6 September 2007Global computer giant IBM, local company Business Partners, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Department of Trade and Industry have come together to offer South African entrepreneurs and small enterprises a free web-based toolkit to help them start, finance and grow their businesses.The South Africa Business Toolkit, launched on Tuesday, contains “the latest information and communication technologies to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets learn and implement sustainable business management practices”, IBM said in a statement.The aim, IBM said, was to increase the reach of South African small business into the global economy by improving the productivity, efficiency and capacity of the estimated 600 000 active small businesses in South Africa, as well as by improving their access to capital and new markets.The South Africa toolkit was developed by IBM and the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. It is available both as online and offline modules which include the website, offline CDs, mobile alerts and classroom training.“The SME Toolkit is a particularly powerful combination of technology and business expertise in a country such as South Africa, where there is so much potential for small and medium business growth,” said IBM South and Central Africa MD Mark Harris.Specially designed free toolsThe toolkit website contains information and tools to address accounting and finance, business planning, human resources, legal and insurance, marketing and sales, operations, and technology needs. For example, a business owner can quickly go to the site, find templates for employee evaluations, then log off.Among the specially designed free tools are:An online calculator to help businesses determine their readiness for financing.Software to build a website.Business forms for employee performance evaluations.Community tools such as online conferencing, blog capability, group calendars.Survey and quiz builders to help small businesses make decisions.A multilingual business directory to help small businesses link locally, regionally and globally.“Small businesses are the growth engines of the world’s economies, yet their success rate is not as good as it could be simply because of a lack of access to good business management practices,” said IFC director for Africa Thierry Tanoh. “Giving small businesses the information and new collaborative technologies they need will help them grow and prosper.”Small businesses can, through the toolkit, receive business training delivered via classroom workshops and partnerships with local support providers. The toolkit can also help small businesses go global by providing detailed market access, investment and trade information for the 64 countries most exported to.In South Africa, where an estimated 70% of new businesses fail within 18 months, the toolkit has been designed to provide the access and expertise to enable small business to connect to the world economy.“Many entrepreneurs struggle through their challenges laboriously, and many of them get it right, after they have tried and failed a few times,” said Ferose Oaten of Auto Vehicle Test Centres AVTS. “Some don’t get it right at all, as they think that a good idea is enough.“This toolkit should go a long way in taking away the obstacles and goes further than just the starting, establishment phases, but goes on to provide the tools for maintenance and sustainability.”Customised for the SA marketAccording to IBM, its local partners in the countries hosting the toolkit – such as Elite in Nepal, Dunn & Bradstreet in Singapore, and Business Partners in South Africa – are responsible for making sure the more than 500 pieces of content, tools and resources are customised, localised and available in the language of their respective markets.“These partnerships provide small businesses with local support, thus nurturing their businesses to improve their chance of survival and to generate more jobs,” IBM said.“When a business is in trouble one of the most important things needed is advice from someone who cares, who has been through it before,” said Jo’ Schwenke, MD of Business Partners, a specialist investment company for small and medium businesses in South Africa.“The Web 2.0 collaborative features of this toolkit provide that advisory service by allowing small and medium business owners to interact with each other as well as access data normally available only to Fortune 1000 companies,” Schwenke said.Plans for wirelessSince the toolkit was launched by the IFC in 2002, IBM has spent more than US$1.6-million on rebuilding it on open source platform “using top talent in IBM research.“The Toolkit now includes new Web 2.0 features such as live chat, online forums, business directories and survey capabilities to create a community where small and medium-sized business can collaborate – anywhere around the world,” the company said.There are also plans to allow users to connect to the toolkit using wireless devices such as cellphones.“This truly is one-stop shopping for small businesses, and it levels the playing field,” said IBM vice-president of corporate affairs Stanley Litow. “We know the tools that large businesses use mostly and we know the role technology can play in leading to growth.“Now, every business can have the same chance to succeed.”SouthAfrica.info reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo material
