This week's extra long edition covers a wide range of new business ideas, from British vending machines selling after-party shoes, to Indonesian eco-bricks made from cow dung. Our next edition is due on 10 June 2009. In the meantime, check out our daily postings on www.springwise.com, send us your tips, and please don't forget to tell your friends and colleagues about us. Thanks!

 

 
 

 
June 3, 2009
 

Team-licensed caps, T-shirts and watches may be all very well for the average sports fan, but what of the truly ardent supporter? Working on the assumption that there are enthusiasts out there wishing for bigger and better ways to express their passion, Stadium Associates is now giving fans of the New York Yankees a chance to bring nothing less than a piece of the stadium into their own back yard.

Indeed, Yankees fans can now buy grass seed and sod drawn from the very same farm and crops that have supplied Yankee Stadium for the past four decades. The proprietary sports turf—specially grown for the Yankees by DeLea Sod Farms on an 80-acre farm in Southern New Jersey—features the same 100 percent Kentucky Bluegrass used in Yankee Stadium and "grooms easy and stands tough," in the words of Stadium Associates; "you will never feel a stronger connection with the team or the game than with this Authentic MLB product." Yankees Grass Seed is priced starting at USD 14.99 for a 3 oz. bag, and is available both online and through Yankee Stadium, Yankee Clubhouse Stores, and select Home Depot stores in the New York metro area. Yankees Sod is available through New York Home Depot stores as well as DeLea Sod Farms.

Is there any underestimating consumers' enthusiasm for the teams, artists and performers they love? We think not—nor has their fondness for a good status story and some (still) made here appeal faded at all. For sports teams around the globe, this is one to emulate; for all others: look around you, and be inspired!

Website: www.stadiumassociates.com
Contact: www.stadiumassociates.com/Pages/Contact

Spotted by: Judy McRae

 

 

 


 
June 3, 2009
 

It's a sobering fact that a full 40 percent of the world's population—some 2.6 billion people—lack regular access to a toilet. Add to that the fact that one child dies every 15 seconds from water contamination, and it's not hard to see the motivation behind the Peepoo bag.

One of the UN Millennium Development Goals, set in 2000, is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people without sustainable access to drinking water and sanitation, but so far progress has been minimal. With that in mind, Swedish Peepoople created the Peepoo bag to serve as a personal, portable and low-cost latrine for all the many people who don't have one. Designed for use sitting, squatting or standing, the single-use, biodegradable plastic bag measures 14 by 38 cm and is lined with a urea-coated gauze layer that disinfects all waste. Used bags are odour-free for at least 24 hours and are safe for burial underground. Within two to four weeks after use, however, their contents get converted to high-quality fertiliser—something that's also rare in many areas and so could become a source of income and further enrichment for an individual or village. Following field tests last year in Kenya and India, the Peepoo bag is scheduled to begin production this summer.

Along with such efforts as distributing free insect nets to children in malaria-ridden areas and abolishing fees for school uniforms in poor countries, the Peepoo bag qualifies as a quick-win project that could rapidly improve the lives of many people. One to get in on, help out with, or be inspired by!

Website: www.peepoople.com
Contact: info@peepoople.com

Spotted by: Robert Olzon

 

 

 


 
June 2, 2009
 

Business-focused social networks and being spaces for mobile workers are both familiar concepts by now, but not until recently had we seen them united and offered jointly through a single global brand.

Hub Culture is a private social network aimed at helping members connect, exchange knowledge, forge deals and create value. With primary bases in several urban hubs—including London, New York, San Francisco, Bermuda, Singapore and Hong Kong—Hub Culture has more than 60 representatives in major cities around the world dedicated to assisting other members with advice and knowledge in their home areas. Membership is free but requires invitation; benefits include personal online profiles, the ability to form groups with file sharing and wikis, knowledge brokerage to help drive deals, and invitations to private events. There's even a private digital currency dubbed Ven that's used to allow members to pay for knowledge, favours and other soft areas that it might be difficult to charge money for.

What makes Hub Culture especially interesting is where it enters the physical world. Hub Culture Pavilions are currently being developed around the globe to provide a shared physical space, support services and online collaboration tools that help members connect and work together. The first permanent one just opened on Carnaby Street in London, and temporary ones are already up and running in Amsterdam, New York, Ibiza and other locations around the world. Free wifi and broadband, luxury workspace, online storage and work tools, and premium snacks, coffees and teas are among the benefits enjoyed by Pavilion members. Membership is limited; at the new London Pavilion, individual members must pay anywhere from GBP 29 per month for a full membership to GBP 59 monthly for one that includes VIP valet services. Hub Culture is managed by Hub Culture Services, a London-based consultancy.

