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The real economy

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 4,124 Amhran Nua


    In the run up to the government Jobs Initiative, set for May the 10th, I think it's worth having a look at the real engine of any economy, employment. Leo Varadkar thinks that we need the roads fixed. IBEC wants more workfare and free college graduates in internships. They do have at least one good point however, we do indeed need radical action on joblessness.

    I don't think we've reached the nadir of this recession just yet, and I don't think we've reached the highest levels of unemployment yet. And really, employment is as close to a panacea as we are likely to get - people in good jobs can repay their mortgages and loans, reducing default levels, people with spending money spend that money and increase liquidity in the economy. People in good jobs pay more taxes and aren't on social welfare, reducing the deficit. Businesses with plenty of customers can expand and hire more people.

    The traditional answer in Ireland has been to get FDI in from the Americans, which is well and good as far as it goes, but we need to look a bit deeper at the more fundamental problems. People that want to start new businesses need funding, and this is a basic flaw with our version of capitalism. It has been said that the alternative to our version is government controlled capital where you have to convince faceless beaurocrats who have never actually experienced business that you have a good idea. When you look at it really though, that's exactly what banks do, there is no difference, right down to the permanent and pensionable position sitting across the table from you.

    Some might say, ah but if the banks turn you down you can go to a venture capitalist! Seriously, I've been dipping a toe in the VC scene in the US for the last while, and the differences between here and there are stark. Not just in terms of structure and the amount of capital available, but in terms of the sheer energy and optimism represented by VCs in particular centred around the Silicon Valley.

    Organisations like 500 Startups, set up by Dave McClure and a few hundred other VCs/mentors are buzzing with ideas and new businesses. They represent a new breed called Super Angels, who diverge from the traditional pick and pump model where one businesses is invested in by one or two VCs, towards a more scattershot approach, where smaller amounts are put into larger numbers of businesses by larger amounts of VCs. And they have been reaping the rewards!

    Thats not to cast dispersions upon our own VCs, but conservative and staid might not be bad terms to describe what should be a vital part of our economic machinery; you are unlikely to see them referencing pirates in a presentation. Many commentators have mentioned that Ireland and Europe in general lacks an innovation hub like Silicon Valley or MIT, and that an opportunity exists to create that here. It does indeed exist, but we need to learn from those who have successfully built such hubs.

    Not to ramble too far from the point, this is not a new idea. As more capital is concentrated in fewer hands, whether banks or government, enterprise falls by the wayside. This was observed as far back as Song dynasty China, a time of an explosion of wealth and prosperity. Entire villages and poor peasant families would pool their resources and invest them into merchant expeditions abroad.
    "People along the coast are on intimate terms with the merchants who engage in overseas trade, either because they are fellow-countrymen or personal acquaintances...[They give the merchants] money to take with them on their ships for purchase and return conveyance of foreign goods. They invest from ten to a hundred strings of cash, and regularly make profits of several hundred percent."

    ...

    The later Muslim Moroccan Berber traveler Ibn Batutta (1304–1377) wrote about many of his travel experiences in places across the Eurasian world, including China at the farthest eastern extremity. After describing lavish Chinese ships holding palatial cabins and saloons, along with the life of Chinese ship crews and captains, Batutta wrote: "Among the inhabitants of China there are those who own numerous ships, on which they send their agents to foreign places. For nowhere in the world are there to be found people richer than the Chinese".
    I've posted here several times before about the need for a common investment market in Ireland, where average people can log in and view potential business ideas, then invest a few euros to make it happen, taking the Super Angel idea to it's logical conclusion, so I was delighted to discover recently a site called fundit.ie, which works along the same lines, albeit for artistic endeavours that are unlikley to gain funding any other way. This is a live demonstration of how the idea would work, and is working, both here and in the US.

    So Fine Gael, in the unlikely event that you are listening, take IBEC's advice and get radical. Once you sidestep the banks (which is not socialist, this is a much purer form of capitalism that would not have been possible before the advent of the internet) and the slow moving VC sector, and connect up the people of Ireland with the entrepreneurs of Ireland, you've laid the foundations for a true innovation hub (I hate to say knowledge economy) for Europe. It's not hard to do, a few tweaks in corporate law and a nudge of initial sponsorship is all it would take.


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Comments



  • An interesting post, thanks. I've been looking forwards with interest to this coming jobs budget but, and your links only strengthen this, it seems that it contains alot of ideas for unpaid work.

    Now I understand that a government can only create an environment conducive to job creation. However, I think this working for free crap needs to be pluged before a culture of it developes. It's better to have ten paid jobs created than a thousand unpaid ones because those ten will at least be creating some wealth.

