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As reported by the global news, we are being faced with many different challenges. A global pandemic and fear of the unknown is prevalent. To prevent further spread of this disease, many countries have called for total quarantines. More than 25 countries have gone into some kind of quarantine, ranging from full quarantine to simply social distancing. During these stressful and uncertain times, something unexpected happened; shelters are running out of animals as people seek out animals to keep them company in quarantine. Specifically, people are looking into fostering pets for the time of quarantine.

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Have you ever thought of ditching the 9 to 5 and taking the risk of starting out on your own? While the United States is an entrepreneurial hub, too often emerging markets, such as South America, are overlooked. Groundbreaking innovations are not a requirement to make lasting change in this continent. Many countries within Latin America are playing catch up with the United States. A savvy entrepreneur could implement already-established innovations into the continent. By employing this strategy, entrepreneurs would avoid competing in a crowded market and increase their likelihood of success by using proven business models. We will be looking at the following areas entrepreneurs could improve upon in Latin America: infrastructure, education, and healthcare.

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Among the panic of the COVID-19 a very peculiar phenomenon is happening around the world: Panic Buying. Spain has called for calm, Europe is urging its people to buy rationally, and the United States is working through getting more supplies on its shelves. Panic buying is creating shortages of items around the world and is affecting the supply chains of many different products. But what exactly is panic buying and how is it affecting the markets and companies working within a specific industry?

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In the United States, approximately 257.3 million people own and use a cell phone.  Zoom out to the world as a whole and that number increases to 4.57 billion people.  In both cases, the statistics are only expected to show increases as global income rises, interconnectedness becomes normalized across land and sea, and technology continues to advance at a rapid clip.  Recently, the cell phone market in the U.S. made news when T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint was approved by a federal judge on February 11th, uniting the third and fourth largest players in the U.S. industry, respectively.

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Ships, trains, houses, manufacturing and power plants—each have used, or currently uses, coal as its main fuel source.  Coal has long been one of the world’s top energy sources, acting as the base of nearly 30 percent of the energy created across the globe and almost 40 percent of global electricity production.  However, after Murray Energy Corporation became the eighth coal company on October 29th, 2019 to declare bankruptcy in the past 14 months, there appears to be a significant downturn occurring within the industry.  Murray Energy is the largest privately held coal company in the United States and joined seven other companies within the industry, including Cloud Peak Energy and Westmoreland Mining, in filing for bankruptcy. 

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There is really no other way to put it—every day, a countless number of people shave hair off of their face and body with razors.  The image of ideal, clean-shaven men and women has become a cultural staple of a large portion of society, marking the sign of adulthood and prestige amongst much of the global population.  However, recent disruptions to the global razor industry—including the trend of facial hair and introduction of subscription blade alternatives—have changed the playing field for the first time in almost a century.

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The Toledo-based pizza Titan, Marco’s Pizza, has plans to expand into Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Cayman Islands. The company wants to add over 50 franchise into the international arena by 2025. While these plans seem ambitious, Marco’s Pizza is already experiencing massive success in Puerto Rico. The company entered the U.S. territory in 2015 and will have 19 franchises by the end of the year.

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The United States and China have been in a trade war since July of 2018 when U.S. President, Donald Trump, imposed large taxes on imported Chinese products. President Trump declared a 15% tax on many American goods, and Beijing has fought back with 5-25% taxes on American goods. These taxes have created tension between the two country's markets, making it harder for businesses to sell in either country. But due to new agreements, this trade war may be coming to an end.

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Commercial Space Travel has been a dream for years. Most science fiction media would tell you that it’s all aliens and fantasy—but it has become the dream of many humans to walk on the moon. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), while usually in the spotlight when talking about space travel, is not the top organization researching private flight.

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The dominant generation of the post-financial crisis era, millennials followed Generation X when it came to be accumulating massive amounts of debt. For millennials, it was student loans, and for GenX, mortgages. Although most millennials entered workplaces with high student debt, their spending power and surveys indicate that this holiday season, millennials are indeed going to deck the halls with jolly, jolly spending.

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The Forbes Corporations update has been completed on the globalEDGE website.  The site now has the most recent Corporations from Forbes World’s Largest Public Companies List.  The new information is located in the Corporations tab in the sidebar of each country.  Countries can be located by selecting "By Country" from the "Global Insights" drop-down menu.  The Corporations are separated into sections by country.  For example, the United States corporations are located here.  The Corporations tab of each country includes the name, industry, sales, profits, assets, and market value of each company that has its headquarters in that country.