By combining global social networking with the flexibility and environmental benefits of a shared local workspace—effectively blending the best of online and off—Hub Culture may just have hit upon the model that's needed to support the new breed of globally minded, heavily wired, eco-conscious and cost-cutting workers around the world. One to try out in a Hub near you...? (Related: Meeting rooms, upgraded.)

Website: www.hubculture.com
Contact: www.hubculture.com/groups/hub/projects/66/wiki

 

 

 


 
June 2, 2009
 

When we featured The Texas Lice Squad back in 2007, a few of our team members doubted whether professional head lice removal made for a sustainable business. It seems it does—The Texas Lice Squad has since opened two storefronts, and is still going strong.

It's an idea that's spreading to other parts of the world, too—as witnessed by two recent spottings. In the UK, London-based Hairforce offers full service lice and nit removal at its Hairforce Lounge, as well as in-home and at schools. Hairforce treats de-lousing like guerilla warfare, declaring lice the 'enemy' and dubbing their employees 'Lice Assassins'.

Many of its staff members are mothers who have fought battles with lice in their own homes, so they know the importance of keeping kids happy during the process of removing their lice. Hairforce offers kids computer games, magazines and DVDs to occupy them during their appointments. The cost for each of the three infestation clearings required to de-louse an individual is GBP 40. Hairforce will also check for lice on other household members—from parents to nannies—at a cost of GBP 25 per 30 minute inspection.

Meanwhile, in Rio de Janeiro, Marli de Freitas Fernandes Braga has opened a dedicated lice-removal salon at Rua da Passagem 83. Higienex (no website) is located in Rio's Botafogo neighbourhood and offers its services at BRL 55 per hour. The company's founder is a lawyer who spotted a business opportunity after spending hours removing lice from her granddaughters' heads. Videogames and popcorn are on offer to distract kids.

Time-poor (or exasperated) people will always be eager to outsource some of their domestic chores, especially to service providers who clearly know what they're doing. What's next...?

Website: www.thehairforce.co.uk
Contact: www.thehairforce.co.uk/summon.html

Spotted by: Anisa Topan and Erica Oliveira

 

 

 


 
June 2, 2009
 

Similar to eco-minded Comet Skateboards, which we wrote about back in 2007, Arniko Skateboards offers a line of slalomboards that combine sustainable craftsmanship with local production.

Whereas Comet uses a solar-powered factory in downtown San Francisco to produce its boards, however, Swiss Arniko taps small, local enterprises in Nepal, where artisans practice the traditional Nepalese art of woodcarving. Aiming to give such artists a global market, Arniko offers a line of 9 hand-carved skateboards crafted from varying timbers with unique hues. Available both online and in Arniko stores in St. Gallen and Kathmandu, the company's skateboards are priced beginning at CHF 169. Based on the classical slalomboard form, the compact boards are designed for urban transportation and can be used without much practice. A range of accompanying fashion articles and accessories—also produced exclusively in Nepal—are available as well. The Arniko website explains: "Our vision is to bring the Himalayan spirit to you, so that when you hold an Arniko Skateboard in your hands, you know that there are proud carving-artists in Nepal who believe their own capabilities can bring about change."

The majority of products today may still be mass-produced in nameless factories around the globe, but there's no doubt honey, sweaters, wind power and skateboards—to name just a few—can benefit from some (still) made here appeal. Add to that a solid product and a focus on social change, and you may just have a winner! ;-)

Website: www.arnikoskateboards.com
Contact: info@arnikoskateboards.comnepal@arnikoskateboards.com

Spotted by: Gitte Meeussen

 

 

 


 
June 1, 2009
 

Remove the lead vocals from a hit song, and you've got the makings for karaoke. Erase a lead actor from a popular film, and you've got the idea behind Yoostar.

Yoostar is a new technology that includes all the tools consumers need to digitally insert themselves in the place of original lead actors in famous movies and television shows. Included in the USD 170 system—slated to become available in July—are a studio-grade web cam with built-in dual microphones and remote control, portable green screen, professional stand, and Yoostar software that is PC- and Mac-compatible. Yoostar’s patented Active Immersion Technology begins by digitally removing original actors from iconic Hollywood scenes, creating clips with roles that need to be filled. Among the films to be available, for example, are “The Godfather,” “The Terminator” and "Psycho," thanks to Yoostar's partnerships with Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., Lions Gate Films, the NBA and “Sesame Street.” The system will ship with an assortment of such clips featuring 38 different roles, and more will be available for purchase and download from Yoostar's continuously updated library of film, television and NBA moments.