    Slavery only creates poverty as the slaves have no wealth, thus they can not pass on anything and merely take up jobs that could be held by paid workers. Granted, work placements aren't slavery but they are still going to flood the jobs market with "free" labour for employers and I can only see this as having a detremental effect on the economy and on society itself.

    Men have died over the years to ensure that workers are treated fairly and that they get a fair wage, should we be so quick to undo all of their work? In short, employment is a means to an end and not an end in itself.




  • Amhran Nua wrote: »
    Once you sidestep the banks (which is not socialist, this is a much purer form of capitalism that would not have been possible before the advent of the internet) and the slow moving VC sector, and connect up the people of Ireland with the entrepreneurs of Ireland, you've laid the foundations for a true innovation hub (I hate to say knowledge economy) for Europe.
    While I would not agree that investment is a necessity for a business start-up (depending on the nature of the business of course), I agree with the general thrust of your post – I would like to see Ireland move away from the idea that the only investment worth making is a property-based investment.




  • The biggest threat to full employment is increasing technology. The capabilities of the human mind and body are quite limited relative to technology. It also doesn’t help when the education system is directed towards the teaching of facts, an area where humans cannot compete with technology.




  • Prakari wrote: »
    The biggest threat to full employment is increasing technology. The capabilities of the human mind and body are quite limited relative to technology. It also doesn’t help when the education system is directed towards the teaching of facts, an area where humans cannot compete with technology.


    You're correct that technology can render jobs obsolete. However, you're implying that computers are more intelligent than humans which isn't true at all. I work in software developement and whilst the latest gizmos and software can make computers seem super smart, this is only the product of very clever human intuition. When you work with computers like I do, you see just how stupid they can be and the truth is that they have no intelligence at all, they just follow instructions. The "magic" of computers is all from the human mind.




  • Amhran Nua wrote: »
    I've posted here several times before about the need for a common investment market in Ireland, where average people can log in and view potential business ideas, then invest a few euros to make it happen, taking the Super Angel idea to it's logical conclusion, so I was delighted to discover recently a site called fundit.ie, which works along the same lines, albeit for artistic endeavours that are unlikley to gain funding any other way. This is a live demonstration of how the idea would work, and is working, both here and in the US.

    The idea is good, a sort of local stock market, was thinking abotu this subject myself before

    BUT

    it is not just as simple as creating a stockmarket site (I would love and am able to code somehting up) but there might legal, accounting and beuracratic issues, let me try to make myself clear

    lets say we have 100 people of the street in Galway for example and they want to invest some of their money (lets say 1000 each) in local businesses, it is not as simple as them logging into a site and buying stocks in local butchers, pharma, bycicle companies etc
    nono few issues
    1. tax, anyone who invested in stocks would know theres taxes on any gain (25%?) so your system would have to be involved with Revenue and all the paperwork and gray hair that dealing with Revenue entitles :(
    2. limited companies are limited for a reason, public companies that can trade stocks are very different animals, you want to have the best of both worlds but i am afraid there could be legal issues, and more importantly would the investors have the right to ask the private company to publish its accounts? for a market to function detailed company information needs to be available for people to base their investment decisions on


    To summarize I think creating a market to encourage investment in small companies is a great idea, but due to the structure of small companies there might be many legal issues involved

    maybe the government could create a new class of companies which are a hybrid of ltd but can also trade shares in a local market with a requirement to publish accounts publicaly and have a clear resolution regime in case of company failure?
    i dont know i am not a lawyer nor solicitor but the issues are not technical (i would love to create a marketplace) but legal and accounting

    just some food for thought the @OP


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  • ei.sdraob wrote: »
    To summarize I think creating a market to encourage investment in small companies is a great idea, but due to the structure of small companies there might be many legal issues involved
    That's correct, it's prohibitively difficult to get listed on the Irish stock market at the moment for the reasons you outline. It would need some adjustments in corporate law, taxation could be calculated and returned by the site as transactions proceed. This is what the stock market was originally intended to be, I think, rather than a high level financial merry go round.




  • RichardAnd wrote: »
    An interesting post, thanks. I've been looking forwards with interest to this coming jobs budget but, and your links only strengthen this, it seems that it contains alot of ideas for unpaid work.

    Now I understand that a government can only create an environment conducive to job creation. However, I think this working for free crap needs to be pluged before a culture of it developes. It's better to have ten paid jobs created than a thousand unpaid ones because those ten will at least be creating some wealth.

    Slavery only creates poverty as the slaves have no wealth, thus they can not pass on anything and merely take up jobs that could be held by paid workers. Granted, work placements aren't slavery but they are still going to flood the jobs market with "free" labour for employers and I can only see this as having a detremental effect on the economy and on society itself.

