even worse, as 97 percent of companies didn’t even have a plan for the me when it comes in May. Now let’s stop for a second and evaluate. Wh When you think thi k about b t it, it we use internet for everything now

— communication, work, everyday tasks. Our personal details are needed for most of those ac vi es: emails, document sharing, bill paying, shopping, you name it. But have you ever wondered how much personal data you have shared online without even thinking about it? The bigger ques on is do you even know what happens with that informa on? A li le reminder for you here — all the banking informa on, addresses, contacts, even social media posts are stored digitally. Companies usually tell you that they collect all of it to improve your experience and serve you be er. But the truth is that none of us can know for sure. And that’s where the new GDPR comes in, aiming to answer all the ques ons that we’ve just men oned above. Once it comes into force, controllers will have to ensure that our personal data is processed lawfully and for a specific purpose. And once that purpose is fulfilled, and the data is no longer needed, it will have to be deleted. This is a serious game changer if you ask us, and the harmonisa on process is going to be an interesti one for ing f sure.

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Blockchain’s Knock On Effect Emerging technologies are exciting and bring innova on and new opportuni es across the globe. They change our life by altering the way we think and operate on a daily basis. Technological innova on can impact a lot more than our daily lives. In fact, it can disrupt en re industries and change the way we do business. As new technologies are developed, affected industries are forced to adapt or be replaced. The newest technology that is quickly becoming the next major disrup on is blockchain technology. Blockchain is a digital ledger system used to securely record transac ons. It is poised to impact the way business is done across the globe. Here are nine prominent industries that are slated to be overhauled by blockchain technology in the near future.

The Banking Industry Blockchain technology has the potenal to solve several significant problems faced by the banking industry today. Right now banks store money for their customers, and they also handle the transfer of that money. Blockchain inherently has a secure system that would provide permanent records of the millions of transac ons that take place in the banking industry each day. This ledger system could significantly lower the risk by providing secure records. Furthermore, money could be transferred cheaper and faster by the decentraliza on provided by blockchain.

The Real Estate Industry Anyone who has ever purchased or sold a home knows just how much paperwork is involved in a real estate transac on. Blockchain technology can completely change the current 62 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

headache that all of these documents cause. By using blockchain, all of the documents and transac on records can be stored securely with measurably less work and less cost. According to Piper More , CEO of the Crypto Realty Group and licensed realtor, the use of blockchain can also poten ally eliminate the escrow process. The technology can create smart contracts that release funding only when the condi ons are met. Addi onally, many people in the process of working with a real estate agent know how frustrating the commission rates can be, with many charging up to 6 percent. Deedcoin is looking to change that with its cryptocurrency-powered pla orm. Through using Deedcoin’s platform and proprietary tokens, those rates decrease to just 1%. Deedcoin’s distributed architecture gives power back to homeowners and buyers by tokenizing the process and elimina ng any middlemen, barring direct interac ons between agents and customers.

The Healthcare Industry The healthcare industry has been in need of a significant disrup on when it comes to sharing and storing medical data and records. The poten al for error, fraud, and lost records has created distrust between consumers and healthcare providers. Blockchain technology can revamp the trust by securely storing medical records that can be accurately and safely transferred to and accessed by the doctors and people who are authorized. Blockchain will aid in the authorizaon and iden fica on of people. In fact, one startup called Ontology is already working to make posi ve,

mul -source iden fica on a reality across all industries using the blockchain technology.

The Legal Industry Blockchain technology is poised to disrupt some areas of the legal industry by being able to store and verify documents and data. For example, li ga on dealing with resolving concerns over wills of the deceased or any other documenta on can be eliminated. Records (including wills) stored on the blockchain will be quickly and securely verified. Any changes to the documents will be authen cated and stored. Blockchain technology can also eliminate legal issues dealing with inheritance, even including cryptocurrency assets. Safe Haven, for example, gives users the opportunity to secure digital assets so that the investor’s legacy can be passed down to his children or designee safely and securely. This technology eliminates lengthy court ba les arguing over digital inheritance.


can quickly sort and find poten al opportunities. Ethereum’s Smart Contract address allows a secure medium for the pitches, so privacy is maintained.

The Video Industry Video is predicted to form 82% of all Internet traffic by 2021, and blockchain may play a significant role by decentralizing the video infrastructure. Decentralizing video encoding, storage, and content distribu on will drama cally reduce the cost of video traffic by tapping into $30 billion in wasted Internet compu ng services. Startups like VideoCoin are already making good on the promise of freeing up this capital, which will allow en rely new and innova ve ecosystems of video apps to emerge on the market.

The Education Industry The Cryptocurrency Exchange Industry Digital money is the way of the future, and it is thanks to blockchain that it can be securely transferred and recorded. However, the “mining” required to verify and authen cate every transac on of digital money requires an enormous amount of computing power. In recent years, this has created a lot of issues on several pla orms when certain transac ons “ran out of gas” or fizzled out due to the sheer amount of computa on required. This issue was cos ng users valuable me and money. New developments in blockchain technology are changing the way the cryptocurrency exchange industry operates. Zen Protocol has developed an alterna ve to other pla orms, which has solved the most significant issues in the cryptocurrency space. Unlike other pla orms, Zen Protocol u lizes smart contracts that know in advance how much computa on each contract requires. That means that unless there is enough “gas” to support that contract, it won’t run.

Politics In the recent past, government pares here in the U.S. and around the world have been accused of rigging elec on results. But that won’t be possible if blockchain is used because it would take care of voter registra on and verifica on of iden ty, and it would count the votes to ensure only legi mate votes were counted. Gone are the days of recoun ng votes and vo ng day drama.

The Startup Industry With thousands of startups looking for investors, there is no current way for them to get in front of the right investors without jeopardizing the security of their ideas. Likewise, there is no right way for investors to find the companies they are interested in backing. Blockchain technology can change all of that. In fact, it has already started. Companies such as Pitch Ventures are crea ng a way for startups to pitch investors live in a secure manner. Entrepreneurs create summaries of their product or service and investors

The educa on industry is poised to see some significant breakthroughs u lizing an emerging version of the Internet that combines blockchain, cryptocurrency, and virtual reality. This new Internet will be known as “3DInternet,” and it has the power to create a global classroom like never before. SocratesCoin is making big moves to make this a reality. The company will create a global community of faculty, students, campuses, and curriculum. The students will encompass all ages, cultures, and loca ons. SocratesCoin has secured Nauka University, which will u lize 3DInternet to unite science, thought leadership and science through educa on. Blockchain-distributed ledger technology provides a safe and auditable way to record and transfer data. It can transform the way we live our everyday lives and disrupt any industry that uses data or transac ons at all. And all of this disrup on is a good thing. Whether or not you like to introduce new tech into your life, I think we can all agree that added security to our financial data would give everyone more peace of mind. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 63


The Question Of Physical Gold Peaking and The Shortage In Paper Gold

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old produc on numbers for 2017 are s ll being compiled but es mates call for the first annual decline in mine output since 2008.The gold price fell drama cally in the months following the 2011 peak in prices. It has languished at, or near, the cost of produc on for years. Now low gold prices are having a predictable effect on mine output. European Business Reports. Many projects with marginal ore deposits were rendered uneconomic. High cost operators went out of business. Explora on budgets got slashed drama cally. And all of these factors compound a larger underlying issue. It is increasingly difficult to find gold deposits that make sense to mine. New discoveries are less than a fi h of what they were in 2006. Much higher gold prices will drive more explora on and should boost discoveries. Some projects which have been mothballed due to higher costs will become feasible once again. But the trend seems clear – the drought in discoveries, which began more than a decade ago, looks likely to persist regardless of the gold price. And the struggle to find economic deposits will translate to a serious decline in produc on in the years ahead. Some forecasters believe 2016 represented peak gold produc on. To the extent that physical supply is a determinant in the price, gold investors

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have something to look forward to. However, and unfortunately, price discovery happens in the broken and rigged futures markets.When it comes to trading in gold futures, the physical supply and demand for the metal is barely a considera on. Prac cally no one trading contracts cares about ge ng delivery. During periods of high specula ve demand in the futures markets, the bullion banks stand ready to sell a virtually unlimited number of fresh new contracts. Physical gold may be scarce, but available paper gold has been limitless. Someday the confidence in gold (and silver) futures is likely to collapse. Some event will prompt traders to look at the shocking amount of leverage built into the contracts. They will suddenly be uncomfortable with how li le physical metal there is suppor ng the enormous paper trade. When too many begin standing for delivery of bars, they will be handed cash instead, provided their counterpar es are solvent. The markets will wake up and find all of the paper which was supposed to represent gold actually does nothing of the kind. The peak in paper gold will have passed. Diminishing mine output will definitely have ramifications for the gold price, but the metal won’t find fair market value un l people stop

demanding paper and start demanding the real thing. Gold investors should be encouraged by prospects of a peak in physical gold, but the real celebra on will have to wait un l the peak in paper gold is behind us.

Egyptian billionaire bets half his fortune on gold surge However as we go to press (Thursday 3rd May 2018 ) some big investors see warning signs ahead for markets


but are holding their posi ons. Egypan billionaire Naguib Sawiris is taking ac on: He’s put half of his $5.7 billion net worth into gold. He said in an interview Monday that he believes gold prices will rally further, reaching $1,800 per ounce from just above $1,300 now, while “overvalued” stock markets crash. “In the end you have China and they will not stop consuming. And people also tend to go to gold during crises and we are full of crises right now.”

And people also tend to go to gold during crises and we are full of crises right now,” Mr Sawiris said at his office in Cairo overlooking the Nile. “Look at the Middle East and the rest of the world and Mr Trump doesn’t help.” However. President Donald Trump is aiding Sawiris in one way. If a North Korean peace deal can be reached, the Egyp an’s investments in the sanc on-hit country may finally pay off.

A er 10 years of wai ng to repatriate all his profits easily and control his mobile-phone company, Egypt’s second-richest man says an accord would let him reap some of his returns. “I am taking all the hits, I am being paid in a currency that doesn’t get exchanged very easily, I have put a lot of money and built a hotel and did a lot of good stuff there,” said Mr Sawiris, who founded North Korea’s first telecom operator, Koryolin. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 65


Investing in Paradise

66 euro 66 eu uro rope pe pea ean anbu busiine nessssmaga maga ma g zi zine ne.co .ccom om


C

lear blue waters, a warm climate and swaying palm trees have become synonymous with the picture-perfect image we all have of the Caribbean. It will come as no surprise then, that it is one of the fastest growing tourist des na ons on the interna onal stage. Furthermore, the investment landscape in this region is also looking a rac ve for 2018 and beyond. European Business gets closer to check what the latest fuss is about. This growing global a en on is echoed in an increase in flights to many Caribbean des na ons, where the islands oer diverse opportuni es for investors, ranging from tradi onal forms of investment in tourism, logiscs, and manufacturing to the more crea ve industries like music, animaon, and film. The Caribbean has also maintained a healthy property market where other regions have struggled and boasts several interna onally renowned outsourcing firms. From the thriving rainforest in Grenada to the rocky backdrop of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica, average economic growth in the Caribbean is expected to top that of La n America, hi ng 3.9% in 2018, up dras cally from 2.1% the year before. And more specifically, Jamaica is the island to watch; a rac ng a record 4.3 million tourists last year and it con nues to enjoy a reputa on as one of the top-ranking global des na ons for interna onal investments. According to the World Investment Report 2017, Jamaica, the largest English speaking na on in the Caribbean, was the leading recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows among the English-speaking Caribbean and small island developing states group. The Jamaican economy shows several signs of growth for 2018, and it is ranked 1st in La n America and the Caribbean on the World Bank Doing Business Report in reference to starting a business. The country climbed up 8 spots in the Global Compe veness Index to 86 out of 144 countries for 2015/16, and con nues to improve its incen ves for foreign investors, helping to accommodate interna onal players interested in gaining a foothold in this lucra ve europeanbusinessmagazine.com 67


hotspot. Incen ves for foreign companies include payment facili es, grace periods for tax payments, dutyfree imports and a simplified income tax system, amongst others. Its loca on, at the gateway of the major air and sea routes into the Caribbean, is within close proximity to global markets, with over half a billion consumers living within a fourhour flight compass. It also offers a talented and cost-effec ve labour force and the latest telecoms infrastructure provides constant connecvity to the world. With a par cular focus on boos ng the telecommunica ons, BPO, tourism, agriculture and logis cs sectors, the Jamaican government is working to expand the road and highway network; aiming to become a logis cal hub between North and South America. It is also inves ng in projects including the Norman Manley Interna onal Airport and the Garmex, Kingston and Montego Bayy special economic zones. For the past two decades, Jamaica has become less agricultural and manufacturing-centric and more focused on services, as the country acknowledges the growing importance of its ci zens’ intellectual capital to help increase its interna onal competitiveness. Sectors such as logis cs and tourism are par cularly ripe for investment, with the Caymanas Logis cs Centre looking for eco-friendly business ac vity and the Amaterra Resort development seeking investors, developers and operators, alongside many other investment opportuni es. The country is also experiencing a construc on boom including the expansion of GraceKennedy’s head office in Kingston, that is expected to come to a total cost of US$25 million; business process outsourcing opera ons along Half-WayTree Road and various other profitable hotel and housing development projects. With a stable democracy and elec ons held every five years, the country has vast, yet s ll largely untapped, poten al. JAMPRO, the agency for the Jamaican government’s Ministry of Economic Growth, helps to guide foreign businesses, look a er investment promoon ac vi es and runs a network of 68 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

global offices from its main base in the capital. (http://www.jamaicatradeandinvest.org) The government of Jamaica is open to FDI in all industries and has made substan al structural reforms to its economy over the past six years, including passing 11 pieces

of legisla on to improve the business environment and support economic growth. Focused on achieving the ideals of Vision 2030 - to establish Jamaica as ‘the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business’ - the GOJ looks to both local and FDI


to strengthen the economy and has updated legisla on and processes to help facilitate such investment. With leading players such as Honda, Procter & Gamble, Ci group and CMS Energy Corp already established in this burgeoning business hub, make your

move this year. Jamaica oers enormous poten al for inward investment, where companies can con nue to capitalise on the business-friendly environment, the special economic zone benefits and the compe ve tax regime.

In today’s global economy, investment opportuni es in a market such as Jamaica - one that oers room for growth, business support, and a stable government - is a clever strategy to expand your por olio and will help you build a be er business. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 69


JAMAICA, YOUR PLACE TO DO BUSINESS

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amaica’s reputation as one of the premier global destinations for investment continues to rise, as discerning entrepreneurs increasingly seek to capitalize on the exciting business opportunities that abound in the country. Beyond its vibrant culture and natural beauty, Jamaica’s value lays in its business-friendly environment, educated and trained workforce, stable democracy, solid infrastructure and strategic location. Ideally located in the centre of the Caribbean, Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the region and the third largest overall. Abundantly endowed with natural resources such as rich mineral deposits of bauxite, high quality limestone and marble, the country covers a total area of 10,991 sq. km (4,244 sq. miles).

