A group of technology and energy companies have committed to hire or train 90,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years, First Lady Michelle Obama announced last week during an event marking the fourth anniversary of the Joining Forces initiative.When the effort to raise awareness among all Americans about the service, sacrifice and needs of military families initially was launched, President Obama challenged the private sector to hire 100,000 veterans and spouses.Now, less than four years later, “America’s businesses have continued to race past my husband’s initial goal, and together, those businesses who answered the president’s call have hired or trained more than 850,000 veterans and military spouses,” the first lady said.The commitment from technology and energy firms is particularly valuable as those industries are driving economic growth, reported DOD News.The president recently announced the expansion of a pilot program to train transitioning service members for jobs in the solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association is pledging to hire or train 33,000 veterans and spouses over the next five years, the first lady said.The corporate hiring initiatives typically involve a partnership between industry and educational institutions involving job training, internships and apprenticeships.The Joining Forces event was held in Manassas, Va., at Micron Technologies, which makes memory-storage devices. The manufacturer is participating in a pilot program through the Northern Virginia Technology Council to match student veterans at local institutions of higher learning to 50 high-tech companies throughout the region.“Veterans get hands-on experience and the companies connect with a pipeline of top-notch talent,” Obama said. The northern Virginia partnership is one of many across the country helping veterans and military spouses, she added. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
At the Bombay Stock Exchange (representational image)Reuters fileHappy new year investors! One hopes that Dalal Street extends the gains of the last trading day of calendar year 2016 onto the first trading day of 2017. The BSE Sensex gained 260 points on Friday (December 30) to end at 26,626 while the NSE Nifty ended 82 points higher at 8,186.Bank, real estate, NBFC and home loan stocks are expected to be in focus after PM Narendra Modi’s speech on December 31, 2016 that spoke about dedicated 8 percent interest scheme for pensioners, interest subvention to home loan borrowers in specific categories and relief to small enterprises.SBI, ICICI Bank, PNB, Indiabulls Housing Finance, LIC Housing Finance, DHFL, Axis Bank, Prestige Estates Projects, Godrej Properties and related stocks could see significant movement.Stock markets ended 2016 on a positive note, despite many negative triggers, more so at the last two months, the most significant being the decision to demonetise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that sent the markets into a tizzy amid projections of a prolonged slowdown.The two benchmark indices are likely to trade in a narrow range in 2017, according to an analyst. “Overall looking at the picture, we believe the market to take time to beat its 2016 Nifty high and remain trading in the broader range of 7000 to 8500 for calendar year 2017,” Abnish Kumar Sudhanshu, Director & Research Head, Amrapali Aadya Trading & Investments, said in a note.What to look for in January 2017The triggers in the first week will be December 2016 car and two-wheeler sales data, followed by merchandise trade, inflation and civil aviation statistics for December.Analysts expect companies to report low volume growth and decline in some cases. Two-wheeler makers are likely to take the maximum hit, say brokerages Nirmal Bang, Motilal Oswal Securities and Nomura.Companies will also be declaring their demonetisation-impacted quarterly results, beginning with Infosys on January 13, 2017. Wipro will be announcing its December quarter results on January 25. Demonetisation is unlikely to have impacted IT software services exporters.Among lenders, Axis Bank will be announcing results on January 19, RBL Bank on January 20, HDFC Bank on January 24, followed by IDFC Bank the next day.Cues could emerge from statements/speeches by the top brass of the ruling party, the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be addressing a rally in Lucknow on January 2 while tax collection figures for the 9-month period ended December would also be out.Of course, the mother of all triggers will be Budget 2017 likely to be presented on February 1.
Trucks on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway at Pampore in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Aug 8, 2016 (representational image).IANSLogistics start-up Fortigo Network announced on Wednesday that it has secured $10 million in its Series A funding round from existing investors, Infosys co-founder and former UIDAI Chairman Nandan Nilekani, and Accel Partners.Fortigo Network aims to use the new funds to enhance the platform as well as fuel expansion of their truck network which currently has presence in all south-Indian states, south Maharashtra, Gujarat, Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi NCR.Launched in June last year, Fortigo Network expects to grow by close to 50,000 trucks over the next 2 years.”With this funding, we will be able to extend the Fortigo Network to a pan-India level. Our blueprint is to enter and mark our presence in all the important transport hubs of the country including Guwahati, Jaipur, Raipur, Nagpur, Lucknow and Kanpurand, the hubs of Orissa, Bihar and Jharkhand over the next nine months. With this push, we expect to achieve our next milestone of reaching break-even by December 2018,” Anjani Mandal, Co-founder and CEO, Fortigo Network, said, in a statement.Fortigo Network is India’s only freight exchange platform enabled with live transaction and electronic payments. Fortigo Network also offers complementing business services and facilities for the Indian road transport sector to enable the users to improve their efficiency and profitability. Using the cloud-based platform of Fortigo Network, consignors, consignees, fleet owners, transport companies and agencies can exchange information, transact and manage their entire business.By leveraging its partnerships with Federal Bank and IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation Limited), Fortigo Network facilitates completely cashless transactions on its platform and extends working capital benefits to its members. Additionally, Fortigo Network uses the 800+ networked retail outlets of IOCL to provide complementary amenities to truck drivers, such as overnight stay facilities, secure parking, breakdown assistance, fuel discounts, etc., for greater driver safety and convenience. Vivek Malhotra, Co-founder and Chief of Strategy and Marketing, Fortigo Network, said the funding is also to upgrade the technology needs of fleet owners. “We want to facilitate the technology enablement of small and medium-sized fleet owners in getting onto the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN),” he said. Subrata Mitra, partner at Accel Partners India, had a similar statement to make. “With the proposed GST coming up and growing importance of electronic payments in business transactions, we expect the Fortigo Network to play a significant role in transforming the unorganized and fragmented transport industry,” he said. Reuters file