    Men have died over the years to ensure that workers are treated fairly and that they get a fair wage, should we be so quick to undo all of their work? In short, employment is a means to an end and not an end in itself.

    I have to agree.
    At the very least, "free" placements should literally only be open to grads (and by that I mean those who have just graduated from anything up to a phD) and only for limited time periods.
    Having recently gone for an "internship" interview myself, I have serious questions about the whole thing. There are a number of positions available - high quality positions, good jobs - where I was interviewed and they're all fecking internships. I can't figure out if the employer in question is seriously taking advantage of the system, or simply needs the extra help and hasn't got the funds to pay people (it's a fairly big company so could be little of both). I have experience, but honest to God, I'm reaching my limit of sitting at home feeling useless all day, and anything is better than nothing, even if it's unpaid.
    There needs to be very serious consideration given to this "free placement" thing, because I just don't think it's a solution.




  • Another basic issue that would probably cause some innovators to steer clear would be the necessary disclosure.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw




  • dan_d wrote: »
    I have to agree.
    At the very least, "free" placements should literally only be open to grads (and by that I mean those who have just graduated from anything up to a phD) and only for limited time periods.
    Having recently gone for an "internship" interview myself, I have serious questions about the whole thing. There are a number of positions available - high quality positions, good jobs - where I was interviewed and they're all fecking internships. I can't figure out if the employer in question is seriously taking advantage of the system, or simply needs the extra help and hasn't got the funds to pay people (it's a fairly big company so could be little of both). I have experience, but honest to God, I'm reaching my limit of sitting at home feeling useless all day, and anything is better than nothing, even if it's unpaid.
    There needs to be very serious consideration given to this "free placement" thing, because I just don't think it's a solution.



    Correct me if I'm wrong here Dan but if my memory of your posts is correct, don't you have something in the region of 5+ years of experience and a degree as it is?

    If that's true and the intention is for people like that to be working for free then the problem is worse than I thought :confused:




  • Scofflaw wrote: »
    Another basic issue that would probably cause some innovators to steer clear would be the necessary disclosure.
    That's one of the reasons that Irish VCs ask first, is it patentable? If it is, disclosure isn't a problem, as would be the case with new mechanisms, devices and electronics. In the case of software and web apps, once you launch it everyone's going to know what it does anyway, so you may as well do your thing.

    As the saying goes, don't be afraid someone is going to steal your great idea. You'll have your work cut out just convincing anyone it's worth anything.

    Also don't be afraid of competition. A good example of this would be a site like Groupon, which boards itself is imitating at the moment with boardsdeals.ie; despite the thousands of competing sites they were still able to turn down a $6 billion acquisition bid from Google.

    Financial reports aren't hard to turn out, usually, once you have the mechanisms set up, along with company press releases, trading patterns, and news reports, you've got a pretty well informed market.

    What I'd do to incentivise investment from the public further would be to make investment in these schemes up to €1000 tax deductable, giving you a maximum annual investment base of around €2 billion going straight into new startups. If 500 startups is anything to judge by, that's enough to fully fund over 20,000 new ideas a year. Obviously not everyone will get involved, so you're probably looking at around the 5000 businesses mark, per year, an impressive number.

    And that's if you don't open the scheme to foreign investment, then you might be looking at exponentially more (which equates directly to FDI I might add). Set up a tour of expos around Europe, scoop up the people with the ideas, bring them here and connect them to the funding, along with mentors, and boom, you've got an innovation hub, the European Silicon Valley.

    Even if that is a tad ambitious from the outset, it's easy to see how it might evolve into something similar.


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  • Prakari wrote: »
    The biggest threat to full employment is increasing technology. The capabilities of the human mind and body are quite limited relative to technology. It also doesn’t help when the education system is directed towards the teaching of facts, an area where humans cannot compete with technology.

    Technology is a threat to some jobs, but counterbalanced by the jobs it creates.
    Cloud computing is the next big job opportunity which will take tech's from the practical hands-on to the logical, the demand will be for Cloud Architects. Our problem is keeping up; FAS has courses for IT techs, but nothing for the future.
    Politicians use "Smart Economy" and "Cloud" as sound bites, without a notion what it means, or how to get there.

    The Brits get Fujitsu to build fibre optic cabling, even into rural UK, with planned speeds of upto 10Gbps while we still ponce about with our expensive treacle system and listen to our politicians congratulating themselves on that.

    We all hope this jobs initiative will be something special, but the reality will be training places, internships and a collection of additional schemes, just to get us off the live register. Real jobs will be in short supply.




