Sustainability is the Name of the Game in Business and Community

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Peter Mills, Co-CEO of Wyse Meter Solutions Inc., joins us to discuss how his business came to be considered among Canada’s ‘best of the best’, the company’s recent successes and his plans for the business’ future.

Wyse provides endto-end submetering, utility billing and contract management solutions to the Canadian multi-residential and commercial markets. Their suite of services includes tenant utility and ancillary billing, metering equipment installation and maintenance, bill auditing and advocacy, daily meter reads allowing for leak detection, utility expense management, resident payment processing, contract management and due diligence services.

During the years they have been operating, the company has hit milestones and has contributed toward efforts to make Canadian energy more sustainable. Peter begins by expressing how it feels to be included in a feature detailing the ‘best of the best’ in Canada and what the honor means for his company.

“We’re elated to be acknowledged among Canada’s ‘best.’ Wyse’s five-year revenue growth of 2,604% reinforces that customers are crying out for a submetering provider with an innovative and client-centric approach. Our exceptional team of dedicated, knowledgeable and responsive professionals earns the trust of customers every day. Our range of services has not only ignited the industry, but it has also contributed to making Canada more sustainable. In 2016, Wyse saved over 45 million kWh and reduced 31,625 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to 819,596 trees grown for ten years.

“The culture and drive for excellence at Wyse only grows stronger. Our leadership in submetering and utility expense management services in Canada is a direct result of a clear vision, delivered with precision through a commitment to our customers. It’s why we heavily invest in our corporate culture. Wyse’s ‘Summer Flex Hours Program’ enables employees to enjoy an early start to summer weekends with adjusted work hours. Our ‘Quarterly Bonus Program’ is structured so that all nonexecutive employees participate equally. We believe employees are the fuel to success in expansion and exemplary customer service.”

Continuing to discuss his company’s success, Peter tells us more about Wyse Meter Solution Inc.’s innovations and the services they have introduced to shake-up the way utility expenses are handled.
“Wyse pioneered utility expense management services in Canada by offering the SYNERGY service. SYNERGY is a comprehension solution that allows building owners and managers to focus on their core competencies, offloading all utility expense responsibilities onto our experts. Wyse’s team handles all aspects of utility expense management, including auditing and processing, reporting and benchmarking, and advocacy to resolve utility provider issues on our clients’ behalf. SYNERGY ticks all the right boxes for clients who want greater visibility into their utility spend, simultaneously freeing their staff from administrative burdens. We have over 750 buildings on SYNERGY and growing.”

Detailing what his company does, Peter discusses the aims, objectives and customer-oriented processes Wyse Meter Solutions Inc is built on.

“At Wyse, we recognize we are in a service business. Our job is to reduce clients’ burden in managing utility bills and information; to bring to their attention important information related to their expenses; and, to allow them to focus on key priorities. We provide seamless customer service, where any customer can get live assistance in seconds with a phone call. We deliver our services on time and on budget. We provide clear and transparent billing with all backup documentation allowing clients’ staff to easily audit our invoicing every month.

“The Wyse senior management team has over 190 years of combined experience in development, property management and submetering services. We have trusted relationships with Canada’s
largest property developers, owners and managers, and utilize that experience to deliver first-rate services customized to our client’s needs.

Continuous innovation is part of Wyse Meter Solution Inc.’s DNA. They thrive on the ability to work as one team, staying nimble and committed to customer relationships. There are no silos at Wyse. At the top, Wyse’s leadership team possesses a keen sense of the customers’ needs and a strong vision for future success. They train and mentor their staff to develop new ways to solve clients’ challenges. Time and again, you’ll see Wyse’s sales, operations, billing & IT teams collaborate to design and implement a submetering solution that no one else in the industry can bring to the table. Simply put, they singularly focus on empowering customers with the most innovative programs in the industry.

