5 Tips for Repairing Personal Credit Before Building a Business

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If you’re getting ready to launch a startup but you have bad personal credit, you’re probably concerned that your credit score could affect your company’s ability to obtain funding. That would be a very valid concern because many lenders will take your personal credit score into consideration if your business hasn’t established any significant credit history. Luckily, you can ensure a better financial start for your company by taking the following personal credit rebuilding steps first.


1. Take Out a Personal Loan to Repay Your Debts

Taking out another debt to repay previous debts might seem counter-intuitive but it can actually be a very effective method of giving your credit profile a clean slate. You can click here to see examples of personal loans that are ideal for fixing bad credit. This kind of borrowing is also sometimes called debt consolidation because you’re essentially centralizing your debts into a single loan by using it to pay off all your other debts. Fortunately, as long as you can continue to make your repayments for that one loan on time, your credit score will actually go up. Elevating your credit score is imperative if you’re about to start a business that will require financing, as you’ll want to have a FICO score of at least 670 before you get started to ensure an optimal outcome when you apply for your initial lines of business credit.


2. Negotiate with Creditors to Reduce Debt Amounts

In most cases, if a debt has been outstanding for a while, the collection agency that it has been passed on to will have no problem accepting much less than the full owed amount to clear the debt. In fact, you can often get away with paying only 50 to 70 percent of the owed amount. However, it’s extremely important that you obtain a guarantee in writing to ensure that they will honor their end of the bargain after your payment, as there are cases where debtors will repay creditors an agreed-upon sum but the item still isn’t removed from their credit report. Thus, to safely negotiate with creditors, you’ll need a statement which provides assurance that the debt will be dissolved upon receipt of the payment.


3. Apply for Secured Credit Cards

If you have bad credit, you won’t be approved for a conventional credit card. Thus, your best option for rebuilding your credit will be to apply for a secured credit card, which offers guaranteed approval when you deposit an amount that is equal to your desired credit limit. For example, if you wanted a $1,000 line of credit, then you’d need to deposit $1,000 of your own money with the card company. Even though it’s your own money, as long as you pay back everything that you spend every month by the due date, these cards will work just like regular credit cards for credit rebuilding purposes.


4. Learn About Credit Utilization Ration

Utilizing all of your available credit is never a good idea because it shows that you have a constant need to max out your limits. Ideally, you should try to use no more than 30 to 50 percent of your overall credit limit – the sum of all your lines of credit combined. So, if you have five secured cards and each one had a $5,000 credit limit, then your total limit would be $2,500 and you’d want to utilize no more than $1,250 of that on a monthly basis to maintain an optimal rate of credit improvement. Your credit score won’t go down if you use more, but it won’t rise as fast either. 


5. Establish a Diverse Credit Portfolio

You might assume that clearing all the items and accounts off your report would be the best approach but having insufficient credit history can be just as bad as having poor credit when it comes time to apply for a business loan or line of credit. Ideally, you should try to establish between seven and 15 different credit accounts in your personal credit profile. Keeping that many accounts in good standing over a period of six months to a year will drastically boost your score and will have most people pushing into the 700 club. This works because it shows prospective creditors and lenders that you have a history of repaying a lot of debts in a timely manner.


Separate Your Personal Credit From Your Business Credit

In closing, it’s important to establish business credit as soon as possible so that your company can build a distinct credit profile which is separate from your own. That way, if you run into problems with your personal credit, it won’t affect the company’s ability to obtaining funding. Applying for a Dunn & Bradstreet number is one of the first steps you should take to give your business a credit profile of its own.

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Vestas Reinforces Its Leadership In Chile With 185 MW Order

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Vestas Reinforces Its Leadership In Chile With 185 MW Order

The global wind and solar development company, Mainstream Renewable Power has placed a 185 MW order for the Cerro Tigre wind farm, to be located in the Antofagasta region, in Chile. The contract includes the supply and installation of 44 V117-4.2 MW wind turbines, as well as an Active Output Management 5000 (AOM 5000) service agreement for the operation and maintenance of the wind park over the next 20 years.

Manuel Tagle, Mainstream Renewable Power’s General Manager for Latin America said: ”We are delighted to be partnering with Vestas at the Cerro Tigre wind farm, which is part of our wholly-owned and fully-contracted 1.3 GW Andes Renovables wind and solar generation platform in Chile. When fully operational, it will generate enough carbon-free electricity to supply more than one in every six Chilean homes and will play an important role in helping to reduce the cost of electricity generation in the country”.

