- "rethink fiscal policy on mobile connectivity
- "facilitate mobile infrastructure deployment
- "prioritize digitization of person-to-government transactions."
September 29, 2020
Mobile Industry Driving Sub-Saharan Africa's Social Impact and Contributing to the Region's Economic Growth, Says GSMA Report
September 27, 2020
Using Export Credit Insurance, Myths vs. Truths in Exporting, and Questions to Ask Yourself if You Have Yet to Get Paid by a Chinese Company
- Extend credit terms to foreign customers.
- Insure against nonpayment by international buyers.
- Cover both commercial (e.g., bankruptcy) and political (e.g., war or the inconvertibility of currency) risks.
- Arrange financing through a lender by using insured receivables as additional collateral.
- Risk reduction: safeguard against catastrophic losses from buyer nonpayment. It covers up to 95 percent of sales invoices.
- Increased competitiveness: unlock the ability to offer buyers the credit terms necessary to expand into new markets and boost sales with existing customers with confidence. In turn, buyers do not need to pay cash in advance and hinder their cash flow.
- Improved liquidity: accelerate cash flow by borrowing against foreign receivables.
- Credit management expertise: ease the burden of credit risk management by leveraging EXIM’s international expertise.
- Policies cover both commercial and political losses at 95 percent.
- There are no application fees or minimum premiums. A one-time, refundable advance deposit of $500 is required to issue the policy.
- Premiums are paid no later than 30 days after the month of shipment.
- Do you have any idea what taxes should have been paid by the Chinese company and what taxes should be deducted from the remittance itself?
- Was your contract exempt from the kind of prior registrations required by the tax authorities?
- Do you even have an enforceable contract against the Chinese company in China?
- Has an independent person gone down to the Chinese company's bank branch to confirm what their particular requirements and concerns are?
- Did you withhold any deliverables until you received all or substantially all of the money out of China?
- Did you ask the Chinese company to provide examples of previous successful foreign remittances?
- Does the business license of the Chinese company allow for foreign trade and thereby indicate that foreign remittances would not be unusual in the ordinary course of business?
- If you're dealing with a State Owned Entity (SOE), or a very large company of any kind, did you understand all of the internal approvals that company would require before a payment could be authorized and did you appreciate how long this might take?
September 25, 2020
10 Questions Every U.S. Exporter Should Ask
September 23, 2020
Eight IP Questions You Should Ask Before Starting Business in a New Country
- Can we adopt, use and register as trademarks the names we want to use for our products or services in the foreign country?
- Is any aspect of our IP new, inventive and useful and therefore potentially patentable in the foreign country or anywhere else relevant to our business?
- Have we instituted procedures to keep our potentially patentable inventions confidential until a patent application may be filed?
- Are there any third party patents that could prevent us from selling our services or products in the foreign country or even from manufacturing our products there or anywhere else?
- What aspects of our products or services are protected by copyright?
- Is the design of our product protectable as a design patent in the foreign country or elsewhere?
- Are there any third party design registrations that could prevent us from selling our product in the foreign country or elsewhere?
- Do we have written agreements with our foreign country employees and manufacturers that clearly assign to us any IP we create with them and that provide for maintaining the confidentiality of our information and our trade secrets?
September 19, 2020
EIU Report Explores How to Invest in a Post-Covid World
- "No end to monetary stimulus in sight. With major economies unlikely to return to their pre-Covid-19 level of output for years, inflation and rising interest rates are not currently a threat. As a result, asset prices are likely to remain decoupled from economic data for some time, but fundamentals will affect relative performance.
- "Prepare for a backlash. Investors should be braced for political shocks ranging from tax increases to disorderly sovereign defaults. Governments are likely to expect more in return from companies that they have showered with wage subsidies and loan forgiveness. Countries with adaptable economies and high levels of political cohesion will be the safest bets.
- "Prepare for a bipolar world. Covid-19 has raised the stakes in the US-China rivalry, and tensions are likely to continue to rise regardless of who wins the US presidency in November. Countries and multinational companies will face growing pressure to show where their loyalties lie, and investors will need to consider the implications along supply chains. While the new order will also create new opportunities, some countries will be better placed to exploit them than others."
