The Business Bulletin - Issue 210 - 29th July 2013

The Spirit Of Enterprise Part III

During recent years there has been increasing evidence of the emergence of two different economies: one where businesses succeed and people have jobs; another where businesses fail and people lose jobs.

The former dominates the news on a daily basis, as governments and politicians make efforts to support business and create jobs.

The latter is more difficult to address, as traditional solutions are less effective and in some cases simply no longer work.

However, there is an organisation that has been working to provide solutions for over 180 years and, ironically, its work is needed now more than ever.

The St Vincent de Paul Society was founded in Paris in 1833 and has had an active presence in countless towns and cities around the world.

Its original mission was to provide food and fuel for those in need and the same mission holds true today, as it works to support a growing number of people and families.

It carries out a range of activities and fund raising events but its core work consists of visiting people in their homes to offer advice and assistance.

The volunteers see at first hand the reality of the emerging two-tier economy, as many visits are to people without jobs or sufficiently well paid jobs to meet their household bills.

The challenge is to bridge the gap between what is increasingly the growth of two different, disconnected and separate economies.

The challenge is not new but has increased in recent years and is developing a new sense of urgency given the scale and depth of the issues people face.

Similarly, the solutions are not new, as they include better education and health, greater financial security, improved housing and ultimately training for employment, jobs and new business creation.

The real issue for government is to understand where future jobs and new businesses will come from and how to retrain and re skill people to the levels required.

The St Vincent de Paul Society will, no doubt, continue its work as it has done for almost two hundred years but more support for the service and new thinking in relation to job creation is needed if meaningful progress is to be made.

SO, as we see the emergence of two different economies it is time to ensure that both are given the attention and resources they need.

What about you?  Do you have the spirit of enterprise?  Get in touch, we would love to hear your views contact Nick on 028 8224 9494 or via Twitter @nick_oec.


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A Sign of the times... 
The Google Generation

Yellow Pages publisher's shares wiped out after restructuring agreement
Hibu, the publisher of the Yellow Pages, has confirmed that its shares are worthless and has ceased trading on the London Stock Exchange after agreeing terms to restructure its £2.3bn debt pile.

By James Titcomb
25 Jul 2013

In an open letter to shareholders, chairman Bob Wigley said he was "disappointed" and that "the rights of existing shareholders have been strongly argued", but that the situation was unavoidable.

Hibu, formerly known as Yell, said it had agreed terms with a committee of big lenders that will see the creditors take control of the company in exchange for slimming its debt.

The company, spun off from BT in 2001, borrowed a large amount of money in order to fund an acquisition spree but found itself unable to honour its obligations as the rise of internet search engines hit its directories business.

The creditors, which include Soros Fund Management and Deutsche Bank, have agreed to reduce Hibu's obligations by around £800m and agreed to reduced interest on some of its remaining debt.
The agreement comes after negotiations with a group of big creditors who own 32.8pc of Hibu's debt, and must now be approved by lenders owning 75pc.

The company's annual results - which had been much delayed as the board scrambled to reach the agreement - revealed Hibu's plight. It made a £2bn pre-tax loss in the year to April as it wrote down the value of its operations in the UK, US and elsewhere by £1.8bn.

Revenue fell 16pc to £1.35bn, which Hibu attributed to "competition and the difficult economic environment".

McDonald's drive-through horse woman: My pony loves to go for a McFlurry

Christine McGrail and daughter Olivia were told to tie up their steeds after trying to use the drive-through service at the fast-food restaurant in Whitefield.
Managers at the franchise told Christine, 33, who was riding stallion Dancer, and her nine-year-old girl, on pony Minnie, they weren’t allowed to queue with waiting cars.

The mum says she took managers ‘literally’ when they suggested the pair dismount and enter the store – letting Olivia lead her six-year-old pony into the restaurant to the amazement of customers.

Mum-of-one Christine – who remained outside with Dancer, 24 – admits she acted ‘rashly’ after the pony opened its bowels in front of  diners but claimed the treatment of horse riders was inconsistent.

She said: “People have the idea that we had a race galloping around in there. Minnie is the most good-natured animal, she loves people and she loves children.

“I didn’t see anyone in there who was terrified. Everyone saw the funny side.

“I think over the last couple of years, we’ve been to that McDonald’s at least half a dozen times on the horses.

“Minnie likes McFlurrys. Whenever we’ve got them, we’ve ended up having to get two spoons – one for her and one for Emily.

“We’ve genuinely been served several times before and I didn’t think using he drive-through would be a problem.

“The manager said there was a health and safety risk because there were cars all around us but horses are classed as carriages under the Highway Code and we obviously travelled on the roads quite legally to get there.

“When she said: ‘You can’t go through the drive through but you can come into the store’, I thought ‘okay, we will’.”

Minnie stood in the queue with Olivia for several minutes during the Saturday evening incident. But police were called when the animal relieved itself on the floor.

An officer issued Christine with a £90 fine for causing ‘alarm and distress’ to customers and managers have also banned her.

But the keen horse rider, who lives less than a mile away in Whitefield, insists that customers only saw the funny side.

For Northern Ireland specific contracts, there are a number of sources of information specifically for contracts within Northern Ireland. The Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) handles contracts for a number of government departments. You can find a list of current tender opportunities on the CPD website. Again, there is no email alert facility that we can find which makes the content difficult to adapt to the Bulletin format.
Please see for the current list of Northern Ireland opportunities.

Due to technical reasons, it is not possible to include our usual summary of tender based opportunities - normal service will resume next week.

Belfast City Council Tenders are available at

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