Once they choose the role they'd like to play, consumers will simply step between the camera and the green screen, get in the character's position and start filming. They can deliver faithful, on-script performances or choose their own interpretations; the number of takes is unlimited, ensuring that the user gets exactly the performance they want before wrapping the scene. In addition to recording scenes to their Mac or PC for local viewing, users can also upload and share them on Yoostar's site, where content is available for viewing, rating and competition. In true social networking fashion, user profiles, communities of friends, and embeddable players and widgets will all be available.

If there's anything the prolific members of Generation C(ontent) love more than creating their own content, it's giving well-known content a spin of their own. Could this lead to the discovery of the silver screen's own Susan Boyle? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, following its July 1 release online, the Yoostar system will become available through retailers on Aug. 24; might be a good idea to be one of them. ;-) (Related: Tuning in to a personalized radio tributeOnline auditions for a crowdsourced movie.)

Website: www.yoostar.com
Contact: info@yoostar.com

Spotted by: Judy McRae

 

 

 


 
May 30, 2009
 

It's been almost three years since we wrote about California-based Ghetto Gourmet, and the "wandering supper club" still seems to be going strong. Now, across the continent, a similar concept has been launched in the form of Charlie's Burgers, an underground "anti-restaurant" in Toronto that hand-picks its guests and has nothing to do with burgers.

Prospective diners who want to experience a Charlie's Burgers dinner must first apply for an invitation, a process that involves filling out a survey about their interest in food. If they're lucky, they'll then be sent an e-vite to the next Charlie's Burgers event. Neither the identity of "Charlie" nor the location of the event is disclosed, however; rather, on the evening of the dinner, invited guests are directed to a public spot—such as a newspaper box—to pick up directions, TheStar.com reported. The five-course meals are priced at CDN 110 including cocktails, wines, dinner and dessert, and the menus are reportedly a far cry from what the name would suggest. "Duck in a Can"—a signature dish brought in from Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon—is commonly featured, according to reports; also included in a dinner earlier this spring were an elaborate cheese tray, Malbec poached Bosc pear, and almond and walnut ice cream, according to a Chowhound blogger who attended. While only 30 or so guests are served at each four-hour event, applications can number as high as 250, another article in The Star reported.

Charlie's profit margins could be slim, many attendees seem to feel, given the quality of the food and the generosity of the portions. Also adding to the value of the events, of course, are the feeling of exclusivity—sure to generate status stories galore—the uniqueness of the experience and the off-the-beaten-path culinary possibilities. Yet with zero to little overhead required and virtually limitless creative opportunities, an underground restaurant could become an increasingly attractive option for chefs wanting to start their own business. One to emulate in a top-secret location near you...? ;-)

Website: www.charliesburgers.ca

Spotted by: Stas Zlobinski

 

 

 


 
May 30, 2009
 

Services that send print mail from an online application are no longer entirely new. What's interesting about Enthusem is that the printed greeting cards it sends can include online attachments.

Using Enthusem, which was launched last year by Florida-based Prospect Smarter, any company or individual can create and mail a printed, full-colour card using their own images, content and electronic attachments. Users begin by uploading their own artwork or choosing from Enthusem's library of images. Next they enter the message they'd like printed on the card. Then they can elect to include an online attachment such as a video, brochure or resume, and it will be hosted on the Enthusem site at no charge; a 5-digit code then gets printed inside the card along with a brief explanation giving the recipient the URL of the landing page where it can be found. Once finished, Enthusem cards get inserted in a transparent vellum envelope—allowing the recipient to see what's inside even before they've opened it—and sent out via First Class mail. When the recipient views the attachment, an email notification is instantly sent to the sender, alerting them that it has been successfully picked up. There are no monthly or subscription fees on Enthusem, and the first card a user sends is free. After that, each individual card costs about USD 3, with bulk pricing discounts and corporate accounts available.

Electronic and printed mail both have distinct advantages for both personal and business use, but Enthusem seems to go a long way toward combining the best of both worlds. Though the service currently sends mail only within the United States, international capabilities are coming soon; one to help bring to your part of the world? (Related: More free (and enhanced) snail mail optionsSnail mail sent directly from any app to any countryA paperless alternative to the postal system.)

Website: www.enthusem.com
Contact: support@enthusem.com

Spotted by: Rick Rochon

 

trendwatching.com trend briefing
 

 

 


 
May 29, 2009
 

Out of South Africa comes Great Guide: a GPS-triggered audio tour that hooks up to car radios. The system was designed for visitors to South Africa, and provides informative and entertaining sightseeing commentary for ZAR 99 per day. Customers order the service on the company's website, picking it up along with their hire car at the airport. Driving past points of interest, the system automatically broadcasts interesting stories and facts, ranging from historic and geographic info to current affairs and pop culture trivia.