When discussing the aspects of Wyse Meter Solutions, which set the company apart from its competitors in the energy services industry, Peter states:
“What sets us apart is our superior ability to make life easier for building owners, operators and residents. More than a provider, Wyse is a partner, and we’re committed to helping clients achieve their energy management and financial goals. Through an exclusive partnership with Conservice, the largest submetering and utility management company in North America, we offer the most sophisticated billing platform on the continent and the best customer service possible.

“It’s a point of difference because we deliver the deepest utility insights for our busy clients. They gain transparent, accessible data allowing for better control of utility costs at each property, and it is available at their fingertips. In fact, all services are delivered with unmatched transparency, and we put service level commitments in our contracts.

“Wyse comprehensively trains clients at all levels of their organization, so everyone is very comfortable with our turnkey programs and advanced capabilities. We’re the only provider in Canada with the expertise to integrate with clients’ property management software and automatically pull new resident data daily, reducing their onsite staff’s workload.” “Our customer service team takes great pride in helping residents reduce their utility costs through reduced consumption. Wyse offers an extended hour call center that delivers services in 26 languages, answering calls within seconds. We provide easy, self-monitoring tools for residents to monitor and manage their usage. We’ve got full online services, so residents can conveniently enroll, auto-pay, receive e-bills, and more.”

Finally, Peter tells us where he sees the business in the future and what his plans are for expansion.
“The success of Wyse’s unique approach to submetering in Canada has turned a lot of heads in other markets. We’ve recently expanded into New York City to meet the overwhelming demand for a submetering solution that provides administration fees and customer service levels superior to local utility providers, without any upfront capital costs. Here at home, we see new opportunities to grow our ancillary services, which is something clients are asking for.”

Company: Wyse Meter Solutions Inc.
Contact: Peter Mills, Co-CEO
Email: [email protected]
Company: Wyse Meter Solutions Inc. 2100 Matheson Blvd E., Suite 201, Mississauga, Ontario, L4W 5E1
Telephone: 1 800 672 1134
Web Address: www.wysemeter.com

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North America News May 2017

Welcome to this bumper edition of North America News.

In recent news, iPass Inc. announced the iPass Mobile Security Report 2017. The results reveal that 40% of organizations believe that C-level executives, including the CEO, are most at risk of being hacked when working outside of the office. Cafés and coffee shops were ranked the number one high-risk venue by 42% of respondents, from a list also including airports (30%), hotels (16%), exhibition centers (7%) and airplanes (4%). Most (93%) of respondents said they were concerned about the security challenges posed by a growing mobile workforce. Almost half (47%) said they were ‘very’ concerned, up from 36% in 2016.

In other corporate news, Crown Global Insurance Company of America, a member of Crown Global Insurance Group LLC announced that it has been ranked as the U.S. life insurance industry’s fastest-growing group or standalone entity in 2016, according to criteria set forth by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

I trust you enjoy reading the wide-ranging content that this special edition offers.

 

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First Nanotechnology Lab in the Brazilian IT industry

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NanoLab is part of a $4M investment in IBM Research-Brazil focused on Oil & Gas, Agriculture and Health research across Latin America Initial discoveries could enable more efficient oil extraction from existing wells announced today a new experimental laboratory for nanotechnology research in Brazil. 

The NanoLab is part of a $4Minvestment within the recently upgraded IBM Research-Brazil lab in Rio de Janeiro and will focus on projects related to research in Oil & Gas, Agriculture and Health across Latin America.

Through its NanoLab, IBM is the first company within Brazil’s IT industry to work on building nanoscience-based technology prototypes meant to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and big data capabilities. These simulation systems and the process of all data collection and treatment will be powered by IBM Cloud. The lab will enable physicists, engineers and computer scientists to jointly conduct industrial nanoscience and nanotechnology development in Brazil, and across IBM Research’s global network of 12 labs. The NanoLab will also collaborate with the local ecosystem, such as universities and government institutions, and has already signed a partnership with UFMG (Federal University from Minas Gerais).

The new research lab houses equipment for the characterization and testing of integrated lab-on-a-chip devices with a focus on advanced materials, such as the manipulation and testing of nanoparticles. This includes high-precision atomic force and optical microscopes, 3D printers, hardware and software testing tools, among others.

