Brazil artists turn former government building into creative centre

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Creativity is blooming in one of the least likely of places in Brazil.

The 13-storey Ouvidor building in the heart of Sao Paulo used to be a local government building before it fell out of use.

Empty and derelict, the site was wasted until 300 painters, sculptors, circus performers and musicians moved in, transforming it into an artistic hub.

Now, they want the house officially declared a creative centre.

Al Jazeera’s Daniel Schweimler reports from Sao Paulo.

[“Source-aljazeera”]

Government Working to Expand Digital Transactions at Great Pace, Says Jaitley

Government Working to Expand Digital Transactions at Great Pace, Says Jaitley
Asserting that the government is working to expand digital transaction at a great pace despite criticism, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday asked Opposition not to eulogise the virtues of cash as it leads to temptation for shadow economy.

“If an economy runs on cash, it is not credit to the country. …Cash gives temptation for shadow and parallel economy. …Don’t find fault with the system, don’t start singing the virtues of cash,” Jaitley said while intervening in the discussion on Motion of thanks to President’s Address in Rajya Sabha.

On Opposition’s criticism that the country does not have adequate infrastructure to support digital economy, Jaitley said that there are 1.5 lakh bank branches, 2.10 lakh ATMs and 1.25 lakh banking correspondents.

Besides, telecom companies have been licenced to act as payment banks in addition to Department of Posts which will further enhance financial inclusion, he added.

On concerns on additional cost associated with digital payments, Jaitley said there are several modes of payments including UPI and e-wallets.

“This expansion is taking place at a great pace,” he said. Jaitley said the technology has advanced so much that people can withdraw money without going to brick and mortar bank and asked the Opposition not to find faults with digital system.

“Don’t underestimate power of technology. Let us not underestimate this country,” he said and added that predominantly cash-based economy is not good for the country.
The Finance Minister said that cash leads to temptation for dealing in black money. “I can’t think of any country which propounds only cash transactions. Why are you sprouting virtues of cash?”

Stressing that demonetisation was not a sudden decision, he said the government had been working since assuming office in May 2014 to address the problem of black money.

In this context, he cited steps like review of double taxation agreements and amendments to Benami Act among others.

“This government has been working since day one to end black money which had become a part of life,” he said. He said that 2016 was a “historic” as the government amended its double taxation agreements with Singapore, Cyprus and Mauritius.

Jaitley also pointed out to Congress that the White Paper on black money by UPA government in 2012 itself had talked about vices of cash which leads to parallel economy, lesser revenue to the government and corruption.

The Finance Minister said it is true that terrorists don’t deal only in cash but it is a great enabler.

Tags: Digital Payments, Cashless Payments, Internet, Apps, India, E Wallets

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Financing Your Startup: Are Government Grants an Option?

grant money

This is one of the most commonly asked questions posted by entrepreneurs and owners of young businesses in the SBA Community. And, in most cases, the answer is “no.” However, some small businesses, particularly those engaged in “high-tech” innovation or scientific research and development, can benefit from government grants.

Here are some facts about government grants for small businesses, including who is eligible and how you can go about finding them:

Can I Get a Government Grant to Start a Business?

No doubt you’ve seen ads purporting to offer access to “free money” to start your business. While it’s not unreasonable to expect that the government may provide grants to small businesses, it’s wise to take most of these claims with a grain of salt. Why? The fact is, government grants are funded by tax dollars, and, as such, there are very stringent rules about how that money is spent.

In short, despite what you may have heard in obscure ads or late night TV infomercials, federal and state governments don’t provide grants for any of the following:

  • Starting a business
  • Paying off debt
  • Covering operational expenses

That being said, there are certain types of grants available. However, these are limited to specific industries and causes, such as scientific and medical research and (more on this below).

Your state government is another source of potential grants, often known as “discretionary incentive grants.” Again, these are closely tied to government objectives and tend to be restricted to larger employers or have strict eligibility requirements that often exclude small businesses.

Small Businesses May Qualify for Research and Development (R&D) Grants

One business venture that does attract government grant funding is scientific research and development. Federal initiatives, like the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, award grants to hi-tech small businesses or startups to carry out R&D and bring innovative technological products to market. Companies like Symantec, Qualcomm and ViaSat all got a step up thanks to the SBIR program.

How to Find Grants

If you think you might be eligible for a government grant or aren’t sure about the validity of some of the claims you hear in the media, check out Grants.gov. This is a searchable directory of more than 1,000 federal grant programs. Use the Advanced Search tool to search for a grant by eligibility (e.g., for-profits or small business), by issuing agency, or category (e.g., environment or science and technology).

The Bottom Line

grant money

The truth is that for most entrepreneurs, starting a business needn’t break the bank. The latest data from the SBA Office of Advocacy shows that up to 40 percent of startups get established with very little financing, often less than $5,000, while up to 25 percent don’t use any startup financing at all.

So before you get pulled down the rabbit hole of “free money”, assess your funding needs. This includes your capital assets like a laptop, printer, web hosting costs, office space or inventory stock – as well as the amount of cash flow you need to keep you afloat until your business is meeting your revenue goals and you are making a profit.

If you think you’ll need financing at some point, be sure to fully develop and test your product or offering so that it’s as complete and ready-for-market as it can be before marketing it or seeking financing.


Grant Money Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

US Government Cuts Cord on Internet Oversight

US Government Cuts Cord on Internet Oversight

US Government Cuts Cord on Internet Oversight
The US government on Saturday ended its formal oversight role over the internet, handing over management of the online address system to a global non-profit entity.

The US Commerce Department announced that its contract had expired with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which manages the internet’s so-called “root zone.”

That leaves Icann as a self-regulating organization that will be operated by the internet’s “stakeholders” – engineers, academics, businesses, non-government and government groups.

The move is part of a decades-old plan by the US to “privatize” the internet, and backers have said it would help maintain its integrity around the world.

US and Icann officials have said the contract had given Washington a symbolic role as overseer or the internet’s “root zone” where new online domains and addresses are created.

But critics, including some US lawmakers, argued that this was a “giveaway” by Washington that could allow authoritarian regimes to seize control.

A last-ditch effort by critics to block the plan – a lawsuit filed by four US states – failed when a Texas federal judge refused to issue an injunction to stop the transition.

Lawrence Strickling, who heads the Commerce Department unit which has managed these functions, issued a brief statement early Saturday confirming the transition of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
“As of October 1 2016, the IANA functions contract has expired,” he said.

Stephen Crocker, Icann’s board chairman and one of the engineers who developed the early internet protocols, welcomed the end of the contract.

“This transition was envisioned 18 years ago, yet it was the tireless work of the global Internet community, which drafted the final proposal, that made this a reality,” he said in a statement.

“This community validated the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. It has shown that a governance model defined by the inclusion of all voices, including business, academics, technical experts, civil society, governments and many others is the best way to assure that the Internet of tomorrow remains as free, open and accessible as the Internet of today.”

The Internet Society, a group formed by internet founders aimed at keeping the system open, said the transition was a positive step.

“The IANA transition is a powerful illustration of the multi-stakeholder model and an affirmation of the principle that the best approach to address challenges is through bottom-up, transparent, and consensus-driven processes,” the group said in a statement.

Tags: Icann, Internet, US

[“Source-Gadgets”]