The island’s strategic location is further reinforced by the fact that it is within a four-hour flight radius of over half a billion of the world’s population across the Western Hemisphere. Situated at the nexus of the major air and sea routes into the Caribbean Basin, Jamaica provides transnational corporations (TNCs) with a solid investment base for their Caribbean operations, which will allow them to 70 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

seamlessly tap into the North and South American markets as well as the rest of the world. In the capital city of Kingston, which is set against the backdrop of the majestic Blue Mountains, investors will discover a cosmopolitan centre of commerce and culture that is globally connected and perfectly primed for business. It is home to the world’s seventh largest natural harbour – Kingston Harbour - which enjoys significant maritime traffic due to its ease of access to the Panama Canal shipping lanes. Leveraging its port and logistics capacity, proximity to key markets, and its prime location, has positioned Jamaica to grow into a major multi-modal logistics hub in the region, particularly given recent investments that have enabled the country to host post-Panamax vessels. With its prime location providing excellent investment and trade opportunities and numerous incentives for international companies doing business with Jamaica, the Jamaican government focuses on five (5) key sectors, which have great projects for investments: Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Jamaica leads as the Caribbean’s ideal

location for BPO investment. There are currently over 50 companies that offer BPO services in the country, and among these firms are global industry players such as Conduent (formerly Xerox), Teleperformance, Vistaprint, Hinduja Global Solutions and Sutherland Global Services (SGS) as well as home-grown entities such as ItelBPO. Tourism - Jamaica’s brand as a leading tourist destination provides the perfect setting for investment, boasting global hotel brands from across the world. The breathtakingly beautiful scenery, world-class accommodations and attractions, rich culture and signature warm hospitality of the people, combine to give Jamaica an


irresistible appeal. In 2017, Jamaica attracted more than 4 million tourists to the island. Logistics - With the expansion of the Panama Canal, Jamaica is poised to benefit from new and innovative commercial ventures as it seeks to position itself to join Rotterdam, Dubai and Singapore as the fourth node in the international logistics chain. Jamaica has seen considerable investment in logistics in the past two years, including the divestment of the Kingston Container Terminal in 2016 to CMA CGM, the third-largest shipping line in the world. The country’s location in proximity to major EastWest shipping lanes and direct connections to all regional ports means

Jamaica’s Logistics Hub will satisfy the demand for global-standard logistics capacity serving the Eastern Seaboard of the US. Agriculture- Jamaica is an ideal location for agricultural and/or agribusiness-related investment. The expansive local market bolstered by millions of visiting tourists annually, the increasing demand for high quality Jamaican produce overseas, a network of trade agreements and the country’s proximity to key export markets gives investors the opportunity to earn high returns on their investment in the country.

is ideally placed for export-oriented, niche manufacturing and assembly operations. Under the Jamaica Logistics Hub initiative, there will significant opportunities for business interests to be integrated into the global supply chain, particularly in keeping with the natural resources of the country. These sectors hold very profitable prospects, especially with duty free incentives on the importation of goods and products, income tax credits and other lucrative benefits for doing business in Jamaica. The

Manufacturing- With Jamaica being located at the hub of air and sea routes in the Caribbean, the country europeanbusinessmagazine.com 71


country has a newly minted Special Economic Zone (SEZ) regime to encourage the creation of productive zones that have special concessions for investors.

Improving the business atmosphere of a burgeoning economy To create the environment for these investment opportunities to flourish, Jamaica has been working to improve 72 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

its economic indicators and fiscal responsibility.

maintained its spot at 6th in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

The country continues to make strides to improve its ease of doing business and overall competitiveness. Jamaica is now 3rd in Latin America and the Caribbean for reforms implemented over the past 15 years, with 25 reforms implemented, following Mexico and Colombia. In the World Bank’s Doing Business Report released in 2017, Jamaica ranked 2nd after Puerto Rico in the Caribbean, while the country

Inflation has also been trending downwards, ending 2017 at an estimate 5.2%; while unemployment continues to decline with increase in projects and businesses, to 9.6% as at January 2018.


business environment, has been key to Jamaica achieving breakthrough moments in the island’s economy. The country will continue on this path to further its economic growth.

Jamaica’s bridge to The World

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is another success story from the Jamaican economy. Its performance has been strong, with both the main market and junior market indices performing tremendously well. The main index has grown in the past three years and is projected to continue its performance as the economy stabilizes and private capital flourishes. This combination of fiscal responsibility, improvement of the public sector, proper planning and an enabling

The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Jamaica’s trade and investment promotion agency, assists clients with finding the best match for their trade and investment interests, assists potential investors with cementing their presence in the Jamaican market and provides support for investors to achieve their Jamaican investment and trade goals. The Agency works with clients from all regions in the world, and has a customised approach to each sector, utilising its network of Government business facilitators to meet all the needs of an investor. JAMPRO is also committed to working closely with Jamaica’s local

businesses to make them more competitive and export-ready. The Agency provides practical support, expert advice, and access to technical assistance that will enable these companies to expand their operations into new and existing global markets and provide the best products and services to export from Jamaica to your home. As Jamaica moves forward, JAMPRO will continue to develop key relationships and partnerships, not only in the region, but the world. We stand ready to partner with you on your business journey and help to you make it a success. To do business with Jamaica or to connect with JAMPRO, visit http://www.tradeandinvestjamaica.org or contact JAMPRO’s London office at ljones@jamprocorp.com. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 73


Think Business Invest Croatia Well and truly established on the tourist map these days Croatia is now starting to attract Investors.European Business visits the beautiful country to see what it has exactly to offer European Investors and see why people are beginning to Invest In Croatia.We interview Mr Zdenko Lucić, the Managing Director of the Agency for Investments and Competitiveness of Croatia

Croa a is primarily known as an a rac ve and beau ful summer des na on. Could Croa a be an a rac ve business des na on as well? Croa a is already an a rac ve and popular investment des na on. This claim is confirmed by 32.049,6 million EUR worth of inward FDI in the past years and by over 15,000 foreign companies already working in Croa a. It is true that Croa a is an extremely popular tourist des na on, especially among European tourists, but other sectors in Croa a are experiencing a significant improvement as well. Which sectors are the most profitable and interes ng for investors? The biggest interest is for the investments in tech sectors: IT, engineering, 74 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

Agency for Investments and Competitiveness of the Republic of Croa a is the Government Agency whose main task is to a ract new investments in Croa a and to advise and support exis ng and new investors in the Republic of Croa a. The Agency serves as the central place for investors by offering a professional and tailor-made service throughout all stages of the investment projects. Our strength lies in an experienced team of professionals who will provide the best possible support in all stages of implementa on of investment projects in Croa a. All our services are completely free of charge. Feel free to contact our team. Agency for Investments and Compe veness Prilaz Gjure Dezelica 7, 10 000 Zagreb, Croa a +385 1 6286 812, info@aik-invest.hr h p://www.aik-invest.hr/en/

electronics; in manufacturing: metal processing, production of plastic parts and components, pharmaceu cals, automo ve industry, etc. Great examples of recent investments in the ICT sector in Croa a are IBM’s development of the Client Innova on Center in Zagreb, capital of Croa a, that was opened last year; Constella on So ware acquisi on of one of the largest IT companies in Croa a – IN2; and the opening of the Infosys development centre. Also, other mul na onal companies, like Ericsson, are constantly expanding their R&D facili es in Croa a. Other sectors are thriving as well, such as pharmaceucal produc on and research and development in the pharma sector, which are developing quickly and a rac ng hundreds of millions of euros. For example, Hospira, one


SUCCESS STORIES ACG Lucaps, pharmaceuࢼcals, India “Croa a has become a country of growing importance to our Group. Security, as like as the quality of life is at a high level in Croa a. Besides, because of its geographic posi on, Croa a is a gate not only to the European market but also to some other markets, such as Turkey and Russia.” - Ajit Singh, ACG Lucaps, CEO.