Information turns to recommendations thanks to the Great Advice feature, which offers shopping and dining tips, while the My Itinerary option lets tourists input their travel plans online before they take off. Between points of commentary users can choose from a selection of music. Great Guide can be accessed mainly in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga regions, with conventional GPS functionality on offer in the rest of the country. The service is currently available in English only, with French following soon and everything from Arabic to Zulu is said to be on the cards.

Similar services are popping up in other parts of the world, too. With its potential to infiltrate every niche, and the opportunities it presents savvy marketers and content providers, it’s a concept we’re following with interest. More on maps becoming the new interface? Check out trendwatching.com’s notes about mapmania. (Related: Ad-supported navigationSightseeing guided by GPS.)

Website: www.greatguide.co.za
Contact: info@greatguide.co.za

Spotted by: Bridget McNulty

 

 

 


 
May 29, 2009
 

Combining try-before-you-buy with the luxury rental concept established by companies like Bag Borrow Steal and écurie25 is Guitar Affair, a service that rents out high-end and boutique guitars by the day or week.

Guitar Affair refers to its rentals as ‘affairs’ to reflect the emotional experience that customers have with instruments. Customers pay a one-off USD 50 fee to join and then select and reserve a guitar to be shipped anywhere within the United States. After they’ve had their affair for the agreed time span, they return the guitar in its shipping container with an included UPS label. For those fond enough to commit to a lasting relationship, guitars can be purchased with some (or all) of the affair fee refunded.

All of the guitars are memorable, with a cutaway XOX Handle carbon fibre guitar available for USD 75 a day or USD 300 a week, and a Sandoval Dot V costing USD 125 per day or 400 per week. In addition to guitars, customers can also rent a variety of headphones, amps, cables, straps, instructional items, backing tracks and road cases. The concept is perfect for a studio getaway, travelling musicians with fickle tastes or players who simply wish to experiment. And because the guitars are shipped back to the company, they're always maintained and set-up to professional standards—which can cost a pretty penny on its own.

Our sister-site trendwatching.com published a briefing about transumers back in 2006, focusing on consumers who are more interested in experiences than in ownership. It’s an enduring trend, and one that has extra power in today’s economy. Time to experiment with transient offerings of your own?

Website: www.guitaraffair.com
Contact: www.guitaraffair.com/contactus.php

Spotted by: Raymond Kollau

 

 

 


 
May 28, 2009
 

Traditional search engines like Google excel at finding objective information in the vast network of pages on the web, but what about when you want a local restaurant recommendation? Going far beyond general reviews or even those of twinsumers with similar tastes is a new search site that aims to get more personally relevant by asking your own extended network of friends.

Users of Aardvark begin by adding the service to their email or IM buddy list, and then sending it a question in plain English via either medium. Aardvark then checks the user's social network of participating friends and friends-of-friends to see who might be able to answer it. Friends must have signed up with Aardvark to be considered, and they can control whose questions come to them, and when. Factors taken into account by the algorithm that chooses respondents include how closely connected they are to the person with the question, what topics they know about—gleaned from profile data on Facebook and around the web—whether they have similar tastes, where they're located and whether they're currently available to answer. After zeroing in on a small subset of the user's social network, Aardvark finds someone who can answer the question in real time and, within 5 minutes or so, sends their answer back to the person who asked.

"If someone's looking for a recommendation on 'great music' or a 'hotel room in London', not even 20 percent of people are going to be satisfied with a search result" from a traditional search engine, ex-Googler Max Ventilla, now Aardvark's CEO, told BusinessWeek. Rather than objective listings or the opinions of anonymous strangers on the web—which is mostly what one gets from Google—or the highly curated yet heavily numerical answers that are generated by Wolfram|Alpha, Aardvark aims to provide advice that's subjective and customised to the person who asked the question.

San Francisco-based Aardvark requires no software download or installation; there are currently more than 10,000 users testing out a private version of the site, according to BusinessWeek. Its revenue model includes referral fees paid by companies—including Amazon and Zappos so far—when answers include a link to their sites, BW reported.

Will social search provide the new way to get answers to everyday questions? It seems likely, but only time will tell. In the meantime, one to watch, partner with—or generally get in on as soon as possible! ;-)

Website: www.vark.com
Contact: info@aardvarkteam.com

Spotted by: Diricia De Wet

 

 

 


 
May 28, 2009
 

Of all of the examples we’ve seen of upcycling—turning waste materials into new products—teddylux is undoubtedly the most adorable. Each plush bear, elephant and bunny made by the Georgia business is fashioned from a discarded cashmere sweater.

