One of the most useful things I attended many years ago was a workshop our Government 'help small business' department put on. I took the week off work, and paid a nominal amount for this course. It covered all the aspects of setting up in business, how to do SWOT and all the other little games to analyse what to do.
It covered strategic thinking, product development, getting your product to the client and lots more. I found this to be an invaluable investment. It also allowed the small business people there to network, and bounce a lot of ideas around. A medium sized business grows out of a small business. We count a small business as employing up to 10 people.
I don't know if Russia knows how much all us greenies like Yurts. It is called 'Glamping' to go and stay in a Yurt. We have some in a very beautiful place in Jersey, overlooking a stunning view.
Here is their site; http://jerseyyurts.squarespace.com/
('Glamping' is a composite word for glamerous camping).
We also love tourists on our little island! We have a very good tourist department and we like people visiting. We locals are all very friendly, and we like geting involved with visitors. There is a family history society here. So many people now want to trace where they have come from, and many people have roots all over the world now.
Here in the Channel Islands we have fantastic castles, and blue ribbon beaches. We have lots to do all year round, like the film festival, food festivals, flower festivals, fantastic National Trust projects... We are a bit pricy, but we are worth it! Obviously if we got more visitors we would get our prices down again! We also have some very posh hotels for those who don't like the idea of 'Glamping'.
We also like looking after people's money, which we are very good at. We have got a very good offshore finance industry, with a very nice tax structure.
We have a good farming industry, with the prettiest cows, Jersey Royal Potatoes, Great cheese, Ice cream, Butter, and some interesting Geology, Neolithic sites, Birds, wildlife. The Eric Young Orchid foundation, Gerald Durrell 'Durrel' conservation project, A wonderful coastline walk, A shed load of German fortifications open to the public, especially the Underground Hospital. We also have a lot of Blue Badge Guides, who go along with coach tours to look at all this stuff and explain it.
Well I suppose I am biased, but we do try our best with everything.
Anyway back to those Yurts. There is a huge industry in providing emergency shelter for people in crisis areas. The shelters cost quite a lot to send to disaster areas, and with a lot more co-ordination between countries who have traditional moveable nomadic cultures those types of shelters are ideal.
I think everyone thinks that business has to be high tech, but in actual fact, low tech stuff is what we all need. I am thinking of my Husband's dear old aunty of 93. She now can't make a phone call herself, because she doesn't understand how to use her phone. We have bought her a number of phones now. The simplest ones we can find. Yet the buttons aren't big enough, the handset has a button right where she grips it that silences the conversation. Each phone we have bought has a problem for her. What she needs is an old fashioned phone, but no-one makes them.
She has the same problem with her new TV. The remote controls made now are too complicated, and the buttons too small. She also finds it difficult to 'see' her flat screen! she is just not used to how the picture looks and she doesn't like it. So she now can't watch TV either.
Is there realy a problem with making things the have a genuine 'reto' look and feel for this market? There are so many old people in nursing homes, and living in a modern technology world that can't adjust to it, because their stuff just doesn't look or feel right, and has become unusable because it is too 'modern'. When I get old and my hands don't work any more, and my eyesight fails, I am going to need 'big buttons', and simplicity.
Back to those Yurts. One of the best and innovative ideas for crisis homing is 'Shelter Box'.
The thing is, people get paid to make these, even if there isn't a huge profit in selling them. This provides work, and a meaningful reason to go to work. Designing something for use in various climatic regions, and local needs is essential for this enterprise. For instance if parts of Africa have run out of wood to cook with, what is going to be the next best way of cooking food? Probably something that generates heat from sunlight? It would have to be low tech and virtually unbreakable! Or if someone has to walk miles to get wood, a way of utilising the human energy in other ways. What if it was then possible to re-plant trees, would this alter the climatic variance in those areas? We have so many very smart and clever ways of doing things, and it is worth sharing them with each other.
Every country has it's Master Craftsmen, and many people love going on courses to learn things for their holidays. We also like pilgrimages, and historical sites. Russia is rich with heritage, as are so many countries. I would love to be able to afford to go and stay places to study more about iconography, and participate in worship within religious orders.