Applied Ceramics, manufacturing industry, USA “Sisak, a city near Zagreb, capital of Croa a was selected as an ideal location for achieving our business objec ves and as headquarter for the European market. With the successful industrial past and availability of secondary and higher educated technical staff, Sisak is the perfect loca on for a successful produc on.” - Ma D. Ser ć, Applied Ceramics – President

Saint Jean Industrie, automoࢼve, France “When Saint Jean group invested in Croa a, we not only aimed a skilled workforce but also an environment conducive to the development of our company on a long-las ng business. It is always easier to build on a solid basement and that is the reason why we want to increase our ac vi es in Croa a, Slavonski Brod.” - Mr Emile-Thomas Di Serio, the president of Saint Jean Industries.

of the biggest pharmaceu cal and medical devices companies and a member of Pfizer Group, has a huge produc on site in Croa a and it is growing constantly. Likewise, Teva Group Company - Pliva, Galapagos and Xelia Pharmaceu cals are also inves ng a lot in Croa a and they are s ll expanding. These are all knowledge-based hi-tech investments, which is a huge shi from what we had 20 years ago when we were mostly a produc on or service site. Why should companies invest in Croa a and not another neighbouring country? As the youngest member of the European Union, Croa a is also a best price loca on. We provide an excellent business and transporta on infrastructure, a skilled workforce at the best cost and on top of that, we provide really generous investment incen ves. Companies inves ng in Croa a can get up to 45% of investment cost back through various incentives like tax holidays for up to 10 years, grants of up to 18,000 € per every new employee, cash grants of up to 1 million € for capital costs of the investment project and cash grants of up to 0.5 million € for investment in R&D. In addi on, all this can be combined with the available EU structural funds. Are there any challenges Croa a currently faces? Croa a has a slightly higher unemployment rate than we would like. This is an opportunity for foreign companies looking to invest in Croa a and the reason why numerous companies from Switzerland, Germany, UK, etc. are screening Croa a and opening their new European sites in Croa a. The challenge is to achieve an even regional development. Zagreb is the magnet for the en re region, but we would like to promote investments in less developed regions as well, for example, in the East where the

unemployment rate is almost 30 percent and where an investor will have no problem in finding a skilled work-force in ICT, engineering, and metal processing. This is why the Republic of Croa a provides more generous investment incen ves in regions with a higher unemployment rate through its Investment Promo on Act. What would you like to say to investors considering Croa a as an eventual investment des na on? Croa a provides a good business and living environment and a large pool of skilled people, all at a reasonable cost. Numerous interna onal companies have already chosen Croa a as their investment des na on and are constantly expanding. Croa a could be your new investment des na on as well. Discover how you can benefit from inves ng in Croa a by contacting the Agency for Investments and Compe veness. Our professional team will help you in all stages of your project. Representa ves of the Agency will par cipate at the FDI-Going Global Show in London which will be held on 16- 17 May, so I would like to use this opportunity to invite interested investors to visit our stand Invest in Croa a (No 864) and to a end at my seminar “Croa a: An a rac ve and compe ve investment des na on” (16th and 17th May, 11.45-12.15, Theatre 11). europeanbusinessmagazine.com 75


BETTER GLOBE FORESTRY’S CEO RINO SOLBERG

Awarded Best CEO Sustainability 2017/18 Operating its head offices and plantations in Kenya and Uganda, Better Globe Forestry Ltd, is intent on developing business and eradicating poverty in Africa. Run by Rino Solberg, he gives us an insight into how his innovative company has achieved success on the continent.

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W

orking in Africa since 1986 made Rino Solberg realise how w much help the continent needed to extinguish poverty y and the desire for people to live in a peaceful, corruption free environment. In this interview, Rino explains how his company, Better Globe Forestry, is helping the poor to become self-sustained through various projects and organisations. “In 2004, when I was 60 years old, I started to think about what to do with the last 40 years of my life. I had been an international entrepreneurr for over 40 years, so after being in Africa and doing business there forr over 30 years and seen all the help which was needed there, I decided to take on the biggest goal I could think of – “To eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa.” This ambitious goal was not something that Rino believed would be done overnight. Like in any successful project, hard work and dedication was key. The first part of the company’s strategy was to make business based on ‘social entrepreneurship’ with the goal to eradicate poverty. “We do not believe in charity by y handouts, since it is not sustainable. Approximately 70-80% of the poor people in Africa are small hold

farmers; therefore, we ensured ourr business included them. This is why y massive mahogany tree planting became the engine for business because it could make good money forr the farmers. Our vision is to plant as many trees as there are people on this planet”. “The second part to our strategy y is microfinance, in order to ‘kickstart’ the farmers’ entrepreneurship and make their business sustainable. We give them small loans and teach them how to save money too. The third part, is educating the children, as no country has everr

eradicated poverty without educating children. Child Africa, an NGO my wife and I started in 1991 takes care of that part.” In order to help grow the business effectively, Rino took the decision to not sell any shares in the company or take bank loans in order to finance the operation. Instead, Betterr Globe Forestry have used crowdfunding and sold trees to people all over the world. Clients own the trees for 15-20 years, after which the company buys the trees back from the client at an agreed price, which is approximately ten times more than they paid for the trees 15-20 years previously. Rino talks more about Better Globe Forestry’s tree investment project saying, “We have done this for 12 years now and we are proud to say it works very well. Anyone can buy one tree or as many as they want, pay forr them online, and over 20 years they y will get 12 times the price they paid back. A customer can log in to ourr website and follow their trees, see how many trees they own and when they are paid. “Over 50% of the original forest in the world is gone and will neverr come back. Even today, trees are being cut by millions of hectares every y year. This means that the market has a much bigger demand than supply y and that makes it very profitable in the future. Since we are pioneers in planting mahogany trees in the dryland of Africa, we thereby take the pressure away from cutting in the europeanbusinessmagazine.com 77


rain forest and can supply a high quality future market based on planted trees.” We are building our own “In vitro” laboratory in Kenya in 2018. When that is operational, we will be able to produce quality seedlings in the millions very quickly. We will also use modern planting and harvesting techniques when the time come. Better Globe Forestry publish a magazine called MITI (Trees in Swahili) where we teach African farmers the latest techniques and methods forr making money from trees.” Rino’s charity Child Africa recently reached its 25th anniversary in 2016. Run by himself and his wife, Child Africa has been an integral part of achieving their mission to eradicate poverty through the education of children. Rino tells us what the charity has achieved so far. “My wife, Julie Solberg, has done a fantastic job as Managing Directorr for the past 26 years. For the first 78 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

15 years, my wife and I paid all the expenses ourselves because we had no income for administrations - just support from family, friends and sponsors of children that we managed to get. (In Child Africa, I have been a non-paid Chairman all these years). However, today we have helped over 10,000 children to education, we have built and run two schools in Uganda and we have taken on the challenge of eradicating corruption in Africa through teaching children about honesty y and integrity in our schools. We also publish a magazine called; BINGWA A (Champion) which we distribute free to schools in east Africa. This magazine is about building champions who are strong enough to stand up against corruption when they y grow up.” Rino has been a motivational speakerr for over 40 years and has written ten books on personal development and leadership. He believes that every y

CEO becomes stronger because of the challenges they overcome. He has written a book called ‘Put Integrity First’ and therefore Rino believes that integrity is one of his leadership strengths. “Another attribute that has come in handy, when working in Africa, is that I am an optimist and I will never give up,” says Rino. To eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa is the goal that Rino continues to aim for. Better Globe Forestry y has created several new projects for the future financing of the tree planting including; Trees4Family. com, Trees4RealEstate.com, and Trees4Cars.com. However, the most innovative of them is being launched in 2018 as Rino describes. “The most innovative of our projects is called “Trees4Shopping. com”. This will involve us, as a company, making an agreement with online shops of all kinds i.e. supermarkets, clothing, furniture, hotels,


airlines, electric appliances, petrol stations and different services etc. Whatever the customer buys from these shops/companies over the whole year, they will get back cash 25% of the total amount as a saving after 15 years. This will lead to people in Africa, who mostly have never had a savings account, receiving this deal automatically when they y do their shopping and it is totally free for them, hence eradicating their poverty. This way, our “partner shops/companies� will beat the competition and their customers will be their best salespeople.�

Eradicating poverty in Africa and freeing the continent from corruption is evidently no easy task. However, Rino has showed that if there is one person who can achieve this, it is someone like him with 50 years off entrepreneurship experience and who has shown immense dedication to achieving his goals throughout his career and is determined to neverr give up. Better Globe Forestry Ltd. Rino Solberg/Chairman Email: rino@betterglobegroup.com Web: www.betterglobegroup.com

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Top 5 Challenges for Building Smart Cities

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n estimated 54.5% of today’s global popula on now live in urban se lements. The United Na ons predicts that it will swell to 60% by 2030, with one in three people to live in ci es with at least half a million inhabitants. In response to this trend, city planners and governments around the world are looking to harness innova ve technology to be er address all the problems that come with high-density city living. This covers everything from safety and public transporta on, to food security and the environment. Today, this collec ve push towards ever more connected ci es is known as the smart city ini a ve. The smart city refers to a data-driven urban system that uses a grid of broadband services and sensors to provide a myriad of city func ons in real me. With goals of efficient delivery of public services and resilient economic growth, the smart city vision is definitely an ambi ous one, and as such, faces a variety of roadblocks before any system can be fully realised.Annie Myers inves gates.

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What makes a smart city? This is not to say, of course, that smart ci es do not exist yet. In truth, governments in key regions across the globe are currently pouring resources into the development of smart ci es — either as purpose-built loca ons or retrofi ed metropolises — with different areas of focus. The common vision, however, is to use emerging technology like the Internet of Things (IoT) to improve city living. For instance, Copenhagen is the leading smart city here in Europe and it’s known for its efforts in ensuring a be er environment for businesses and communi es. In Asia, India’s Dholera is one of dozens currently being built that will have a smart grid that connects every home to every u lity, and every ci zen to each other and civic services. Some other applica ons of IoT technology in ci es include smart traffic lights like those in London, which are equipped with sensors that can detect and priori se bicycles, buses, and ambulances when direc ng traffic. IoT sensors can also be u lised

in spaces within cramped ci es to provide drivers with a real- me map of parking spots, or in infrastructure to monitor the structural health of bridges, roads, and buildings. Over in America, the IoT is helping implement regula ons for road safety and improved driver behaviour. Verizon Connect explains that the Electronic Logging Device Mandate by the FMCSA requires business fleet owners to use ELDs to be er monitor truck health and movement. This, in turn, promotes safety prac ces on the country’s roads while also ensuring good labour prac ces in its truck-dependent economy. Despite all of these developments, the world is only at the cusp of what smart ci es of the future could look like. The advanced technology needed to bring these ci es to life open up just as many challenges as they do opportuni es, something that city planners all over the world today must address to reap the benefits of a true smart city.

Power and tech advancements Forbes points out that smart ci es need rich data to work, as well as many sensors to collect it – a whopping 1 trillion sensors by 2020, to be precise. This ini al observa on alone brings up a lot of issues around the energy needed to power a smart city system in our current energy paradigms.

Policy development The next roadblock to full implementa on is in policy and regulaon. Although it is good that many ci es are racing towards innovaon, policies and governance aren’t always as quick to adjust, especially when it comes to city ordinances on building codes and road policies. For instance, smart parking in Pennsylvania encountered difficul es not in the required technology, but in a decades-old policy that prohibits the placements of signage in certain areas of the road. This delay added an extra six months in the rolling out process of the project.


Inclusive development Another crucial concern for smart city planning is making sure that the drive for innova on benefits the marginalised, such as farmers, informal workers, micro-entrepreneurs, indigenous people, and the poor. The digital divide must be diminished, not worsened, by the efforts towards smart ci es. Because smart ci es need to be ci es for all, ci zen’s rights and par cipa on must to be at the centre of discussion and development for smart ci es.

Security and privacy Today’s governments are already facing problems with personal informaon protec on on the internet – and they will definitely have to deal with it even more, once people start connec ng more everyday things to each other. As previously explored here on the European Business Magazine, the big data arising from increasing world connec vity can be harnessed for both good and bad, and this is something that smart city researchers and developers must look into to prevent poten al data-related disasters and abuse.

Long-term sustainability Finally, the global race towards smart ci es should look into long-term

sustainability – not just in terms of the environment, but also with regard to the amount of infrastructure going into making smart ci es work. Much of today’s discussions on smart cities revolve around short-term benefits instead of longterm sustainability. With technology developing at a blistering pace, the issue of keeping smart city sensors and grids from going obsolete a few years into deployment must also be taken into account.

As echoed here on European Business Magazine, technology is a means to an end and not an end in itself. The stakes for ensuring that city-wide IoT systems will be truly beneficial, sustainable, and inclusive are higher than ever. While smart cities promise exci ng possibili es for the future of our communi es, much work remains to be done in ensuring that these smart ci es will enable growth and protect ci zens in the long run.

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Social Innovation: Improving the Business Landscape

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nnova on, innova on innova on! It is everywhere from business leaders to industrial heads and the latest startup’s . It is omnipresent in the business world. Everyone is looking to get a piece of it and if not , to integrate it , somehow , somewhere. But there are many types of innova on and social innova on is the latest trend ,one that has always been there arguably , but just lurking under the surface. People have always tried to find new solu ons for pressing social needs and certain factors have influenced its development recently, but this trend is on the up and it is definitely here to stay. Geoff Mulgan once said “Social innova on thrives on collabora on; on doing things with others, rather than just to them or for them.“ So what is hiding behind the “social innovaon“ term? European Business (Nick Staunton) reports. The last 10 years have been an interes ng period when it comes to social responsibility and all there has been

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a whole rake of terms and phrases that have come with it describe the changes. From social enterprise to the triple bo om line, social entrepreneurs, social finance, csr, social innova on, the list is endless Although for many people the term “social innovation“ might sound straigh orward enough, the term is full of complexi es. Interestingly, there’s no common definition for a social innovation either . The World Economic Forum describes it as “the application of innovative, practical, sustainable, business-like approaches that achieve posi ve social and/or environmental change.“ Social innova on can be anything from ini a ve and program to product or process — the most important thing is that it must be developed to improve the social landscape and human well-being. So where does business world come into play here and how does it influence it? Social innova on is closely connected with the integration,

collabora on and cohesion of ci zens, various civil society organisaons, local communi es, businesses and public servants and services. Some even call it an opportunity for both public sector and the markets, so that the products and services better sa sfy individual as well as collecve aspira ons. Social innova on is essen ally recognising the fact that business needs to reconnect with the community around it and do good for society, serving it be er than it has done. Although huge improvements have been made there is a long way to go.There has been a huge push from all sides and there has been a general trend to doing good for society through social projects and soon social innova on will be the cornerstone of the business world. This trend is already booming . Social finance is now at a point where banks and hedge funds are not just looking at the hard bo om line of pure profit but looking at what effects socially it will have when it invests its money . And most importantly ,shareholders are good with this too. Nowadays, as we live in a world driven by technologies and social media, customers seem to be given the power that they’ve never had before. And because of that, companies are being forced to find new, more efficient ways to create, add and provide more value to them, and not just to their shareholders anymore. It’s all about doing business in a more ethical way now. Alongside this power, we can also see that businesses are now looking for new ways to be ahead, to be innova ve in order to be able to face growing social and environmental challenges. Besides the rise of technologies and social media, it is important to note that the role of business in society has changed as well. Business leaders and company owners are now looking for ways to deal with a new challenge of values — they need to find the best answers to a ques on of how to do well economically, while at the same me do good socially. This is a good place to stop for a second and take another look back. In the past ,societal challenges such