  • After their crash in the 90's what emerged from Finland was Nokia, are we going to have a similar home grown giant emerge? I don't think so with the way we do things. Costs should be reduced (PRSI, rates, energy, etc) to encourage companies to set up and employ. We could also look into niche markets, one thing which springs to mind is military hardware. I know it would take significant development, but the Israelis did it. Or we could work on renewable energies, the last time I read up about it Scotland were far ahead of us in developing electricity generation from the tides/waves. As mentioned in the OP and elsewhere on boards, we need to stop penalising failure so much and try to encourage investment in smaller companies or start ups.




  • redux wrote: »
    Technology is a threat to some jobs, but counterbalanced by the jobs it creates.
    Cloud computing is the next big job opportunity which will take tech's from the practical hands-on to the logical, the demand will be for Cloud Architects. Our problem is keeping up; FAS has courses for IT techs, but nothing for the future.
    Politicians use "Smart Economy" and "Cloud" as sound bites, without a notion what it means, or how to get there.

    The Brits get Fujitsu to build fibre optic cabling, even into rural UK, with planned speeds of upto 10Gbps while we still ponce about with our expensive treacle system and listen to our politicians congratulating themselves on that.

    We all hope this jobs initiative will be something special, but the reality will be training places, internships and a collection of additional schemes, just to get us off the live register. Real jobs will be in short supply.



    The last paragraph sums up my views too. I agree that could computing is tossed about like a volly ball by politicians and civil servants who have no idea what it is other than a very facile number of facts they might have grasped.

    Further, cloud computing is not simple, it's highly complicated and, I'm going to have to be honest here, I doubt there is a single person in FAS who is even remotely qualified/experienced to teach the subject. I don't think it will create many jobs any way. Even if data centres were set up here, the servers within them wouldn't be manufactured in IReland and the engineers setting them up would be highly experienced engineers who are already employed and only a handfull of guys would be needed to maintain them once they're up and running.

    Forgive me for being cynical but I can't see things any other way :(




  • It is great to see a thread on unemployment - not only does it make a refreshing change from pointless discussion of Private vs. Public Sector but as the OP has stated employment is the key to getting the domestic economy moving.
    Unemployment is also a great social ' evil ' and I believe we are seeing the effects of that in things like higher crime and suicide rates , unemployment leads to emigration which breaks up families - I am sure we all know a family where a parent has had to try to ' commute ' from a job abroad.

    It is terrible that in this crisis the government are not able to implement any sort capital expenditure programme - spending a couple of billion on big projects would be a quick way of getting a lot of construction workers off the dole - perhaps the greatest thing the economy needs is confidence - that seems to be almost completely absent.




  • RichardAnd wrote: »
    The last paragraph sums up my views too. I agree that could computing is tossed about like a volly ball by politicians and civil servants who have no idea what it is other than a very facile number of facts they might have grasped.

    Further, cloud computing is not simple, it's highly complicated and, I'm going to have to be honest here, I doubt there is a single person in FAS who is even remotely qualified/experienced to teach the subject. I don't think it will create many jobs any way. Even if data centres were set up here, the servers within them wouldn't be manufactured in IReland and the engineers setting them up would be highly experienced engineers who are already employed and only a handfull of guys would be needed to maintain them once they're up and running.

    Forgive me for being cynical but I can't see things any other way :(

    I tend to agree. I've been asked on a couple of occasions to provide briefings on the implications of cloud computing for people in the political world, and a large part of the briefing has to be spent making the point that cloud computing in itself doesn't really change the way the internet works, and that cloud computing has little or no real 'political' implications, even though it has a large number of technical, security, and some legislative implications.
    Amhran Nua wrote:
    That's one of the reasons that Irish VCs ask first, is it patentable? If it is, disclosure isn't a problem, as would be the case with new mechanisms, devices and electronics. In the case of software and web apps, once you launch it everyone's going to know what it does anyway, so you may as well do your thing.

    As the saying goes, don't be afraid someone is going to steal your great idea. You'll have your work cut out just convincing anyone it's worth anything.

    Also don't be afraid of competition. A good example of this would be a site like Groupon, which boards itself is imitating at the moment with boardsdeals.ie; despite the thousands of competing sites they were still able to turn down a $6 billion acquisition bid from Google.

    Oh, I entirely agree with you - but the whole reason we have interviews like the one you've linked to is because that's not the common perception. Only when you've actually been in business do you realise that the trick isn't so much doing something new (in fact, that often makes your business harder) but in doing things well or tapping a new market. After all, nobody is seriously boggled by the idea that someone might want to set up a bakery, even though baking bread is hardly innovative.