“We are very glad to have signed our first contract with Mainstream Renewable Power in Chile.  We share a common set of values and a vision on the need to transition to renewable energies. Hopefully we will be able to benefit them greatly with the competitiveness of our 4 MW platform”, says Sales Senior Director for Vestas LATAM South Cone, Andrés Gismondi.

The Cerro Tigre wind project, awarded in the 2016 distribution companies tender, has already received the environmental and grid connection permits. Turbine delivery is scheduled for the third quarter of 2020, while the wind park is expected to reach commercial operation in 2021.

Vestas pioneered wind energy in Chile in 2001 with the 2 MW Alto Baguales wind park. With this new order, Vestas reaches a firm order intake of almost 500 MW in 2019 alone and surpasses a total of 1,4 GW of wind installed capacity or under construction, consolidating its 40 percent market share.

The Cerro Tigre project also reinforces Vestas’ leadership in the Southern Cone region, comprising Chile, Argentina and Uruguay, where the company holds a 50 percent market share.

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Institute of Risk Management (IRM) announces second global ambassador for the United States of America

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Institute of Risk Management (IRM) announces second global ambassador for the United States of America

The IRM is delighted to announce a second global ambassador for the USA, focusing on the Midwest covering: North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio and parts of eastern Canada.

Michael Rasmussen is a long serving member of the Institute and is an Honorary Life Member; he will also work in partnership with our other Global Ambassadors around the world.

Prior to founding GRC 20/20 Research, Michael was a Vice-President and ’Top Analyst’ at Forrester Research, Inc. Before Forrester, he led the risk/compliance consulting practice at a professional services firm and has specific experience managing compliance and risk within organizations.

Michael’s educational experience consists of a Juris Doctorate and a Bachelor of Science in Business. Michael is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School with a research focus in ethics and church history. He is GRCP (GRC Professional), a CCEP (Certified Compliance and Ethic Professional) as well as a CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional). OCEG has recognized him as an OCEG Fellow for his contributions and advancement of GRC practices around the world.

Michael said: “We are at a critical time in growth and maturity for risk management professionals as well as processes within organizations. There are a lot of misconceptions, silos, and opinions on risk management.

The IRM is providing strategic thought leadership and professional development right now when it is needed. They provide an objective balanced view of risk management as it crosses industries, roles, and geographies. I am delighted to be a part of this association and advance the cause of risk management and professional development in North America and around the world.”

Iain Wright, CMIRM, Chairman of the IRM said:

“This is an exciting development for the IRM to be able to reach out to members who are experts in their field and leverage their expertise in home markets. We have had growing interest in IRM’s training and qualifications from the US in recent years, particular following the launch of our unique digital risk management and supply chain certificates. Michael’s appointment will help us further raise awareness in the US of what IRM’s global approach has to offer.  

The IRM has recently expanded (through our partnership with Pearson Vue) the number of locations where IRM exams can be taken globally to over 5000 with 1800 of those being in the US.

I’d like to thank Michael for his commitment to the IRM and really look forward to working with him.”  

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Mastercard Accelerates The Adoption Of Tokenization Across Latin America And The Caribbean

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Mastercard Accelerates The Adoption Of Tokenization Across Latin America And The Caribbean

As digital payments become more prevalent in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), Mastercard continues to work with its partners to create a more connected and secure e-commerce ecosystem. The company recently announced that more than half of its transaction volume in the region is now ready to be tokenized, helping make digital payments offer simple, seamless and secure for consumers in the region. The news comes on the heels of new signed agreements with key players like Adyen, Braspag and ProCredit Ecuador, as well as others, who will now integrate Mastercard’s tokenization solutions to tokenize payment credentials on file with thousands of retailers across Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Ecuador. Issuer banks in more markets across the region are also preparing to launch this year.

Mastercard Digital Enablement Service – also known as “MDES” – is Mastercard’s tokenization solution that supports the new digital ecosystem we live in today. It is being adopted by banks, merchants, and payment service providers across Latin America as part of Mastercard’s Digital Security Roadmap, an initiative focused on improving the security and user experience of digital payments.

With token services, consumers can store their card credentials in their connected device, mobile wallet, or online merchant without the risk of exposing actual card account details, adding another layer of security to online transactions without removing the convenience. The technology protects the consumer’s card information by replacing the original 16-digit number on their card with a unique alternate number, or “token,” that is associated to that particular device, e-wallet or digital merchant and cannot be used anywhere else. In the event of a fraud attempt, the tokenized card data is completely useless for the cybercriminal. Tokenization also prevents service disruptions with a consumer’s favourite merchants by automatically updating card credentials should a card expire or need replacement.