The Gautrain will operate betweenkey Johannesburg districts andOR Tambo International airport.(Images: Gautrain) Ministers and ambassadors were among the first people to travel on the rapid rail Gautrain, which will be running from OR Tambo International airport in time for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.Gold ribbons were cut at four new Gautrain stations on 5 June to herald the completion of the first phase of the Gautrain, which operates between Sandton and the airport, just in time to transport fans to the World Cup.Dignitaries cut ribbons at Sandton, Marlboro, Rhodesfield and the airport, signifying the route that will open on Tuesday, 8 June, just three days before the World Cup kicks off.Guests, including cabinet ministers and ambassadors, travelled in the Gautrain, stopping at each station, and reaching speeds of 150kph on their way to the airport.Four musicians dressed as angels in flowing white chiffon and sequined wings and suspended on swings 4m above the ground, greeted around 800 black-tie guests to the Gallagher Convention Centre, located in Midrand between Pretoria and Johannesburg, on the weekend. They were there for the serious business of witnessing the launch of the Gauteain’s airport route.Travelling at speeds of up to 160kph, the train will carry commuters between the business district of Sandton and the airport in just 15 minutes; from Rhodesfield to Sandton in 12 minutes; and from Marlboro to Sandton in around four minutes.Passengers travelling to the airport from any station will pay R100 ($13) for a single trip. A single trip from Sandton to Marlboro will cost R16.50 ($2.1); while trips between Sandton and Rhodesfield will cost R21 ($3). A trip from Marlboro to Rhodesfield, the station just before the airport, will cost R18.50 ($2.3).Some 44 feeder buses are also due to run from the suburbs of Fourways, Rivonia, Blairgowrie and Wendywood, to the Sandton station. Bus stops will be positioned every 500m, and operate within a 15km radius of the stations. The bus route details are available from the Gautrain website.Commuters who combine a bus trip or parking with a train journey will benefit from reduced rates on the bus and parking fees. Tose who use the service regularly can purchase weekly and monthly packages.Parking garages are available for those who wish to leave their vehicles at the station precincts. There will be a “kiss and ride” drop-off facility too.Wheelchair access is available on all trains, while blind and partially sighted and deaf passengers will be accommodated with special features adapted to their disabilities.“The doubting Thomases have been silenced,” said Minister of Justice Jeff Radebe at the function. He praised the system for two major reasons – it was to be an integrated system, with a smooth flow between Gautrain and the national rail system; and there would be a single ticketing system.Smart cardThe Gautrain Gold smart card will allow commuters to transfer seamlessly between the train, and the bus and parking services.The Gautrain’s operating hours are from Mondays to Fridays, from 5.30am to 8.30pm. It will run every 12 minutes during peak hours – 5.30am to 8.30pm and 4pm to 7pm – and every 20 minutes in off-peak times. On weekends the service will be available every 30 minutes.Job creationGauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane was keen to stress that the Gautrain had contributed to economic development in the province, leading to “decent work and improved living standards”.“As can be seen through the construction of Gautrain, Gauteng continues to utilise and promote labour-intensive methods in all our public infrastructure development projects to maximise job creation,” she said.The Gautrain has created an estimated 94 900 direct and indirect jobs, of which more than 25 100 are local jobs. More than R3.8-billion ($486-million) has been spent on procurement from and sub-contracting to BEE companies. A further R1.8-billion ($230-million) has been spent on sub-contracting to new BEE companies, while R1-billion ($128-million) was spent on sub-contracting to SMMEs. More than R2.7-billion ($345-million) was spent on procurement of South African materials, plant and equipment.“These numbers imply that Gautrain has significantly exceeded its socio-economic obligations,” said Gautrain spokesperson, Barbara Jensen, in a press statement.Already property values around the stations have started to rise. It is expected that people and businesses will relocate to the precincts around the stations to fully utilise the benefits of the train.Jensen also referred to traffic volumes between Johannesburg and Pretoria, which grow at a rate of 7% a year. She said that traffic congestion is eased, while the environmental will gain from a reduction in harmful carbon emissions.“Gautrain is long overdue,” said Radebe.ConstructionConstruction of the Gautrain began in September 2006, with a public private partnership between the Gauteng provincial government and the Bombela Concession Company.Radebe explained that the national government had supplied R23-billion ($2.9-billion) of the cost of building the high speed rail link, while the provincial government and the private sector had contributed the remaining R3-billion ($383-million).Both Radebe and Mokonyane praised project manager Jack van der Merwe, with Radebe saying that it seemed that Van der Merwe treated the project as if “his own life depended on [its] success”.“Once South Africans put their minds to it, it is achievable,” added Radebe.Construction continues on the remainder of the 80km route, with the remaining six stations at Park Station, Rosebank and Midrand in Johannesburg, and Centurion, Pretoria and Hatfield in Tshwane expected to be completed by mid-2011.
6 August 2013Women’s Month celebrations began at Freedom Park in Tshwane, the country’s capital, where the struggle for women’s emancipation and equality was commemorated with the theme “A centenary of working together towards sustainable women’s empowerment and gender equality”.Hundreds of women from different walks of life were at the event, where they formed a 2km human chain along Reconciliation Road. The road links the two historical memorials of Freedom Park and the Voortrekker Monument.“As we join hands in unity to form the human chain, let us remember what drove the women of 1913 and 1956 to leave their homes and come together against the injustices of that day,” Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana said at the event on Friday.The injustices of today required women to form a united front to continue with the struggle for the total emancipation of women, she added.The idea of the human chain was initiated by Die Dameskring, a cultural organisation for Afrikaans-speaking Christian women who seek to make a difference in the communities in which they live.‘Awareness of modern day challenges’“We believe this initiative will not only bring awareness of the modern day challenges that women face, but also a better understanding of our history and the common goal of restoration and peace,” said Lynn Kruger, the executive officer of Die Dameskring.Homage was paid to women such as Charlotte Manye Maxeke, Sophie de Bruyn, Lillian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Rahima Moosa, who took part in the 1913 anti-pass defiance campaign – the first protest by black women against the Union government – and the 1956 march to the Union Buildings, respectively.“This year’s commemoration coincides with the centenary of the Land Act and the last year towards the 20 years democracy since 1994,” said Xingwana.The array of measures that were introduced in 1994 to promote female empowerment had improved the position and the condition of women in the country.Although women’s empowerment had grown, many things needed to be done to eradicate violence against women, poverty, unemployment and exploitation – “challenges and gaps are still there and are being attended to”, added Xingwana.Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya, the Anglican Bishop of Swaziland, was at the event and said: “The objective of this gathering is to highlight women’s abilities to come together and heal a nation.”Gender equalityXingwana announced that the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill had been submitted to the Cabinet and was under consideration.The Bill would help to emancipate South African women fully from the plagues of discrimination and inequality. It aimed to monitor, evaluate and enforce all initiatives aimed at empowering the women of South Africa.It focused on vital issues affecting women and children and sought to establish a framework that would provide women, children and people with disabilities with the necessary governance authority to monitor, review and oversee gender mainstreaming and integration, the minister explained. The bill would provide for a number of issues, namely:Eliminating every form of discrimination against women and girls as well as women and girls with disabilities Promoting equal participation of women in the economy Promoting equal representation as well as 50 percent position in decision-making in private sectors as well as spheres of government Initiating and joining in partnership for a common goal Monitoring of legislation that address inequalities, discrimination against women, violence against women, access to services and economic empowerment. “Cabinet’s approval of the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill will be an important milestone for the struggle for gender equality in our country,” said Xingwana, who added that the department was satisfied that its drive towards female empowerment and gender equality would finally be fulfilled.The Department of Land Reform and Rural Development has also made a commitment that will ensure that women have access to land.Celebrating Women’s MonthThis year marks a century since the 8 May 1913 Natives Land Act was passed.Among others, it deprived women of access to land. In 1913, the colonial government legislated that women living in the urban townships would be required to buy new entry permits allowing them to be in the towns each month.In response, women collected thousands of signatures and organised petitions to stop this law.Charlotte Maxeke, a religious leader, social worker and political activist, as well as South Africa’s first black African female graduate, led about 700 women in a march to the Bloemfontein City Council to petition the mayor to overturn the law.South African History Online explains the Act: “The Natives Land Act (No. 27 of 1913), also known as the Black Land Act, was passed because of constant pressure by Whites to prevent the encroachment of Blacks on White areas.“This law incorporated territorial segregation into legislation for the first time since Union in 1910. The law created reserves for Blacks and prohibited the sale of White territory to Blacks and vice versa.”National Women’s Day is observed on 9 August annually, in remembrance of the 1956 Women’s March in Pretoria. This year, the national commemoration will take place in Thulumahashe in Mpumalanga.Xingwana said that the month would be used to bring to the fore programmes that would help to eliminate gender-based violence against women and children.The minister also acknowledged women in South Africa who held high positions in business and government.Among those mentioned was former deputy president Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, who is now the executive director of United Nations Women and is based in New York, as well as Nkosazana Zuma, who is the chairperson of the African Union.BrandSouthAfrica reporter
Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… We’re really excited to announce the official ReadWriteWeb iPhone app! The reading and sharing experience was key for us, so we kept the functionality smart and simple. As well as enabling you to read ReadWriteWeb while on the go or lying on the couch, we’ve made it easy to share ReadWriteWeb posts directly from your iPhone, on Twitter and Facebook. We’ve integrated with Read it Later and Instapaper, so that you can mark things to read later. You can also follow the RWW team on Twitter, directly from the app.We invite you to find out more details about the ReadWriteWeb iPhone app and download it now from iTunes. Tags:#Admin#web I’d like to thank the developer of the app, Nicolas Koenig, who runs an iPhone development shop from the Netherlands called Toopia. Toopia also created theThermometer iPhone app, which enables your iPhone / iPod touch to get the current temperature based on your location. I’d also like to thank ReadWriteWeb’s Webmaster Jared Smith and Marketing Manager Elyssa Pallai, who both put in a lot of work to develop this app.So check out the new ReadWriteWeb iPhone app and download it from iTunes. Then tell us what you think!Camera Plus Pro is the only iPhone camera app which offers geo-tagging, full-resolution photo editing, and multiple and simultaneous photo uploading to various sites. You can tag, search and personalize photos. Visit now and explore other power-packed features! A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market richard macmanus
Related Posts A first step towards creating a virtualized infrastructure often comes at a point when the customer starts experiencing performance issues. Servers start failing as application loads increase. When these issues start occurring, what are the first steps to take into consideration? How should a virtualized infrastructure be deployed? How are these pre-production environments developed? What are the most effective ways to deploy a simplified, reliable and optimized virtualization solution?Already we are seeing replies.But what do you think? Here’s a quick poll to help you think through what you want to say. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Analysis#cloud alex williams Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting The decisions that come with deciding how to use cloud computing reminds me of conversations that I am sure you’ve had.You look at a few options then you decide. But with the cloud, it’s about a few hundred features to consider. Our Road to the Cloud,” contest, sponsored by VMware and Intel, is looking at how companies get started in cloud computing. Write a comment and you will be a candidate to win a MacBook Air. We’ll be giving out a new MacBook Air every month.Here’s our first topic: 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday met Home Minister Rajnath Singh to discuss the law and order situation in the state and security to Amarnath pilgrims, officials said.During the meeting that lasted about half-an-hour, the Chief Minister apprised the Home Minister about the steps taken to maintain peace in the Kashmir Valley.Steps taken to ensure the security of Amarnath pilgrims were also discussed, officials said.Seven pilgrims were killed by militants in Anantnag district while returning from the Amarnath cave shrine on Monday.Security agencies engaged in anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir have been told to implement security plans with full vigour, officials said. So far, more than 1.86 lakh pilgrims have visited the high altitude Himalayan shrine.As many as 21,000 paramilitary personnel in addition to state police forces and two battalions of Army have been deployed for security of the pilgrimage routes. The number of paramilitary personnel deployed this year is 9,500 more than last year.Four districts of the state — Pulwama, Kulgam, Shopian and Anantnag — have been on the boil since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016. The unrest has resumed since the April 9 bypoll to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City No, James is not through. Neither are the reigning champs if they have their way.They all understand the entire league has upped its game to chase these two heavyweights from their respective conferences.“That’s the beauty of competition at the highest level, other teams make us better and vice versa. Cleveland made us better,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “They beat us two years ago, they made us better last year. We’re doing the same thing for them. They’re retooling a little bit, they’ve got some great talent. Every team is trying to get where we are and that pushes us. We push them. That’s what makes the game better.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Warriors and new-look Cavs will be tested in their openers: Golden State hosts Houston on Tuesday night in Chris Paul’s Rockets debut, while Cleveland plays Boston at home with Kyrie Irving in a Celtics jersey following that blockbuster August trade that transformed the Eastern Conference rivals.After losing to Golden State in a Game 5 clincher in Oakland, the Cavs spent the summer rebuilding a roster that now features new stars like Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Thomas. Despite dealing Irving to its closest competitor in the East, Cleveland is deeper with more versatility and talent than at any time James has been on the roster.And with close friend Wade back by his side, James is not only happy but is teammates with a player who brings out the best in him. Throw in former league MVP Rose, motivated to show he’s still one of the game’s elite guards, along with Thomas, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith, Jae Crowder, Jeff Green, Kyle Korver and Tristan Thompson, and it’s easy to see why Cleveland seems to be on a collision course with the Warriors again.The key being health and how quickly the Cavs can assemble all the pieces.“Don’t think we’ll be the team we want to be in a week. It’s going to be for the whole season,” James said. “We’re going to have changes, we’re going to make changes, we’re going to become a better team as the games go on so the team opening night will not be the team that we know we can be.”James can become a free agent next summer, but has not backed off his intent to end his career with Cleveland.“I think when you get to a certain level you don’t need another team to motivate you. We want to win a championship, they want to win a championship,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said. “We know what it’s like, we know the feeling, we love the feeling. They know the feeling, they love the feeling.”ADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday02:25Raptors or Warriors? PBA players take their pick of NBA champ01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president LATEST STORIES Woods cleared for golf activities with no restrictions LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary View comments MOST READ BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Read Next Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, center, drives between Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, top, and guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first half of Game 1 of basketball’s NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, June 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)OAKLAND, Calif. — Minutes after LeBron James lost the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors four months ago, he vowed to return to the gym right away with plans to get back to the big stage. To win another ring.Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant heard it yet already knew it — and everybody on the defending champs and King James’ Cleveland Cavaliers realizes these teams could be destined for another championship showdown at the end of this season.ADVERTISEMENT The Warriors are almost the same team, with Finals MVP Durant far more comfortable his second time around with Golden State — the scrutiny of leaving Oklahoma City long behind him.“I expect us to pick up with a full head of steam on Tuesday,” Curry said.There will be the fanfare of the Warriors receiving their championship rings in a pregame ceremony.Yet Golden State still remembers its flop on opening night a year ago, following a loss in the 2016 Finals to Cleveland after its record-setting 73-win regular season. The Warriors lost at home to San Antonio 129-100 in Durant’s debut.This time, they’re beginning the daunting quest of trying to repeat — something the franchise couldn’t do after the 2015 title against James and Co. as Cleveland won last year.“Your swag level is through the roof, as it should be,” Durant said. “You’re the best team in the league and you go out there and beat a bunch of teams to win a championship, of course your swag is going to be through the roof. You hear about swag, you hear about guys deserving stuff or stories that they might have coming up into this year, all this fairytale stuff, it’s cool stories, it’s cool feel-good stories but you’ve still got to go out there and play the game, you’ve still got to lock in every possession if you want to win.”NOTES: James is nursing a sprained left ankle and his status for Tuesday remained unclear. He was injured Sept. 27 in practice. … Key reserve Andre Iguodala is questionable for the Warriors’ opener because of his troublesome back and Omri Casspi also could be out because of a right ankle injury, Kerr said.
Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Fultz appeared to roll his ankle in Saturday night’s game and was helped to the locker room by two teammates.He had just signed his contract earlier in the day and was taken for X-rays. The former Washington star had eight points in 15 minutes.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsIt was the last thing the Sixers wanted to see just when they appeared ready to put years of misery behind them. They have dealt with significant injuries to center Joel Embiid and last year’s No. 1 pick, Ben Simmons, over the last three years.The 76ers pulled off a trade with Boston before the draft to move up from No. 3 to No. 1 to take Fultz, the dynamic scoring point guard that team president Bryan Colangelo felt was the perfect piece to put with Simmons and Embiid.a Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next FILE – In this Wednesday, July 5, 2017, file photo, Philadelphia 76ers guard Markelle Fultz (7) drives around Utah Jazz guard Dante Exum during the first half of an NBA summer league basketball game in Salt Lake City. Fultz needed to be helped off the court with an injury to his left ankle in the 76ers’ summer league game Saturday, July 8, against Golden State. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)LAS VEGAS — No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz will miss the rest of the NBA summer league because of a sprained left ankle.The Philadelphia 76ers say Fultz is expected to return to basketball activities in one to two weeks. Fultz tweeted Sunday : “I’m ok, thank you for all who where worried!”ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ LATEST STORIES China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ $50 million boxing tournament announces quarterfinal matchups Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR
Celebrity sightings on the runway – a superfluous exercise, or an indicator of a mutually beneficial relationship between designer and star? We find out.One actress, six months, three shows for three different designers. The price – 8-12 lakhs depending on the stature of the designer concerned. Plus the usual trappings. A business-class air ticket, a Mercedes to pick up the star, a suite at a fivestar hotel, etc etc. And was it worth it? Sure, if you judge the entire exercise by the pictures of the star accompanied by the said designer of the moment in the city supplements. Not if you look closely. Hardly a mention of the clothes or the actual fashion.So why does practically every designer (with the exception of a handful) hanker after a Bollywood showstopper? The answer may lie in the fact that in a country so diverse and versatile, the one common denominator between socioeconomic classes and geographical differences is its cinema-where its movie stars make these made-in-Mumbai films come alive, and lend mass appeal. Thus a star at a fashion show is an easy crutch to draw attention.We now have multiple fashion weeks. In fact so many such exercises are being mounted, that the inevitable ‘fatigue factor’ has reared its ugly head, and both the audience and the press are reluctant to pay too much attention to these shows. Compounding the problem is the fact that each week is packed to the gills with quantity rather than quality. So whether you are a young designer starting out, or an old one fading fast, the only way to bring in the crowds and get the chatterati talking is the presence of a movie star.Yet the exercise is quickly losing momentum. Often, movie stars looking to promote their upcoming releases will walk the ramp at fashion shows and then go on to talk about their latest film instead of the outfits they just wore. And jaded by the phenomenon, newspapers have started to simply ignore the final walk on the ramp, and publish interviews with these stars (who have been made available at the designer’s expense), where they talk about everything under the sun, except the show.But sometimes the association can be beneficial. If the designer works with a star and the star is a client or an admirer, then the connect is relevant and real. Sabyasachi, the talented man from Kolkata, has designed for long for actress Rani Mukerjee, and she has been a faithful presence at his shows. So is the case with Tarun Tahiliani and Shilpa Shetty, who walked for the designer and has sported his ensembles at her wedding and other red-carpet occasions. Plus there is Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla who have always been the designers of choice for the Bachchan family and Dimple Kapadia among others, with these stars enthusiastically being part of every show the designer duo mount.Part of the problem has been exacerbated by fashion magazines, who in their quest for larger sales, dumped models from their covers in favour of movie celebrities. So if the press subscribed to the practice, the fashion fraternity was only too happy to follow.In the late ’90s, a watch company was launched in India. The name of the brand was a difficult one for the Indian tongue to pronounce. And thus sales suffered in spite of an aggressive advertising and PR campaign. The solution: a male star with a pan-Indian reach was called in and made its brand ambassador. An active event calendar and a big advertising campaign followed. In two years, it was among the top watch brands in the country with the star endorsing the timepieces in his shoots and films.The lesson here is that the partnership between brand and star was established as a long-standing one, and over time consumers recognised the fact. Compare this with a star’s solitary ramp walk at a fashion show that instantly fades from public memory, and doesn’t garner lasting benefits.The question to ask is, what makes customers flock towards fashion labels? Is it the multiple pictures of a movie star wearing a brand, or is it the actual fashion garments themselves?Packing a front row with B-list movie stars (as demonstrated by a designer known for his pushy manners) only takes away from whatever little design he is displaying on the ramp. Compare this to a Manish Arora and Rajesh Pratap Singh who have, to my memory, never used a movie star on the catwalk, and yet have been lauded show after show for the finesse and beauty of their presentations. Both designers, by remaining true to their essence, have garnered international acclaim and commercial success.Around the globe, we see that fashion brands engage with movie talent in a more multi-layered manner. If the star is sitting on the front row at their shows, more likely than not, he or she also features in their advertising spreads. In India, the cost of using a star in a fashion campaign is prohibitive, making this an impossibility. None of the Indian fashion houses are large enough to afford this kind of a relationship with a leading Bollywood figure.And so we will continue to see stars sparkle on the ramp in the foreseeable future. And until the show sponsors, the page-three press and the designers themselves are happy with this little stunt and what it brings to the table, fashion will remain incidental, and never the focus.advertisementadvertisement
Ex-Real Madrid GM Jorge Valdano no fan of VARby Carlos Volcano18 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveFormer Real Madrid GM Jorge Valdano admits he’s no fan of VAR.Valdano insists the technology hasn’t brought justice to the game.”I still distrust VAR, I don’t like it, they deceive you when they say that it has brought more justice,” Valdano explained in an interview with El Transistor.”We don’t have a clue what kind of justice they are talking about.”There are days when a penalty is interpreted one way and, in another way on the next day, being offside by millimetres leaves me uneasy, all those things are scientific, but it actually leaves you with a greater feeling of suspicion.”The Argentine is certainly not in favour of how VAR is being used at this moment, but he believes that a much more scaled-back version of technology in football is acceptable.”I am very positive with technology, but football is the opposite, it’s so primitive and that’s where the success of it is.” About the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say