A statement from the firm said it will also establish a 64 megawatts (MW) power plant of which 50 MW shall be sold to the national grid. Discussions are currently ongoing between the firm and the Ministry of Energy on a 25-year power purchase agreement.
The firm acquired all necessary permits and licences, which include permission from the Ministry of Industrialisation and 99 years of mining rights covering all limestone deposits in Pokot.
A delegation from the Indian firm visited the country in January 2010 and was assured of the government’s support in the completion of the Pokot cement facility as well as the power plant.
The firm paid Ksh.120 million ($1.5 million) to about 100 pastoral families to pave the way for the establishment of the plant with a production capacity of 120,000 metric tonnes of cement per year.
The group expects to directly employ more than 1,700 people and over 5,000 people indirectly.
Source: How We Made It In Africa
The campaign to improve the status of architectural assistants has been dealt a serious blow after a government minister refused to review the current registration process.
Andrew Stunell, the minister responsible for the Architects’ Act, flatly rejected a request from The Association of Part Two Architects (Tapta) to consider a two-tier system.
Tapta argues this would be the best way of ending the “discrimination” against UK-trained part IIs who are barred from Arb’s register. Tapta’s complaint is that the Arb is required by a European directive to admit similarly qualified people from elsewhere in Europe because they are recognised as architects in their own countries.
Allowing UK part IIs to call themselves “certified architects”, while part IIIs retained the title “registered architect, would end this injustice, said Paul McGrath, who founded the lobby group last month.
But Stunell wrote back insisting this would benefit neither the public nor the profession and pointed out that part IIs were free to take their part III exams.
He did acknowledge it was “unfortunate that in some circumstances this appears to create an unfavourable outcome for part II graduates”.
But he wrote: “Simply because some member states have lower thresholds for qualification should not mean the UK should follow suit. I therefore do not propose to prompt a review of the current qualifications required to register as an architect in the UK.”
Instead he said harmonising architectural qualifications across Europe was the way to proceed and promised to look at this when an “opportunity arises to review the directive”.
Alison Carr, chief executive of the Arb, said a public consultation on the directive would be launched at the end of the year. M
eanwhile she said McGrath’s application to join the register would be dealt with in due course. He expects to be rejected but hopes to appeal to the High Court to set a legal precedent.
McGrath said he was confident Stunell had not closed the door entirely and was canvassing his members before replying.
RIBA Business Benchmarking returns are required from RIBA Chartered Practices in bands
3–5 (those with 6 or more staff). The deadline has now been extended to 31 December 2010, but RIBA Chartered Practices in bands 3–5 who have not submitted data by this date will be in breach of the RIBA Chartered Practice accreditation criteria, and the online questionnaire should be completed as soon as possible. RIBA Chartered Practices of all sizes can benefit from RIBA Business Benchmarking, and smaller RIBA Chartered Practices are also encouraged to take part ahead of the accreditation requirements in 2011/12.
As the definitive market intelligence resource for architects, RIBA Business Benchmarking enables you to compare your business performance against all practices, practices of a similar size and practices in your region, using benchmarks developed by our expert partners Colander. The benchmarks include profit to turnover, profit per fee earner and turnover per fee earner, as well as average daily charge out rates and target annual chargeable hours. Analysis of a range of other business and market indicators is also provided, including client types and sectors. RIBA Business Benchmarking can provide RIBA Chartered Practices with significant competitive advantages and business development resources.
If you have any queries about RIBA Business Benchmarking please email firstname.lastname@example.org|.
“Whopping Bubble” – A Technosphere by James Law Cybertecture will be launched shortly as the centrepiece of eight-square-mile Dubai's Technopark, an information technology park currently under construction in the heart of the emirate's industrial zone. The building will be an iconic symbol and will shine as a crown jewel of the Technopark city, hence the name ‘Technosphere’. Its innovative globe shape differs it from the conventional buildings, and is likely to attract tourists.
This Technosphere is designed by famous architect James Law from James Law Cybertecture. He is well-known for his work in ‘Cybertecture‘, which is a combination of advanced technologies, architecture, and multimedia experiences for users.
Replica of the Earth
This sustainable spherical building replicates the earth as a structural concept and also reflects the state of our planet in current and future times. Inside the eco-sphere is an entire world which serves as a vehicle to explore the issues of self-sustaining life on a smaller level.
Sustainable Techniques of Technos
Constructed as a mixed-use building, technosphere provides office and residential space as well as a hotel and public courtyards. Technosphere would be a carbon-neutral building to live and work. Technosphere will follow many sustainable technologies and energy-saving systems to lower the building’s carbon footprint.
The Technosphere has several key technology systems and architectural spaces that will enable the building to generate a self breathing environment. Technosphere will also be provided with water recycling and air-purifying (or “self-breathing”) gardens as highlighted components. This living, breathing building operates in a similar fashion to the Earth itself, providing energy, recycling water, and providing sustenance to its occupants
An intelligently distributed array of sky gardens for offices and hotel not only gives a outdoor terrace advantage to the occupants but also provide passive solar shielding from the sun to regulate the interior temperature and reduce the energy needed to artificially to heat or cool the building. The natural green plantation of the sky garden filters the air to contribute fresh oxygen to the indoor environment.
The water recycling system will minimize the use and wastage of water in this vast building.
Why did you think of India as an entrepreneurial destination?
The rapid development and surge of India as a major economic player on the global stage has echoed in business circles in the West for several years now. The nation’s young profile (not in history but in terms of workforce), combined with its huge pool of talent are attractive factors for any young entrepreneurs. My native passion for Construction and Information Technology, coupled with Indian contacts I worked with, has naturally attracted me to India.