Cashmere animals can be purchased straight from the website for USD 50-60 each, with cashmere baby toys costing USD 15. For the same cost, customers can request the animal of their choice to be made from their own old cashmere sweater, which makes for a toy that’s both sustainably manufactured and highly personal. The site also accepts postal donations from kindhearted people clearing out their closets, reimbursing the postage for their offering.

Brooke Serson Cernonok, the company’s founder, has been making the toys since 2004. She expanded the operation in 2008, adding more designs to her repertoire, along with cashmere headbands decorated with vintage jewellery. More examples of businesses using recycling to give their products a green edge and a stronger story? Check out Virgin Atlantic's seat covers, reborn as bags and From 1950s pommel horses to 2008 gym bags.

Website: www.teddylux.com
Contact: teddylux@teddylux.com

Spotted by: Josh Spear

 

 

 


 
May 27, 2009
 

The economy may be a shambles, but that doesn't mean there isn't still a market for creature comforts, especially when travelling. With that in mind, a new hotel recently opened in Singapore to provide a bespoke, all-expenses-covered stay. And unlike all-in beach resorts aimed at holidaymakers, Quincy is a city hotel targeting business (and leisure) travellers.

Situated just steps away from Singapore's Orchard Road, Quincy is a 108-room boutique hotel where the room rate covers virtually everything. Guests begin their pampering visit with complimentary limousine pickup from the airport and free wifi during the 20-minute ride. Three meals a day at the hotel are also included, as are cocktails from 6 to 8 pm. Minibar supplies are free and replenished daily, and all the hotel's studio rooms feature premium king-sized mattresses draped with feather beddings, separate bathtub and rain shower, and windows custom-designed with modular shapes that vary from room to room. Free internet, a laptop safe and a wardrobe stocked with amenities such as bathrobes and slippers are also included, and the hotel will even pick up the tab for two pieces of laundry per room per night. Rates for June currently begin at about SGD 218 (USD 150 / EUR 107) per night.

It's a smart move—cost-cutting measures have slashed corporate travel budgets, and those travelling for business might well be swayed by a hotel that will pamper them without presenting a long, itemized bill or unexpected charges. Since the hotel opened in March, it has reportedly enjoyed occupancy rates of about 76 percent, according to industry publication Hotels.

Website: www.quincy.com.sg
Contact: info@quincy.com.sg

Spotted by: Raymond Kollau

 

 

 


 
May 27, 2009
 

Millions of teens around the globe are already well-acquainted with Habbo, the popular virtual world aimed at those aged 13 to 18. Now Sulake, the Finnish creator of the site, has launched Bobba, a counterpart designed for mobile phone users 16 and older.

Launched into beta last month, Bobba bills itself as a "pocketsize virtual world" that's designed for use on mobile phones. Much as with Habbo, users can create avatars, build and decorate their own virtual surroundings on the site, and meet and interact with other users. More than 11,000 accounts have already been created; supported phones include a variety of models from Nokia, LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Lenovo; support for iPhones and the iPod Touch is coming soon.

Of course, besides enabling virtual product sales within the site, communities like Habbo and Bobba also provide a nicely targeted way for other businesses to meet and interact with particular segments of consumers—much the way Dutch Postbank did when it set up a presence on Habbo. After all, in today's socially networked world, the effectiveness of advertising is limited at best. Instead, companies must reach out to consumers where they naturally spend their time—and for legions of mobile users 16 and over, that just might turn out to be Bobba. One to watch!

Website: www.bobba.com
Contact: business@bobba.com

Spotted by: John Greene

 

 

 


 
May 26, 2009
 

What to do after being laid off? For 26-year-old Alex Light, there was only one option: head down to the beach and get fit. After losing his job in Dubai real estate, he set up Bad Times Bootcamp to help unemployed people get fit and get to know each other. A qualified personal trainer, Light set up his free fitness classes to help others stay active and stay positive. The group had its first session in March 2009, bringing together people in new but similar situations to share experiences and find the support they need.

Light now hopes to spread the concept across the globe, welcoming the possibility of sponsorship in order to keep the classes free whilst supporting himself and his new social enterprise. And when the downturn ends, he hopes that his classes will offer the employed a more valuable way to network. (Related: Camp for laid-off professionals.)

