Upon getting information about an upcoming school science fair and the need to consider a topic of interest, many students will typically have no idea where to get started. While the science fair is typically a common occurrence in any school at any grade level, there are different types of topics that should be taken a look at depending on the age of the student. After first taking a look at the many different categories of science projects, you will be able to locate a suitable choice of topic to take to the next level.There is a wide variety of categories that fall under the types of science projects that can be chosen for a school science fair. These include biology, chemistry, physics, microbiology, biochemistry, medicine, environmental, mathematics, engineering, and earth science. While you may not have yet learned very much in any of these categories, don’t be afraid to see what each one entails. Taking a good look at your interests will allow you to focus on the right direction to take.Many resources are also available for those who are unsure as to the topic they are wanting to use to create their science projects. If you take a look at the topics that fall under the biology category, you will likely notice that there are topics that deal with plants, animals, and humans. For those who are in 2nd grade or 3rd grade, an interesting topic may be to determine if ants are picky over what type of food they eat. While this topic might not be of interest to an 8th grader, it is certainly something in the biology category that an elementary school student would enjoy.Along with the biology category, a high school student may want to take a look at diffusion and osmosis in animal cells as this would be a more appropriate topic for the grade level. A student in 6th grade would be more advanced than an elementary school student, but not as advanced as a high school student. At this middle school grade level, a topic of how pH levels effect the lifespan of a tadpole may be of interest.Whichever resource is used to locate a topic for science projects, it is always a good idea to consider the grade level of the student prior to making a selection. It is always assumed to be best to have a project at an appropriate level in order to keep the attention of the student and provide a fun and enjoyable learning experience.
The U.S. Investor Visa program, also called “EB-5″, is a popular federal program with two goals: first – stimulate U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation, second – enable foreign investors to obtain their permanent resident visas (“Green Cards”) through such investment. Any investment under the EB-5 program could therefore only be successful if it keeps these two goals in mind. An uninformed investment, which centers only on the amount of investment, and not the end result of creating jobs through a successful enterprise, is far less likely to result in a Green Card.In other words, an EB-5 investor must make thorough due diligence to ensure that his or her investment is a “good investment”. Only then is such an investment more likely to fulfill the rigorous requirements of an EB-5 program. The first step to success in ensuring this is understanding the two different ways to make this investment: investment through a “Regional Center” (hereafter “RC”) and investment through a “traditional” EB-5 program (without a RC).Investment Using a RCIn 1992, the U.S. Government created the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program which provides for economic units known as “Regional Center(s).” These centers are private entities which submit economic growth proposal to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. They explain to the USCIS the mechanism of how their center will have a positive impact on the job market in the geographic region of the center. This allows the foreign investor to piggyback on the RC’s explanation and the economic proposal. The Center then seeks funding from numerous foreign investors, compiling each of their investment to create a more successful economic strategy than the one in which an individual investor attempts to fulfill different job creation requirements.Nevertheless, foreign investors are wary of these centers because the investor does not have a control over their money once they invest through a RC. This is a legitimate fear. However, the advantages in an investment through a Regional Center far outweigh its risks. It is imperative that an EB-5 investor understands these risks before ruling out a Regional Center route to EB-5 Green Card.The first advantage is benefiting from an expansive definition of “creating jobs” in an investment through a Regional Center. An EB-5 investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or in some other cases within a reasonable time after these two years) of the investor’s admission to the U.S. as a Conditional Permanent Resident. Usually, these jobs must be direct, that is, these must be identifiable jobs located within the commercial enterprise into which the investor directly invested his or her capital. However, unlike the traditional EB-5 route, an EB-5 Regional Center investor can also take advantage of the indirect jobs that will be created in the geographic region as a result of his or her investment. Indirect jobs are defined as jobs created collaterally or as a result of the capital investment in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor.Secondly, an “approved” RC has a stamp of approval from the US government that the center’s business plans are likely feasible and will directly or indirectly lead to job creation. Although such designation does not mean that an investment in those centers is backed by the government, it is easier to convince USCIS that the investment will lead to its proposed goal of job creation if the RC is approved.Investment through a Traditional EB-5 Program – Without a Regional CenterInvestment in a traditional EB-5 program is generally trickier and more complex than an investment through RC. Here, the investor must come up with the entire business plan of how he or she will generate the requisite number of jobs. The complexity is brought about by the numerous USCIS requirements for such a business plan.Firstly, the capital requirement for an EB-5 Green Card is a usually minimum of $1 million. The exception is that such investment may be $500,000 if the investment is in a targeted employment area (TEA), that is, an area of high unemployment or a rural area. Individual investors often find it hard to explain that the area they are investing in is indeed a rural area or an area of high unemployment. Therefore, they often end up investing the higher amount – $1 million for their green card. On the other hand, most of the approved RCs are approved as TEA investments, and thus qualify for the reduced $500,000 requirement.Secondly, all EB-5 investors must invest in a “new commercial enterprise”, that is, a commercial enterprise established after November 29, 1990, or established on or before November 29, 1990, that is either purchased and the existing business is restructured in a way to result a new commercial enterprise or it is expanded through an investment so that there is a 40 percent increase in the net worth or number of employees. While the definition of a commercial enterprise is broad, many investors do not have the requisite technical or managerial skills required for such businesses, and resultant, their investment is not very successful. Good RCs, on the other hand, have tremendous technical, engineering and managerial expertise at their disposal which allows them to run create new commercial enterprises without much of a difficulty. Consequently, with a Regional Center EB-5, the foreign national does not have to be tied with the new commercial enterprise. He or she can live, work, or travel far more easily than someone who has to continuously manage and control the EB-5 business to fulfill USCIS requirements.ConclusionAs explained above, the standards for individual EB-5 petitions are very restrictive, and therefore, Regional Center EB-5 petitions now amount to more than ninety percent of all EB-5 petitions filed. At the same time, there are more than five hundred Regional Centers approved by USCIS. The benefits of a Regional Center EB-5 do not in any way imply that investing in any Regional Center is always a better strategy for a successful U.S. Green Card. Only a handful of Regional Centers have an established track record of returning positive investments. The investor must conduct a thorough due diligence of different Regional Centers and decide which one to use only after consulting various experts in this field.
