What does NYC have to teach us? The Winnipeg BIZ Association went to find out.
By Stefano Grande
This past fall, several Winnipeg BIZ groups and business members attended the annual International Downtown Association World Congress in the big apple. One of the many conference highlights included a keynote address from New York’s just retired mayor, Michael Bloomberg.
Mayor Bloomberg spoke to the success of public/private partnerships that have been formed to create Business Improvement Associations/Districts in the United States and how these groups play a significant role in cities’ social and economic growth. Bloomberg also stressed the importance of empowering these business improvement districts and stepping out of the way so they can get the job of revitalization done.
Put resources to work
While cities across North America struggle to maintain neighbourhood services, Bloomberg, with the support of the business improvement districts, has capitalized on the city’s capacity to mobilize a greater supply of resources – with an empowered community and increased partnerships to help achieve economic development goals.
Business Improvement Zones (BIZs) in Winnipeg are a mix of city-mandated and voluntarily formed business organizations. Collectively, as a BIZ zone, businesses can achieve more than they could individually to benefit their market area. Business owners in these improvement districts themselves determine the level of taxes they will pay and commit to support enhanced street cleanup, graffiti removal services, security services, marketing and promotion of local businesses, holiday lighting, economic development initiatives, beautification and landscaping, and more.
The enhanced services these taxes bring to the community are essential to ensure small businesses and the neighbourhoods in which they operate are given every opportunity to succeed. More and more local residents have come to appreciate the role of the enhanced services provided by BIZs in creating a better urban environment.
In our city, 16 BIZs perform these services – sometimes above and beyond standard city services. Regardless of the BIZs’ size, there are many volunteers who are helping to improve our city. Similar to New York’s partnership with business improvement districts, many Winnipeg BIZ groups have partnered with the city to better serve both the business community and our residents and visitors.
For example, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ created a program in 2006 that helped intoxicated people on the street find appropriate support services, helping to improve the safety and well-being of all concerned. The West End and Exchange BIZs developed a coalition supported by the city that ensures graffiti removal in nine BIZ zones, together improving our city’s image beyond BIZ borders. Other BIZ zones share resources and work together to maximize benefits; these are examples of the types of partnerships our 16 BIZ zones embrace.
The Winnipeg BIZ Association, comprised of these 16 BIZs who represent thousands of Winnipeg businesses, remains committed to beautifying and enhancing our communities for a vibrant and socially prosperous city.
Most recently, Mayor Bloomberg launched a new business improvement district, the SoHo BID, which marked New York’s 68th such district, and the 24th created under his administration. In his own words, Mayor Bloomberg believes the “SoHo BID will serve retail establishments along Broadway between Houston and Canal Streets and will work to promote and support the artistic, architectural, cultural, and historical landmarks that contribute to the identity and character of the district and the SoHo community at large.”
New York’s former mayor gets it – that it takes many different partners and agencies working in concert to make change happen.
Let’s increase our effort
There are lessons to be learned from Bloomberg, as well as from the things we ourselves have achieved at home. As Winnipeg struggles to deliver the ever-increasing variety of services demanded by our communities, the BIZs can play a role by working with the city to improve our neighbourhoods. It is time to ramp up the capacity and role of BIZs in Winnipeg and form stronger public/private partnerships across the entire city.
Stefano Grande is executive director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.
By Robert Blando
By following a well-formulated asset allocation strategy, you can stabilize your portfolio and increase your peace of mind at the same time.
But what exactly is asset allocation?
Simply put, it is a strategy for answering two questions: What type of assets should I have in my portfolio?
How much of each should I have?
I cannot overstate the importance of asset allocation when it comes to building a successful portfolio. Asset allocation provides you with a roadmap for selecting appropriate investments, and for rebalancing your portfolio before, during, and after market volatility. As such, it is one of the cornerstones of successful investing.
The rationale for asset allocation
The idea of asset allocation is an old one (at least as old as the saying, “don’t put all your eggs into one basket”). But the idea really took off in the late ‘80s, when investment whiz Gary Brinson (whose financial research in the subject has become one of the cornerstones of modern investment strategy) discovered in an investigation that more than 90 per cent of portfolio performance could be attributed to how assets were allocated. Slightly less than five per cent was accounted for by the actual securities held, while less than two per cent was due to market timing.
In other words, asset allocation turned out to be 10 times more important than everything else put together! Successful asset allocation begins with a simple rule: we should all look for the combination of assets that gives us the greatest potential return for an appropriate level of risk. The right asset allocation for you may not be the right allocation for me, depending on the difference in our personal risk tolerance, but the principle comes down to this: take on as much risk as you have to in order to accomplish your investment goals. And no more.
How do I begin?
You can start by asking yourself a simple question: “Given my personal risk tolerance, and individual objectives, what portion of assets should I allocate for growth, what portion for income, and what portion for liquidity?” This is the secret to successful asset allocation – figure out what you are trying to accomplish with your investments, and then organize your portfolio in the way that is most likely to make those goals a reality.
Putting asset allocation to work
Once you’ve outlined your investment objectives, you should be able to determine an appropriate asset mix. If it’s growth you’re after, you’ll want to allocate a significant amount of your wealth to equities, which have historically outpaced other assets when it comes to growth. If your objective is income, you’ll want fixed-income investments such as bonds, preferred shares, and perhaps income trusts or real estate. These investments offer the most consistent income flow. And if the goal is safety and liquidity, short-term investments such as GICs, T-bills, or money market mutual funds will dominate.
