Iraq’s business rebuild… Desktops fall from favour… Green neighbourhoods… Global talent market

Iraq’s small business rebuild

Small business development centres are being set up around Iraq in an effort to provide the country’s largely informal small business sector with training in accounting, financial planning, marketing, according to

The Iraq Government and the US Agency for International Development have set up five of the centres so far through a program called Izdihar (“prosperity” in Arabic) in the hope that a more active small business sector will foster stability in the wartorn nation.

The centres also help local entrepreneurs fill out applications and collate the information required to gain access to finance from microfinance providers and conventional banks.

Desktops falling out of favour

Sales of desktop PCs in Australia will remain flat through to 2010, according to a report from research firm Gartner. But the mobile device market is predicted to grow 12.3% over the same period, reports the Australian Financial Review.

The growth in mobiles will not be enough to compensate technology vendors. Their sales revenue for will decline by 3.9% between 2006 and 2010, despite the introduction of Microsoft Windows Vista operating system, according to Gartner.

Are you greener than your neighbours?

A computer sitting on the kitchen table tracking your household’s water and energy use and automatically switching off power points while you’re at work – now, that’s smart.

Residents at new housing development Currumbin Ecovillage, Queensland (20 minutes from the Gold Coast) will have one. EcoVision Solutions software will allow them to measure their carbon footprint moment by moment, not just every quarter when the bills arrive from their energy providers, reports the Australian Financial Review.

The stats will go to a central server and neighbours are encouraged to compete to be the most green. Now they will be keeping down with the Joneses.

The global talent market

Nearly 60% of professionals believe moving overseas is not necessary to advance their careers despite escalating world demand for Australia’s professional nomads, according to a survey of 1300 people by recruitment firm Chandler Macleod. It’s good news for employers.

But Luke Henningsen, Chandler Macleod’s executive general manager, says the employees may be wrong. He says professional candidates who have worked abroad for extended periods can return home to higher salaries, which are often above those of their peers who stayed behind, given their greater experience and skills levels.

“This is particularly marked for professionals working in the area of accounting and finance, as well as the financial services sector. Also, they have gained experience in bigger and broader markets and have developed an extended international network that is now judged on a global scale,” he says.

Almost one million Australians live overseas. Australian companies increasingly have to compete globally for staff. Henningsen says: “Gen Y is turning out to be even more nomadic [than Gen X] and working overseas has become a rite of passage for many young accountants, bankers, stockbrokers, lawyers and doctors.”


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