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The Country and State Trade Statistics sections of the globalEDGE website was recently updated to reflect the most recent 2018 data.  This data includes global exporter and importer rankings, total trade statistics, rankings of top trade partners, and the leading goods imported and exported from an area.  Be sure to check out these pages at the links below to learn more about how trade is played out around the world.

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The state of our environment has become a hot button topic as many companies are turning to environmental sustainability. Each year there are approximately 14 billion pounds of trash dumped into the ocean. While many small non-profit organizations are setting out to try and fix this problem, it does not seem to be getting substantially better. China has 6 rivers in the “Plastic Ocean Input top 20”, 3 of which are in the top 4. This means these rivers are the top polluted rivers due to the ocean’s pollution. Other countries in the top 20 affected are Bangladesh, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria, Vietnam, Myanmar, and Taiwan. Now large companies are trying to fix this problem by creating new products that integrate this ocean plastic waste into their new products. And it may actually be working.

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The International Business Knowledge Quiz, located in the Tools and Data tab on the globalEDGE website, has been recently updated. Questions more accurately reflect the most up to date information and statistics, in addition to some minor grammatical fixes. The quiz is a great way to learn about numerous countries and global business partnerships. With a test bank of around 100 different questions, the quiz can be taken multiple times while still offering new information. 

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The global pork market is currently facing a major obstacle: African swine fever.  This disease has severely cut China’s hog population, which is predicted to drop around 40 percent from the beginning of 2018 to 2020.  This will consequently reduce global pork production by 10 percent in 2020 and is especially consequential because China is the world’s leader in pork sales, yielding a value of 118.2 billion dollars in 2018.  The disease and its negative effect on the ability of the pork industry to meet market demand have caused pork and bacon prices to rise, likely leading to the largest jump in price since the mad cow disease epidemic of 2004.  With such a big shift in the meat industry, questions arise about how the pork segment will respond and how this shift will impact the meat industry as a whole.

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The iPhone 11 was recently released at another staggering retail price of between $699 and $1099. The iPhone 11 is claimed to be the most advanced phone that Apple has made, using their signature face-reading technology and increased camera power to draw in their customers. While there is still a strong demand for the newest phone by Apple, there is a new phone company that is making waves in the cell phone market.

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This year Halloween doesn’t just have everyone scared from horror movies and ghosts, but also the newest Brexit deadline. The United Kingdom is projected to leave the European Union in just over a month, and they still have no planned deal for a quiet exit. With Boris Johnson suspending Parliament, the question stands of how a “No Deal Brexit” will hurt other countries and Globalization.

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Advertising is – and always has been – an ever-changing and evolving way to market goods and services.  As new types of media have developed over time, advertisers have had to make the leap from newspapers to television to websites as marketing platforms.  Yet, there is a new type of advertising that is proving extremely useful to companies: social media influencers.

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Whether you call them soda, pop, coke, or fizzy drinks, soft drinks are popular across the globe and are defined as a carbonated, nonalcoholic beverage by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.  The term soft drink was originally coined to distinguish flavored drinks from hard liquor, and the first soft drinks were marketed in the 17th century as a combination of lemon juice, water, and honey.  Later, the first carbonated drinks appeared in the 18th century as health remedies.  Today, soft drinks are mass-produced using a combination of water, carbonation, flavoring syrup, and bottling the product to sell to consumers.

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From cheese to milk to butter, yogurt, and ice cream, dairy is found in many forms across the globe and is used and consumed in a multitude of ways throughout the world’s varying cultures.  Dairy plays an essential role as the base ingredient of many foods and is a major industrial product in many economies.  The main source of dairy comes from cows, which can be raised and bred in mass numbers to obtain product that satisfies the demand of the population.

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Socks have long been an important clothing item to society, dating back to around the eighth century.  Today, socks are mass produced around the world and are an essential item in many peoples’ wardrobe.  From athletic, to dress, to casual, there are now a variety of types of socks that are catered to each individual’s occasion and a plethora of patterns and colors exist within these categories.  Whether functioning as an outfit essential, stylish accent piece, or just to keep feet warm or cool, socks have displayed abundant uses across countries.

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As spring break passes for students and people around the world begin to get a taste of warmer spring weather, the global ski industry will work to close out the winter season with strong earnings and participation.  Millions of people elect to swarm to the snowy peaks of ski resorts each year, taking on the slopes in hopes of finding leisure, winning a competition, or satisfying their adventurous spirit.  With the recent passing of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, China, the industry is hoping to capitalize on recent attraction to winter athletics in previously lacking regions like Russia and previously mentioned China.