As the world around us continues to adapt to a new sense of normal in light of COVID-19, we at Smythe LLP (Smythe), recently sat down (virtually) with Kendall Hanson from CHEK News to discuss how we’re adapting to working from home and what is means for us as a firm, as well as the communities we live and work in.
Although we may be smack dab in the middle of our busiest time of year, things at Smythe are still business as usual – with a few notable exceptions.
The first, and probably most obvious, is that nearly all our staff have now transitioned to working from home.
“The first week of office closures and having everyone work from home was definitely a week of transition, but I think everyone’s really quickly adapted to it and gotten used to it and a lot of people are really enjoying it,” said Partner, Trevor Topping.
During a time where our offices would normally be a buzz with client visits and meetings, our offices are now closed to the public and a skeleton crew has been put in place to ensure clients are able to safely drop off necessary files and mail is being received and sent out.
To read the full article and to hear what Trevor had to say about Smythe’s new normal, click here.
For more information on our response to COVID-19, or to learn what support is available to you, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre, or reach out to your Smythe Partner directly.
Given the current economic uncertainty, effective cash flow management will be critical for the success of many businesses. This will likely involve a combination of:
Managing working capital levels
Managing discretionary expenses
Obtaining additional financing
Working capital management can take the form of:
Implementing Credit Policies
By implementing credit policies with your customers you can speed up the collection process. This could include requiring upfront deposits, reducing the credit terms or offering incentives for early payment. Always ensure you follow-up on overdue accounts.
Utilizing a Just-in-Time Inventory System
Unless it will hurt your ability to sell, don’t carry extra inventory.
Using Credit Terms to your Advantage
Unless they are offering worthwhile incentives, don’t pay your suppliers until it is necessary.
A tool that should be utilized to help with managements’ decision making, is a cash flow forecast. This will help you assess the impact of working capital and expense management decisions, as well as determine whether additional financing will be required.
If you decide that you need to obtain financing (see below), it is likely that the lender will require a forecast as part of the application process.
Obtaining Additional Financing
As part of the economic stimulus package, the Government of Canada is working to ensure businesses have access to traditional financing, from both the government and private lenders.
Among the products being targeted to COVID-19 relief are:
Working Capital Loans
Funds to provide working capital for the operations, and cover general operating expenses, as opposed to capital purchases or expansions. There are currently programs in place where loans can be approved within 48 hours or maybe available without any payments for the first six months. BDC loans of up to $100,000 can be applied for online.
Loan Guarantee for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
As part of the Business Credit Availability Program, EDC is partnering with financial institutions to guarantee 80% of new loans or credit requests up to $6.25 million for small and medium-sized enterprises. Financing is meant to be used for operating costs and is available to exporting and non-exporting companies. The idea behind the program is to encourage additional funding from banks as the EDC provides a re-payment guarantee of 80%. This program is now available through your bank or credit union.
Bridge Financing Program
Offered through BDC Capital, this special program may match (with a convertible note) a current financing round being raised through qualified existing and/or new investors made into eligible Canadian start-ups. This program is best suited for high-potential companies that have venture capital investors willing to support them. BDC will then invest alongside these groups. There are separate criteria for both companies and investors who wish to take advantage of this program – for full details, click here.
Term Loan and Lease Payment Relief
Ability to delay payment of principal for up to six months on existing loans.
Increases to Existing Line of Credit
Financial institutions are providing increases to the borrowing limits on existing lines of credit.
Purchase Order Financing
Flexible terms are being offered to ensure existing and future orders can be fulfilled.
Export Development Canada is providing buyer financing and direct financing for international sales to ensure Canadian businesses are able to participate in international trade opportunities.
If your business requires cash flow management or additional financing, please contact your Smythe Partner directly as additional reporting may be required. Our team can match your business with the appropriate product and guide you through the process and provide financial information to the lending institutions.