Reliance Jio launches free 4G feature phone aka ‘JioPhone’ with unlimited voice, dataRIL AGM via YouTubeMukesh Ambani’s Reliance Jio has seen phenomenal growth over the last two years. After disrupting the telecom market with its cheap plans, the company is now eyeing the lucrative entertainment industry with plans to set up its own production house.The news comes from an unnamed source, who told Livemint: “Content market is still not properly tapped… Reliance has hired a bunch of scriptwriters and content creators and is in the process of setting up a huge production house.”If the report is accurate, it would mean that the company will create its own web series and short film taking on Netflix and Amazon’s over-the-top (OTT) services. The conglomerate will be banking on its 215 million subscribers to ensure the service is well received, and with plans to roll out JioGigaFiber, that number will only be higher.Currently, Jio offers video content in partnership with third-parties such as ALT Balaji, Eros and Reliance-owned Viacom through its Jio Cinema app.At a shareholder meeting recently, RIL chairman Mukesh Ambani said that video consumption has grown from 165 crore hours per month to 340 crore hours per month. The rise in part is due to the lowering cost of data plans, that Jio introduced when it entered the market.The report said that the content ecosystem business is being spearheaded by Jyoti Deshpande, former managing director at Eros. She has joined Reliance as head of the media and entertainment business. The source went on to add that Reliance has already got 20-25 creative people on board, and is targeting launch within 4-6 months of some web series. RIL has been aggressively expanding its presence in the OTT space, having purchased 24.9 percent stake in Balaji Telefilms last year, and 5 percent stake in Eros International in February this year. Earlier, Jio and Hotstar partnered up to offer JioTV to users. Reliance also owns Viacom18, which has a wide variety of entertainment channels such as Colors and MTV. Sacred Games posterTwitterWhile Jio’s entry into the content space is unlikely to shake up Netflix and Amazon’s dominance in the short run, it will have massive implications in the long run despite both companies investing heavily in Indian content. The news will also be good news for budding artists, who are looking for a big break and now have more options to chose from.
Tech Rocketship Award winners posing with British Deputy High Commissioner Dominic McAllister and Gita Krisnankutty – first secretary of head of inward investment India.IBTimes India/Sami KhanThere are now a record 842 Indian companies operating in the UK, up from 800 in the previous year, with combined revenues of almost £48 billion (£46.4 billion in 2018 report), according to a Grant Thornton-CII report. Indian companies paid a combined total of over £684 million in corporation tax, which is almost double the amount recorded in last year’s report (£360 million), and employed 104,783 people (104,932 in the 2018 report). The India Meets Britain Tracker 2019 report was released earlier this year. GT and CII are holding a roadshow in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi to highlight the report’s findings.During the report’s launch at the roadshow in Bengaluru on Tuesday, British Deputy High Commissioner in Bengaluru, Dominic McAllister, said: “We are determined that the UK will be the best place in the world to grow your business. The UK government is committed to facilitating the closest possible relationships between business leaders in both our countries – including supporting pioneers in innovation. The UK and India can do great business and achieve real change. Both governments are committed to taking this further by building on the technology partnership; leveraging finance; sharing skills and expertise.”The report provides a tracker of the fastest-growing companies, as measured by those with a turnover of more than £5 million, year-on-year revenue growth of at least 10 percent and a minimum two-year track-record in the UK. This year’s tracker includes 62 companies that recorded an average growth rate of 37 percent. The total combined revenue of these companies reached over £12 billion last year. Three companies in this year’s tracker reported a growth of more than 100 percent. UNCTAD/twitterThe UK and India have been the top five investors in each other’s economies since 2010. Since 2010, the UK has been the largest G20 investor in India. Building on the UK’s Industrial Strategy, the India-UK Tech Partnership sets out how we are building a Britain fit for the future – how we will help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs with investment in the skills, industries, and infrastructure that we will need, added McAllister.Technology and telecoms companies continue to dominate the Tracker, as they have done since its launch in 2014. This year, they account for 35 percent of the fastest-growing companies. Engineering and manufacturing companies are the next in line, accounting for 16 percent of the 2019 Tracker. This is followed by pharmaceutical and chemical companies, which account for 15 percent, continuing historically strong representation.The geographical spread of the fastest-growing Indian companies across the UK remains unchanged compared to last year. London continues to be the preferred location for more than half (53 percent) of the 62 fastest growing Indian companies. London is the global home of capital. Over £2.2 billion (Rs 20,000 crore) in Masala Bonds have been listed on the London Stock Exchange by Indian companies.