SoftBank lineup has space only for No 1 companies: Masayoshi Son

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SoftBank lineup has space only for No 1 companies: Masayoshi SonSoftBank‘s Masayoshi Son, who has made large bets in leading Indian internet companies, spoke of creating a ‘synergy group’ of “No. 1” companies that will last three centuries, during the Japanese company’s earnings call on Wednesday.

SoftBank saw the recognition of gain in the fair value of investments primarily in Southeast Asia and India at $74 million in the April-December 2017 period, compared to a loss of $359 million in the same period in 2016.

In May last year, SoftBank had said it had incurred a loss of over 9,000 crore ($1.41 billion) from its investments in India’s Internet commerce sector.

Three Indian companies – Flipkart, Paytm and OYO – are among the 26 investments from $100 billion SoftBank Vision Fund.

Apart from the three investments, SoftBank has also invested in companies such as ride-hailing application Ola, grocery delivery player Grofers, mobile advertising company InMobi and struggling online retailer Snapdeal.

“We want to form a SoftBank synergy group so that we can sustain for 300 years. The SB Synergy Group is a group of No 1 companies… If the company becomes No 2 or No 3 company, we may exit the company,” said Son during the quarterly results announcement.

This was on display last year, when SoftBank was looking to engineer a merger of its portfolio company Snapdeal, where it originally invested in 2014, with market leader Flipkart. Snapdeal had lost market share, slipping to a distant third position against Amazon India. When the merger effort failed, SoftBank decided to invest in Flipkart independently. It also picked up a stake in Paytm, which is the market leader in mobile payments space.

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Hampton Roads Hispanic chamber looks forward with name change

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The Hampton Roads Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is setting its sights on the future.

The chamber was founded in 2003 by a coalition of six women and focuses on promoting Hispanic businesses in Hampton Roads.

It was originally called the Peninsula Tidewater Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Membership director Julian Baena said a rebranding is under way. The new name will be announced this spring.

While the group has lost some of its momentum in recent years, Baena said it is restructuring and reorganizing to regain power, credibility and respect.

“There are a lot of perceptions about smaller groups trying to do business with the community,” Baena said. “We want to become that resource. It doesn’t matter who it is or what they want to do. We want to be a guiding point.”

Five new board members have joined and bring a wealth of ideas.

“We want to provide a voice and be an advocate for Hispanic business owners and try to bring the community closer,” Baena said, noting up until about 2010 or so the chamber did really well. “It had over 300 businesses that were part of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. From my understanding it was a pretty powerful organization … they were invited up to D.C. for U.S. Hispanic advocate groups.”

Baena, who works as a financial adviser for Opus Group of Virginia, said the organization’s website is being rebuilt. It will be up and running around Feb. 1.

Viviana Fullwood, director of marketing for the chamber and co-owner of Hampton-based A Plus Tutorial, is one of those newcomers.

Originally from Colombia, Fullwood said she has always wanted to help entrepreneurs make their businesses flourish and give back to the community.

“We want to be a hub where if you’re an entrepreneur of any type, this is the place you should feel you need to connect with,” Fullwood said. “One of our big objectives is finding the future leaders of the Hispanic community. We need to leave a footprint.”

“The total population in Hampton Roads is 1.2 million and the Hispanic community is 120,000 which is 10 percent,” Baena said. “With that many Hispanics in the region a lot of our initiatives are about being a focal point for resources for entrepreneurs and small business owners.”

Baena said the group is planning educational workshops to help businesses do more with their respective cities.

Some of the questions that would be answered include: How does one do business with a city? What’s the procurement process? How does one educate people to gain those contracts and that type of work?

The chamber is also bringing back its monthly mixers, which had been on hold for the past six months due to transitions, for anyone interested in getting information or becoming a member.

“It’s for them to get their feet wet before they jump in to a full membership,” Baena said. There are various membership levels ranging in cost from $250 to $1,000 per year.

The highest tier would give members free advertising in area Hispanic newspapers.

“We also offer one-on-one consultation, like a welcome aboard, for all three levels,” Baena said. “See how we can help that business and give them a little bit of exposure and attract more business their way.”

Social media alerts will also be implemented to highlight a business that has done something good to support the community or stands out from others.

“For example, a lot of the businesses were helping the victims of the hurricanes in Puerto Rico,” Baena said.

The chamber also awards a scholarship each year. And it is heavily involved in helping with the area’s three major Hispanic events each year: Nuestra Feria in Norfolk, the Virginia Beach Latin Festival and the Norfolk Latin Festival.

“Membership in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce really helps the Hispanic community in the Hampton Roads area in everything from helping students, helping businesses grow and putting money back into the economy in the region,” Baena said.

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