By kind permission of Kingsley Napley, London based lawyers

What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the practice of raising capital through numerous small investors. This is predominantly done online and the investment platform will rarely have a lower limit with many accepting as little as £10. In return the investor will receive either share equity and/or an “exclusive gift” which could be a ticket to a concert or a backstage pass where the investment vehicle is a band. The hosting platform generally takes around 5% commission.

Top 5 broadband speeds worldwide

(According to Akamai, a leading Internet monitoring firm. Q1 report, 2012)

1. South Korea – 15.7Mbps*

2. Japan – 10.9Mbps*

3. Hong Kong – 9.3Mbps*

4. Netherlands – 8.8Mbps*

5. Latvia – 8.8Mbps*

*Average broadband connection speed

In May 2012 the UK did not appear in the top 10 ranking for worldwide fastest broadband speeds, with an average of just 6.8Mbps.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that around 8 million Britons are working part-time, a record high over the last two decades. The growth in part-time employment has helped to reduce the total unemployment figure which has now fallen to its lowest level for a year.

What is 4G?

4G is the fourth generation of mobile networks that aims to provide a faster and more reliable Internet connection for data transmission via smart devices, such as phones and tablets. Benefits include: allowing users to quickly load websites, download large e-mail attachments and stream audio and video effectively.

You will hear the acronym ‘LTE’. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is the 4G technology that is being used by 4G networks in the UK.

The term 4G may be new to you as it has only recently been launched in the UK. In actual fact however, it has been used for several years, with over 40 countries, such as USA, Germany and South Korea, having already adopted it.

LinkedIn is a social network rapidly growing in magnitude and importance to professionals around the world. It has become the “go to” site for professionals looking to develop business relationships with other professionals and for companies looking to hire high quality candidates.

In order to utilise LinkedIn as efficiently as possible it is important to make a good impression by clearly stating individual objectives and skills.

What is the U.S Fiscal Cliff?

In recent weeks,leading up to the recent US presidential election, there has been a lot of press coverage of the U.S “Fiscal Cliff”. However, now that the presidential election is over, the debate surrounding the Fiscal Cliff is taking centre stage. But what exactly is the “Fiscal Cliff”?

The Fiscal Cliff is used to describe the combination of the expiration of several fiscal stimulus measures and additional tax increases along with spending cuts.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (cebr) finds there has been a change in goods exports over the past 3 months – with the non-EU exports overtaking EU exports by 1.5%. This is both because exports to the EU have fallen, and because exports to non-EU countries have grown.

A UK balance of payments surplus is also expected by cebr in the long term, partly because of more exports, and partly because the squeeze on UK incomes means that overall imports to the UK are likely to fall.

www.cebr.com/?p=939
Sources: CEBR, ICAEW

It is said that the Olympic games will help recover the UK economy, as opposed to the view that the UK cannot afford to host such an event. According to a study from the Lloyds Banking Group, the UK economy is predicted to benefit from a £16.5 Billion GDP boost from the Olympic and Paralympic games. Tourism and construction sectors will push the economy as a result of the Games and will therefore create jobs and opportunities for businesses. In fact, small and medium businesses are expected to create 52% of the overall GDP increase. It is also expected that the Games will create a so called ‘happiness effect’, which will cause an improved confidence and therefore increase consumer spending.

Technological developments mean that today it is ‘easier than it has ever been to start a business, and quicker than it ever has been to grow’, a report into SMEs claims. The report, by Lord Young – enterprise adviser to the Prime Minister- is the first of its kind since the Bolton Report of 1971, when office technology consisted of the three Ts – the telephone, typewriter and telex.

A new £200 million coaching programme aimed at helping up to 26,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to reach their full potential, has been launched by the UK Government. The Growth Accelerator scheme is aimed at companies with opportunities for rapid and sustainable growth, hoping to create 55,000 additional jobs and boost the economy.

Business secretary Vince Cable launched the new partnership, which will see private sector business experts working alongside the Government and businesses to identify and overcome growth restraints. Ten local partners have been selected to deliver the scheme which will be funded by the Department for Business Innovations and Skills (BIS).

Good to see that business confidence has improved in the last three months, suggesting the UK will return to growth in Q2 2012. Despite a strong rebound in the Confidence Index, BCM (Business Confidence Monitor)supports the view that the UK’s economy will continue to ‘zig-zag’ over the next 12 months, with economic recovery still very fragile. Key findings from BCM Q2 2012 report include:

  • The BCM Confidence Index stands at +12.0, up from -9.3 in Q1 2012 and the highest level since the second quarter of 2011;
  • This strong improvement in confidence suggests the current recession is likely to be short-lived, with quarter-on-quarter growth of 0.6% forecast for the second quarter of 2012;
  • Businesses expect capital investment to grow by just 1.4% over the next 12 months. Improvement in confidence does not mean they plan to start spending cash surpluses accumulated in recent years; and
  • Companies report that exports are 4.1% higher than a year ago, up from 3.3% last quarter and the strongest growth since Q3 2011.

Did you know that there is a wealth of UK data on the Government’s Office of National Statistics (ONS) site? Searching by theme is a great way to explore some of the data available. For example, at the end of 2011 there were 5.94 million people working in the public sector and 23.173 million in the private sector, out of a population of over 62 million.

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/browse-by-theme/index.html

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