    On the main idea, I wonder if one is not over-concentrating on the potential legal and taxation issues. I'm not sure why the exchange itself would have to deal with taxation issues - unless the exchange is the beneficiary of the capital gains, rather than passing them on to the investor, it seems irrelevant. The issue with respect to "public trading" is more relevant, but look at the definition in law of a "publicly traded company":
    "publicly traded company" means any company whose principal class of shares is listed on a recognised stock exchange provided its listed shares can be readily purchased or sold by the public. Shares can be purchased or sold "by the public" if the purchase or sale of shares is not implicitly or explicitly restricted to a limited group of investors

    It seems probable to me that you could get around that limitation by requiring membership of your investment exchange, and setting some kind of minimum qualification that eliminates the "general public". I appreciate that steps away from your initial concept - but the initial concept doesn't seem to be workable as is, whereas this is a close approach to it that is. It would also be possible to limit the number of possible investors in any given company, since that's also usually considered a bar in law to the idea that the company is publicly traded.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw




  • Scofflaw wrote: »
    Oh, I entirely agree with you - but the whole reason we have interviews like the one you've linked to is because that's not the common perception.
    Well if they can find funding from the bankrupt banks or the conservative VCs they wouldn't need this facility - but an idea gathering dust on a mental shelf isn't earning anyone any money. Examination of the investment market and getting some preliminary advice would hopefully assuage any fears they might then have.
    Scofflaw wrote: »
    After all, nobody is seriously boggled by the idea that someone might want to set up a bakery, even though baking bread is hardly innovative.
    If they think it's likely to earn a decent income they might want a piece of that though, I would imagine this initiative being extended even to non glitzy high tech startups. An example of a bakery success story that was turned down by the banks, here's another one I recall from Dublin a few years ago, behind the Times paywall. Twenty five jobs vanished, and they had customers lined up around the corner.
    Scofflaw wrote: »
    I'm not sure why the exchange itself would have to deal with taxation issues - unless the exchange is the beneficiary of the capital gains, rather than passing them on to the investor, it seems irrelevant.
    From the perspective of the functional requirements, it would be irrelevant, but the idea is to make it as smooth and as easy as possible for average people to invest money into new businesses, so an important part of that might be not forcing them to deal with complex taxation issues. You'd need to work with revenue to tax at source, but I doubt they'd be complaining too loudly about a shiny new revenue stream that comes neatly shrink wrapped!
    Scofflaw wrote: »
    It seems probable to me that you could get around that limitation by requiring membership of your investment exchange, and setting some kind of minimum qualification that eliminates the "general public". I appreciate that steps away from your initial concept - but the initial concept doesn't seem to be workable as is, whereas this is a close approach to it that is. It would also be possible to limit the number of possible investors in any given company, since that's also usually considered a bar in law to the idea that the company is publicly traded.
    Very interesting... you might well be able to set up a VC-only market or something on that basis. To be optimally effective though, and to avoid the cloying culture of conservativism/never-be-the-first-to-do-anything here which even permeates VC circles, the public needs to be involved I think. Legislative changes would probably be needed, not a whole lot either. As ei.sdraob suggested a new class of company would do it nicely.




  • Scofflaw wrote: »
    On the main idea, I wonder if one is not over-concentrating on the potential legal and taxation issues. I'm not sure why the exchange itself would have to deal with taxation issues - unless the exchange is the beneficiary of the capital gains, rather than passing them on to the investor, it seems irrelevant.

    That's true, although earlier posts talked about tax reliefs for investment in startups which already exists

    http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it55.html

    So the only thing the exchange might have to do is publicize which businesses qualify. It could also be liable to account for stamp duty (to facilitate trading it could act as tax collector) and the same may go for dividend withholding tax. Might be easier having one central person deal with all the tax forms for all the small businesses (but on their behalf, not on its own behalf)
    Scofflaw wrote: »
    The issue with respect to "public trading" is more relevant, but look at the definition in law of a "publicly traded company":

    It seems probable to me that you could get around that limitation by requiring membership of your investment exchange, and setting some kind of minimum qualification that eliminates the "general public". I appreciate that steps away from your initial concept - but the initial concept doesn't seem to be workable as is, whereas this is a close approach to it that is. It would also be possible to limit the number of possible investors in any given company, since that's also usually considered a bar in law to the idea that the company is publicly traded.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw

    Two issues here.

    Minimum share cap for a private company is next to nothing, for a public company it is €38k odd of which 25% must be paid up i.e. a bit over €9k. But to qualify for BES relief above you have to have it fully paid up.

    The bigger one is that as far as I understand it in a private company the members can refuse to recognize a share transfer. Say you and your brother and your sister own a private company with the shareholdings equal. You want to sell your shares to me. Your brother and sister can refuse to register the transfer. This is the big problem with bringing outsiders into private companies - they have no guaranteed exit if they fall out with the other investors. A shareholders agreement can go some way towards mitigating this.




