Keep it Legal!

Being legally secured and insured is a must for running any business either small, big, private, public, etc. no matter in what type of industry. Nowadays, company owners have to be extra careful with their contracts and insurance. Having the access and knowledge to a vast amount of legal information, people are doing anything and everything to keep themselves out of any legal situation. The event planning industry is no exception; numerous lawsuits and legal situations occur everyday in this area of the entertainment world.

Having the vision to create a corporate specialized event planning company in Puerto Rico, entails a lot of paperwork and most importantly, making sure my insurance is up-to-date and that I am covered from any possible liability. Nevertheless, nothing is certain and things happen.

For example, in 2010 an adult entertainment convention company sued Secaucus’s former mayor, Dennis Elwell and the Meadowlands Expo Center, over being forced to move a 2008 tradeshow from the town to Edison just days before the event. The company sued to regain its $32,500 deposit and an unstipulated amount for their losses for moving the 3-day show to another location. The situation began when Secaucus filed a lawsuit to ban the trade show from the town, citing violations of municipal and state ordinances on alcohol and proximity to a day-care center. The event company representatives say in the lawsuit that everything about the event was approved, and claim that the convention center officials later denied knowing details of the trade show. Situations like these can be avoided with more detailed and more specific contracts.

Other examples include a case where an event planner in Atlanta settled an out-of-court agreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the use of a gold statue, which according to the academy infringed on the copyrighted “Oscar” statuettes. Another example is a lawsuit by MGM’s Grand Hotel in Vegas filed against a New York based event planning company for not paying what they owe for a charity event hosted at the hotel in 2007. Both situations can be avoided taking the necessary legal measures and precautions.

Legal situations can be avoided in most cases. Attorneys recommend party planners to always have a lawyer, “especially one that practices intellectual property law” and when in doubt make sure you discuss and clarify any legal matter with them. So, party planners take notes and make sure you protect yourself and your business. Legal information is accessible, so there are no excuses. Good luck and keep it legal.


BlackBerry Playbook Media Sync

We get an exclusive look at the BlackBerry PlayBook and it’s Media Sync feature. The most important take-away here is that the PlayBook can multi-task and continue to function while it syncs music, photos, videos, etc.

Source: Exclusive: BlackBerry Playbook Media Sync and multi-task demo.

Trade-Shows Go Green…

In today’s society going green is in. Of course the event planning / convention / conference industry is no exception. New ways of creating exhibitions have been developed in order to save money and support the new trend of becoming environmentally conscious.

These green exhibits, also known as sustainable exhibit booths, should minimize the environmental impact. Depending on the size of the trade show or convention, these new modern booths can be made either small or large. However, it all depends on the needs of the organization that will be purchasing and utilizing the booth. Today, many are focusing on making sure that their exhibits and booths are sustainable and ultimately result in a lower potential waste. Creating an environmentally-friendly atmosphere and look. The key of creating a sustainable exhibit relies mainly on the materials used in the production process.  Incorporating elements like Swiss wood (a renewable resource and net remover of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), low energy lighting, using recycled paper as materials, and organic foods and beverages.  Practicality is the main focus of this new trend.

Places like Switzerland have already incorporated this new environmentally friendly trend in numerous conventions and trade shows. In 2010, the Switzerland Convention and Incentive Bureau (SCIB) received the IMEX 2010 Green Exhibitor Award due to their sustainable exhibits. In addition, companies like Evo Exhibits and  Skyline Exhibits,  create top-of-the line eco friendly trade show displays, exhibits, and booths. Skyline Exhibits, located in Minnesota, USA, have created a 2-facet method of creating sustainable exhibits.

Skyline contributes to environmental sustainability in two ways: By providing lighter weight, modular exhibits that have smaller environmental impact than traditional custom exhibits, and by minimizing the impact on the environment from our manufacturing operations.

These two facets -- lightweight modular exhibits, and more environmentally friendly manufacturing, can be viewed through the lens of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”

As you can see new trends and new ideas are being incorporated in the event planning industry. Helping the environment concerns us all, and what better way than helping with little details like this. This is not only a great way to be environmentally conscious but it is a great way to develop a poritive corporate image and PR, sending the message that you do care. Event planners and organizers should be applying new trends like this for their green conscious clients. I am sure ideas like this will make them very happy and pleased. Remember, keeping an open conscious about the world and trying to become more conservative is the way to save money.

On the following video you can see how a sustainable exhibit can look like and what materials are used. Video by Evo Exhibits, another green display production company. 