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The State Insights section was recently updated by the globalEDGE team.  These sections include background information, important trade destinations such as ports and major cities, and a list of trade contacts for each of the 50 American states.  In addition to this information, Fortune 1000 company rankings and data, trade statistics, and resources designed to enhance your business knowledge are included within the State Insight sections.

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In the mid-2000’s, smartphones took the world by storm.  Offering a plethora of abilities and functions to users, these intricate devices were obsessed over by people around the world, connecting users to anything they desired with the click of a button or a tap of a screen.  Recently, however, the smartphone market has experienced several missteps and subsequent difficulties selling their products to consumers.

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Jamaica is a small island country in the Caribbean Sea, about half the size of the American state, New Jersey.  Since its origin, the country has functioned through an agricultural emphasis.  Settled by the Spanish and English in its early discovery, Jamaica was used as a slave island that farmed staple crops to accommodate world trade.  Even after gaining independence in 1962, the country’s economy remained agricultural as a consequence of the past slavery.

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Transportation has long been one of the most essential and transformative processes in society.  Today, e-commerce, fast-paced business environments, and a focus on improving logistics thrust transportation into the spotlight as a necessary day-to-day operation and the main form in which these actions are carried out is automation.  Cars have a wide variety of human uses, from picking up children from school, to moving perishable goods across land, to clearing snowy roads efficiently.  Because of this, the automotive industry continues to be one of the largest and most talked about markets on Earth.

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A whirlwind news topic that seems to reveal new headlines and developments each day, technology is changing society more than ever before.  As companies and consumers key in on how technology has the potential to positively and negatively impact their futures, research, testing, and product roll-outs are being conducted around the clock to create new innovations and introduce them to a global market hungry for personalization and advancement.  This blog will aim to shed light on how technology will impact three key economic industries: transportation, 3D printing, and online consumption.

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Watches have long been a staple accessory for both men and women across the globe, worn as both a fashionable piece to add to an outfit and a useful tool for keeping track of the time of day.  The additional value watches create as a generational keepsake, and their tendency to be an item that can hold its value over many years makes watches favorable investments or gifts.  With a variety of options from low to high price ranges, sport to luxury watches that feature varying materials, and newly popular smartwatches, the global watch market continues to do well despite the disruption that smartphones and similar technologies have caused.

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A necessary and functional accessory for students of all ages, day-to-day employees, and travelers across the globe, backpacks are widely consumed as a staple of transit and activity.  With their versatility that a variety of uses—from storing school supplies, to holding electronics, to carrying clothes and food—backpacks provide users with many ways to tote their belongings and are one of the most invested in goods with total sales value projected to climb over 25 billion dollars in 2018, and increase to over 30 billion dollars by 2021.  The backpack market currently holds a value of about 16-20 billion dollars and is expected to hold over 25 billion dollars in 2022.

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A roof over your head and a bed to sleep in—shelter is one of the most coveted and widely sought after needs in our world.  With billions of homes built around the world as a way to protect people from the outdoor elements and provide refuge to rest, it’s no wonder that the global real estate market is one of the most highly-valued and invested-in sectors in the world.  Holding a total estimated value of 217 trillion dollars in 2017, 75 percent of which comes from residential property, real estate is a massively important component of the worldwide economy.   In fact, the market is expected to generate 4.263 trillion dollars of revenue alone by 2025.

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The world is always looking for the next technological advancement that will bring in money and make everyday life easier. Right now, the fastest startup in the world to reach one billion dollars is Bird rentable scooters. Bird, along with its competitors, Lyme, and Skip, have taken advantage of people's newfound love for easy and fast modes of transportation in crowded cities and around college campuses. This is especially popular with younger people as most of the users are college students or young adults that live and work in cities and have little use for cars. Bird has combined the incredible ability of smartphones with the need for more public transportation and has created apps that allow people to locate scooters everywhere and give them a cheap and easy way to get places quick. This works because of its ubiquitous accessibility. Whenever someone needs one, it is a click away, and when they did, they simply put the kickstand up and continue with their day.

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Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, wouldn’t be complete without one of its most distinguishing symbols—the pumpkin.  Each year, people from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Ireland purchase, pick, carve, and/or display these bright orange gourds in celebration of Halloween.  Pumpkins also mark an essential decoration, food staple, and representation of the fall season, and consequently have a significant place in the global economy.