as the ageing of Europe, migra on waves, social exclusion or sustainability were naturally seen as problems that strongly affected economic factors. Anyone that wanted to help and showed interest faced serious problems, as a strong dependability on government subsidies and private dona ons led to difficul es while reaching a long-las ng and sustainable difference. Now, on the other hand, such societal trends are seen and perceived as opportuni es for innova on. And that’s not all: tendencies in poverty, the environment, health and well-being, demography, community, and all others are seen as growth markets now. That’s where this whole new excitement over finding new answers and solu ons that would be entrepreneurial comes from: it’s the basic ground of all social innova ons — crea ng both economic and social value at once. Social innova on and its importance is becoming of huge importance

globally and the trend is on the up , but par cularly important to European businesses. It’s also a part of Europe 2020, the Europe’s leading strategy that aims at a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. Social innova on is also a part of the strategy that is expected to help reach the overall goals and targets. It has been noted by a few business leaders that at this point social innova on is so important to the Europe 2020 strategy because it will provide new, more efficient answers and meet growing social needs, and is actually capable of integra ng various stakeholders to work together and involve users as well. If applied well, it can even help to use fewer resources, which guarantees even more efficiency. Compared to all the mainstream innova ons, social innova ons are cri cally driven by this extra mo ve that changes everything — a social mission. Most importantly, the value that they create

is always and necessarily a shared value, economic and social at once. The idea that social needs can be met while at the same me crea ng compe veness is what the whole comprehension of the social innova on stands on. This trend is a really powerful one, and one for the be er! It can really only succeed and achieve the best results when done together with others. Businesses and companies do not operate in a vacuum and are not working en rely alone.There are now other important players in the game — from compe tors to non-governmental organisa ons, customers to investors as well as policy-makers striving together working towards the same goal. The issues that society are confronting with are so complex and difficult that it’s simply necessary to engage with others in order to succeed. Going solo is not an op on here — at least not a successful one.

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Artificial Intelligence and RoboticsThe Impact on European Business

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rtificial intelligence and robo cs once seemed like a far away future. However ,it has now become an everyday reality for all of us, and more importantly for the business world. This is where innova on is turning dreams into reality and making life a li le less easy than it was .European Business inves gates. The ar ficial intelligence that we’ve created ourselves are now proving to be capable of not only changing the human mind but in effect it has now has the ability to think and be crea ve. AI is used to gather extremely accurate informa on about people: their emo ons, needs, what they like. Companies like Sephora are using 84 europeanbusinessmagazine.com

AI change consumer’s experience where are certain programs that can recognise the face and skin colour on the other side of the screen, and using the gathered informa on can actually choose the best make-up products. It’s all done live. And what of the opportuni es AI and robo cs can bring to European businesses? Commentators say that now Al is the op mum choice for businesses most of the me, especially smaller ones. With technology making robotics has become less expensive and so more business have been adop ng its uses and con nue to do so. AI, algorithms and robotics are changing business practices. This whole new form of business terms

and work forces, as well as the way of doing business by using these new technologies, already has a serious impact on the daily business life. Step by step, we can also see how it influences countries, let alone world economics. Experts say that AI and robotics implementa on on businesses will definitely influence such aspects like performance management, CRM analy cs, customer rela onship management, sales strategic planning, mass produc on, jobless ra o, GDP, inflaon, money. It will also have an impact on Central Banks, the overall Banking System, accoun ng, taxes, etc. So basically we are talking about every aspect related to business


and economics — each one of them is about to face difficul es, as well as meet unexpected opportuni es with the improvements due to AI and robo cs. The Microso founder and philanthropist Bill Gates seems to agree, saying that robo cs and AI will likely eliminate many jobs. To be more specific, the World Economic Forum es mated that 5 million jobs across 15 developed countries will be lost to automa on by 2020. The common thought is hat AI and robo cs are about to take our jobs away, and there are many opinions buzzing around this one however AI, algorithms and robo cs are here to make things easier and more efficient at the same me, helping people and not replacing them. While the European Parliament last year adopted a resolu on calling for the establishment of new rules governing AI and robo cs, other countries are also considering new rules, but experts say that EU actually has a unique opportunity here to take the lead. How, ? It’s actually simple: there are no global established regula ons on AI and robo cs yet, and Europe is already taking steps towards being the first to set standards around the globe. In addi on to the above resolu on, the European Union has also just unveiled a new plan to boost investment in AI last month. It also aims to make more public data available, support the development of digital skills and ensure that an appropriate ethical and legal framework is in place. Entrepreneurs and business leaders are brave on this one in Europe: they know for sure that AI and algorithms can help to run businesses more efficiently, automa ng customer interacon and ensuring a way faster work through machines. The very idea of AI being capable to transform the business world is so a rac ve because it actually has the poten al to provide new solu ons to major challenges that we have been facing for quite some me now is hugely a rac ve and in many different fields. From trea ng chronic diseases to helping to overcome cybersecurity threats Al is crea ng new opportunities for innovative businesses. Where it will have the

most influence is the e-commerce and engineering sectors , it is where AI, algorithms and robo cs will be at its op mum. It is worth no ng that these sectors is where a simple mistake can have the most serious consequences. That’s why using robo cs are becoming more and more popular — especially to automate small tasks which ensures that everything gets done the way it should. By le ng robots fill the gasps, companies are freeing people to be produc ve in ways that…well, only people can. This also means less repe ve tasks for workers, and — most importantly — enabling the increasement of innova on and progress. Right now AI, algorithms and robo cs are used to automate various business processes, produc on processes and build smart services. For example at Frankfurt’s airport, a new technology that helps passengers find their flights and get around has been introduced. Airport’s marke ng team is presen ng it as “Franny, Frankfurt Airport’s first robot employee“. . More examples are to be found in the car factories in Germany who have been using robots for welding car frames for decades now, and this has actually increased produc vity, leading to a growing industry.More recently in 2016, Adidas relocated produc on back to Germany of one specific model of shoes to a factory using robots. The company intends to open more such “speed factories“ in Europe in the future. In London, firefighters use drones to tackle the flames, while in France,

the state-owned rail company SNFC wants to have “drone trains“ in service by 2019. Un l next year, the European Union is aiming to create a new airspace called “U-space“, which will be a separate airspace network to monitor drones, enabling geofence, and more. Samer Al Moubayed, CEO and co-founder of Furhat Robo cs, a company based in Stockholm that has developed a computer interface that can interact with people, says that “the industry poten al is huge and there really is no big player yet. This is an open ground and in its infancy Robots can be everywhere.“ And by this he means home, school, clinics, shopping malls and…well, basically everywhere else. In addi on ,KUKA, one of the largest industrial robot firms in the world is aiming to produce robots for the home — think robots for healthcare, home maintenance, etc. The adop on of AI is reaching skyhigh right now: last year, 7 thousand companies adopted AI worldwide, and by 2020 the number is expected to reach 900 thousand businesses — and that equals an impressive 162 percent increase. A bold predic on of 30% of the world’s leading companies will employ a chief robo cs officer by 2019. We dare to say that AI, algorithms and robo cs are here to stay. Businesses and companies definitely like the opportunity of achieving things faster and smarter — exactly what these technologies are capable of providing, and Europe is somehow one step ahead on this one, having the chance to set the path, as well as the rules.

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China’s Social Reshaping Of The Credit Score To Create The “Perfect” Citizen

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f you have too much debt and bad credit, it may be tough to get credit cards and loans. The idea is that people who are less likely to pay pack lenders get less credit. Well imagine if there was a social credit system. But it was the government that used it to decide who could travel, or live in certain apartments. Imagine if your social credit was too low to send your kids to a private school, or get a be er job. But what kind of behavior would warrant such a score?