FSA Announces Business Plan for 2011/12

The Financial Services Authorit has today published its business plan setting out its priorities for 2011/12, and the implications for the FSA's budget.

The document outlines the FSA's priorities and specific initiatives for the year ahead, which reflect the continuing challenges facing the financial services industry.

This year's business plan has been created against a backdrop of considerable change, with the UK government last year announcing plans for changes to the structure of financial services regulation in the UK.

The FSA will restructure into the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the existing FSA legal entity will become the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This change will occur at the end of 2012 or early 2013.

Until then the FSA will continue to deliver on its statutory objectives and implement the major initiatives that are already underway.

The key areas will include:

Maintaining ongoing supervision in a period of continued fragility in markets.

1. Continuing to influence the international and European policy forums, delivering, in particular, the new prudential regulatory agenda.

2. Implementing the current EU major policy initiatives, including Solvency II.

3. Delivering on the principal national sector initiatives to improve consumer protection: the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) and Mortgage Market Review (MMR).

4. Continuing to improve the FSA's operating systems and the quality of its staff.

5. Implementing the government's regulatory reform agenda.

Reflecting the extensive resources needed for the regulatory reform programme and the need to recognise the difficult economic circumstances for many firms, the FSA is not planning any new discretionary initiatives and is capping headcount at the current level.

The majority of the FSA's resources are utilised providing ongoing supervision. The two biggest policy initiatives are Solvency II and influencing the substantial international prudential reform agenda, especially in respect of Basel III.

The FSA continues to implement key areas of the substantial international regulatory reform agenda particularly in respect of the banking agenda set by the Basel Committee and ensuring that the wider policy agenda primarily mandated by the European Union is delivered.

You need a business plan before you start a business

You have heard it before. You need a business plan before you start a business. However, most entrepreneurs can't stand the thought of actually sitting down to write a business plan because it reminds them of the dreaded research papers they had to write in school.

As SBDC advisors, we help clients write their business plan. While going through the steps to write a business plan, I hear these excuses:
I don't have time for that.
What good is that going to do?
The bank is making me write one, otherwise I wouldn't.

Most of the time, clients never finish their full plan and open without one. Not fully thinking through how you will operate your new business is a precursor to a short-lived business. For all of you procrastinators and naysayers of the need for a business plan, I have good news for you. You truly may not need a business plan.

This, however, does not mean you get to start your business without working through how the components of your business will fit together. Because most people are visual, it makes sense for future entrepreneurs to make a "roadmap" of how they will operate their business. One tool we've recently found is the Business Model Canvas devised by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur. Read more on

Model Business Plan Helps Hoop House Growers

Growers experimenting with production in hoop houses are looking for any tools – knowledge, skills or resources – possible to add to their toolboxes. One Project GREEEN-funded project provided them with a tool every small business needs to get on its feet – a sample business plan.

Although it may sound simple, a good business plan is essential to running a successful business, according to David Conner, assistant professor in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. Conner, a former assistant professor and research specialist with the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems at Michigan State University (MSU), built upon previous research to provide hoop house growers with a business plan that can be adjusted to meet their specific needs.

"John Biernbaum and Adam Montri were able to show that you can grow high quality vegetables all year round through their work with hoop houses at the MSU Student Organic Farm and on farms around Michigan," Conner explains. "They've been able to work with growers around the state through horticultural outreach. This project rounded out their work, filling the need to have some marketing and economics outreach."

Biernbaum is an MSU professor of horticulture and Montri is an outreach specialist in the MSU Department of Horticulture and for the MSU Student Organic Farm. As part of his project titled "Business Plan Development for Hoop Houses," Conner created a model plan that growers can complete using their own farm information. The plan also includes some best practices for being successful, such as marketing tips and the best crops to grow. Read more on

What Work Practices Can Prevent Electrical Accidents?

Electrical hazards are one of the greatest threats to workplace safety. Certain work environments, including those that are dimly lit, wet, or in an especially confined space pose even more risk of serious injury or death to workers who neglect to learn and follow safe work practices.

Electrical accidents are largely preventable through safe work practices. Examples of these practices include the following:

* De-energizing electric equipment before inspection or repair * Keeping all electric tools properly maintained * Exercising caution when working near energized lines * Using the appropriate protective equipment. Read more on WORKPLACE SAFETY TIPS.

The International Debit Card Facts

The great boom in the international debit card industry doesn’t seem to pose any signs of halt as it has already overtaken the credit card industry in the race as the number one in electronic payments. The international debit card may in fact be described as the poor man’s credit card considering the fact that it provides almost all the benefits of a credit card at a very small fraction of the costs. But other than the rather enormous benefits one must also consider the great risks associated in using international debit cards. These risks may cost you a lot but they are considerably very easy to counter.