“The NanoLab is a unique research environment that provides instrumentation for the characterization and manipulation of nanoscale devices and materials, enabling the development of new methods and applications for industrial-scale IT technology. We want the NanoLab to be a hub for industrial science and technology in Brazil that attracts top research talent from around the world,” said Mathias Steiner, manager and research staff member, Industrial Technology & Science at IBM Research Brazil.

New discovery could reduce oil losses during extraction

Steiner and his NanoLab team’s paper, “Adsorption energy as a metric for wettability at the nanoscale” published in Nature Scientific Reports explains how the properties of liquid oil molecules behave in completely different and unexpected ways when in contact with a solid material, at the nanoscale. The study also revealed that the simulation tools and techniques commonly employed by the oil industry do not take into account the increased energy required to extract these oil molecules. As a result, 60 percent or more of a well’s oil is left behind in the nanoscale capillaries of shale reservoirs. In response, the NanoLab team is developing nanoscience-enhanced oil flow simulations that could better-predict oil extraction from a reservoir.

According to Steiner, while the simulation does not suggest how to extract the totality of trapped oil, it offers different techniques and materials that might help to extract about 1 percent more. In Brazil, which pumps 2.4 million barrels of oil every day, that 1 percent increase in production would add 24,000 more barrels to the daily total –and 8.8 million more barrels every year (in Brazil). “Our wettability discovery is an important step to help oil and gas companies to recover more than the industry average of 40 percent of the oil trapped in their reservoirs,” Steiner said.

Next steps

The next step is to study the flow of oil in nano-capillaries. To that end, IBM Research –Brazil’s NanoLab scientists developed an integrated chip platform that enables a way to experimentally validate and calibrate nanoscale flow for building better flow simulations that can determine how much pressure is necessary to pump water, as well as customized chemicals specifically designed to separate oil from a rock’s nanoscale pore network –and eventually extract the oil (for which they already have a patent: Method and integrated device for analyzing liquid flow and liquid-solid interface interaction).

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Customer and Employee Standards Underpin Growth

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Perform Air International Inc. provides component overhaul and repair services to the Commercial and Military Aviation Industries. We met with the President Cindy McGowan to learn more about Perform Air International’s values and the opportunities and challenges Cindy has faced charting a successful career as a woman within the aviation industry.

Perform Air International Inc. is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and China Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) certificated aircraft component repair station.

Cindy explains, “we provide aircraft component repairs to some of the largest airlines in the world, with component types ranging from hydraulics, electromechanical and pneumatic to waste and water”.

An average of 350 components a week are shipped to Perform Air from around the globe and repaired or overhauled in ten days or less, ensuring minimal operational disruption for our customers.

Cindy continues, “all employees at Perform Air International Inc. are committed to Customer Satisfaction. This is achieved by providing excellent customer service, at the best possible price, and turn times, without compromising quality”.

The highest priorities for Perform Air International Inc.’s management are encapsulated within the ‘Diamond Excellence Program’. This comprises four objectives: The meeting of employee needs, customer requirements, organization standards and the regulatory requirements of the agencies which regulate the aviation industry. The Diamond Excellence Award is awarded to individuals or partner companies who consistently achieve the highest level of excellence related to Perform Air International Inc.’s quality standard.

Cindy is delighted to have recently been selected within the ‘Most Prominent Women in Business – 2017’ awards.

“I have worked hard to break barriers and overcome many obstacles within the male dominated aviation industry to lead Perform Air International Inc. to its current position and I am honoured to have been chosen for this award.”

Cindy notes that there’s still a substantial disparity between the number of women and men involved in any aspect of the aviation/aerospace world. Women only make up 2.4% of all aircraft technicians and 4.2% of all airline pilots and the percentages decrease within management ranks. Whilst the numbers of women involved have been improving, more still needs to be done to promote our industry to young women.

Cindy discusses how many businesses are realizing the benefits of having a more balanced workforce.