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At the heels of the United Nation’s groundbreaking report detailing the necessity for “unprecedented changes in the next decade” to avoid permanent damage to the Earth’s environment, sustainability and waste management in the business world, and beyond, have become essential factors of commerce across the globe.  The concept of creating products and services that are sustainable in the long-run is integrating itself as a key driver of companies’ operations and value chains, and innovation is necessary to achieve substantial results.  While efforts to keep our planet living intensify, so too will the call for businesses to operate environmentally safe processes.

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Jack Ma and Mukesh Ambani are two of the biggest powerhouses in business today, with their net worth being 38.2 billion and 49.2 billion, respectively. But the influence of these two men stretches far beyond their wealth. These businessmen, through exuberant wealth, name recognition, and influence have greatly influenced not only the unities of their countries but also the economies.

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One of the worlds premier decorations, art is hung, stood, and displayed in places all over the world.  Whether a wall painting, sculpture, or online design, art is a topic that is frequently overlooked as a major influence on society.  Much like it can be overlooked as something that simply belongs on a wall, the global art market is not often talked about in the economy.  Despite this, the art industry is a 63.7 billion dollar global market that deserves attention.

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To a large group of the world population, luxury brand goods sit on a mythical alter—their rarity, expensive price point, and high demand make them difficult products to obtain.  From items like watches and handbags to clothing and shoes, these retail brands carry the ‘best of the best’ merchandise and make it a point to tell consumers.  Recent news from the United Kingdom-based company, Burberry, shows the lengths that luxury brands go to in order to preserve their pristine, high-status image, and whether or not they are worth it.

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One of the world’s favorite beverages and a major source of caffeine for many students and employees, coffee continues to be an integral factor in society’s daily routine.  According to Business Insider, coffee is the second most sought-after commodity in the entire world, with an industry that is worth over $100 billion across the globe.  In terms of exporting alone, the industry is valued at $20 billion and continues to be on the rise—on average, 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed on Earth every year.

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This is the fourth post in a five-part blog series focused on future trends in business.

Most people have heard about blockchain, either in the news, in a conversation or on social media. Many recognize the term but could not explain what it is. Blockchain was originally created for Bitcoin, a digital currency, but now is the backbone of a new internet. The technology allows digital information to be distributed and not copied which has led to blockchain to be called “digital gold” as well as factors such as its durability and robustness. It cannot be controlled by a single entity and has no single point of failure. This leads to an utter transparency of data and it being incorruptible. All these positive sides of blockchain have led it to become a large benefit to businesses in the future.

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This is the second post in a five-part blog series focused on future trends in business. 

Huge corporations are working towards achieving a sustainable business environment. This is achieved when businesses are able to manage the triple bottom line. The triple bottom line is the process by which a business is able to meet the three sustainability pillars - financial, social, and environmental efforts.

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Around the globe, playing your favorite music, making phone calls, and listening to lectures or podcasts has been made more convenient with the help of one of the world’s most popular products—headphones/earbuds.  Strolling through college campuses, it’s a common sight for students bustling to and from classes to don a pair of earbuds or headphones.  In global workplaces, many employees play music through headphones to increase their focus and achieve better results.  Taking private calls has been greatly aided with the use of earbuds that work much like Bluetooth earpieces but offer much better quality—the noise canceling functionality that many of these products feature to make it simple to tune out background information and allows calls to be made without having to step out of a room.  This coveted usefulness has people around the world buying into the headphone and earbud market.

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Microwavable TV dinner trays, notebooks, tissues, packages, and newspapers are all derived from one of the world’s most used products—paper.  According to Green America, “40 percent of the world’s industrial logging goes into making paper, and is expected to reach 50 percent in the near future.”  Furthermore, the global consumption of paper has skyrocketed 400 percent in the last four decades, and in the last 20 years alone, the use of paper products has gone up from 92 million tons to 407 million tons in 2014.  The worldwide paper industry is the fifth largest consumer of energy and is credited for four percent of the entire population’s energy use.

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Chewing-gum—from the baseball diamond to office workplaces, over 100,000 tons of gum is chewed per year around the world.  Dating back to ancient times, different versions of gum have been used as a means of trade in Africa, stress relievers in Greece, and a construction material in Central America.  To this day, chewing-gum continuous to hold its position as a popular commodity on our planet.