No matter what your objective, you’ll want to reserve a portion of your portfolio for each of these main categories. Such a balance will make market volatility a lot less of a problem in your portfolio, and will help you sleep better at night.
Robert W. Blando is a senior wealth advisor for ScotiaMcLeod, a division of Scotia Capital Inc. He can be reached at 204-946-9223 or email@example.com.
This column is intended as a general source of information and should not be considered personal investment, tax or pension advice. The information, opinions and conclusions contained in the column are protected by copyright.
President and CEO of
the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
In my 15 years at The Chamber, I’ve never seen so much entrepreneurial energy – robust incubators and growing entrepreneurship programs at both the post-secondary and high school levels.
When you look at our corporate icons, you recognize the importance of creating an environment that spurs entrepreneurs.
Who will be the next Izzy Asper, the next John Buhler or Mark Chipman?
As much as we do have great entrepreneurial energy, we’ve still got a long way to go in terms of promoting entrepreneurship as a career choice.
There is no question we need doctors, lawyers, teachers and accountants, but in the same breath, we need to be talking about entrepreneurship as a serious career choice.
Over the past 10 years, Alberta increased its new businesses by 32 per cent, while Manitoba lagged well behind at eight per cent. Manitoba must be more aggressive as a place to start a business, so that our young people will choose to stay.
The largest percentage of new jobs is coming from fast-growth companies. These “gazelles” or organizations that grow by 20 per cent per year for three straight years are the types of organizations that will drive our future.
We’re seeing a lot of these kinds of businesses take hold in Winnipeg – you just have to look at the Exchange District, which is quickly becoming a hotbed for entrepreneurs.
But it’s incumbent on us to provide the tools our next generation needs to actualize its dreams. That’s why it’s important to start early and support and expand programs such as Junior Achievement and the Career Internship Program out of Windsor Park Collegiate.
Connections to Red River College and other post-secondary schools, as well as local incubators such as the Eureka Project, Manitoba Technology Accelerator, Canadian Youth Business Foundation and AssentWorks are also critical for successful start-ups.
And that’s why I believe entrepreneurship training should be mandatory in every faculty at our universities and colleges.
In early 2000, I had the honour to be part of a tour to Ireland to visit the University of Limerick, where entrepreneurship was mandatory. I remember a conversation with the dean of music, who raved about such training because students looked at their craft differently and realized they could pursue music through an entrepreneurial bent.
That should be our end game: creating a path for everyone to do what they love to do by starting a business and employing others.
Our bold idea for Winnipeg is to be the entrepreneurial capital of Canada. Based on what I’m seeing, we are well on our way to becoming exactly that.
Despite what the mannequins indicate, one size does not fit all.
By Ally Champagne
Celebrities greet the public usually dressed to the nines – with the reason being, they have a team of stylists to help them look their best. For the less fortunate, we have to rely on our own knowledge of fashion as well as what type of body shape we have in order to dress and impress.
Dressing for your body shape is not a new science. Back in the day, seamstresses were kept busy making clothing for women who did not have an off-the-rack figure. Clothing was tailored and adjusted for the woman’s figure. Today, designers provide us with ample selections to suit and fit the majority of women, taking into consideration colouring, size, height, and body shape.
Having a sense of what body type you have allows you to pick and choose clothing which will create the illusion of having a proportioned figure. Knowing your body shape is not about focusing on a particular area such as legs, but rather on the body as a whole.
According to Givenchy, “The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.” His unique understanding of women and fashion was the basis of his designing empire.
Although designer fashions and trends make billions of dollars yearly, opting for what makes you feel good is all about choosing what accentuates your best features, hides your flaws, as well as makes you feel comfortable and confident. Seeing a woman constantly tug at her dress hem says she managed to get into it, but is having difficulty keeping it on. Definitely not the statement you want to make.
There are seven main body shapes identified in the designing world:
1. The inverted triangle
2. The lean column
3. The rectangle
4. The apple
5. The pear (opposite of the inverted triangle)
6. The neat hourglass
7. The full hourglass
The neat hourglass is considered to be the most perfect and balanced body shape. This means the shoulders and hips line up, the bust is defined, the waistline is pronounced, and it can include a little tummy as well as a curvaceous bottom. Basically we are talking about being proportionate and curvy, the opposite of the modelesque figure.
This feminine and curvy body needs to find tops which accentuate the bust line without appearing heavy. Flattering tops include scoop or V-necklines, shirts that sit at the waist, and jackets and coats with clean lines that are tailored to fit. The hourglass should avoid high necklines, shapeless cuts, empire types, and embellishments like tassels, beading or bling around the bust or hips.
Dressing the lower half is rather easy, as most bottoms compliment this figure type. Stylish pieces include pencil or A-line skirts, and jeans which fit well around the hips and behind. The no-no list includes shapeless or overly baggy items as well as skirts that drop to the thickest part of your leg.
Women with this type of shape may have a tendency to look heavy and short due to their hips. To remedy this, defining the waist and lengthening the legs balances the look. This can include a top that sits at the waist with a pair of trousers with good length to allow for heels.
Accessorizing with the right footwear is essential. You can’t go wrong with a classic pair of stilettos, especially if they are a colour that brings your entire outfit together. Also try peep toes or rounded toes. Leave the pointed shoes and chunky heels for others.
Those gifted with this hourglass shape (eight per cent or less of us) have little to worry about. Think Marilyn Monroe. She was a natural balance of well-placed curves which she enhanced with form-fitting dresses, skirts and tops. Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria, and Scarlett Johansson are definitely the hourglass women of our times.