Website: www.badtimesbootcamp.com
Contact: aja_light@yahoo.co.uk

Spotted by: Bebhinn Kelly

 

 

 


 
May 26, 2009
 

Hungarian travel site Joobili believes that timing is everything when it comes to planning a trip. Instead of asking users where they want to go, Joobili provides would-be travellers with inspiration by asking them when they want to schedule a trip, and then offers information about festivals, parties, sports events and other travel-worthy happenings across Europe. Users can either select a travel date on a slide rule calendar on the website site or search by country or keyword (Arts, Music, Family, Celebrations, Shopping, Food & Drink, Sport, Nature and Unusual). By clicking on an event on the calendar, searchers can view photos of an event and check out other events nearby. Members can also save their past and future events on a personal GoList and exchange comments with travellers who have similar interests. The website's revenue model seems to be based on affiliate marketing, earning fees for referrals to hotels, guidebooks, rental cars and flights.

Joobili's ‘timely travel’ approach turns the way we book travel on its head by putting the activities before the destination. It’s a simple innovation, but one that’s likely to be compelling to an important audience for the travel industry: the adventurous. (Related: Trip planner lets customers create their own tours.)

Website: www.joobili.com
Contact: contact@joobili.com

Spotted by: Tamas Kocsis

 

 

 


 
May 26, 2009
 

In tough economic times consumers appreciate more than ever the ability to try before they buy, as we've noted on many occasions before. Similar to the initiative from Renault that we covered not long ago, rental giant Hertz is now giving consumers the ability to do an extended test drive before they buy a car.

Hertz bills its Rent2Buy program as a "virtual showroom" featuring a variety of high-quality rental cars—most still under original factory warranty, with between 25,000 and 40,000 miles. Consumers can search the company's inventory by year, make, model, ZIP code or state. If they find one they're interested in, they can rent it for three days to try it out; they sign up online, and are notified where to pick it up. After putting the car through its paces during that 3-day trial, consumers can return it to Hertz if they don't want to keep it, simply paying the applicable rental charges. If they do want to buy it, however, there's no need to bring it back—they simply log onto My Hertz and click "Purchase Car." From there, they email or fax the completed Bill of Sale document back to Hertz, which will then contact them to finalize the transaction, including payment and title transfer.

By offering extended try-before-you-buy along with an all-online, haggling-free sales process, Hertz eliminates in one fell swoop two of the points that typically cause consumers pain when buying a car. Which, of course, increases the odds that they will. Need further convincing? Check out the tryvertising section of trendwatching.com’s Generation G briefing for more.

Website: rent2buy.hertzcarsales.com

Spotted by: Raymond Kollau

 

 

 


 
May 25, 2009
 

While students have traditionally sought work placements with big name brands and firms, those looking to work closely with a company's founders and get hands-on experience in a variety of roles might be better off at a small business or startup.

Through its online directory, Enternships.com aims to connect SMBs and startups with entrepreneurial students, or 'enterns'. Businesses and aspiring enterns fill out a profile and advertise their needs to kick start a working relationship. Full-time, part-time, project-specific and remote placements are on offer, as are headline-grabbing opportunities with entrepreneurs such as Martha Lane Fox of Lucky Voice.

Enternship.com went into public beta last month, and its matchmaking service is currently free of charge. When it comes out of beta, the site aims to combine a free basic service with paid-for premium features such as targeted advertising and featured placements. The site was developed by former members of Oxford Entrepreneurs, a student society for entrepreneurship at Oxford University. The site continues to work with the society, and plans to add more services in the near future, including a special programme for school leavers and tailored year-long programmes for graduates. One to set up for the growing ranks of entrepreneurial students in other parts of the world?

Website: www.enternships.com
Contact: info@enternships.com

Spotted by: Sam Patel

 

 

 


 
May 24, 2009
 

British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has already put children's nutrition in the spotlight with his School Dinners documentaries and Feed Me Better campaign. Now, through a partnership with Swedish Scandic Hotels, he's bringing his philosophy right to the table for travellers with children.

The three-year partnership will focus on a different target group each year, beginning with children. Specifically, starting this summer, kids will be able to try out completely new children’s menus at all 150 of Scandic’s hotels. Many traditional meals will be revamped; other, new ones will also be introduced, featuring natural preparations and organic ingredients. Kids will begin by choosing their food from a photo-based menu designed specifically with them in mind, according to Fashtastic. They'll also be able to assemble their own salad. Entrees will include spaghetti and meatballs, while dessert will feature ice cream “Smushins”—something Oliver apparently invented as kid--including vanilla ice cream with healthy toppings like fresh fruit and berries, "smushed" together with a spatula by the kids themselves.

What's the best way to impress a parent? Take good care of their kids. A concept to emulate throughout the hospitality industry! (Related: Happy healthy mealsMore meal prep & cooking instruction, this time by Jamie Oliver.)