  • Amhran Nua wrote: »
    From the perspective of the functional requirements, it would be irrelevant, but the idea is to make it as smooth and as easy as possible for average people to invest money into new businesses, so an important part of that might be not forcing them to deal with complex taxation issues. You'd need to work with revenue to tax at source, but I doubt they'd be complaining too loudly about a shiny new revenue stream that comes neatly shrink wrapped!

    On a practical basis you couldn't do CGT at source. You'd need to know whether the investors had disposed of other assets/ used up their annual exemption etc etc so unless they were prepared to share this info with a third party who was not their advisor it would not work. I wouldn't ask for it and risk creating a duty of care to deal with their tax advice.

    But as per above post you could facilitate telling them if BES was available, and deal with DWT and stamp duty.




  • That's true, although earlier posts talked about tax reliefs for investment in startups which already exists

    http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/it/leaflets/it55.html

    So the only thing the exchange might have to do is publicize which businesses qualify. It could also be liable to account for stamp duty (to facilitate trading it could act as tax collector) and the same may go for dividend withholding tax. Might be easier having one central person deal with all the tax forms for all the small businesses (but on their behalf, not on its own behalf)

    I can see why that would be useful, particularly for those who are PAYE and many never have had dealings with self-assessment. However, I'm not sure it's entirely necessary - at then end of the day, it's not complex to report to Revenue that you've made x amount on a sale of shares - or practical, given the individual nature of taxes. Advice would undeniably be valuable.
    Two issues here.

    Minimum share cap for a private company is next to nothing, for a public company it is €38k odd of which 25% must be paid up i.e. a bit over €9k. But to qualify for BES relief above you have to have it fully paid up.

    If we're avoiding the status of "publicly traded" for the companies involved, that shouldn't arise, I think.
    The bigger one is that as far as I understand it in a private company the members can refuse to recognize a share transfer. Say you and your brother and your sister own a private company with the shareholdings equal. You want to sell your shares to me. Your brother and sister can refuse to register the transfer. This is the big problem with bringing outsiders into private companies - they have no guaranteed exit if they fall out with the other investors. A shareholders agreement can go some way towards mitigating this.

    That would have to be a necessary part of access for the companies.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw




  • Amhran Nua wrote: »
    From the perspective of the functional requirements, it would be irrelevant, but the idea is to make it as smooth and as easy as possible for average people to invest money into new businesses, so an important part of that might be not forcing them to deal with complex taxation issues. You'd need to work with revenue to tax at source, but I doubt they'd be complaining too loudly about a shiny new revenue stream that comes neatly shrink wrapped!

    True - but I doubt it's practical to do it. The tax affairs of an individual are really their own affair.
    Amhran Nua wrote: »
    Very interesting... you might well be able to set up a VC-only market or something on that basis. To be optimally effective though, and to avoid the cloying culture of conservativism/never-be-the-first-to-do-anything here which even permeates VC circles, the public needs to be involved I think. Legislative changes would probably be needed, not a whole lot either. As ei.sdraob suggested a new class of company would do it nicely.

    I think we're probably approaching this from different ends. In order to get the maximum amount of 'penny angels' (@Scofflaw!) involved, we want this to be as open to the public as possible. However, in order to avoid the companies having to become 'publicly traded', we need to limit the access. I think you're approaching it from the angle of it being like public trading but limited to VCs, I'm thinking of it being private trading with as low a bar to people becoming VCs as is consonant with avoiding the 'publicly traded' issue. Obviously the two approaches meet in the middle!

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


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  • redux wrote: »
    The Brits get Fujitsu to build fibre optic cabling, even into rural UK, with planned speeds of upto 10Gbps while we still ponce about with our expensive treacle system and listen to our politicians congratulating themselves on that.
    Slightly off-topic, but I’m smack-bang in the middle of London and the (theoretical) max data transfer rate on my phone line is only 4mbps. If memory serves, I could get at least 6 times that speed in my flat in Dublin.




  • Re the investor bar, if you ran it by Revenue to ensure that they wouldn't view it as spoiling BES relief (if available) you could do what the big boys do and put a partnership in the way.

    Joe Murphy + family already have 5 shareholders but want to raise €10k. If the "exchange" invested through a partnership then 20 investors (is 20 the number of partners per partnership?) come up with the €10k at €500 a pop rather than having to come up with 2 who can stump up €5k.

    If you had one template partnership you could set up new ones for each investment since I think you don't have to do anything to create a partnership but satisfy the requirement of being in business together.

