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February 12, 2002

Bartered Sponsorship Reaches All-Time High At Winter Olympics

Sixty-four corporate sponsors and suppliers contributed $859 million in goods and services, plus some cash, for this year's Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City, Utah. That's an all-time high, and a noticeable jump from the $480 million raised before the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

Bartering products and services by sponsors was introduced big-time by Peter Ueberroth at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Back then the figure for bartered goods/services was $140 million--an astounding figure when compared to the Lake Placid Winter Games, held eight years earlier, which garnered but $4 million.

Note: The Jamaican bobsled team has embraced barter in working with Evanston, Wyoming, a town just off Interstate 80, the main east-west corridor to the Games. In exchange for exposure brought by their team, which was made famous by the 1993 Walt Disney movie "Cool Runnings," local businesses offered team members lodging, transportation and other services. And the team's sled was refinished, complete with a freshly painted Jamaican flag, at a local auto body shop.

Entrepreneurial Culture Differs

The collapse of the "New Economy" is temporarily causing entrepreneurs in Europe to struggle. Cultural differences tell the Europe there's a stigma when a start-up fails. Because Europeans are less understanding of failures, people are tentative when venturing forth to open up a new business.

Access to financing is another barrier--especially backing for a new idea--compared to the United States where venture capital is more widely available.

Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, reports that one of the main topics at this year's Forum was how to create a more vibrant European economy.

Schwab contends that U.S. business schools' sometimes cutthroat atmosphere has a major impact on people's approach to life. Whereas in Europe, he exclaimed, "you feel as if you're taken care of. You do the minimum. In the states, you couldn't get away with that."

Here And There. . .

  • Now, more than ever, promoting barter will pay off. Trade exchange owners looking for a proven way to motivate their client base and stimulate more trading activity can obtain a copy of the 16-year-old, proven, informational marketing tool: The Competitive Edge newsletter.

    The Competitive Edge is designed to be mailed to clients and prospects because research among the exchange owners shows that only a third of their members receive e-mail.

    E-mail for a sample copy and details. (Be sure to include your complete mailing address and phone number in your e-mail.)

  • reports that annual ad contracts on are now available at 100% trade. Rates start at $50/mo for 100 room hotel, up to 500 rooms at $175/mo. Billed annually in advance.

  • A random Hilton Hotels survey of 1,200 participants nationwide found that Americans believe learning will be the most valued aspect of their lives as they reach old age. (Learning will become a full-fledged life role, competing with work, family, and personal pursuits.)

  • In the 1990s companies spent more than $8.7 trillion (yes, trillion) on mergers and acquisitions. Now we're seeing more and more "spin-offs" as the ebb and flow of business continues.

    Companies often spin-off strong business units to give the units more independence and access to capital. And there are often special tax advantages in a downturn, when stock and asset values are lower, making it easier to unload the business to shareholders.

    Barter among the 3,600 troops in Afghanistan is booming...partly because the Army has yet to open up a Post Exchange. Toiletries, cigarettes, and goodies like potato chips are in demand. As are baby wipes (no showers available), pie-shaped Afghan hats and colorful scarves. Troops are also bartering military items with soldiers from other nations, trading knifes, Cuban cigars, and other items.

  • CIA Director George Tenet, in his testimony to Congress, described how the losers in globalization can turn to extremist movements. "The conditions they live in are fertile ground for political, ethnic, ideological and religious extremism, and their frustration is increasingly directed at the United States and the West. In the globalized world we ignore them at our own peril."

  • Hong Kong is in its second recession in four years and a barter fair has emerged to help people through the tough times. Buyers at the fair have coupons with a pre-determined value which they give to sellers...and the sellers can then use the coupons for goods/services at any of the other stalls.

  • For the first time since the three months that ended June 2000, venture capitalists saw a percentage improvement from the previous quarter. The recent fourth quarter saw a 2% improvement.

    As they re-enter the investment fray the focus is on biotechnology, which accounted for 14% of all VC investments in the fourth quarter of 2001, in contrast to a year earlier (same quarter) that saw 4% of the total volume invested in biotechnology. (For all of 2001, venture capital fund-raising totaled $48.2 billion, down 47% from the prior year.)

  • Legendary Macau casino-king Stanley Ho, now 80 years old and one of the world's richest men, got his start in Hong Kong working with the Macau government bartering goods with the Japanese. The experience led to his own trading company, and he just kept building...becoming today's billionaire.

We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
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