“I believe that business benefit from a balanced workforce. Diversity is integral to achieving Perform Air International’s goal of ensuring safe and efficient aircraft component repair for all domestic and international air carriers. Our inclusive culture is defined by our values and we continuously seek employees from all backgrounds with distinctive ideas, perspectives, insights and talents. As NextGen technology and aircraft systems continue to evolve to meet the aviation challenges of tomorrow, so must our workforce”.

Reflecting on her own career path, success and influence as a woman within the aviation industry, Cindy attributes having a female mentor early on in her corporate career as a key element in her progression as a business leader. Whilst this mentor was not part of Cindy’s division or workgroup, she was someone whose advice, guidance and knowledge Cindy valued.

She adds, “today, I feel it is important to be a mentor and for my executive team to be mentors for others within my organization, to provide them with guidance, advice and knowledge to better prepare them for advancement which in turn benefits not only the individual but the organization”.
The only way this can be accomplished is to establish trust early on with new employees, make sure you are doing the right thing and handling those early opportunities with importance, then pay it forward by providing junior and senior employees with mentorship moments where this concept can be fostered.

Cindy believes Perform Air International Inc.’s people are their strength. “We take great care in investing in and valuing them as such. Most importantly, Perform Air International Inc. employees are proactive, not reactive. They actively take part in meetings, contribute ideas, provide suggestions and get involved in the work. Employees who are used to sitting on the sidelines while others get involved generally do not do well in our organization; They’ll need training and coaching from mentors, leads, and peers if they are going to become strong members of our team”

Looking ahead to the opportunities and challenges of 2017, Cindy believes that Perform Air International Inc. is currently experiencing a new growth cycle as the aviation industry continues to grow and more aircraft enter operations. With this comes requirements to expand infrastructure and headcount. As with any growth process, this must be managed and controlled to ensure there are no operational disruptions or growing pains that are relayed to our customers. As long as we maintain our Diamond Excellence standards we will continue to grow and provide consistent service to our valuable customers.

With respect to the wider picture, Cindy remarks that women have been involved in aviation since its earliest days. From E. Lillian Todd, who designed and built aircraft in 1906 to Helen Richey, who became the first woman pilot for a U.S. commercial airline in 1934, women have assumed a variety of roles in the industry. At the close of the 20th century, astronaut Eileen Collins became the first female space shuttle commander.

During the last two decades, the number of women involved in the aviation industry has steadily increased and women can be found in nearly every aviation occupation today. However, the numbers are small by comparison to their male counterparts.

Unfortunately, the total numbers of individuals entering the aviation industry is also in a steady decline. As the total numbers, men and women, of pilots, engineers, technicians, etc decrease; finding qualified individuals to repair aircraft components will become more difficult. More must be done to promote aviation, science, maths and engineering to young people as a means of motivating them or inspiring them to enter our industry.

Company: Perform Air International
Name: Cindy McGowan
Email: [email protected]
Web Address: www.performair.com
Address: 463 S Hamilton Ct, Gilbert, Arizona, 85233, USA
Telephone: +1 480 610 3500

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Brazilian Atlantic Forest deforestation up nearly 60%

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The deforestation of the Atlantic Forest, Brazil’ssecond most important forest, grew 57.7% in a year, from 2015 to 2016, when the biome lost 29,075 hectares, or 29 thousand football fields. Figures were released Monday (May 29) by the SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation and the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

In the previous period (2014-2015), the area cleared had totaled 18,433 hectares. According to SOS Mata Atlântica Executive Director Marcia Hirota, the forest, which has spread across 17 states for ten years, had not seen such high levels of deforestation. “What strikes us the most is the considerable increase in deforestation during the period. It’s a huge setback, with rates comparable to those of 2005,” she said. From 2005 to 2008, the Atlantic Forest lost 102,938 hectares—a yearly average of 34,313 hectares.

