Maybe the real question is, who isn’t raising a blank check company?

Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce under President Donald Trump, Wilbur Ross, is backing a blank check company that is seeking to raise some $300 million. While Ross will be CEO, former Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow will serve as director.

Dubbed Ross Acquisition II, the special purpose acquisition company is seeking to acquire a company that does most of its business in North America, Europe, or Asia. 

While the SPAC is open to investing in all sectors, it did pinpoint a handful of areas where it’s hoping to begin:

  • Automotive: Electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles
  • Energy: Storage, renewables and energy efficiency
  • Manufacturing: Automation/robotics, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, 3D printing and smart factory
  • Materials: Chemicals, advanced materials and sustainable materials
  • Semiconductor
  • Transportation: Data analytics, digital trade and alternative fuels
  • Space: Remote sensing
Read the rest

The hospitality industry is going through “carnage” and needs more government help.

The chancellor’s grants for closed businesses fall way short of covering their costs, an online “round table” event was told.

Philippa Goodwin, finance director of the Hoburne Group of holiday parks – with a site at Bashley in the New Forest – said income from food, beverages and entertainments had “really suffered”, but was “slightly subsidised” by areas such as holiday home sales.

“In terms of the government support it’s somewhat lacking at the moment. The grants that we’ve been able to claim this time round are pathetic,” she said.

“Our costs are still high. Furlough has been great but we’ve got probably about 800 people across our business and it’s quite complicated in terms of weekly variable pay. The furlough claim is hugely complex but it certainly has helped us keep people employed.”

Mark Cribb, owner of … Read the rest

Imagine the life of an advertising executive and a scene from Mad Men is likely to come to mind: Don Draper snake-charming a pair of Kodak marketing executives with a perfectly crafted pitch about the emotional pull of nostalgia (“It’s delicate, but potent…”) in order to win the account for their new slide projector. “This device isn’t a spaceship,” Draper tells the entranced Kodak men of their slide carousel in one famous pitch from the television show. “It’s a time machine.”

Well, it turns out, those days have mostly gone the way of three-martini lunches, skinny ties, smoking in the office, and widely-tolerated workplace sexual harassment. In the digital era, instead of a high-stakes, high-wire act focused on high concepts, advertising has largely been reduced to a volume game. Marketing departments or creative agencies have to churn out dozens or hundreds of variations of digital ads for Facebook, Instagram, … Read the rest

Rune Sovndahl, Founding Partner of leading service provider Fantastic Services, is petitioning to clean up the home service industry.

Sovndahl polans to do this through a “Swedish style” scheme that will remove cash in hand payments through government subsidised home services – enabling tax rebates for customers and reducing VAT for registered home service companies – in a campaign that aims to stimulate the jobs market.

Rune, who Co-Founded Fantastic Services in 2009, believes the initiative would have a positive effect in creating more domestic cleaning and home services jobs in an industry worth £6 billion per year in the United Kingdom.

He says, “the UK government is losing millions of pounds each year in under the table payments made to unregulated cleaners, plumbers, gardeners, handymen, builders and electricians; and I call upon the government to implement tax rebates that can be used to move people away from low quality … Read the rest

Good morning. It’s a chilly start to February here in New York, where an extreme nor’easter is expected to dump a foot of snow on the city as temperatures hover in the upper 20s.

Similarly, the maelstrom around Robinhood and the so-called memestocks (ahem, GameStop) continued swirling over the weekend. 

The stock trading app has drawn criticism and (unproven) accusations of collusion with institutional investors over its pausing the buying of shares in companies including GameStop and AMC last week. And in what felt like a bizarre collision of some multiverse, Tesla CEO Elon Musk spoke with Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev on Clubhouse late Sunday over Robinhood’s decision.

It started out as a Good Time show interview of Musk himself, though Tenev’s entry soon turned Musk into the interviewer. “Did something shady go down here?” the Tesla CEO asked at one point. 

Tenev denied any shadiness and, when asked why … Read the rest

Reed the UK’s leading job site, is working with NHS Jobs to promote over 1,200 COVID-19 critical roles that need to be filled.

Roles range from nurses and practitioners to radiographers, housekeepers and paramedics, as well as vital roles within the national vaccination programme.

The increase in roles coincides with the rollout of the vaccine across the UK and demonstrates the NHS’s continued need for support in the fight against Coronavirus.

Jobseekers have shown a keen interest in supporting the health service through the pandemic, with a 2,544% increase in COVID-19 related searches on in the first two weeks of January compared with the first two weeks of December. Terms such as “vaccinator” and “COVID Tester” were some of the most searched terms relating to the pandemic response during the first two weeks of January.

Healthcare assistants, nursing and occupational therapy positions are currently in the highest demand, followed … Read the rest

This is an installment of Startup Year One, a special series of interviews with founders about the major lessons they have learned in the immediate aftermath of their businesses’ first year of operation.

While pregnant with her first son and working full-time at the United Nations as a strategist for partnerships, business development, and stakeholder management in 2019, Elle Wang had no luck finding professional maternity wear that was long-lasting, sustainable, and comfortable. She soon realized that many professional women were facing this same dilemma. So, at seven months pregnant, she decided to take things into her own hands and create her own maternity and postpartum clothing brand, catering to expecting and new moms at all stages.
Thus, Emilia George launched in 2019 with the goal to redefine the traditional concept of maternity wear by providing mothers-to-be with professional silhouettes in sustainable eco-fabrics—such as bamboo, cupro, and Tencel-Luxe—from niche … Read the rest

The City regulator has asked banks to reconsider branch closures during the coronavirus lockdown as these could have “significant consequences” for vulnerable customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said that banks should consider the impact of the coronavirus restrictions on their ability to comply with regulatory guidance on closing branches, which include treating customers fairly and consulting vulnerable and hard-to-reach customers.

In September, the City watchdog introduced a new requirement on banks to assess customer needs carefully and consider the availability and provision of alternative arrangements, such as online banking, where closures or conversions are planned.

Under the guidance, the FCA expects banks to ensure vulnerable and hard-to-reach customers are aware of the proposals and are able to contact banks. The regulator also called on banks to engage with customers, where appropriate, to understand their needs and consider how they will be affected by branch closures.

The regulator said that … Read the rest

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Most of the time when we hear about cybersecurity crimes, we hear from the leading players, companies like Crowdstrike that nailed the Russians for stealing DNC emails in 2016. Or Microsoft warning that the Russians were trying to hack 2018 election campaigns. Or FireEye disclosing last month that it was itself penetrated by nation-state hackers (who turned out to be Russians).

But, as we are learning from that last incident, we can’t ensure cybersecurity just by relying on the big names.

FireEye had uncovered the tip of what is now considered the largest and most damaging hack in the history of cybersecurity, one that breached the computer networks of hundreds of major companies and government agencies including the U.S. Treasury, the State Department, … Read the rest

We all stand to benefit from a carbon free future – which will mean cleaner air, a more sustainable planet, and thriving businesses and communities.

So the Government’s ambitious new commitment to cut carbon emissions faster than any other major economy in the next decade is certainly welcome.

Will Richardson, Founder and CEO, Compare Your Footprint explains that businesses will be critical in helping to achieve this aim – and all SMEs need to be equipped with the right information and tools to play their part. Wherever businesses are on their carbon journey, we must ensure that no company is left behind.

With carbon targets high on the agenda for many policymakers, businesses, consumers, and employees alike, the time is now for all SMEs to ensure they really understand their role – and how to do more.

Boris Johnson recently announced the new UK target of at least a 68% … Read the rest