“We’ve seen a fantastic response to MDES from both banks and merchants alike and see these agreements as another positive development in the product’s continued adoption,” said Walter Pimenta, SVP of Digital Payments for Mastercard LAC. “With these digitized and tokenized card credentials available to us and our partners, we are designing rich, innovative, compelling and secure ways to pay across all channels and devices, redefining commerce globally,” he added.

“Braspag believes that security in the payment process benefits the entire purchasing chain, from cardholder to merchants to issuers and credit card brands”, explains Braspag President, Rogério Signorini. “Combining security, convenience and simplicity with innovation is our mission and this is another way to bring this to the e-commerce market. There are still many opportunities to leverage digital business in Brazil and around the world and Braspag will certainly continue to contribute to the growth of this sector”, he says.

“The partnership with Mastercard in providing tokenized transactions is yet another step for Adyen in promoting secure and seamless payment experiences,” says Jean Christian Mies, Adyen’s President for Latin America. “The broad adoption of this product creates a safer ecommerce ecosystem, and Adyen will always be one step ahead in providing new technologies to our clients and partners, “he added.

“ProCredit conceives security as one of the most valuable business and reputational assets. In that sense, every investment and effort to guarantee a secure and seamless digital services experience to our clients is a success for our institution and a certainty that we ensure security in each transaction,” says Gustavo Urquieta, Head of Security and Innovation Team Member of ProCredit Bank. “In the continuous search to provide the best digital experiences for our clients, the implementation of tokenized transactions is another milestone in our history as pioneers of cutting-edge technology in Ecuador and in the region, with the accompaniment of Mastercard.”

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Leyton opens new office in San Francisco to capitalise on phenomenal scale of Silicon Valley R&D activity

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Leyton opens new office in San Francisco to capitalise on phenomenal scale of Silicon Valley R&D activity

Global innovation funding consultancy Leyton has announced the opening of a new office in San Francisco. This expansion is in response to growing demand for expertise in research & development tax relief (R&D) and the phenomenal scale of R&D activity in the Silicon Valley area. Based in the financial district on Montgomery Street, San Francisco joins Boston as the second office serving the US market.

Founded in 1997, Leyton has grown from a small consulting firm, into one of the world’s largest innovation funding specialists. With 27 offices in 11 countries, Leyton’s expert teams are dedicated to maximising clients’ innovation potential and helping them to improve their global performance. The firm’s particular speciality is helping organisations unlock maximum value from R&D tax credits and subsidies.

Leyton’s specialist teams offer a mix of highly qualified tax experts and sector specialists who understand the challenges in their clients’ businesses. In the US, the firm’s specific expertise is in the optimisation of Federal and State Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credits. The sectors Leyton will be targeting from the San Francisco office are of broad scope, however there is specific interest in Software and Tech, a variety of scientific fields and a number of verticals within the engineering sector.

The Acting General Manager of the new office is David Kent, who also remains Head of Leyton’s Scottish business. The firm is recruiting a full-time position to look after the West Coast business. There are 11 staff in the office employed across sales and consulting, with a target of 30 by the end of March 2020. According to David Kent: “Silicon Valley is the epicentre of world-wide tech development and Leyton is a global leader in the funding of innovation. Opening in San Francisco is a natural evolutionary step for the Leyton business and we are excited to support continued R&D activity in California and beyond.”

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Gerdau and SKF in agreement to improve productivity at Brazilian steel mills

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Gerdau and SKF in agreement to improve productivity at Brazilian steel mills

Gerdau and SKF have signed a fee-based agreement aimed at increasing productivity and reducing unplanned downtime at Gerdau’s Charqueadas and Araçariguama steel mills in Brazil.

The agreement will see SKF provide a full range of products, including bearings, remanufacturing, lubrication systems and connected condition monitoring units. Data from critical machinery at the two steel mills will be analyzed at SKF’s Rotating Equipment Performance Center in Brazil. Based on this analysis, SKF and Gerdau can plan maintenance and corrective actions, improving machine reliability and performance.

Fladimir Gauto, Executive Director at Gerdau Special Steel, Brazil, says: “We are focused on generating value and increasing competitiveness in our operations, as well as on advancing with the implementation of innovative solutions in the steel industry. Our partnership with SKF will certainly be an important support in this regard.”

Claudinei Reche, President, SKF Latin America, says: “By offering customers in the steel industry the opportunity to work with us on a fee-basis, we give them access to our full competence around the rotating shaft, in order to improve productivity. For an industry which
has a very high cost for unplanned downtime, this is crucial. We will be able to help Gerdau improve their output and reduce their consumption of bearings, grease and energy, reducing the impact of their operations on the environment.”