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This is the third post in a five-part blog series focused on the energy industry.

As our world’s supply of nonrenewable resources slowly dwindles, society is being forced to consider new methods of generating energy in a continuously growing world.  A major focus has been put on turning earth’s natural products like wind, sun, and water, and additionally nuclear power, into devices of energy production.  Fifty countries agreed at the Climate Vulnerable Forum to make 100% of their energy renewable by 2050.  The construction of wind turbines, solar panels, and nuclear reactors is spearheading this dive into renewable energy while having a definite impact on business.

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Ice cream—the frozen dessert has become somewhat a staple of society’s diet, with countries across the globe indulging on and/or producing the dairy treat.  Ice cream is available for purchase at a wide variety of retailers—spanning from grocery stores to restaurants to street carts—and the variety is expanding each year with the additions of new flavors and consistencies like gelato.  Overall, the market is expected to be worth $97.3 billion by 2023.

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2017 is quickly coming to an end with many major holidays approaching in the blink of an eye. People are beginning to search for the perfect gift for their significant other and grandmothers. Black Friday, and more recently Cyber Monday has played a large part in the purchasing of holiday gifts. Black Friday originated in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the 1950s and expanded across the globe in the last ten years.

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The sneaker industry is becoming a new fad in today’s society, and led by sportswear behemoths Nike and Adidas, is transforming the market into one of the world’s most profitable and demanding sectors.  Propelled by the resurgence of Adidas footwear in popular models like the “Ultra boost,” “NMD,” and rapper Kanye West’s coveted creation, the “Yeezy,” and the continued success of Nike in models such as the “Air Jordan” and “Air Max,” consumers are lining up to purchase sneakers more than ever.  One way producers are ensuring the continued success of their products is by making purposely small amounts of their sneakers in order to create an atmosphere of excitement and exclusiveness that buyers aim to obtain.  This then allows the producers to release the same shoe in larger quantities at a later date—a restock—and gain high sales rates, making their profit margins even larger.  Transparency Market Research expects the world sneaker market to be worth $220.2 billion by 2020.

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Big data has long been a buzz word in the business world, with the seemingly endless benefits more data can bring. Companies use data to spot trends and find consumer preferences, allowing for things like personal advertising and targeted pricing. While big data can be very helpful, some businesses find trouble transforming the vast amount of information into useful insights.

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Innovation is crucial in the business world, and as companies and businesses grow larger, they often find it difficult to promote new ideas. Bigger companies are usually less mobile, and quick changes to operations and strategy become much harder to implement after initial success. For companies looking to break this mold, empowering upper level management is very important, in order to enact the changes needed to push the business culture toward innovation.

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It is well known that entrepreneurship has been declining over the last few decades, but what is the real cause behind it? There are many different theories, from schooling systems, religion, student debt, economic hardships, a change in attitudes, and a more talk, less action society.

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In a recent Entrepreneur article, Jane Porter discusses the psychology of the average workday, giving tips on how to get more out of each day. In today’s blog, we will look some of the suggestions given in the article, as well as take a broader look to see how a normal workday might differ in several countries. One of the main takeaways from the article is that workers should look at the workday as several blocks of time, instead of one single eight-hour period to accomplish their tasks. Splitting the day into sections takes advantage of what psychology tells us about our brains and behaviors, and may help workers accomplish more of the goals they set out for themselves.

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At the end of the past decade, many millennials began to move in with their parents in order to save money throughout the recession and declining job market. Despite the belief that these young adults would move back to living independently once the economy improved, there are even more of them living at home than there were before according to a study by Pew Research Center. The national unemployment rate for young adults declined to 7.7% in the first four months of this year, compared to the 2010 figure of 12.4%. Despite this, the center analyzed recent census data and was able to find that 18 to 34-year-olds are less likely to be living apart from family members than they were even at the worst point of the recession, which was the worst economic downturn since the 1930’s.

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In this gE Blog Series, we feature the Nordic countries, which consist of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Together the Nordic countries make up a cultural and geographical region in Northern Europe and are integrated economically, historically, and linguistically. In the most recent Doing Business Economy Rankings by the World Bank Group, all five of the Nordic countries were ranked in the top 14 out of 189 countries. The rankings measure the ease of conducting business and reflect how conducive each country’s regulatory environment is to a business operation. In all, ten factors are used to rank the countries. A few of the most notable factors are ease of starting a business, paying taxes, trading across borders, and enforcing contracts.

