Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sycamore Brewing to open along light rail in South End

The growing Charlotte brewery scene is still hoppin'. Joining the ranks is Sycamore Brewing set to open in spring 2014 in SouthEnd, according to a press release sent Tuesday. 

Founded by husband-and-wife team Sarah and Justin Brigham, the craft microbrewery  will be located at 2161 Hawkins Street, along the Charlotte Lynx Rail Trail, in a building formerly used as an auto garage. 

Courtesy of Sarah Brigham
The owners plan to renovate the building into a production brewery and taproom, and transform the 210 ft. of pedestrian trail at the back of the nearly 1.5-acre property.

Sycamore Brewing will begin production on an American-made brewhouse and pilot brewhouse for more creative, experimental beer styles.  A large selection of "premium ales" will be available on draft in the tap room, with a line-up that's regularly changing.

Born and raised in Charlotte, co-owner Justin Brigham, had his first encounter with the brewing industry while attending the University of Colorado. During his summer breaks he worked for Coors Brewing, in the company's grain elevator, purchasing barley from farmers.  Soon after, Justin began home-brewing and has been hooked ever since. Sarah is an avid cook and the two have been perfecting their recipes for the last few years.

Their goal: use the freshest ingredients available, including local whenever possible, and brew all-natural, tasty beer. 

Once open, the brewery will offer fresh beer on draft in the tap room, growlers to go, and brews in kegs throughout the city's bars, bottle shops and restaurants. 

Sycamore Brewing will have a patio, space for outdoor events and a large amount of parking.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Matthews-based startup named finalist in national competition

From a field of 283 applicants, Matthews-based startup MANA Nutrition was selected as one of eight finalists in the "Get in the Ring: The American Startup Clash" competition, hosted by the The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

MANA, which makes ready-to-use food designed to treat severe malnutrition and its effects, will compete against the other finalists Nov. 18 in front of a panel of judges and a live audience.

MANA has a 30,000-square-foot production facility in Georgia that makes a therapeutic peanut butter for aid groups such as UNICEF, the U.N. World Food Program, World Vision and USAID.

The top U.S. finisher will get $10,000 and travel to the global finals in the Netherlands Nov. 22. The worldwide winner will get a change to secure up to $1.3 million in angel investments.

"We are thrilled to make the final eight and will go to Kansas City planning to win it and show the country that Charlotte is an up-and-coming city for innovative entrepreneurs," says Mark Moore, CEO of MANA Nutrition. 

The panel of judges includes: global fashion mogul Marc Ecko; Dell president Steve Felice; serial entrepreneur, investor and author Lisa Gansky; consumer brand “turnaround” CEO Matthew Rubel; and broadcast and digital media guru Denmark West.

Get in the Ring was founded in 2009 by the Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in the Netherlands to bring the world's most promising entrepreneurs together with those who can help them succeed and to inspire others to start their entrepreneurial journeys. The international finals are held each November during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Video of the event will be livestreamed at www.kauffman.org/GITR.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

RuffleButts founder gets $600K on ABC's 'Shark Tank'

Charlotte-based Amber Schaub, CEO and Founder of RuffleButts appeared on ABC's "Shark Tank" Friday, Oct. 18, where "shark" Lori Greiner offered her a $600,000 investment for 9 percent equity in the company.

Schaub, who founded the children's apparel company with a signature baby bloomer in 2007,  has since grown her collection to include dresses, tutus and accessories, as well as RuggedButts, an extension of the original line for boys.

The "frilly girly" apparel has been featured on "American Idol" and the "Ellen Degeneres Show." They've been a favorite of some Hollywood celebrities, including Jessica Alba and Tori and Dean Spelling.

The company is ranked No. 166 on the Inc. 500 list, a list of the fastest-growing privately owned companies in the U.S.

The show involves a panel of "Shark" investors who hear business pitches and product ideas from some of America's brightest entrepreneurs. If they hear a great idea, they offer cash in exchange for equity in the company. Sometimes a fight between sharks will break out.

Schaub pitched to the sharks along with her husband and Chief Operating Officer Mark Schaub, and her two young children, Aubrey and Jonas.

"A new round of funding will help Schaub take RuffleButts to the next level by adding on a strong and experienced executive team, as well as expanding the marketing budget to attract new retailers and customers," according to a press release.

Greiner, who decided to invest in RuffleButts, is known as the "Queen of QVC."