With 118 years of history, Gerdau is Brazil’s largest producer of steel, a leading producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the world’s leading suppliers of special steel. In Brazil, it also produces flat steels and iron ore for its own consumption.

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Soteria AI appoints new CTO and announces first game with integrated AI support, Rising Fire Battle Royale, arriving 2020

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Soteria AI appoints new CTO and announces first game with integrated AI support, Rising Fire Battle Royale, arriving 2020

Soteria AI, the company developing the first AI assistant for gaming, today announces the appointment of its new CTO, Eric Schneider, a veteran of the machine learning and data analytics world. Alongside Schneider’s appointment, Soteria is announcing the launch of its first game, Rising Fire Battle Royale, which will arrive in North America in 2020 and will incorporate Soteria’s AI assistant, Natasha.

“With over thirty years of experience in the technology industry – including at NASA – Eric is the perfect person to lead the technical side of the organisation,” says William Nobrega, Founder of Soteria AI. “He’ll be in direct contact with Axion Ventures, the firm developing third-person shooter, Rising Fire Battle Royale, which has already been tested through Tencent’s network in Asia. Together, we’ve got a killer combination of talent, reach and an unmatched offer for gamers everywhere.”

Schneider will be working closely with COO and President, Tim Carruthers, as well as Chief Scientist, 16-year-old Devon Nobrega to drive the development of Soteria’s AI gaming assistant, Natasha. This AI will be used by amateur and semi-professional gamers, providing real-time advice and information to players in-game – as well as helping games publishers improve their revenues by highlighting the need for in-game purchases where appropriate.

“I’m delighted to be joining the Soteria team,” says Eric Schneider, CTO, Soteria AI. “This international team is bringing something unique to market that no other organisation can match. I look forward to taking this endeavour to the next level – and having formerly hosted Counter Strike servers with my sons, I understand the need for an AI assistant, particularly in the MMO world where the action never stops.”

Schneider graduated from Stanford, lives in Redwood City, California with his wife and two German shepherds. He joins the international team largely based in Silicon Valley and Hong Kong, working closely with key partners Axion Ventures and Aigo.

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Brazilian artist Antonio Társis wins the VIA Arts Prize 2019

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Brazilian artist Antonio Társis wins the VIA Arts Prize 2019

Fruit boxes from London street markets and a comment on immigration and globalisation are the source of inspiration for this year’s VIA Arts Prize winner.

Antonio Társis has won the prestigious VIA Arts Prize 2019, sponsored by Itaú. The Brazilian artist’s work, a collage entitled Coloured Export, uses remnants of fruit boxes collected from London street markets in Dalston, Whitechapel and Peckham.

The VIA Arts Prize is an annual award in London, hosted by the Embassy of Brazil, and seeks to deepen cultural awareness of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese arts and cultures in the UK.

The Brazilian-born Társis extracts fragments, colours and information printed on banana, orange, mango and lemon fruit boxes to develop these abstract and minimalist compositions using a paper collage technique. The boxes arrive in London in large containers and ships, exported from countries including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Venezuela, Egypt, Uganda, India and Bangladesh. Despite being created as collage, the artist refers to painting and the possibilities offered by colour, using the painterly aspect to address topical issues.

As part of the self-taught artist’s creative and research process, Társis travelled around London, recycling materials of all kinds, reproducing and recontextualizing compositions such as photographs, collages and installations.

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VIA Arts Prize winner Antonio Társis pictured with his winning piece titled Coloured Export.

Társis (b. 1995 in Salvador, Bahia) attended the Free Courses of the Museum of Modern Art, Bahia, 2015, and Parque Lage School of Visual Arts, RJ. 2017. He exhibited at Art Rio and received the 5th EDP Award of the Tomie Ohtake Institute, SP, 2016 and attended the conference Echoes Goethe-Institut, Berlin in 2019. He developed visual research during nine months in London about the Gold Cycle in Brazil and Relations with England and has received the Akademie Schloss solitude fellowship for 2020 in Stuttgart, Germany.

Társis receives £5,000 and a solo show at the Embassy of Brazil alongside the 2020 edition of VIA.

Alexandre Canonico (b. 1974 in Brazil) was named as this year’s runner up with his sculpture 3 Stops, White Board and Strap.

The work from the RA exhibitor enters into a dialogue with the legacy of constructive art in Brazil that characterises Concrete and Neoconcrete art, with which it shares geometric abstraction, form and an apparent suppression of narrative content. The work is created from readymade industrial materials, while Concrete and Neoconcrete artists, although influenced by the surge of industrialisation of the 1940s and 1950s, worked with traditional mediums such as painting and sculpture.

