How This Mom Is Using Her Business To Transform The Food Culture in Alberta

Karen Anderson is changing the image of Calgary from “cowtown” to one of Canada’s finest food cities. The self-proclaimed “momtrepreneur” started Alberta Food Tours, after having established a friend circle of farmers, chefs, and foodies.  Last year, she organized 169 tours for more than 1000 guests. She’s found a niche and a business in promoting sustainable agriculture through tourism.

“I could see that more and more people were traveling with the intent of trying local cuisines, and exploring the food culture of a city,” she says, driving down one of Calgary’s main throughways, the Macleod Trail. “But Calgary never had a reputation as being a foodie city, like Vancouver. So how could we change that?”

Read the full story at Forbes.

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Why Two Norwegian Entrepreneurs Put $1.5 Million Towards Slow Travel In Fjord Country

 

Set in Norway’s majestic fjord country, Flam is a town about 230 inhabitants. Yet in one year it will see about half a million visitors and nearly 200 cruise ships — ships so big they drown out the few small hotels situated on the waterfront. At the base of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Flam and its nearby residents are concerned about the number of tourists descending on the small, picturesque village.

Last year, Fjord Norway, the tourism office for the region, told the Telegraph that they were encouraging hotels to increase rates in the summer months, hoping that would push tourists to come in the off season.  What’s causing the increased interest?  Namely two factors: Disney’s animated film Frozen, which showcased Norway’s beauty and culture, and social media, particularly Instagram, where pictures of the stunning scenery are drawing thousands of ‘likes.’

Two Norwegians, however, have taken it upon themselves to offer tourists a different kind of experience in the fjords — one that builds on Norway’s love for slow TV, slow food, and all things Sakte (Norwegian for slow).  But will the rest of the world catch on as well?

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“We want to be a sustainable alternative to cruise tourism,” Tone Ronning says. “It’s a contradiction. Once you become a World Heritage site, you get more crowds, and it becomes a lost paradise. We don’t want that to happen here.”

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Read the full story at Forbes.com

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How To Start A Business With No Contacts And Little Money: American Lawyer Launches Shoe Brand

A former California lawyer and television host, Michael Paratore started a shoe business with no supply chain, no formal funding, and no contacts in the business. That too, sourcing from the villages of India.

Paratore’s story is movie material. In 2012, after having worked at a law firm for nearly two years, post a career in television at Current TV, Paratore was ready for something else. “It was now or never,” he says.

With no children at the time and a supportive wife (who had a full-time salary), he began on a journey to turn a beloved leather sandal, made by artisans in villages on the outskirts of Kolhapur, into a business.

Read the full story at Forbes.com

Why The Nordics Are The Best Place To Run A Business And Live

Is Denmark the best place to start and run a business?  A new book argues yes:

“When the World Bank ranks countries on ease of doing business, based on criteria such as starting a company, dealing with construction permits, getting credit, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, or paying taxes, the Nordic countries consistently rank among the most business-friendly nations in the world.  In fact, on those criteria, American entrepreneurs would be better off in Denmark, which scored higher than the US in the 2015 ranking.”

Finnish journalist Anu Partanen is the author of the newly released, “The Nordic Theory of Everything – In Search Of A Better Life,” which compares life in Nordic nations (Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway) to the US.  Love brought Partanen to the United States 8 years ago.  As s a freelance journalist in the States, Partanen is self-employed.  “I know the American tax code well now and it’s not easy to navigate,” she jokes.

Her book is an effort to get Americans to consider an alternative model, particularly for business and work-life balance:  “For many people, it seems to be an either-or debate of capitalism versus socialism.  But I want readers to see that Nordic life does celebrate the individual, and encourage money-making. It’s also a capitalistic system, centered around innovation,” she says, as she drives across the Northwest, from Portland to Seattle promoting the book.

Before she sets off driving, I ask her a few questions about the nuances of running a business in the Nordics and why we should look northward for social innovation.

Read the full story at Forbes.com

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How (and Why) to Camp in the National Parks

Chris Santella says he wasn’t raised by “outdoorsy” parents. But as a young man growing up in Connecticut, with grandparents who lived in Maine, he developed a kinship with nature — in particular, a love for standing knee-deep in rivers and fly-fishing. The East Coaster ultimately moved West, settling in Portland, Ore., and put aside a corporate career in marketing to write about his outdoor adventures, including trips to at least a dozen national parks.

His new book, “Fifty Places to Camp Before You Die” (Abrams Books), showcases some of the world’s most beautiful campsites. More than half of the book is devoted to American national parks, including Denali in Alaska, Big Bend in Texas and Crater Lake in Oregon.

Below are edited excerpts from a conversation with Mr. Santella, 53, conducted just before he was heading out on his next camping adventure in Oregon.

03QA2-master768Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho, an overlooked “gem” that combines a beautiful lodge and wilderness. CreditAdrienne Baisch/BlackPinePhotography.com

Q. What do you love about camping, particularly in the national parks?

A. When I’m out camping, and visiting places such as the national parks, my system slows down. I spend a lot of time sitting and observing rather than just doing. It just wakes you up — in a different way.

Read the full story at New York Times Travel.

Social Enterprise Accelerator Solvey Gets Over 3 Million Views On YouTube

In May, I met YouTubers Dave Erasmus and Louis Cole in Delhi.  They were on their third stop on a fast-paced world tour called Solvey, to find entrepreneurial individuals, interested in giving back and solving problems in their home countries.

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Erasmus, a serial entrepreneur, and Cole, a travel vlogger on YouTube with a massive global fan following, hit 8 cities in 30 days. Two months later, I spoke to Erasmus, now back home in England, to see what the results were of that mega trip.

“I’ve finally recovered from my travels.  Today, I woke up with a spring in my step,” he says, laughing.

That’s one month after their whirlwind tour ended.  While it may have been ruthless on their bodies, it did yield the results they were hoping for: 145 people applied from around world and that too across generations (ages 12 to 67).  Plus, the vlogs garnered over 3 million views on YouTube.

Read the full story on Forbes.

Slovakian architects’ pod makes tiny houses seem enormous

For house hunters a bit on the nonconventional side, here’s an edgy idea:

A new off-the-grid home comes with a kitchen, shower, bed and sitting area. But it’s only 86 square feet — smaller than a tiny house — and can be towed behind a car. If you happen to drive an electric vehicle, it’ll even charge the car for you.

The Ecocapsule, designed by a Slovakian architectural studio, is an egg-shaped abode for a single person or a snug residence for a small family. Powered by solar and wind energy, it’s completely mobile: no water or power hookup needed.

A filtration unit collects rainwater and stores purified water. With a 750-watt wind turbine that pops up, it looks as futuristic as it sounds — ideal for adventure-seekers with a nomadic lifestyle, families looking for life beyond the suburbs or millennials and empty-nesters seeking attention-grabbing affordable housing options.

It’s currently available for pre-order in limited quantities for a little more than $90,000 (shipping from Slovakia not included). Since revealing the design at last year’s Pioneers Festival in Vienna, the design team says it has received more than 50,000 inquiries.

Read the full story in The Washington Post.

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Photo Courtesy of Ecocapsule