Website: www.scandichotels.com
Contact: www.scandichotels.com/settings/Side-foot/Customer-service/Contact-us1/

Spotted by: Robert Olzon

 

 

 


 
May 24, 2009
 

Cash-strapped consumers are increasingly looking to their spare rooms, their backyards and even their furniture for ways to earn some extra money. Now they can offer up their photos for sale as well thanks to Fotomoto.

Currently in invitation-only beta, Fotomoto enables anyone with photographic content to sell their photos directly from their website or blog. A single line of code is all it takes to add the customisable Fotomoto toolbar, which analyzes the site's web pages, adds a "Buy" button to each photo for sale and enables viewers to purchase and pay for photos on the spot or send them as free e-cards. Fotomoto handles all order processing and then prints, packages and ships the purchased photos to customers. Its control panel, meanwhile, allows users to set the pricing and availability of their photos, manage their orders and even track analytics data such as how many times a particular photo has been viewed or sent as an e-card. There is no subscription fee for using the service; Fotomoto simply deducts the cost of each print sold plus a 15 percent transaction charge from each order amount, sending the rest on to the user. Photographers in 25 different countries are already using San Francisco-based Fotomoto, which will soon be able to handle transactions in local currencies as well, it says. International shipping is also available. Greeting cards, postcards, calendars and signed prints are coming soon.

Creative consumers have long enjoyed being rewarded for their efforts, but the global recession has added a new level of urgency, spurring what our sister site calls sellsumers to hawk everything from their storage space to their online profiles in their quest to stay afloat. Those who help them do that, of course, will see their own ships rise as well! ;-)

Website: www.fotomoto.com
Contact: www.fotomoto.com/site/contact

Spotted by: TechCrunch

 

 

 


 
May 22, 2009
 

Seasoned entrepreneurs know there’s a big difference between a great idea in the mind and a successful product in the hand. Here to bridge that gap is Quirky, a service that uses a collaborative process to actualize killer ideas that might otherwise go to waste.

Anyone can submit their business plan and sketches to Quirky for USD 99, with the aim of being selected as the idea of the week. If it is, it will be listed on Quirky’s website, where a number of 'influencers' can vote and advise on the product's development. The cream of the crop are then put into production and sent to market, at which point the person with the original idea gets 12% of the top line revenue. 70% goes into Quirky’s kitty (this also funds production), with some funds left over to reward the influencers who helped make the product a success.

The site still has value for those whose ideas aren’t selected, as the USD 99 supplies the wannabe entrepreneur with a market evaluation and details of the community's response. And anyone can sign up as an influencer and make a few bucks based on their feedback, if an idea goes into production.

Asking idea-holders to pay a submission fee adds a useful element of self-selection, motivating people to submit only their best ideas and think them through before throwing them out into the either. And the selection process is one to observe and learn from, especially if you’re interested in tapping the wisdom of the crowds without ending up with something like The Homer. Meanwhile, Quirky’s parent company, Kluster, is building a business out of enabling selection processes. See NameThis for more crowd-selection at work.

Website: www.quirky.com
Contact: tinydino@quirkyinc.com

Spotted by: Troy Tessalone

 

 

 


 
May 22, 2009
 

We’ve covered the value of worm poop, and now it’s time for the merits of cow dung to come to the fore. EcoFaeBrick turns cattle waste into bricks that are greener, stronger and 20% lighter than regular clay bricks.

The Indonesian organization was set up earlier this year to tackle the problem of excessive waste in farming areas. From this, the ecological and economical solution of the Cow Dung Brick was born. There's no visible difference between a traditional brick and the dung brick—and before you ask, there's no smell either. Instead of using wood fire the dung bricks are fired using biogas, helping to further reduce carbon emissions. The new product also lets land be retained for farming, rather than being excavated for clay for conventional bricks, or becoming a health risk due to ‘too much dung’.

A green product that boosts the wealth of rural Indonesians, it's not hard to see why EcoFaeBrick came first in the 2009 Global Social Venture competition. The company has identified 22 areas around Indonesia that they want to expand the project to, plus 22 more in other parts of the world. One to support, or otherwise get involved with!

Website: www.ecofaebrick.com
Contact: yusufaria@ecofaebrick.com

Spotted by: Tais Reis

 

 

 


 
May 22, 2009
 

It's an increasingly mobile world out there, and a new service aims to help music bands large and small get in on the action. Specifically, Mobile Roadie lets artists quickly create their own iPhone applications to connect with fans on the go.