Some international debit cards are non-PIN protected and can be used even by just the holder’s signature. Since any signature is prone to forgery, these PIN-free international debit cards are very risky and anyone who gets a hold of your card and thereafter learns to forge your signature will be able to easily clean up your bank account. The solution to this risk is quite simple; only get international debit cards that are PIN protected.

International debit cards are indeed far riskier than credit cards. And the federal government has highlighted and clarified the gravest risks. Detailed explanations of the said risks are as follows:

Legally, your ultimate liability for fraudulent use of a credit card is generally only $50. And, when a credit card is fraudulently used, you are also only disputing whether you owe the bank money. Unlike a credit card, if your international debit card is used fraudulently, the thief robs your checking account. Potentially, all your money is drained out of your checking account. It could take the bank 10 days or more to investigate and refund your money.

Worse, unlike a credit card, under the law, your international debit card liability could be as much as $500, if you notify the bank more than 48 hours after you learn of the problem or even up to all the money in your checking account plus your maximum overdraft line of credit if you fail to notify the bank within 60 days. Under pressure from the state PIRGs, banks claim to have voluntarily limited international debit card liability to $50. PIRG has received complaints from consumers whose banks have not honored the well-publicized alleged voluntary $50 limit.

On lost credit cards, your loss is limited to $50 per card. On an EFT card, your liability for an unauthorized withdrawal can vary: Your loss is limited to $50 if you notify the financial institution within two business days after learning of loss or theft of your card or code. But you could lose as much as $500 if you do not tell the card issuer within two business days after learning of loss or theft. If you do not report an unauthorized transfer that appears on your statement within 60 days after the statement is mailed to you, you risk unlimited loss on transfers made after the 60-day period. That means you could lose all the money in your account plus your maximum overdraft line of credit, if any. Read more on
International Debit Card.

Retail sales rise in US

Retail sales jump in US. Retail sales posted the biggest monthly gain in four months in February, despite a dip in consumer confidence and rising fuel prices. The Commerce Department said sales at the nation’s retailers rose 1 percent from January, and it revised January’s increase to 0.7 percent, twice its previous estimate.

“While built-up demand and positive job growth will continue to boost industry sales, the recent dip in consumer confidence and climb in fuel prices are a concern,” said Sandy Kennedy, president of the Retail Industry Leaders Association in Arlington. “It remains to be seen how much of an effect it will have on spending and if it will hamper the recent progress the economy has made.”

Consumers are paying more at the pump and higher gasoline prices were partially reflected in the increase in retail sales. The price has increased about 40 cents in the last three weeks in Austin to about $3.40 per gallon. Department store sales rose 1 percent, sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 0.9 percent and sales at restaurants rose 1.2 percent. Read more: Retail sales jump in February.

Carlos Slim is world's richest man

Carlos Slim is world's richest man. The richest man in the world remains Carlos Slim, according to Forbes magazine's list of billionaires. The number of billionaires increased by 199 in the past year, according to the magazine, but it was the Mexican telecom magnate Slim, who kept the No. 1 spot for the second year by increasing his worth by $20.5 billion to $74 billion.

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, who is worth $56 billion, is No. 2 on the list. Investor Warren Buffet comes in at No.3 with a net worth of $50 billion.

The fastest growing net worth belongs to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who more than tripled his wealth to $13.5 billion, putting him at the No. 52 position on the list, the magazine reported.

How Carlos Slim made his fortune?
Slim had a pretty cushy life growing up, his father became wealthy by working as a real estate salesman. After graduating with a degree in engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Slim began investing in multiple businesses throughout Mexico. Soon, these businesses became the base of his conglomerate Grupo Carso.

It turns out, the economic crash of 1982 was a good for Slim because during that time period he was able to crack into billionaire status. By using some business tactics and savvy negotiating Slim was able to purchase companies at extremely low prices and have a say in their various interests. With strong management skills Slim was able to increase their value exponentially in the next ten years.

Carlos Slim Helú made a great portion of his earnings with his ownership of Teléfonos de México or Telmex. The money earned from Telmex allowed him to broaden his scope to technology and U.S. firms. When Telmex was privatized Slim was able to strengthen the monopoly and increase his earnings. This year, Slim was reported as having a $74 billion net worth which is a $20.5 billion increase from last year.