The Moslem world has beautiful art, and cuisine. Cutural exchange is a wonderful way for people just to learn about each other. When a Religion becomes overtaken by political activists it is hard to see the underlying beauty and culture, and the genuine ethics and philosophies that it has developed.
I think everyone's heritage is their real asset, and this is what so many people are frightened of losing. The Arab world are great innovators, look at the things they have developed for irrigation, and sciences. If it wasn't for Islam we would all be in the dark ages. I pretty well think it was the Islamic world that introduced modern medicine to the western world when we were all dying of plagues.
Not everybody has to live a mad westernised highly wasteful life, and learning from people who have to live with the seasons, and close to the rhythms of the Earth for a few weeks is a life changing experience for us 'townies'.
We just want the world to be safe to go and see. That doesn't mean resolving all our conflicts with war and bloodshed. It means a genuine amnesty for everyone, and a real sense of purpose in coming to the table to move forward, not keep digging up old resentments to hold over each other.
We always have the idea that someone has to 'be like us' to get on with them, but in truth it is much more interesting to learn why someone else has a different set of values, and mores. It doesn't mean you don't get on, you just have to learn what is important to them, and why they do things that way. Our culture and religious expression is hard wired into our genes, so it isn't something that is going to change.
The old adage of 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend' isn't going to take us anywhere. 'Keep your friends close, and our enemies closer', is still not going to work.... How about thinking up some new strategies?
Believe me it's difficult, even if you want to give a real, no strings attached gift to someone who hates you, they will think there's a catch! Then they will try to take a bite out of your hand while you are offering it in genuine friendship.
So many to have nothing to lose, and everything to gain by making real friends.
Filter in Turn Politics and finance
Well having done a bit of ironing, and listened to the Kaiser report on my laptop in fragmented bits. I was still amused about a little snippet of news about a slug (Yes a slug!) causing a blinding traffic jam somewhere at rush hour in the UK. It had got into the circuit box at the traffic control center and slimed the circuits. It is an ex slug now, and has gone to meet the slug God in the place of under pavement paradise.
However it seems there were no accidents, and everybody worked out for themselves how to get through the traffic jam.
Now although apparantly we have a record here at First Tower for the number of traffic lights in a small area, generally speaking we are traffic light free in Jersey, as we have something called a 'Filter in Turn' system. This works because everyone knows the system. (We have to teach the holiday makers, but they generally get the idea after a couple of tries, this is why we keep an 'H' on the front of hire car registrations, so us locals know that they won't understand where they are going, and that stopping at a junction and getting the map out without even knowing which end of the island they are is highly likely!)
However the system works very well, and just costs a bit of paint. We don't have wide roads, or places we can even put the roundabouts, so we paint a white circle in the middle of the junction, and then invite the person coming from the right to go first. (Thats left if you are driving on the other side of the road to us).
This means it's then your turn to go, while the person sitting behind the person just gone, is waiting for the person on their right to pass them. This creates a natural flow order round a junction. It keeps traffic moving at peak times, and everybody slowing down at junctions to take their turn. We actually have more difficulty when we go off the island as drivers, as there isn't this common purpose driving skill everywhere else.
I kind of think this process would work in world economics. For instance if Greece, Ireland, Spain Portugal and Italy was used as a test bed for a debt Jubilee system, so that their debt repayments didn't outweigh their GDP. They can lower taxes to us consumers, which means the consumer can afford to buy the things they need, and start to pay off personal debts.
Remember you have to put a bucket of water down a well to prime it, and it might be your last bucket of water.
Besides, I also think that national assets ought to be re-patriated. It's horrible the position Greece is in right now. The idea of Jubilee comes from the Bible. Which is a very good authority on all sorts of general principles, even if you don't believe in God. In the Jubilee all assets that were sold to pay for debts were re-patriated. This gave the debtors a chance to start over, and learn a valuable lesson about wealth management.
If nothing else, using a white spot in the middle of the road in town areas, in all developed countries would save a shed load of money putting up traffic lights, and a huge saving in petrol consumption. (So long as everyone understands the filter in turn principle). You don't put your pedestrian crossing on the junction, but a respectable distance from it!