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12 apps to get your startup off the ground

There are thousands of apps geared toward businesses and startups, but only a handful you should care about

For startups, it’s a tough road to success: about 50% of small businesses fail in the first five years, and tech startups fail at a rate that’s estimated to be as high as 90%. But, for hopeful entrepreneurs trying to get their companies off the ground, there’s a bright side: a growing number of inexpensive, innovative apps are available to fight those figures. From handling transactions and scheduling meetings to creating brand awareness and keeping track of receipts, there’s an almost unlimited array of online tools emerging every day to ease the path to business success.

To cut through the noise, we asked entrepreneurs for some of their favorites and put together a list of the essentials. Here are 12 tools you should download before you open your doors for business.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Tesco rescue: has Dave Lewis's first year been a success?

Former marketing man took charge of supermarket with ‘urgent issues’ to address. We assess his performance

On Dave Lewis’s first day in charge at Tesco he sent an email to the retailer’s 500,000 staff warning it had “urgent issues” to deal with. However, the supermarket boss could never have imagined the scale of the problems he would face at Britain’s biggest retailer. The discovery of a £326m black hole in its accounts and a continuing downturn in sales and profits transformed his task from a turnaround job to a rescue mission.

On the first anniversary of Lewis becoming chief executive, we examine how he has performed against five key criteria identified when he was appointed boss and after the accounting scandal at the company was revealed.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Watchdog group calls for less processed meats in school cafeterias

• Report found the USDA paid more than $500m in 2013 to meat and dairy companies for school lunch products, including processed meats
• Watchdog asked USDA to recommend less meat and more vegetables for schools

A handful of American food and agriculture companies are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars by selling processed meats that are ending up in school lunchrooms and contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic, a new report claims.

The study, Who’s Making Money from Overweight Kids?, published by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a nonprofit that promotes a vegetarian or vegan diet, found that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) paid more than $500m dollars in 2013 to 62 meat and dairy companies for products that wound up in school cafeterias.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Stocks down as investors worry over China and prospects of US rate rise

  • Monday’s falls in US markets reflect similar declines around the world
  • Fed vice-chairman suggested interest rate may rise sooner than expected

Global stock markets dipped again on Monday as worries over China’s economy and the timing of the first increase in US interest rates in a decade rattled investors.

US markets all opened down as investors digested more falls in Asia and comments from the Federal Reserve vice-chairman, Stanley Fischer, over the weekend that suggested a rate increase could come sooner than some expected.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Pfizer resists calls for greater clincal trial transparency

US drug maker says disclosure of all historical trial data offers little value to patients, but critics say lack of information paints disorted picture of safety

Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical groups, has said it will resist demands from investors and transparency campaigners calling for it to disclose results from all historical drug trials.

A powerful group of 85 investors, representing more than £2.5tn of assets, recently joined forces with medical research campaigners to press for greater transparency from the 25 largest pharmaceuticals groups in the world.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Maersk Oil's Culzean gasfield given go-ahead

North Sea development expected to produce enough gas to meet 5% of the UK’s needs and create more than 400 jobs

The biggest North Sea gasfield discovered in the past decade is to be developed, after energy authorities gave approval for a £3bn investment that could produce enough gas to meet 5% of the UK’s needs.

The Danish energy company Maersk will develop the Culzean field that it discovered in 2008, after the UK Oil and Gas Authority granted approval on Monday. The field has gas resources that are the equivalent of 250-300m barrels of oil, and the plan to develop it is expected to create more than 400 jobs and support an estimated 6,000 more in the UK.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Burma's minimum wage pledge welcomed by UK retailers

Fashion brands say move to pay workers £1.82 for an eight-hour day will help Burma’s garment industry become ‘thriving economic driver’

Major British clothing retailers using factories in Burma have welcomed the nascent democracy’s steps to regulate low pay.

Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Primark, New Look and Topshop have joined international players including H&M, C&A, Aldi and Gap in buying from Burma, also known as Myanmar, where labour costs are ranked the second-lowest in the world. Only Djibouti, in the horn of Africa, is cheaper, according to the risk analysts Verisk Maplecroft.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Shares complete worst month since GFC as Australian growth is tipped to slow

The ASX200 fell 1% on Monday as investors worried about the US Fed raising interest rates, and falling corporate profits and economic growth at home

The Australian share market capped its worst week since the global financial crisis by closing 1% lower as investors fretted over the possibility that the US Federal Reserve could soon raise interest rates.

The ASX200 closed at 5,207 points on Monday, which represented a drop of 8.83% in August, its worst monthly performance since October 2008 at the height of the Lehman Brothers crisis.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

What can a South Sudan brewery teach us about business in conflict zones?

Done well, corporate investment in volatile countries can have a positive impact – but companies need to first understand the risks

SABMiller’s brewery in South Sudan is struggling and may face closure within weeks. This news is perhaps not surprising. Ethnic tensions and political discord have plagued the region for decades. Since civil unrest resurfaced in December 2013, over 10,000 people have been killed and 2 million displaced. Inflation and raw material shortages have also soared.

The global brewer, which owns brands such as Pilsner Urquell and Foster’s, is unusual in choosing to invest in South Sudan, a country so unstable that it’s been described as a “war economy”. While SABMiller did not wish to comment for this article, it’s not unreasonable to presume its decision to invest in Sudan was motivated by economic interests: consumers the world over like beer and, in South Sudan, a 25-year ban on alcohol ended shortly before SABMiller invested six years ago.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

It's a weak ray of sunshine trying to disperse dark clouds over mining sector

Despite Joe Hockey talking up the non-mining investment picture, a more accurate description is that it’s bad, but not as bad as we thought it could be

The new capital expenditure figures released last week continue to reinforce that the mining boom is done and dusted, and that the transition from the boom continues at a slow pace. The budget measures designed to spur investment by small business as yet don’t appear to have had much impact, but there are some small signs of improvement.

Capital expenditure is essentially spending done by the private sector on infrastructure, buildings and machinery and equipment. So when companies are increasing their investment in such things, the signs are generally good. Not only will companies need to employ someone to construct the buildings and structures, they will also need people to use the machinery and equipment.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS