Moolah from heaven

Finding angel investors – people willing to lend money to entrepreneurs who have few other options – is the easy part says Ashwin Joshi, director of the MBA Program at York’s Schulich School of Business, in a story in The Globe and Mail July 24. Picking the right ones to put their money into your company and then keeping them happy once they’ve invested – that’s where the challenge lies, says Joshi.

"The big thing is selecting the right angel, not just the one who is willing to give you money," he says. "And the right angel is one who will give you access not just to their money but also to the right network of contacts and to experience and expertise that’s relevant to your business."

Keeping angels happy after they’ve handed over the cash is extremely important, says Joshi. While most investor-entrepreneur relationships will quickly move past the honeymoon phase and into the real marriage – with all its ups and downs – there are certain things entrepreneurs can do to keep the love alive.

One of the most important is to set down ground rules before signing the papers. For example, both parties need to decide in advance the level of control an angel will have over the business. "Will the angel have to sign off on every growth decision, like hiring more employees, or just on major developments?" says Joshi. "These are things that need to be agreed upon in advance."

Halal flexes its marketing muscle

As Muslim immigration shot up and families moved from farms to urban centres, firms realized the word halal was a potent marketing tool, wrote the Toronto Star July 22. "All you need to say is we have ‘halal’ and the job is done," said Ashwin Joshi, director of York’s Schulich School of Business MBA Program.

Naima Alam, 18, is a second-year York student and considers herself more religious than her parents. "Word spreads quickly about new halal stuff," she said. "If I learn something is haram, I’m not getting it." If halal makeup and hygiene products were readily available, it would save her and friends from do-it-yourself halal: scrutinizing package ingredients and limiting shopping to mostly organic stores.

Monahan thinks new law commission will bring scrutiny to bear

The new head of the independent Law Commission of Ontario will likely address the immense cost of justice for average citizens, something the old commission was trying to do when it was abolished a decade ago, wrote the Toronto Star July 23.

"I think a commission like this can bring real scrutiny to bear," said Patrick Monahan, dean of York’s Osgoode Hall Law School. "And it’s not beholden to any one constituency, whether that be lawyers, judges or government."

Monahan, chair of the new commission’s board of governors, said governments keep killing law commissions because, "They don’t necessarily like having independent and credible voices on law reform out there in the community." He added the commission will examine the high price of lawyers and the immense complexity of the legal system to determine how best to improve access.

Attorney General Michael Bryant revived the commission in November as the Law Commission of Ontario, a joint effort of the government, Osgoode Hall Law School and York University, the Law Foundation of Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada, Ontario’s other law schools, and the legal community.

Young elite tennis players showed ‘surprising’ spinal damage

Intensive training by young tennis players during the growth spurt years is linked to injury and musculoskeletal problems because tennis requires a lot more repetitive and rapid rotation and stretching of the lower spine than other sports, reported CBC News Online July 23 in a story about a study by British researchers.

Some young Canadian players will spend upwards of 20 to 25 hours a week on the tennis court, Michael Mitchell, head coach of the varsity tennis teams at York and a former Canadian men’s over-35 doubles champion, told the CBC. "The challenge with the juniors is that they’ll train during the week, and then over the course of the weekend, they’ll go out and play these competitive weekend tournaments, and then basically turn around and do the exact same cycle again the next week," Mitchell said.

"And a lot of the times, they don’t allow enough of a recovery period after a serious weekend of playing." In such cases, athletes need to be selective in their training and in choosing tournaments over the following week to prevent injuries from persisting over time, he added.

Trouble is, said Mitchell, tennis is no longer a seasonal sport in Canada and qualifying for major events has become more arduous. Junior Canadian tennis players often compete through the winter months to qualify for winter nationals, followed by spring tournaments and summer nationals. It’s also difficult to take a weekend off when there are so many tournaments and requirements to qualify for provincial and national events, said Mitchell, who reported seeing some children who have played 33 tournaments in a single year, on top of all their training. "That is just way too much tennis," said Mitchell.

On air

  • Hernan Humana, lecturer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, discussed the success of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Toronto on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” July 23.
  • Monica Belcourt, professor of human resources management in York’s Atkinson School of Administrative Studies, spoke about an e-mail blunder by a provincial government employee, on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” and other CBC programs in Vancouver and Quebec on July 23.