 Deforestation in the states

From 2015 to 2016, Bahia was the state most severely hit by deforestation—12,288 hectares cleared, 207% higher than the previous 3,997 hectares of native vegetation devastated. The Bahia municipalities of Santa Cruz Cabrália and Belmonte head the list with the top deforesters, with 3,058 hectares and 2,11 hectares respectively. Deforestation rates from other cities in southern Bahia considered, like Porto Seguro and Ilhéus, some 30% of the biome was destroyed during the period in the region.

“This is Brazil’s richest region for biodiversity, with great potential for tourism. We’re destroying heritage that could generate development, employment, and income for the state,” Hirota argued.

 The state of Minas Gerais ranks second, with 7,410 hectares deforested, most of which in the north—an area known for the devastation of its native vegetation for the production of coal and the growing of eucalyptus.

According to Mario Mantovani, the foundation’s director for public policies, the scenario is bleak and shows a major reversal in the downward trend in deforestation observed in the last few years.

“The productive sector is once again gaining on our forests—not just the Atlantic Forest, but also in all biomes, after the changes in the Forest Code and the subsequent dismantling of Brazil’senvironmental legislation. It may be the beginning of a new phase in the growth of deforestation, which we cannot accept.”

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The 2017 CA State Business Awards Press Statement

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North America News Unveils the 2017 CA State Business Awards Winners

United States, 2017 – North America News announces the winners of the 2017 CA State Business Awards.

Innovative thinkers, inimitable ways and tireless efforts, these are just some of the qualities that can be used to describe the game-changers from a vast range of industries within the state of California. From media and entertainment to mining, and logistics to hospitality the high-level of service that is provided by the talented individuals and firms, is simply phenomenal.

Which is why, the 2017 CA State Business Awards celebrates the outstanding accomplishments made by the talented individuals within their respected industry.

Speaking about the awards, Sophie Milner, Awards Co-ordinator, commented: “These leading lights are paving the way to reaching new heights, and in doing so they have achieved some remarkable results with their dedication and hard-work. I am extremely proud of their success and would like to wish them the very best of fortunes for the future.”

All winners for the awards were the result of months of research and analysis from North America News’s dedicated awards team. As a result, each and every winner was chosen on merit only, and can take great pride from the fact that they were selected for their success.

To find out more about the best of the best in the legal, please visit the North America News website (http://www.northamerica-news.com) for full a full winners’ list and a link to our winners’ supplement.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

About North America News Magazine

North America News, formerly Corporate America, is the definitive magazine for CEOs, top tier management and key decision makers across the US. Created to inform, entertain, influence, and shape the corporate conversation across the nation through high quality editorial, in-depth research and an experienced and dedicated network of advisers, North America News provides our readership with the most authoritative and current analysis of the major changes effecting the corporate landscape, and the latest deals and topical issues dominating the corporate universe.

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La Amada Residences Plans Renovation

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La Amada Residences, a private new collection of residences located within Playa Mujeres, Mexico, announced today the launch of sales for its luxury mid-rise condominiums.  With a $6M renovation underway, La Amada Residences will introduce an array of additional amenities in late 2017, including a new fitness club, upscale gourmet food shop and an exquisite new Beach Club, exclusive to La Amada owners and their guests. 

As the only residential offering in Playa Mujeres, La Amada offers contemporary luxury tucked between 3 km of white sandy beaches to the east and the Chacmochuc Lagoon nature reserve to the west. Prices begin at the low $300,000’s and range over $1.3M.

Featuring 140 for-sale residences dispersed throughout five unique buildings, with terraces boasting spectacular views of the surrounding lush lagoon and nature preserve, the peaceful Marina V&V, and the surrounding ocean, residents will discover a modern-day monument to 21st century coastal living. With floorplans ranging from one- to three-bedrooms and interiors spanning from 1,200 to 3,000 square feet, the La Amada Residences embody a sophisticated, contemporary habitat that hasn’t forgotten the vibrant spirit of Mexico’s legendary past. Interiors offer marble flooring and luxurious stone throughout, solid custom wood cabinetry and high-end appliances such as Miele and Bosch. Purposefully designed for its beach-centric location with a focus on architectural expressions of light and space, the collection of residences effortlessly connects indoor and outdoor living with large glass sliding doors and outdoor spaces that range from expansive terraces to sprawling Penthouse rooftop decks.