    The VC funds use LPs so one fund can invest in many businesses, but I think a vanilla partnership could work if it was just to allow numerous investors access to a shareholding in a particular company (the limited liability is in the share) although you'd need to get legal advice.

    Alternatively, what is the max number of investors in a co-op? Must be high with all the farmers in Kerry yet co-ops are not publicly traded companies, they all converted/ interposed Plcs to list.




  • Re the investor bar, if you ran it by Revenue to ensure that they wouldn't view it as spoiling BES relief (if available) you could do what the big boys do and put a partnership in the way.

    Joe Murphy + family already have 5 shareholders but want to raise €10k. If the "exchange" invested through a partnership then 20 investors (is 20 the number of partners per partnership?) come up with the €10k at €500 a pop rather than having to come up with 2 who can stump up €5k.

    If you had one template partnership you could set up new ones for each investment since I think you don't have to do anything to create a partnership but satisfy the requirement of being in business together.

    The VC funds use LPs so one fund can invest in many businesses, but I think a vanilla partnership could work if it was just to allow numerous investors access to a shareholding in a particular company (the limited liability is in the share) although you'd need to get legal advice.

    Good point. A partnership doesn't require any more than you've said, and it's also possible to set 'exit criteria' for a partnership along the lines of "you are a member of this partnership as long as you own shares in company x, and sale or disposal of your shares in company x shall be deemed to terminate your participation in the partnership".

    Partners are 'jointly and severally liable' for the debts of the partnership, which means that if a member defaults on obligations, the other partners are liable for them - but, as you say, the liability here is limited to the value of the shareholding at purchase, so that shouldn't be an issue. If the shareholding in the company is wiped out through the windup of the company, that's that.
    Alternatively, what is the max number of investors in a co-op? Must be high with all the farmers in Kerry yet co-ops are not publicly traded companies, they all converted/ interposed Plcs to list.

    Presumably that's as a vehicle for the investors? The number is obviously large, given that even excluding the credit union sector (they're co-ops) something like 6% of the population is involved in about a thousand co-ops:
    Irish co-operatives vary in size, structure and their range of activities. Since 1934, the number of co-operatives (excluding credit unions) registered with the RFS has ranged between just under 500 to nearly 1,150. In 2006, there were approximately 1,040 co-operatives registered with the RFS. In 2005, co-operatives registered with the RFS had approximately €3.8 billion in sales/income and 270,000 members (or 6 percent of the population).

    Source: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ccs/CentreNewsEvents/DocumentFile-48934-en.pdf

    cordially,
    Scofflaw




  • Scofflaw wrote: »
    Good point. A partnership doesn't require any more than you've said, and it's also possible to set 'exit criteria' for a partnership along the lines of "you are a member of this partnership as long as you own shares in company x, and sale or disposal of your shares in company x shall be deemed to terminate your participation in the partnership".

    Should be pointed out that it is questionable that holding shares in one company constitutes a business, but asking CRO to rule in your favor on a grey area, has to be easier than seeking a new form of vehicle.

    Scofflaw wrote: »

    Presumably that's as a vehicle for the investors? The number is obviously large, given that even excluding the credit union sector (they're co-ops) something like 6% of the population is involved in about a thousand co-ops:



    Source: http://www.ucc.ie/en/ccs/CentreNewsEvents/DocumentFile-48934-en.pdf

    cordially,
    Scofflaw

    I know nothing about co-ops other than we don't see a lot of them, and they must be able to have many members without jumping through all the hoops of a Plc. Was hoping a co-op member might pitch in with details but you've now pitched in with a pdf for me to read!




  • Regarding taxation, dont forget the whole you loose good chunk of your tax credits if Revenue decides you are a properitary director. The reason I brought up taxation and beuracracy is that they are in their current form a minefield that would put off anyone who wants to remain sane and might put up a barrier for small investors who might be interested in investing locally. Oh and then theres stamp duty on transfer of shares (1% or something?).

    Anyways another idea could be having the investors invest in a hedgefund(s) tied to local companies, lets say Dublin Small companies fund or Connaught IT companies fund and so on. Then the actual investment decisions are passed onto the investment managers who can interact with companies (getting past accounts, listening to pitches and so on).

    Like I said earlier the idea of getting people to invest in local companies via a market of sorts is good, the problems are legal and beuracratic it seems.

    Oh and another point needs to be made, alot of the issues of small companies giving credit is the insistence of banks on collateral such as properties, thats what helped maybe companies endup in property business and fueled the bubble. And now that property values are falling...




  • RichardAnd wrote: »
    Correct me if I'm wrong here Dan but if my memory of your posts is correct, don't you have something in the region of 5+ years of experience and a degree as it is?