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As technology continues to grow and change throughout the world, the way consumers pay for their products is also changing. Consumers are using credit and debit cards at an increasing rate compared to cash, even with small purchases less than $5. According to a survey, one third of American consumers said that they usually pay for purchases under $5 with a card rather than cash. Even more surprising, 51% of those between the ages of 18 and 29 reported that they prefer to use a card when dealing with transactions under $5.

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Businesses around the world are starting to realize the potential Africa has for global business growth. With more than half of its population being under the age of 35 and its middle class on the rise every day, companies especially in the US are funneling money into the continent in hopes to rope in some of the business opportunity.

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The second richest man in the world, Carlos Slim, made a proposal this week that might excite employees around the globe. Slim, the Mexican telecom magnate, told those at a business conference that he thinks employers should move to shorter work weeks that promote increased leisure time for employees without losing productivity. His proposal had employees reporting to work only three days a week, giving workers four day weekends year-round. He believes that the shorter weeks would help to boost employee morale and increase leisure activities, which in turn would have a positive effect on the economy.

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For more than three months now, the online retailing giant Amazon has been locked in a feud with the publishing company Hachette, which is part of the French media group Lagardère. At first, the feud seemed to start as a pricing dispute over e-books distributed by Hachette. Soon, the disagreements began to multiply and cover even more issues, leading to drastic courses of action by both companies. Booksellers everywhere are nervously anticipating this battle, for whatever decision the two rivals come to will set an important precedent for the relationship between Amazon and publishers. However, it is unclear when this war will end.

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Yesterday, our latest blog post examined the business effects of the new tuition reimbursement plan of Starbucks at a macro-level. Today, we will cover the plan in more detail to learn how it could affect workers on an individual level. In attempts to decrease employee turnover, many large companies are seeking new retention strategies. Starbucks is using an education incentive to achieve this goal. Its new “Starbucks College Achievement Plan” will help qualified workers pay their full tuition for online courses taken through Arizona State University. And although the program has impressive benefits, some critics believe that it will not help workers as much as it promises.

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This past week marked an announcement that was truly groundbreaking. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, informed the nation that all employees of his company would be eligible to attend college on the dime of Starbucks itself. Companies in the past have paid for schooling of certain members of their organizations but this is the first time that a company is willing to send any employee of the company to college.

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As the world continues to embrace technology and its many advantages, business also has begun to rely more and more on technology, storing large amounts of sensitive data electronically. The ease at which computers can store and access information is a major reason for the shift toward electronic storage. With the efficiencies computers bring to the market, a new area of risk has been inadvertently created. The storage of sensitive information on computers opens business up to cyber attacks, with hackers looking to acquire company or customer information such as passwords or credit card numbers. The hackers can then use or sell this information, harming businesses, consumers, and company reputations.

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A disgruntled employee can have catastrophic effects upon the work environment of a company. Although it may begin with one person being unmotivated to complete their daily work tasks, his or her negative energy can impact other coworkers. One employee's unproductive mannerisms can also cause management resources to be diverted away from employees who consistently work hard and accomplish all tasks. In the long-run, this behavior is helpful to neither the employee nor company, as the company accomplishes less and the employee feels unsatisfied with his or her work. However, new human resources programs are being created to combat this issue in an innovative way.

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The most important way to ensure achievement of mergers and acquisitions is to make sure the integration process with the other company is successful. While this may not be the most exciting aspect involved in merging companies together, it is by far one of the most important phases. Companies need to focus tasks on the integration process and make sure not to over-look it in practice.

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A big topic in business today is the evolution of the new digital world. It is vital to businesses that want to continue being successful to recognize and adapt to the new trends. Companies will either take flight in the new age or dwindle and faze out. This holds true for nearly every industry as global business has become technologically advanced.

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In First, Break All the Rules, authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman explore what the world’s greatest managers do differently.  Their conclusions are based on over 80,000 in-depth interviews of managers conducted by the Gallup organization.  The book reveals that the world’s greatest managers differ in age, gender, and race, but seem to have one thing in common – they do not hesitate to deviate from the rules of conventional wisdom. 

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As companies become more global, it is important for management teams and boards to realize the effect that a company’s national culture can have on its performance. In their book, Fish Can’t See Water, Kai Hammerich and Richard D. Lewis argue that often management and boards are blind to their own culture, and may not realize the negative effects that culture can have on their company’s success. The book describes two different models of identifying how culture affects corporations, describes national cultures in seven different countries and how they affect corporations, and then walks through a series of case studies.