BP CEO Bob Dudley Apologises for Oil Spill

BP Chief Executive Robert Dudley inherited quite a bit of a mess from former CEO Tony Hayward, he of the loose lips, in the the form of last year's terrible oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. But Dudley wants everyone to know that he's totally sorry.

"I am sorry for what happened last year," he told the lunch crowd at CERAweek conference in Houston today, reports Forbes. "BP is sorry. BP gets it. BP is changing."

"We are determined we will once again restore that trust and I realize this requires action, not words."

He says they've done various things like paying out billions in claims and investing in the Gulf of Mexico Research intiative, as well as independent third party verification of "blowout preventers and better testing for cement jobs, well-integrity, rig safety. The company will no longer take rigs that don't meet safety standards."

You had us at "blowout preventers," but yeah, making sure unsafe rigs are no longer floating around ready to gush tons of oil is also probably a good idea.

Dudley is going even further and creating a new group that dispatches safety specialists around the globe, which has already shut down a production platform in Azerbaijan, and another in the Gulf of Mexico for infractions that needed to be addressed before they continued to operate. He hopes that the changes BP makes will spread to others in the industry, in order to make sure no one else causes such a calamity. View full post on BP's CEO Is Super Sorry About That Oil Spill. In othernews, Alice in Chains Bassist, Mike Starr Dead at 44.

What's Next For The Mobile Industry?

Metrico Wireless Inc., a leading provider of mobile device performance information and solutions, just unveiled one of the most comprehensive evaluations yet of the end user experience offered by the Verizon Wireless and AT&T Wireless versions of the iPhone 4.

How did they stack up? It depends on how the customer is using the device. For instance, the AT&T iPhone experienced double the mean data download speed of the Verizon iPhone, but the mean load time for an average Web page was about the same on both devices.

In addition, the findings showed that when the iPhone is mobile, the AT&T iPhone successfully completed around 10 percent more data download sessions than the Verizon iPhone. The results were opposite when the iPhones were stationary; the Verizon iPhone was more consistent uploading data when stationary in comparison to the AT&T iPhone, with a 10 percent better success rate.

The iPhone 4 is the latest of more than 80 smartphones evaluated to date as part of Metrico’s unique Smartphone Mobile Experience (M.E.) evaluation program. “The mobile industry is competing on performance, and anecdotal performance information isn’t good enough to drive management and marketing decisions,” said Richard McNally, VP, Information Products, Metrico Wireless. Source: The Mobile Industry is Competing on Performance.

China’s Wen Targets Inflation

China’s Wen Targets Inflation. Fighting inflation is China’s top economic priority this year as the government aims to limit the risk of social unrest, Premier Wen Jiabao said in his state-of- the-nation speech. “We cannot allow price rises to affect the normal lives of low-income people,” Wen said in a report to the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing today. “This problem concerns the people’s well-being, bears on overall interests and affects social stability.”

Wen, 68, confirmed targets of 4 percent for full-year inflation and 8 percent for economic growth, as the Communist Party seeks to maintain support for its 61-year rule. In the past two weekends, the government has deployed hundreds of police in Beijing and Shanghai after Internet calls for so- called Jasmine protests, inspired by revolts in the Middle East and North Africa.

“Inflation is a potential trigger point for social discontent,” said Liu Li-Gang, an economist at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group in Hong Kong who formerly worked for the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the World Bank. The government needs to boost lending and deposit rates by 0.75 percentage point by year-end, as well as raising wages and giving subsidies to the poor, he said.

Wen identified illegal land seizures, food safety, “exorbitant” house-price increases and “rampant corruption” in some places as among top public concerns. The government will “decisively” counter inflation and make it the “top priority in macroeconomic control,” he said. View full post on

Jobless Claims Decrease Last Week

Jobless Claims Drop. Service industries expanded in February at the fastest pace since 2005 and fewer Americans unexpectedly filed claims for jobless benefits, adding to evidence the U.S. recovery is gaining strength. The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non-manufacturing businesses increased to 59.7 last month from 59.4 in January. A reading above 50 signals growth. The number of initial applications for unemployment insurance payments fell by 20,000 to 368,000 last week, the lowest since May 2008 and fewer than the most optimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, figures from the Labor Department showed.

Stocks rose as the figures supported the Federal Reserve’s assessment that the labor market is on the mend following the loss of 8.75 million positions during the recession. Brighter prospects about personal finances are bolstering consumer confidence, another report showed, increasing the odds that Americans will keep spending at stores like J.C. Penney Co. and Macy’s Inc. See more about Jobless Claims Drop.