“Being allowed the opportunity to appear on Shark Tank and share RuffleButts on a national platform was a dream come true,” said Schaub. “I am thrilled to be partnering up with the brilliant Lori Greiner and excited to see what is in store for RuffleButts’ future.”

Schaub isn't the first Charlotte-area entrepreneur to be featured on SharkTank. In July, ShopTalk featured Ballantyne resident Gary Gagnon (as well as other local reality TV entrepreneurs) who was featured in the Season 3 finale of "Shark Tank" for his line of sneakers made from recyclable materials.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/23/4184339/what-reality-tv-taught-me-about.html#.Umb4z_m1E_8#storylink=cpy

SiriusXM to launch "Business Radio," powered by The Wharton School

SiriusXM Radio and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania recently announced a new 24/7 business radio channel called "Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School," to launch in early 2014. 

"From hiring and motivating staff to creating a business plan to raising capital and financing businesses, the channel will be delivered directly by the world's top business experts and leading minds in business education at The Wharton School," a press release said. 

Business Radio -- which will air via satellite on SiriusXM Channel 111, and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio app -- will feature world-renowned and distinguished professors and alumni as regular weekly hosts, plus executives, entrepreneurs, innovators and other experts as special hosts and guests.

Programming currently in development is expected to include:
  • Market Update with Jeremy Siegel: a weekly, in-depth analysis of the dynamics of the stock market.
  • Launch Pad: New ventures go live on Business Radio and listeners weigh in. 
  • When Things Go Wrong: Listeners share customer service experiences gone awry and Business Radio gets to the bottom of the situation. 
  • Sports Business: listeners are invited behind-the-scenes to explore the business issues underlying the multi-billion dollar sports industry.
  • The Business of Retailing: understanding and managing retailing, the economy's largest sector. 
Visit www.siriusxm.com and www.wharton.upenn.edu for more information.

“Our listeners will get direct access to some of the brightest minds in business today," said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM. This channel will offer information to a range of listeners, "whether they are first-time job candidates, managers, entrepreneurs or even CEOs.”

SiriusXM Radio Inc. has more than 25 million subscribers.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Entrepreneurial event attendees split on Cannon-Peacock race

Last week, mayoral candidates Democrat Patrick Cannon and Republican Edwin Peacock III -- as well as a fleet of candidates for Charlotte city office -- made their pitch to a group of entrepreneurs gathered at Packard Place, an uptown startup hub. 

A straw poll taken that night showed Cannon and Peacock were neck and neck in votes among attendees. (The poll is not intended to be representative of the greater electorate.) Of the 32 people who took the poll, 16 voted for Cannon and 16 voted for Peacock. 

Here are the vote tallies for the other candidates: 

City Council at-large race: 

Vi Lyles: 15
David Howard: 14
Michael Barnes: 13
Vanessa Faura: 12
Mark Frietch: 9 
Dennis Peterson: 8
Eric Cable: 6
Claire Green Fallon: 5
Ken Harris: 3

District winners:

District 1: Patsy Kinsey
District 2: Al Austin
District 3: LaWana Mayfield
District 4: Greg Phipps
District 5: John Autry
District 6: Kenny Smith
District 7: Ed Driggs

ShopTalk co-sponsored the event. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NFIB: Shutdown of E-Verify 'problematic' for N.C. small businesses

When the state law E-Verify kicked in for N.C. small businesses in July, thousands of employers became required to verify that new hires are eligible to work in the U.S.

Under the state law, every business with more than 25 full-time employees are required to run new employees' information through a federal system known as E-Verify. An employer enters an employee's name, Social Security number, address and date of birth into a system that matches it with other federal data. Businesses that don't comply are fined $10,000 by the N.C. Department of Labor.

But the U.S. government shutdown that started Tuesday morning could place small businesses required to use E-Verify at risk of violating the law. That's according to Gregg Thompson, North Carolina state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the national advocacy association. 

"The shutdown of E-Verify is problematic for small businesses that are required to participate in the program," Thompson said in a statement released Wednesday.

"In addition, the government shutdown, combined with the country's massive debt and rollout of a deeply-flawed health-care law, exacerbates the uncertainty that small-business owners have been feeling for too long. There's no doubt that Washington is making the small-business community nervous, and small-business owners aren't going to grow or create jobs if they're nervous."

NFIB/North Carolina has over 8,000 member businesses, according to the group.