The title 3 Stops White Board and Strap is a straightforward description of the materials and structure presented in the work, but the artist’s directness is not reflected in the piece, whose status constantly oscillates between drawing and sculpture, figurative and abstract.

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Alexandre Canonico was named as this year’s runner up with his sculpture 3 Stops, White Board and Strap.

The artist says his work is influenced by the principles of architectural language and the legacy of early 20th century’s geometrical abstraction. The drawings and sculptures are characterised by experimental methods that highlight the transition between spatial representation and physical expression of the objects. The materials used are industrialised and widely available – steel pipe, rubber, MDF, wood, washers, screws and nails for example. Formally the works have a simple resolution and an economy of gestures that operate in the interaction between the parts and/ or materials that constitute the piece.

Canonico was born in Pirassununga, Brazil 1974. His CV includes the postgraduate Programme, Royal Academy Schools, London: 2017-2020 Degree in Architecture and Town Planning at Faculdade de Belas Artes de São Paulo, 1999 Recent Shows “Buraco” Galeria Marilias Razuk – SP, Brazil (solo) 2019 “Standstill” Kubik Gallery – Porto, Portugal (duo with Paul Barlow), 2019 “Premiums Interim Projects 2019” Royal Academy of Arts – London, UK (group) “Serpent and Shadow” Royal Academy of Arts, curated by Martin Westwood – London, UK 2018.

The Judge’s Special Commendation has been awarded to Estabrak Al-Ansari for her work Viver from her body of work Brazilians Under Water The artist aims to make visible hidden and submerged cultural discourses within our world via the physical matter of water. Brazilian currents are often moody, with its waters vastly changing from region to region. The artist’s work explores the relationship between the body and oneself, poking at questions relevant to our existence, and are often fueled by the concepts of existing in places in which humans cannot exist in for long periods of time.

Al-Ansari has been named one of ‘five incredible underwater artists’ by BBC’s ‘Pursuit of Beauty: Art Beneath the Waves’ podcast, BBC Radio 2018. Previous works have been showcased in such places as New York, Dubai and Berlin, along the way exhibiting at Royal Academy of Arts, & TATE Britain, London, UK. Al-Ansari is based in London. She is originally from Iraq, born in Iran and raised in London, after coming to the UK with her family as a child refugee.

All of the shortlisted works from the VIA Arts Prize will be on display in London at the Embassy of Brazil’s Sala Brasil until Wednesday 11th December 2019. The exhibition is free to visit from Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm.

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US Radiology Enters Arizona through Partnership with Radiology Ltd

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US Radiology Enters Arizona through Partnership with Radiology Ltd

US Radiology Continues Its Rapid, Nationwide Expansion with Addition of Nationally Recognised Radiology Practice.

US Radiology Specialists, one of the premier physician-owned radiology groups in the country, continued its rapid national expansion today by announcing a new partnership with Radiology Ltd., the largest private practice radiology group and outpatient imaging operator in Tucson, Arizona.

Founded in 1933, Radiology Ltd.’s team of 40 radiologists are fellowship-trained in all major subspecialties, including women’s imaging, interventional radiology, molecular imaging, musculoskeletal imaging, and neuroradiology. The group provides 24-hour coverage for two of the largest hospitals in southern Arizona — Tucson Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital. In addition, Radiology Ltd.’s physicians and more than 400 skilled staff members operate nine ACR-accredited outpatient diagnostic imaging centers, including two full-service women’s imaging centers.

“We’re excited to partner with Radiology Ltd. and welcome them to US Radiology,” said US Radiology CEO John Perkins. “Their team of highly-accomplished and nationally-respected radiologists have delivered top-quality, patient-centric radiology services for over 80 years. This partnership embodies our vision to partner with the best radiology groups in the nation.”

“US Radiology is the ideal partner for Radiology Ltd.,” said Dr. David Jeck, the group’s President. “This partnership preserves our autonomy at the clinical level while providing us with enhanced technology, resources, and infrastructure. We are excited to join this strong network of prestigious radiologists and become part of one the fastest growing, dynamic radiology partnerships in the country.”

US Radiology has experienced significant growth in recent years. With nearly 2,500 team members and over 130 outpatient imaging centers across 13 states, the company brings together high-quality subspecialized radiologists with leading outpatient operational expertise, infrastructure, and technological support.

Ziegler served as the exclusive financial advisor and Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP provided legal counsel to Radiology Ltd. in concert with the transaction. Ropes & Gray LLP assisted for US Radiology.

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