“You’re getting a picture of an economy that is quite strong already and perhaps gathering momentum,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Pierpont Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “Sentiment has been picking up over the last two or three months and that stands to reason -- the stock market has done better, the economy has certainly done better, and, most importantly, the labor market is improving.” The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose 1.7 percent to 1,330.97 at the 4 p.m. close in New York for its biggest gain in three months. The index is up 21 percent in the past six months. Source:

Meet the El Conquistador Resort

One of the greatest privileges humans have is the liberty of constantly choosing different options in any given situation. Whether if its choosing right from wrong, black or white, right or left, good or bad, chocolate or vanilla, etc. Using the corporate world as an example, thinking outside the box and doing things differently can sometimes help establish new ideas, determine new points, and ultimately reach goals and objectives faster, more efficiently, in a fun, unique and entertaining way. This is why corporations and/or companies should explore new venues and destinations for their corporate gatherings. Feel free to explore all the choices and different opportunities the beautiful island of Puerto Rico has to offer for your corporate events, conferences and/or conventions. I guarantee your event will be a total success. 

Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Say hello to the El Conquistador Resort, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Resort. Perched high above the ocean on 300-foot cliff, El Conquistador is one of the most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean, located in Fajardo,Puerto Rico. 

Resort Accommodations
It is divided into five villages, with breathtaking, panoramic ocean views at The Grand Hotel including the villages of Las Brisas and La Vista. The resort is located on the northeastern tip of the island, near El Yunque Rain Forest. It is 4 miles away from stores and attraction of downtown Fajardo and Las Croabas. It counts with an on-site-world-class golf, spa, casino, water park, wind surfing, scuba diving, fishing and more. It even has its own private island, Palomino Island, just a 8 minutes boat ride (provided by hotel for guests) where guest can relax and enjoy the sun, beach, restaurants, water sports and more. El Conquistador Resort is located 31 miles from San Juan (the Island’s capital) and the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU).

Atlantic Conference Center 

Grand Atlantic Ballroom - 21,090 sq ft
In addition, El Conquistador Resort has all the commodities and accommodations that your company may need to conduct your next event, trade show or convention in the brand new state-of-the-art Atlantic Conference Center. You can host a function in the Grand Atlantic Ballroom, the largest ballroom in Puerto Rico with a space of 21,090 sq ft; or on the smaller Grand Caribbean Ballroom with 19,982 sq ft space. Your company has the opportunity to hold a board meeting in one of the 16 breakout rooms or meet in one of the 100,000 sq ft of indoor /outdoor meeting space.The resort also offers professional event planning staff and catering services for any event, luncheon, or dinner, etc.  El Conquistador also offers numerous business amenities and services, which include, audio-visual equipment rental, printers, fax, Wi-Fi, and more.

This is ultimately one of the top 5 resorts in the Caribbean, with top-of-the class facilities and services.  Remember U.S citizens: you don’t need your passport to travel to Puerto Rico, we are a U.S territory. (For more information on Puerto Rico's culture, climate, location and more Click Here) This is a great option for your company or corporation's events to be unique, fun and entertaining. For more information on the resort visit their website or click here. I urge you to consider this great venue and destination; I guarantee you won’t regret it. “ Life is anything, but square. So, why think inside a box? – Unknown
Enjoy the following clip with a more inside look of this great resort.

El Conquistador Resort Official Website
El Conquistador Resort Official Website -


El Conquistador Resort - Puerto Rico - Waldorf Astoria Collection



Westboro Baptist Church can protest at military funerals

Westboro Baptist Church can protest at military funerals. The Supreme Court has handed down a decision in the Westboro Baptist Church case. The court rules, 8 – 1, that the father of a slain Marine could not sue the Westboro church for protesting during his son’s funeral.

Call it free speech 101. The hard part about the First Amendment is that you have to allow people to say all manner of annoying, vulgar, and inappropriate things at the wrong times.

Not that Justice Samuel Alito thinks so. Alito was the lone dissenter in this case. Alito was also the lone dissenter in the Stevens case — the one that overturned a ban on animal crush videos on First Amendment grounds. But he voted with the majority in Citizens United.

I can’t wait until Sam “Not True” Alito writes a book or something about exactly why regular people don’t deserve the free speech given to American corporations and sitting Supreme Court Justices. Most reasonable people agree that these Westboro people are distasteful nutjobs. But what can you do. This is America, and everybody has a right to make an ass of themselves. We can’t take away the right of people to act a fool, isn’t that right Alito?