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What makes a company great? Journalists, universities, think tanks, and CEO’s themselves have been trying to find the formula for decades. The rise of the multinational corporation has only increased the desire to find what makes a company great. With companies that are so large and have such diversified products, the variables that enter into the equation seem infinite. In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins attempts to identify what allows companies to make the leap from being a good company to being a great company.

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One thing companies are always concerned with is productivity. How can managers increase their productivity? How can they increase their employees productivity? Companies along with scientists have spent huge sums of money trying to figure out the key to not only productivity but success—both on an individual and company wide level.

It is no secret that happy employees are more productive and overall better employees. Employees that identify as low well-being are seven times more likely to be absent from work and seven times more likely to be looking for a new job. This leads to an overall lack of productivity from what is known as presenteeism. Presenteeism is when employees physically show up to work but lack productivity because they may be having any multitude of personal problems.

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A topic becoming more and more popular in the business realm today is the differences of Generation Y, otherwise referred to as Millennials, and the rest of the workforce. The needs, wants, and leadership styles of Generation Y are drastically different from earlier generations; this is causing a great shift in the way businesses operate around the world. Generation Y is the generation born between the 1980’s and early 2000’s. Millenials are currently working in the business world and will continue entering for years to come. It is vital for companies everywhere to learn and adapt in order to retain Generation Y employees.

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Pensions have become an increasingly talked about topic of late. With bankruptcies of cities, and most notably of Detroit, it is unsure whether people who worked their entire lives with the promise of a retirement will actually receive such. The trick with pensions is how does a company or city adequately plan for retirement costs decades into the future?

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Imagine a company that cares profoundly about the well-being of its customers, treats its suppliers as part of the family, with the same care and love as it shows to its own employees and customers. Imagine a business where those who are lucky enough to be employed, rarely, if ever, leave and every employee is committed and passionate about their work.

If you’re saying to yourself, “not possible, unreal,” you're part of the majority. But, the management paradigm shift is catching on and it could turn the classic management style upside down.

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On November 9th at the Business College Complex at Michigan State University, Eli Broad spoke to students of The Eli Broad College of Business about his views on business, philanthropy, and the future of education. Eli Broad funded the The School of Business at Michigan State University, and has continued to support his alma mater throughout his life. Through his many different careers he gained a vast amount of knowledge in many aspects of business, helping to facilitate his long and successful run in the business world.

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As we just celebrated the 4th of July, instead of honoring the mark of this nation’s freedom, there is more talk about the holiday falling on a Wednesday. This is the time families travel miles to spend the weekend together and enjoy fireworks and cookouts. Employees see this as an opportunity for a potential long weekend. Tuesday becomes the new Friday and they become less productive and more unfocused. Employers on the other hand cannot afford to lose such a critical day in the week.

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Work-life balance has always been a priority for employees, but not all workplaces have given it the same respect. The amount of vacation time and the number of hours employees are required to work in a week vary greatly across the world. Much of this is a result of cultural differences and tradition, but it also can greatly affect the productivity and happiness of workers. Overworked and unhappy employees can be extremely unproductive. There are many theories and methods for improving morale, but one of the simplest ones is limiting the amount of time employees are working. Sounds simple right? For many employers, it hasn’t been so easy.

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The perfect leader is outspoken, bold, voices opinions, and is a people person right? Not necessarily.  Whether we realize it or not, we often associate many extroverted traits with strong business leaders and assume that those who are introverted will not be as successful. This is not always true. There are several characteristics that introverts possess that businesses could benefit from that are probably being overlooked.

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Hop on that plane, business travel is back! After the global recession hit, many companies scaled back on corporate travel. More sophisticated technologies along with cost cutting initiatives around the global recession also led to a decline in business travel. To companies less travel meant lower costs, and more virtual meetings. While this may have helped some companies’ bottom lines, some saw business relationships and sales numbers suffer.

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Forbes has just released its list of "Best Countries for Business" and this year Canada has reached the top. Canada jumped up from last year’s number 4 spot to claim the top spot on the list. Countries were ranked based on 11 key factors including “property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.” Through a variety of reliable sources, Forbes was able to evaluate countries based on these characteristics and rank the countries in order of business attractiveness.

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Forbes recently came out with an article outlining a list of the top Global High Performers. This list targets companies around the globe that are doing well in regards to profit growth, the return to stockholders, return on capital, and sales growth. These main categories help show an interesting shift to companies not many instantly think of and others that are continuing to blow us away.