    If that's true and the intention is for people like that to be working for free then the problem is worse than I thought :confused:

    Yes that's true, I do.

    It could be argued that I shouldn't have applied for the position, as it would be better to go to a grad. The reverse of that is that they were looking for people with a year or more experience, I'm applying for everything (which is what so many people are shouting that those on the dole should do), and it would given me a certain amount of experience in some areas that I don't have it in - though in the long term I'm not sure how beneficial it will be for me.

    Mostly thought, I really need to be doing something. I'm going stir crazy, despite my best efforts, and nothing else is working.

    Anyway, this thread is not about me. It is good to see a thread about unemployment. I'm hoping there might be something in this jobs budget next week, though I'm not entirely sure what. I don't know if anyone heard Matt Cooper interviewing the head of the Irish association for the unemployed, and some guy from IBEC (? ICBE?) this evening, and they had some excellent, very simple suggestions for improving the ease of setting up businesses, and also for simplifying and integrating the Welfare system with a number of other systems - namely FAS/Revenue - to ensure that people aren't chasing their tails going through the SW system, and are getting actual decent advice. The most noticeable thing in it all was the simplicity of their suggestions, things that should have been done years ago.




  • ei.sdraob wrote: »
    Regarding taxation, dont forget the whole you loose good chunk of your tax credits if Revenue decides you are a properitary director. The reason I brought up taxation and beuracracy is that they are in their current form a minefield that would put off anyone who wants to remain sane and might put up a barrier for small investors who might be interested in investing locally. Oh and then theres stamp duty on transfer of shares (1% or something?).

    But is that not an argument for this being a value add idea? People investing in small companies as "business angels" are unlikely to fall to be treated as "proprietary directors", stamp duty at 1% exists on share transfers, if it were ever expected to cause a big deal you get the company incorporated in Jersey or something (as Shire and WPP and co did with their new topcos). Personally I doubt that stamp duty on small investments would be a big deal, but having the exchange deal with the transfers and adjudication makes it easier.

    But critically, all this may be way too difficult for one small butchers shop to deal with, but might be easier for the fund/ exchange to deal with.

    Most investment funds have a prospectus which outlines at a very high level the expected tax consequences for investors, i.e. if you invest more than €250 you can deduct the cost of that investment from your taxable income (subject to Ts&Cs), if you sell within 5 years a portion of that relief will be clawed back. Stamp duty payable by purchaser at 1%. CGT payable by this date on the difference between cost and proceeds subject to losses and annual exemptions. Perhaps slightly more detail than the above, and all this caveatted that tax depends on facts and circumstances so investors should take their own tax advice.

    You hire a firm of accountants to write the wording, it is generic wording that changes once a year when the budget comes in.

    Mine fields really aren't so bad if you hire the right people, and economies of scale may allow the exchange simplify things a little for small firms getting outside investors/ small investors investing in small firms.




  • RichardAnd wrote: »
    You're correct that technology can render jobs obsolete. However, you're implying that computers are more intelligent than humans which isn't true at all. I work in software developement and whilst the latest gizmos and software can make computers seem super smart, this is only the product of very clever human intuition. When you work with computers like I do, you see just how stupid they can be and the truth is that they have no intelligence at all, they just follow instructions. The "magic" of computers is all from the human mind.

    That's your opinion. But to take from your assertion there, 'fact' is if you walk into any Tesco, Dunnes or Superquinn you will see self-service tills now and at airports self check-in stalls. I would imagine it's at least a few till operators per supermarket. Multiply that out across the country! I would love to know how much of the recently unemployed aren't due to recession but are actually connected to rise in technology???

    Btw, I avoid self service where I can. I try support jobs...




  • alan85 wrote: »
    That's your opinion. But to take from your assertion there, 'fact' is if you walk into any Tesco, Dunnes or Superquinn you will see self-service tills now and at airports self check-in stalls. I would imagine it's at least a few till operators per supermarket. Multiply that out across the country! I would love to know how much of the recently unemployed aren't due to recession but are actually connected to rise in technology???

    Btw, I avoid self service where I can. I try support jobs...


    The first line of my post was that computers render jobs obsolete, which is in agreement with what you've just said. The latter part of my post was correcting another poster's misconception that computers are intelligent when they aren't. They require instructions to do everything and if just one command among millions is wrong, the whole system comes crashing down.


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  • RichardAnd wrote: »
    The first line of my post was that computers render jobs obsolete, which is in agreement with what you've just said. The latter part of my post was correcting another poster's misconception that computers are intelligent when they aren't. They require instructions to do everything and if just one command among millions is wrong, the whole system comes crashing down.
    Sorry, skim read your post. Apologies...


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