Owners and their guests will enjoy the privileges and conveniences of hotel living while having exclusive access to a full suite of concierge services and amenities, including private access to the newly renovated Beach Club with a blend of infinity pools, shaded loungers, a swim up bar with the best of contemporary Mexican design, two roof top pools, tennis and paddle ball courts, numerous cabana and barbeque spaces, Owners Lounge, world-class gym, Marketplace Café, and a private lobby and office center. In addition to the private stretch of beach and marina boardwalk, residents will also enjoy the many acres of pristine preserved wetlands that provide the backdrop for La Amada and is also home to a variety of rare and protected species.

“La Amada Residences has found a piece of virtually untouched Mexican landscape that combines the serene escape each of us long for with elements of adventure we never knew we were missing,” said Julie Quigley, Sales Director for La Amada Residences. “We are thrilled to launch sales on this piece of paradise and invite future residents to celebrate everything Playa Mujeres has to offer.” 

La Amada is located in the heart of Playa Mujeres, a secluded 20 km peninsula perched on the northeastern tip of Mexico’s historic Caribbean coast. Residents can fully enjoy miles of Playa Mujeres’ beaches, the peaceful marina, and spectacular Greg Norman designed 18-hole golf course within the private community. Playa Mujeres is also adjacent to Isla Mujeres, a Mexican island located 13 km from the coast, a destination known for its unparalleled scuba diving and snorkeling, as well as a short boat ride from the second largest coral reef in the world, Cozumel. Just outside of Playa Mujeres, residents can also take advantage of the close proximity to popular shopping and entertainment destinations within downtown Cancun and the opportunity to explore the vast surroundings of Riviera Maya, including Playa del Carmen and Tulum.  La Amada is located at Calle Vialidad Paseo Mujeres, Mza. 1 Zona Continental, Lote 10 SM 3, Isla Mujeres, 77400, Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico.  

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Country in dispute

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Forces from the right, the left, domestic, international, Chavista and non-Chavista are disputing the course of the country.

The “bachaqueo,” or the purchase of products at state-regulated prices to sell them at market prices, are an everyday way of life for Venezuelans.

The phenomenon clearly represents the difficulties being faced by the population to buy basic products and it reflects one of the limits of President Nicolás Maduro at the moment: continue increasing the quality of life of the population. But it also hides the root causes and faces behind this situation.

Vick Guedes, a resident in the fishing town of Choroní, in the state of Aragua, protests: “It is very hard to obtain the basic food basket: flour to make arepas [corn cakes], rice, and pasta. It’s too expensive! You can’t even buy chicken. It just doesn’t exist. Meat? No way, unthinkable. We eat foods such as eggplant, broccoli, things like that, we’re vegetarians now. We have all lost weight. We are all suffering here, waiting for this to end.”

In an attempt to counter this reality, the Bolivarian state created the Local Committees of Provision and Production (CLAP) in April 2016, in order to ensure that the basic food basket at regulated prices reaches the hands of those most needy. The measure has helped to alleviate the situation, but this is still not enough and it is not free of corruption. In other words, the state is incapable of exercising absolute control of the distribution of the subsidized basic food products. In this scenario, a bag of corn flour, a basic foodstuff, is regulated at around 500 bolívares, but it can cost up to 5,000 bolívares [an equivalent of around US$1 according to the parallel exchange rate] in the market.

Behind this food shortage crisis hides an economic and political crisis. Economically speaking, the problem has its roots in the drop of oil prices, but also in the economic model implemented by ex-President Hugo Chávez (1999-2013), who never stopped working jointly with private enterprises. Politically speaking now is a time of dispute between different forces, even within the Chavismo ranks.

Economic and political contradictions
The neoliberal forces of the right have prevailed in Latin American countries, rising to power in countries that were run by leftist governments, such as in Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. This fact cannot be completely understood without considering that these governments were economically supported by the exploitation of natural resources and raw materials that, when their prices dropped, the capacity of these states to take action diminished as well.