Bands simply register their basic account information and choose a name for their application; they are then assigned a unique URL for their app's dashboard. Mobile Roadie then creates their application, causing it to appear in Apple's App Store and on the iPhone or iPod Touch of any fan who downloads it. From then on, artists can use the application's content management system to share news, photos, videos and song notes, for example, and to stream music for fans to sample and then buy through a direct link to the iTunes Store. The customisable platform also allows bands to integrate their social networking profiles within the application, while a fan wall allows listeners to interact, participate and have their say. Mobile Roadie was created by Los Angeles-based agency Fluidesign. Pricing is USD 399 to set up the app and then USD 29 per month for up to 1,000 fans; each additional fan costs 1 cent per month.

There's no doubt mobile applications are increasingly the way to reach young, hip consumers. Make it easy and inexpensive for organizations of all kinds to do that—preferably with some niche customisation—and you'll soon be listening to the sweet tunes of success! ;-) (Related: Adidas creates free iPhone guide to Berlin's street artPhotographer launches iPhone-only style mag.)

Website: www.mobileroadie.com
Contact: help@mobileroadie.com

Spotted by: Miriam Brafman

 

 

 


 
May 21, 2009
 

Women who love their high heels may already be aware of ‘emergency’ flats that roll up and fit inside a purse in order to be slipped onto tired feet the end of a long night of dancing. Two new companies in England have taken the concept a step further by selling their version of portable flats in vending machines at nightclubs.

Rollasoles sell for about GBP 5 and come in four colors: Hi Ho Silver, Gold Digger, and Back to Black and Pink. When tested in Oceana and Liquid nightclubs, the classic looking ballet quickly shoes sold out. Rollasoles is planning to introduce more vending machines and eventually branch out beyond the UK.

Afterheels are similar rollable ballet flats that also sell for about GBP 5 but have—according to the company—the added feature of being sustainable; the bodies of the shoes are made from natural materials and the polypropylene insoles are fully recyclable. Both Rollasoles and Afterheels are sold with a matching bag to carry their wearer's stilettos home. It’s hard to imagine a place where this kind of convenience wouldn’t appeal to female clubgoers.

Websites: www.rollasole.comwww.afterheels.com
Contact: info@rollasole.cominfo@afterheels.com

Spotted by: Raymond Kollau

 

 

 


 
May 21, 2009
 

One of the difficulties gamers often face is figuring out what their friends are playing at any given moment, and in enough time to join them. It's no simple task with all the many platforms out there, but a new site is hoping to make it easier.

Raptr is a free service that automatically detects when a gamer is playing a game on nearly any platform—including PC, Xbox Live, Mac, Flash, social games, browser-based games, Steam and even some games on the Wii and PS3—and then notifies their friends. Users begin by creating an account and listing their identities on the various games they play, along with the friends they'd like to keep up with. There's also client software to install on their computer. Then, when they start a game, players can either instant message their friends via the Raptr site, or they can have their friends on Facebook, Twitter and FriendFeed automatically notified. Raptr can automatically update friends on gaming achievements and play time statistics as well, and users get an integrated view of all their gaming identities in a single glance. Not only that, but in Amazon-like fashion, Raptr recommends new games based on past games enjoyed and friends' preferences. Finally, with the help of the Raptr client software, the service also keeps all PC games up-to-date, automatically downloading patches as they become available.

Ad-supported Raptr, which is based in California, launched into beta in September. While few of us would want such automatic tracking and informing applied to all aspects of our lives, it seems likely there are others that could benefit from a similar model. Entrepreneurs: start your engines! ;-)

Website: www.raptr.com
Contact: feedback@raptr.com

Spotted by: Bryce Hufnal

 

 

 


 

 

 

Bloggers, journalists, editors:

Springwise and its global network of 8,000 spotters scan the globe for smart new business ideas, delivering instant inspiration to entrepreneurial minds from San Francisco to Singapore. Time to start the Next Big Thing!

 

Bloggers, journalists, editors:

Feel free to publish part or all of these trends at your convenience. As long as you properly name, credit and link the source, www.springwise.com, we're happy. If you're a journalist working on a new business idea-related article, check out our press pages or request a quote: we'll do our best to make your deadline-dominated life easier.

 

Change your email address or unsubscribe

Has your email address changed? Please update your details here: springwise.com/newsletter/change
Want to unsubscribe? Please go to: springwise.com/newsletter/unsubscribe

 

Disclaimer

The author reserves the right not to be responsible for the topicality, correctness, completeness or quality of the information provided. Liability claims regarding damage caused by the use of any information provided, including any kind of information which is incomplete or incorrect, will therefore be rejected.

 

Disclaimer
Springwise BV, a 53rd Floor BV company.
Address: Laurierstraat 71, 1016 PJ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Web address: www.springwise.com
Contact email address: liesbeth@springwise.com