Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Doing business in European Union

EU represents a huge attractive market for many companies around the world but to succeed on this market one needs to know all rules, regulations and existing opportunities.

One good site,, provides a lot of information on doing business in EU. It has links to:
- EU standards & regulations;
- where to find EU grants, tenders & financing;
- reports on various sectors of the EU market;
- trade documents;
- the latest news & information and much more.

Of course doing business in France might be a very different experience from doing business, say, in Hungary because of country specific business culture, mentality, etc. You will most likely need to find an organization (consulting) that will help you with peculiarities of a specific market but at least the aforesaid site can give you a big overall picture which is also very important.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On-line solutions for global expansion of small businesses

I would like to continue the tradition of providing examples of successful strategies small businesses apply in expanding internationally.

The easiest way to reach wide audiences globally is, of course, through the Internet. But what else can you do if you already have your business running on the Internet? It doesn’t seem like much… unless you are very motivated and creative, like art gallery. is an on-line art gallery and auction that exhibits and sells art works of various artists from around the globe. And recently they added another line of business - an on-line gift shop! When you visit, say, National Gallery in London and you fell in love with a couple of, say, Monet works what do you do? You buy a calendar or a fridge magnet or something of this sort to take a piece of Monet with you, don’t you? followed the same logic: why don’t give our visitors a chance to buy a gift with an image of their favorite work of art if they cannot buy the work itself? And the choice of gifts at their gift store is fantastic: cups, bags, apparel, clocks even cute teddy bears - lot's of stuff for you, your family and friends!!! But what is most important, the prices are very affordable and gifts can be shipped anywhere in the world! Excellent customer service, 30 days return policy, secure transactions – everything you will expect from a major reputable on-line store.
I believe it is a great idea, very well thought-through and very much in-line with their core business, which actually enhances their core business even more. I applaud their creativity, enthusiasm and consistency in pursuing their international ambitions. This is a great example every small business can learn from.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

World Maps and more

Whether you are interested in international issues due to the nature of your business, love of travelling, your studies, etc. various maps of the World will come handy.

National Geographic site has a very good maps resource. There are satellite maps, road maps, and maps with special themes (Weather, Natural Disasters, Population Density, Farming & Natural Resources). The maps are easy to read and show details like vegetation, average temperature, and local habitat in bright colors.

In addition to maps general National Geographic site has loads of information about various destinations/countries, nature, global issues, etc.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

AllergyFree Passport

Travelling internationally can be very exciting if you are a healthy person and quite miserable if you have any types of food allergies. You might not be able to find the food you used to at home or the labelling on products might be very different which can present a big problem. Even if you think you don't have any food allergies chances are you might try some exotic food in a fancy restaurant on the other side of the world and to find out that, yes, you do have an allergy, hopefully not a severe one.

AllergyFree Passport®, its affiliate GlutenFree Passport®, are global consulting firms focused on health education and creators of the award-winning, internationally acclaimed book series, Let's Eat Out! Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free book series. These organizations provide you with wealth of information on allergies and international cuisine both in their books and on their website.

Now they also launched a unique global research study: Understanding Gluten and Allergen-Free Experiences of Guests & Hospitality Worldwide which bridges the gap between allergen-free guests and the restaurants who serve them. Focused on eating out and travel experiences, the ground-breaking study surveys guests living with food allergies, intolerances and celiac/coeliac; as well as the food service and hospitality professionals who cater to them.

Guests and hospitality professionals can participate in this global study by completing one of the 3 surveys that best describes their respective point-of-view.
To be a part of the Understanding Gluten and Allergen-Free Experiences of Guests & Hospitality Worldwide study, individuals and businesses can share their insights by visiting: for those managing food allergies for celiacs/coeliacs and the gluten/wheat intolerant or for hospitality & food service professionals.

Each survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. All feedback is confidential and will not be shared with any third party. Only one submission per e-mail address will be accepted and the survey closes as of 31 August, 2007.

Upon successful submission and if requested, respondents will receive complimentary eating out educational materials and be entered into various prize drawings. In addition, in the fall of 2007, key findings will be sent electronically to participants if requested.

This innovative study should empower individuals with the knowledge to safely and confidently live a better quality of life anywhere in the world. At the same time, businesses can leverage the empirical data to justify new programs and services addressing needs of people with allergies.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Undegraduate education around the world

In July 2007 SCIENCE magazine published a very interesting special report about undergraduate eduction in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) The report focuses on lives of a dozen faculty members covering countries on all 6 continents (ex.: Australia, UK, USA, Russia, South Korea, Brazil, South Africa, etc.) It's an extremely interesting report looking into the fields of studies that will play the most important role in the progress of our society in the future.

As it is indicated in the introduction to the report despite the vast differences in the makeup of their students, cultural, economic and other factors specific to each country under analysis, university professors in all these countries have the same issues and problems. All these faculty members point to "lagging interest and poor preparation in science among students, insufficient resources, heavy professional burdens and antiscience attitudes in society at large." But each of these scientists is trying to bring science in the life of students in exciting and innovative ways.

This exciting report can be found in SCIENCE VOL 317, 6 JUL 2007. The complete discussion is also available at