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China is about to answer all our questions The country has a pilot program for a social credit system. The government will rate ci zens based on how loyal they are to the State. Already almost 10 million Chinese ci zens have been blacklisted. The Chinese government has ul mate control over their ci zens’ lives because almost everything requires the na onal ID card. And the number assigned to ci zens can simply

be restricted for whatever the government wants to take away. The Chinese media refers to those on the list as deadbeats. Chinese ci zens will be rated on their real life and online behavior for things like patrio sm, hard work, and avoiding materialism. The system will aggregate all available data, taking into account what books ci zens read, what they buy, and how long they spend playing video games. Bad social credit would eliminate the possibility of star ng a business,


staying in luxury hotels, and buying or ren ng property. Not only will big data be used to rate the ci zens, China will also rely on peer ra ngs. It is the ul mate social governance; making ci zens police their neighbors. By 2020, adults will all have an assigned social credit score in addion to their iden ty card.

1984 China’s President Xi has consolidated his power and solidified it by recently abolishing term limits for the office. He has stacked the main legisla ve council with his supporters. It is a one-party communist state which looks increasingly like the dystopian world in 1984. Monitoring online ac vity is a huge focus for China, which blocks certain social media websites, and has jailed government cri cs. Of course, this surveillance all started in the name of thwar ng criminals and terrorists.

Algorithms will track ci zens online to decide if they are worthy of social credit. Online behaviour will inevitably be a big part of what is monitored, and algorithms will be key to everything, though there remain doubts about whether something so ambi ous will ever come to full frui on. One of the scheme’s basic aims is to use a vast amount of data to create individual ra ngs, which will decide people’s access – or lack of it – to everything from travel to jobs. The Chinese no on of credit – or xinyong – has a cultural meaning that relates to moral ideas of honesty and trust. There are up to 30 local social credit pilots run by local authori es, in huge ci es such as Shanghai and Hangzhou and much smaller towns. Meanwhile, eight ostensibly private companies have been trialling a different set of ra ng systems, which seem to chime with the government’s controlling objec ves… Using a secret algorithm, Sesame credit constantly scores people from 350 to 950, and its ra ngs are based on factors including considera ons of “interpersonal rela onships” and consumer habits. Bluntly put, being friends with low-rated people is bad news. Buying video games, for example, gets you marked down. Par cipa on is voluntary but easily secured, thanks to an array of en cements. High scores unlock privileges such as being able to rent a car without a deposit, and fast-tracked European visa applica ons. There are also more

roman c benefits: the online da ng service Baihe gives people with good scores prominence on its pla orms. In China, the government will ul mately control the system. That way they can shape the type of ci zens they want. They will reward those loyal to the State, and punish those who cause the state trouble or fail to contribute enough to the na onal cause.

But that the west is not immune from a similar system Mark Zuckerberg quite admires China in fact. He has tried to cozy up to teh regime in hopes of opening up the Facebook market to another fi h of the world’s popula on. When the government controls most aspects of life, it becomes very dangerous to go against them. The government will control who will be acceptable socially–and economically–and who will be ostracized. Eventually, everyone will mimic the behavior the government rewards. They will create a new ci zen. Even scarier is the fact that ci zens will have the ability to rate other ci zens. This means you be er not get on somebody’s bad side. Anything that deviates from the norm, any unique quirk, or unpopular opinion can now have a serious nega ve effect on all aspects of life in China. You be er join a local club, salute the flag, and remember to share with your neighbors, comrade.

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Profit and Maximizing Data Mining to Undermining Democractic Rights

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f targe ng poli cal extremes generates the most profit, then that’s what these corpora ons will pursue. As many of you know, o wominds.com was falsely labeled propaganda by the propaganda opera on known as ProporNot back in 2016. The Washington Post saw fit to promote ProporNot’s propaganda opera on because it aligned with the newspaper’s view that any site that wasn’t pro-status quo was propaganda; the possibility of reasoned dissent has vanished into a void of warring accusa ons of propaganda and “fake news” –which is of course propaganda in ac on. Now we discover that profit-maximizing data-mining (i.e. Facebook and Google) can–gasp–be used for selling ideologies, narra ves and candidates just like dog food and laundry detergent. The more extreme and

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fixed the views and the closer the groups are in size (i.e. the closer any electoral contest), the more profitable the corporate data-mining becomes. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the data-mining gets all the important stuff wrong. As correspondent GFB explains, o wominds.com was iden fied as “propaganda” by data-mining, which concluded that any site that posted content that wasn’t pro-Hillary was automa cally propaganda: At least we now know why your site was flagged as a source of Russian disinforma on: Cambridge Analy ca is hired by the Russians to data mine to find the most efficacious targets for their disinforma on campaign – and in the course of doing research, they find that a number of individuals who visit your site have shown – in other social media ac ons – to have an -Hillary,

or an -powers-that-be tendency. They conclude the number of visitors that have that data profile would suggest that it is likely most, if not all visitors to your site would likely have the same view – and so any visitor to your site gets flagged to be targeted, if possible, by the disinforma on campaign. Now look at in reverse – someone who is inves ga ng possible unscrupulous data mining re: the campaign, and through there own data mining no ce that visitors to your site get an inordinate amount of targeted disinforma on – – – and they conclude (incorrectly) that o wominds.com is likely the source of that targe ng. Se ng aside the quasi-monopoly on vast data-mining of users held by Facebook and Google, we have to ask: what sort of “democracy” do we end up with when data-mining ignores the “independent” middle/ moderate voters in favor of the ends of the spectrum which can be more easily whipped up into a frenzy that might just lead to a few more votes being cast (Recall that voter par cipaon in the US is abysmally low compared to other democracies.) It also turns out that data-mining draws all sorts of false conclusions about individuals, groups and sites. For example, if you visit a “prepper” site then the algorithms will reckon you’re pro-gun ownership. If you visit the Sierra Club website, then you’re targeted as a “social liberal,” and so on. But in the mad rush to mone ze their vast trawling of user data, Facebook, Google et al., nice es such as accuracy and the undermining of civil society don’t ma er: these are privately owned corpora ons whose only responsibility is to maximize profits for their owners and managers. If targe ng poli cal extremes generates the most profit, then that’s what corpora ons will pursue. It’s nothing personal–maximizing profit by any means available is why they exist.


Be Selective

Crucial Tips for Buying a Business

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uying a business isn’t just something that only super rich people do. It’s something which small business owners and plucky entrepreneurs can do as well. Having the money is important, but the most important thing is having the right know-how. With that in mind, here are five ps for a buying a business.

Just do it The number one factor holding people back in business is mental a tude. Yes, there are some circumstances in which breaking into an industry in your current circumstances might be pre y much impossible. However, when it comes to buying a business, the process is actually a lot simpler than you might think — though that’s not the same as saying it will be easy. To start with, consider the skills that you already have as a business person. Whether you run a web development company or a Chinese restaurant, the skills required to run a business are very similar from industry to industry. There’s no reason why a successful Chinese restaurant owner couldn’t also own a web development company. There’s no reason why a successful web developer couldn’t also own a Chinese restaurant. If that sounds farfetched, consider that Richard Branson — owner of Virgin Trains, Virgin Media, and even Virgin Wines — started off as the owner of a record label.

Get help If you’re going to buy a business, you’re going to need all the help you can get. Thankfully, help is at hand — if you know where to look. To begin with, you’ll need money, and one way to do that is to leverage the business’ own assets for the acquisi on. This way, you can get a bank loan based on the health of the business which you’re going to buy. Failing that, you can also crowdfund for the money. In other words, don’t let the money hold you back. If you can sell the idea, people will invest in the idea. With the right investment, you can buy a business based on your business acumen alone. You don’t need to be born into wealth to have people trust you with their money, but you do need to prove that you can pay them back with a solid business plan. Once you have the money together, you’ll need help in the form of financial and legal advice. A good accountant will be able to tell you if your business is leaking money from somewhere, and a good lawyer who knows how to buy and sell businesses will be able to tell you if you have the right license and registra ons to actually run the business. In short, the purpose of paying for experts like these is to make sure that the business you’re buying has no hidden surprises.

When buying a business, the bulk of the work will involve screening for the right business. The actual acquisi on itself — and the day to day running of the business — should be extremely easy. That is, of course, provided that you were selec ve in the screening stage. In order to be selec ve, you should look for obvious signs of a good business versus a bad business — such as revenue, profit, staff turnover, client turnover, and so forth. For this part of the screening process, your legal and financial experts are going to be extremely helpful. However, beyond that, you need to consider the mo va on of the business owner: why are they selling this business? If they seem overly keen and their mo ves are unclear, it could be because the business is not in the health that it appears to be. Or, it might be that they don’t really want to sell the business at all and — as a result — they have massively overvalued it. What you’re looking for is someone who wants to sell and who wants to sell for the right reasons. Re rees are great in this respect. Baby Boomers who built businesses throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s are likely looking to step back from their work now that they are approaching 65. These businesses might otherwise be excellent, and the owner will know this. However, you can run a business while in re rement. As such, they’ll be looking for someone capable, trustworthy, and driven in order to look a er this business and to take it forward into the future. Your job is to convince them that you are that person. Like so much else in business, this is about selling. However, if you’ve done your research, this sell should be a pre y straigh orward one. Put all that together and you have a recipe for a great business acquisi on. About the author Carl Parslow is the Head of Jersey Business Legal Services at Parslows Jersey. He is an expert in all areas of business law, including the legali es of buying and selling Jersey businesses. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 89


Norebo And The Case For Sustainable Fishing

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ur seas are being plundered,” the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reports. Global fishing fleets are 2-3 mes larger than oceans can support and the United Na ons has announced that 90 percent of the world’s fisheries are either already fully exploited or are at risk of collapsing en rely. This means that far more fish are being taken out of the ocean than can be replaced by natural repopula on. Shelby Welinder reports. Because of overfishing, several key commercial fish popula ons have declined to the point of their survival being threatened. Bo om trawler boats, boats that drag nets along the ocean floor, damage coral reefs and destroy habitats. With food supplies becoming scarce closer to home, fleets are traveling further to find their catches, frequently crossing over into other countries’ jurisdicons, crea ng poli cal and environmental conflicts. Greater efforts need to be made to solve this worldwide dilemma, or at least restrain it. First, conscious consumers should know their seafood. If a product does not have a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label it should not be purchased because the seafood o en comes from illegal sources such as poorly managed fisheries, pira ng, and massive bycatch of other marine species. Non-governmental organiza ons (NGOs) and researchers have brought a en on to countless subsidies that keep too many boats on the water, along with unfair partnership agreements that allow foreign fleets to overfish in the waters of developing na ons. The Marine Stewardship Council not only cer fies seafood that benefits

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consumers, retailers, and traders, but also encourages and rewards responsible fisheries. Other vital steps to reducing or eliminating destrucve fishing prac ces are pressuring governments to implement stricter regulations and more substantial sanc ons and to require corporate transparency. Now, let’s turn to Norebo, a fishing giant, as an example. Norebo is a company that has changed its path and evolved into a global leader. Norebo was founded, in Norway, in 1997. It’s a company that serves some of the largest seafood markets across five con nents including the USA, UK, Europe, China, and Africa. In 2004, when cri cism arose regarding their lack of sustainable methods, Norebo didn’t shy away from the truth. Based on thorough self-assessment, the company changed the way it did things, restructuring its corporate policies from the ground up. Since adop ng these changes, the company has rapidly become an innovator in the global fishing industry. Norebo and its CEO, Vitaly Orlov, have remained steadfast in efforts to spearhead premier corporate conduct and social responsibility. I had the opportunity to speak with Sergey Sennikov, Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility. When I asked if he had witnessed any improvements in the fishing industry he said that, in general, he had seen change and specifically, in the past few years, significant progress in Russia regarding me e ng MSC Fishery Standards and improving the sustainability of the fishery. Norebo cooperates with other main actors in the fishing industry, suppor ng numerous projects aimed at


improving sustainability of fisheries in the North Atlan c. Among such projects are moderniza on of bottom trawl gear (full-scale modernized gear to be constructed and tested at sea 2018-2019), mapping of vulnerable marine ecosystems (VMEs) in the Barents and Norwegian Seas (developing a special so ware that will help skippers collect data on all non-target bycatch, crea ng maps of areas suggested to be voluntarily avoided by fishing vessels), and freezing fishing footprints in Arc c waters. Through partnering with WWF Russia, Norebo has funded research on eco-friendly bo om trawling of the Barents Sea and received their sought-a er MSC cer fica on. Norebo takes an ac ve role in being part of agreements that are committed to not expanding trawl gear ac vi es into areas where regular fishing

has not taken place before. The existing fishing area is defined according to fishing data from 2004 to 2016. The agreement provides mapping of known VMEs in and outside of existing fishing areas, as well as the development of eec ve and propor onal measures that prevent environmental degrada on in such areas. Not only did Norebo take responsibilty in the workgroup that created this agreement, but they also take measures to monitor party’s compliance with its provisions. This ini a ve, of a self-imposed precau onary ban on fishing in vulnerable areas that may have arose due to climate change, was welcomed by Greenpeace. The main tasks for governments and corporate giants, such as Norebo, are to coordinate ac ons of their par es, develop and take measures to comply with the requirements and condi ons of all environmental cer fica ons, and develop and implement projects aimed at the development of sustainable fishery. Work within the alliance should be related to developing harmonized approaches to registering non-target species that are caught in trawl gear when fishing for cod and haddock, coopera ng in the crea on of modernized bo om trawl gear in order to minimize impact on the environment, and coopera ng with other organiza ons in Russia and abroad. Norebo has con nuously cooperated with its suppliers to develop and implement several ini a ves aimed at improving fisheries. By ac vely agreeing to minimize ecological damage and contribu ng to development, Norebo is forging a path for a sustainable future while establishing ethical guidelines in a global economy, but Norebo cannot save the fishing industry on its own. Unless governments implement stricter regula ons and other corpora ons do more to support sustainable fishing, by 2050, millions of people may no longer be able to aord to purchase fish. Future genera ons will inherit a world where seafood stocks have collapsed and fish are a thing of the past. europeanbusinessmagazine.com 91


Pays de la Loire: The French experimental region to develop the Factory of the Future!

The Pays de la Loire region has seen significant development in both the number of foreign companies se ng up in situ and direct investment in local companies from abroad. This region is even the test and pioneer region of the advanced manufacturing. Inspired by the successes of the French Tech dynamics, the region launched  The French FAB  to promote the French industry leadership. The local authori es have invested to create a favorable eco-system for the installa on of new companies on its territory where innova on and improvements to industrial processes are at the heart of the ba le for compe veness. The Pays de la Loire region is the French leader in the following sectors: Shipbuilding, Aeronau cs, Special Vehicles, Composite Materials, IoT, Virtual Reality, Electronics, ‌ . Those sectors and strategic markets also represent a windfall for any digital companies willing to par cipate in the moderniza on and automa on of our industrial tools. And hos ng events like 24h Le Mans & the Grand Depart of the 2018 Tour de France keeps the region in the public eye. The Western France Agency is at the disposal of any companies wishing to find business opportuni es and implementa on solu ons on the French market.

For more informa on, please contact the Invest in Western France Agency: n.chibou @agence-paysdelaloire.fr www.invest-western-france.com


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30 european business magazine spring edition 2018  
30 european business magazine spring edition 2018