In the case of Venezuela, oil represents 95 percent of the country’s foreign exchange, at a time when the country imports almost all of its consumables. Meanwhile, part of the imports along the Chavismo period have been made through private companies that receive dollars at state preferential rates to import products and services to be distributed throughout Venezuela. Some of these products, with state controlled prices, such as is corn flour produced by the Polar Company, are sold today to the communities through the CLAPs.

Just as an example, last March President Maduro gave $19 million to the national business community during the Expo Venezuela Potencia 2017 event. Nestlé Venezuela itself received $9 million in that occasion.

The problem is that this relationship between what the state encourages and what truly takes place, is not direct. These same sectors that are sustained through the state are directly responsible for the supply crisis, by giving, for example, a preference to the production of products with uncontrolled prices, such as juice instead of water, or pastries instead of bread.

This puts in evidence a limit of the Chavista economic model, so says to Latinamerica Press Venezuelan sociologist and human rights militant Antonio González Plessman.

In practice, the social economy, despite numerous policies — whose efficiency remains to be evaluated — and countless resources, has not been able to move higher than 2 percent of the GDP. The economic power of the state and of private enterprise grew during the oil boom, while the power of the independent associated workers grew almost nil,” he says.

Up to a certain point, there was a combination of this contradictory and fragile economic model with initiatives for development of popular empowerment and broadening of social benefits. However, right now exists an internal dispute within the Chavismo regarding the pathway of this revolution, just as Johsy Coronado, of the Leftist Cultural Front youth organization of Caracas, explained to Latinamerica Press.

There are members of the military controlling the arms, economic powers controlling the economy and production, and there are popular power sectors capable of mobilizing people. So, there are different expressions of real power that are in dispute there. And in the middle of this dispute for power, are those of us who represent the communes, who represent the state of the people, and we have not been able to impose our tendencies. Other more social democratic trends than ours have prevailed, who think bourgeoisie is going to develop the productive forces in this country,” Coronado says.

Martha Lía Grajales, of the Surgentes group, which is also active in Caracas, thinks that this moment of weakness of the socialist revolution is put in evidence by the little attention given to the development of popular participation through the communal councils and the communes, grassroots organizations created in the development process of the communal state.

“I identify it in many things. First, I see it in the decision taken to suspend the election of spokespersons in communal councils. All the efforts to create communes have had, let’s say, a slow-down coming from the political leadership; it has deviated from the message. And I also believe that the CLAP, when positioning themselves above the structure of the communal council, have weakened the image of the communal council as an instance of popular organization in the territory,” she said to Latinamerica Press.

The end of Chavismo?
In the present scenario, the political right is betting on the fall of Maduro coming from the street protests with flares of violence, looking to escalate the discontent of the population with the supply crisis, and also to publicize, worldwide, the existence of a civil war in the country.

Journalist Marco Teruggi denounces in his blog Hastaelnocau (Until the knockout) that the objective of the street demonstrations in the marches staged by the opposition is to generate media events.

It is enough to watch the videos going around: these are made of close-ups, faces, individual actions or smaller groups. They succeed in convincing many people that there exists a fierce repression and that a multitude is in the streets. There is no need to be thousands to set an idea. It is enough to have a few pockets of violence, and transmit them simultaneously,” he points out.

The number of casualties in the demonstrations between April and May of this year has reached almost 40. These deaths, added to the declarations of the Organization of American States (OAS) as well as Mercosur and the United States, point out victories by the right in staging these scenario.

At the other end, Bolivarian Revolution base sectors bank on the entrenchment of the people’s power as a way out of the crisis. Grajales, as an example, participates in a popular consumption experience in the Caracas neighborhood of San Agustín del Sur. In association with Pan Pueblo a Pueblo (Bread Town to Town), a project that looks to rid of the intermediaries between producers and consumers, the citizens of San Agustín, through the communal councils, have organized themselves to receive and distribute this food at fair prices.