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While the global economy has been slowly improving, it is still not back to where most would like it to be – especially for those out of work looking for jobs. The good news is fewer positions are being cut, and more people are choosing to leave jobs on their own. Still, for every open position, there are several candidates out of work. This puts the power in the hands of the hiring managers. In this intensely competitive environment, it is important to set yourself apart.

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Some time ago, a female finance manager in the USA said to me "It doesn't matter who you are or how smart and hard-working you are, the business world you will get to know as a woman is different than the actual business world." These are definitely not the most encouraging words, but it is no secret that to this day it is still much more difficult for women to advance in the business world. For females, the competition takes a different shape. No matter the difficulties however, women in the Middle East have found a solution in enterprenureal finanace.

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In part one we talked about the huge environmental costs for companies and the economic impacts these may have. Now we want to see what can be done, if reporting these costs should become standard, and the benefits this may have. Already many companies have made huge investments in reforestation, reducing water consumption, and an overall protection of natural resources. With the rising costs of valuable resources which are in danger, it only makes sense that these become a regular part of a company’s investment. With a strong sustainability agenda, corporations can help business be perceived as the place to best change what is going on in the world. As more companies realize how much sustainability helps their financial accounts, they’ll want to know how best to report these costs, and what can be done about them. The best step is to no longer ignore what’s going on, no matter what way you look at it.

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In order to see if a company is viable as a going concern, environmental costs are vital to know for the long-run. The benefits to preserving the environment in terms of dollars may be surprising, but it’s not to many business leaders these days. A private sector solution may be the best solution on a global scale. Just last week, Puma became the world’s first major corporation to report the details of the cost of the company’s impact on the environment. They said the costs of the carbon emission and the water it used in 2010 totaled $134.3 million. The costs not only included the company, but all of its suppliers as well. The next step for the company is to measure their cost of waste and land-use change. Ecosystems are vital to the performance of most companies, and integrating the true costs of extracting these services could significantly impact bottom lines in the future.

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In a recent Forbes article, they highlighted the top 10 green companies in the world. These companies have all in some way contributed a global environmental management system by reducing emissions, adjusting their manufacturing process, becoming environmentally certified and doing the best to adjust their performance records into a more positive light.

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Everyone sees the recycling label, the organic food label, and sometimes something similar to the Rainforest Alliance label on their food and home products. These let us know what the product stands for and where it came from. Now a new label may be appearing on many of your household products, the WindMade label.

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The world is changing rapidly.  People are becoming more interconnected than ever.  Information is increasingly easier and cheaper to come by.  Whether it's texting, social media, emailing, faster logistics, or finding information on the internet, it all leads to one thing, making a faster paced and more competitive business environment.  Here are some top trends in business that are already happening but will play a significant role in the future.

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It’s no secret that in these hard economic times companies worldwide have had to streamline processes and cut back on costs. These cut backs are starting to directly affect the value consumers are getting for their money. Now, due to rising global food prices, food and beverage companies are struggling more than most and having to cut back even more. Chips are mysteriously missing from bags, canned vegetables contain fewer ounces than before, and packaged goods of all types are seeing box size reductions. Even things like diapers are seeing shrinking package sizes. This is certainly not good news for consumers.

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Valentine's Day, contrary to popular belief, is a holiday filled with history and tradition worldwide. There are several different legends that surround Valentine's Day and Saint Valentine himself. Legends vary from culture to culture, and so do the traditions and the ways that the holiday is celebrated.

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Bridging the gap between your business aspirations and your company’s ability to meet those expectations can be a daunting task for any business leader. This is often referred to as the execution gap. A recent survey found that nearly 49% of business leaders perceive this gap in their company, and 64% lacked confidence in their ability to narrow it. Following these 6 simple rules from Mashable.com is essential to closing this execution gap and reaching your goals.

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Wondering where to go next? The answer is easy, Korea. Approaching the top ten largest economies in the world, it is often overlooked because of its physical distance and the close proximity of its big brothers China and Japan. In fact, Korea has recently doubled its GDP and its imports from the United States. So while recent news may be bringing adverse attention to Korea, it is starting to bring to the spotlight an economy that is growing and is expected to soon become a major economic partner of the United States.

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The world is continuously changing with new markets, international trade and political movements as well as educational and cultural fluctuations. The only question is where exactly is all this change occurring? A new study by A.T. Kearney has just come out with the Top Global Cities of 2010.