Supply chain realignments will create new opportunities, but investors will need to consider carefully how they might play out in practice. For instance, Latin America clearly has the opportunity to gain from nearshoring in the coming decade, given some comparative advantages, including its long list of free-trade agreement, proximity to the US market and increasingly competitive wages. However, while some movement is likely (particularly to Mexico), our analysis suggests that many countries in the region will struggle to overcome disadvantages in too many areas: infrastructure, long distances to key markets in Asia and Europe (Chile, for example, could struggle in this area despite its many advantages), and political concerns over predictability, stability and security.
September 6, 2020
Global Innovation Index 2020 Focuses on Who Will Finance Innovation
September 5, 2020
GSMA Report Explores How Policymakers Can Support Growth of Uganda's Tech Start-Up Ecosystem
According to a report produced by the GSM Association (GSMA), a UK-based trade organization representing the interests of mobile operators worldwide, "With 20.5 million mobile subscribers representing 45 percent of the population, mobile has become the primary form of connectivity in Uganda."
The report importantly notes the "ubiquity of mobile has made it the technology of choice for individuals seeking greater interconnectedness, superseding other communication methods. As in the rest of Africa, mobile phones in Uganda have evolved from simple communication tools to service delivery platforms that are transforming lives with innovative applications and services."
Titled Supporting the Growth of the Tech Start-up Ecosystem in Uganda: A Policy Outlook, the report, which draws "on primary research, including an online survey and stakeholder interviews with mobile operators, startups and government representatives ... examines the role of mobile in the tech start-up ecosystem in Uganda and reviews the policy environment in which start-ups operate."
Working with start-ups in Uganda since 2004, I find this report useful as it "identifies four areas in which concerted action can help overcome the barriers Ugandan start-ups face in launching, scaling and expanding internationally:"
1. Developing an enabling business environment
"Ugandan start-ups agree that although reforms to improve the ease of doing business have been helpful, entrepreneurs still face challenges, such as regulation that increases the costs and complexity of starting and running a business. Improving the rules and regulations governing start-ups are key for companies to set up, grow, mature and expand into international markets. This could involve developing supportive company registration rules to facilitate the incorporation process, and creating a conducive policy environment, for example, through the development of regulatory sandboxes."
2. Improving access to funding
"Funding remains a critical resource for stimulating entrepreneurship and economic growth. Increased availability of local and international funding has allowed start-ups to access resources from a wide range of stakeholders at different stages of development. However, the amount of funding available to Ugandan startups is not sufficient to allow them to scale and contribute more effectively to national development objectives. Initiatives to facilitate more funding for tech start-ups in Uganda should rely on data and evidence to target the stage in a start-up's lifecycle where need is greatest and where outcome is likely to produce the highest development impact for the country. This should be complemented by appropriate incentives, policies and regulation to encourage both international and national funders to invest in Ugandan start-ups."
3. Supporting the development of critical business skills
"Many start-ups lack the critical business skills required to grow a sustainable business. Learning and development initiatives designed to build business acumen and entrepreneurial skills, such as business incubators or mentorship schemes, are needed to help start-ups realize their strategic goals. Greater collaboration among key stakeholders, including established companies, incubators, start-ups and investors, can also encourage learning, boost competence and provide more opportunities for mentorship."
4. Enabling affordable access to mobile and mobile internet services
"Start-ups identified affordable and reliable access to mobile and mobile internet services as key challenges affecting their success. Limited access to these critical resources reduces entrepreneurs' ability to create new services, improve existing public services and produce content tailored to local markets. Key policy measures will be needed to address barriers to mobile internet access and use. These could include assigning sufficient amounts of spectrum in a timely and reasonable manner including coverage bands (such as the 700Mhz band) and reviewing sector-specific taxes on mobile-enabled services, including the social media tax and mobile money transaction tax, both of which increase the cost of services for start-ups."
In its conclusion, the report says "Start-ups in Uganda are making breakthroughs with mobile technology and playing a critical role in achieving national development goals. However, the tech start-up ecosystem remains characterized by high failure rates due to the lack of an enabling business environment, limited access to funding, lack of critical business skills and opportunities, and challenges in accessing affordable mobile devices and mobile internet services."
What is more, "Policymakers have a particularly important role to play in supporting the development of digital entrepreneurship and the growth of Uganda's tech start-up ecosystem. While the country has made important progress in creating policies that foster innovation and encourage entrepreneurship, more needs to be done."
What are your recommendations for how to help Ugandan entrepreneurs launch their start-up, scale their business, and expand internationally?
Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.