This, at this moment, is making it possible for us to resist and come up with alternatives in face of an economic crisis that, besides, does not pass through the state; goes through a self-managed effort and an effort to generate processes for the construction of territorial socialism,” Grajales states

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National Force patrolling Rio roads and slums

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Soldiers from the National Force reinforced the security in Rio de Janeiro, chiefly in areas with heavier truck traffic on Avenida Brasil and the entries to the Chapadão favela complex—where vehicles and cargoes are stolen at alarming rates. The operation started Monday (May 15). 

Near the entry to a hill known as Morro da Pedreira, one of the city’s most violent districts, the security agents set up checkpoints to inspect personal and vehicle documents. Drivers had to get off their trucks and show what they were carrying.

The National Force was sent to Rio last Tuesday (9), after state Governor Luiz Fernando Pezão asked for the support of the federal government in fighting the city’s appalling violence rates. The request came following an attempted invasion of a gang in Cidade Alta, Cordovil, northern Rio de Janeiro, on May 2. Ten buses and two trucks were set on fire, which brought the traffic on Avenida Brazil—the main thoroughfare into Rio—to a halt.

Altogether, 300 men were deployed. The agents joined the 125 who had been in the city since Feburary providing extra patrolling support after the protests against the voting of unpopular measures at the Rio de Janeiro City Council (ALERJ). Federal Highway Police officers will also be sent to the city, but no date has been set for their arrival thus far.

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Crowdfunding Platform launching in Palestine

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CrowdPal, the first online equity crowdfunding platform purpose-built to support Palestinian entrepreneurship, announced today the launch of their website.

Ongoing political unrest and the resulting economic slump have presented difficulty in finding venture capital opportunities for Palestinian-based founders. 

With an unemployment rate over 20% and low GDP per capita, securing funding to get startup businesses off the ground has been a constant uphill battle.

“Through investing in promising startups, we can drive economic and social development as a step forward to pave the way for peace,” said CrowdPal Founder and CEO Anas Hamed.

To remove these barriers to entry and promote economic growth, Anas and his team created CrowdPal to allow Palestinian-founded companies or other international entrepreneurs who want to invest part of their funding in early stage Palestinian startups or employ/outsource professionals in Palestine to support the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Users can seek investment funding by reaching out to personal contacts or by leveraging CrowdPal’s community of investors, who can be located anywhere in the world.

Co-Founder and CVO Alejandro Dughman views the platform as offering an important economic lifeline to an area limited in resources but with great investment opportunities. “Palestinians and peace supporters all over the globe that wish to do their part to and make an investment in the future of Palestine haven’t had a sound place to put their investment. With CrowdPal, now they do.”

Entrepreneurs also have access to a world-class mentorship and advisory network which provides founders with valuable educational resources. From a combination of online materials, video tutorials, and advice from industry experts, entrepreneurs can gain key insights into best practices for successfully running their business.

The CrowdPal platform will also feature a job search and hiring function. This will allow companies funded through the site to hire from the talent pool in their particular region.

CrowdPal is already garnering early interest in the investment community and with industry influencers. Paul Niederer, a lead pioneer in equity crowdfunding, said, “Crowdfunding for a purpose is very rewarding for the entrepreneurs, supporters and society as a whole. CrowdPal are a passionate, highly qualified team that are serious about making a real difference for Palestinian entrepreneurs wherever they may be.”

The company’s launch comes at a time when the regulatory environment has become increasingly favorable for entrepreneurs across the globe. For the founding members, CrowdPal represents a vital opportunity to use entrepreneurship as a mean of inspiring change in a volatile region, “The ultimate goal is to support companies that give back to the Palestinian community, create jobs, and increase quality of life,” said CrowdPal Co-Founder and CIO Marcelo Diaz.

CrowdPal is launching with an initial concentration on the Chilean market, which has an influential Palestinian community of half a million. CrowdPal will then roll out in the Americas, followed by the Middle East, and then Europe.

The CrowdPal platform is currently seeking early adoption by investors and entrepreneurs. The company invites those interested in getting involved to follow their journey by visiting their website to find out more.

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