How has working out of India been beneficial to building your business?
What are the unique inputs/facilitating factors that your business has leveraged here?
Simply put, our whole business model is based on operating from a developing country. Our model would not have been viable from within Europe. So in this regards, the Indian context is essential for our business planning and growth. It is essentially giving us the ability to reduce the cost of our services, be extremely competitive and to offer additional resources. The huge domestic market represents potential for longer term growth. Interestingly, the Indian context has also enticed us to expand our business propositions, offering a wide range of services that we weren’t even promoting at first.
Can you give us an idea of the challenges, the difficulties faced in doing business in India?
To my surprise, the biggest hurdle for me to conduct business in India isn’t cultural. The biggest difficulty faced is to find a network of reliable contacts for asking questions and getting the right information. For many westerners, India seems disorganised and un-institutionalised.
Your business is also focused on reaching some of the most under-served segments of the market - how much more challenging has this been - any anecdotal examples to describe your experiences?
Our business is focused on SMEs primarily, as it represents the biggest segment of the market and also because most SMEs are companies that still have to experience and enjoy the benefits of outsourcing; the big players have been doing it for years. As western economies have become stale in recent years, SMEs are the ones most targeted by this downturn.
We have realised that many SMEs have a psychological apprehension to embrace new offshored business models, due to the fact that most of them don’t trade globally yet, and therefore are not used to work with companies in foreign markets. As a company It is our mission to overcome this problem; we work hard to make ourselves available “ears open” and make the workflow as fluid as possible. Based on our commitment to quality and international standards of our deliverables, we ought to fill the cultural gap between different markets.
Some European SMEs were offended when we approached them, because they thought we were trying to steal their jobs. If anything, we are actually trying to collaborate to boost their productivity and help them retain their jobs!
There is much talk of the intersection of social good and for-profit businesses - how do you view the growth of your company from this perspective?
Social Entrepreneurship runs a long way in India. The Indian market creates unique scenarii for innovative business models and pursuing social justice. Our ultimate company ethos is to grow organically and remain commercially sound, while contributing to develop the social context we operate from. That implies working with local communities, collaborating with charitable bodies, recruiting talent at the door steps of universities, sharing knowledge with similarly-minded companies, launching new ventures with aspiring Indian entrepreneurs, as well as empowering our team members.
Longer term, we aim to become a catalyst for multicultural collaboration – poised to create opportunities for western companies to benefit from the Indian context, whilst opening doors for up-and-coming Indian designers whiling to work on projects in western markets.
Does selling to the poor offer a large scalable business opportunity?
Are there examples/illustrations that you can offer from the experience of building your company?
The “Bottom of the Pyramid” represents a huge pending opportunity for businesses operating in emerging economies. It is arguably an essential component of the Indian engine. Hundreds of millions of people live with modest means, but represent the larger piece of the consumers’ pie.
By working with charitable organisations that operate at the lowest levels of the pyramid, we have started an initiative for our clients to plant trees in the state of Karnataka, around greater Bangalore. This incentive offsets some of our company’s carbon footprint, and we are hopeful to become carbon neutral by 2012. This has generated positive reactions from some of our clients; by working with us, they can save time, money and combat climate change.
How much has doing business in India helped define products/business models that your company can take to other emerging markets? Any examples?
Emerging markets present unique business patterns, in terms of need, revenue model and saleability that are quite different to conventional old pastiche models. Emerging markets offer different societal constraints, which in return, creates opportunities for new models.
For example, in emerging markets, not everybody his connected to the internet, however mobile phones are affordable and widely used. So mobile phones represent a unique medium for consumption, transfers and transactions. Some of the ventures we have launched in East Africa could, with minor customisation, be suitable for the Indian market, and vice-versa. So for each new venture we work on, we try to tackle solutions from a wide and scalable perspective, while respecting the authenticity and sensitivities of the local market.
Do you expect to see more expat entrepreneurs such as yourself building businesses out of India in the future?
As India opens up economically and socially, coupled with a softening of the laws and regulations, it will inevitably become home for more foreign entrepreneurs. Already we are observing a shift in perception, as India is recognised as an engine of growth in Asia after decades of economic stagnation due to poor management and uneven commitment to tackling corruption. And this transformational phenomenon will only be accelerated, the faster India’s economy opens up to other markets.
What are the sorts of businesses that you expect will be built out of here? And why?
The Service and ITeS sectors will continue to be essential to the growth of India, accounting for at least 15% YOY growth till 2020, according to moderately conservative studies (source: LSE). Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure industries are still lacking and way behind in India and we’ll observe dramatic improvements in the coming years in those sectors, as well as a sustained growth of the wider construction industry.
What is the reaction from investors - angel, venture capitalists to such business models - where expat entrepreneurs seek to build business in markets such as India?
We haven’t sought the financing back up of Angel and Venture Capitalists so far, simply because we believe in a slower more organic growth model. However, those that have approached us seem at first puzzled to see western entrepreneurs running businesses in India, but as we expose our vision and longer term ambitions, they all seem to share our views. Once our mindset on global goals is exposed, they all seem to agree with our positions and practices for business.
What are the networks, ecosystems that you have connected with in your entrepreneurial journey and how have they helped?
Since our inception, we have been affiliated with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in Europe, which gives us international exposure and credentials, and helps us on achieving “best practice” procedures. Locally, we have approached the entrepreneurship cell of IIM Bangalore and have attended numerous networking events and brainstorming sessions with Indian talent. We have also actively collaborated with “Jaaga”, a community-led social incubator that is a wonderful place to meet talent and share ideas, essential for the growth of our company.
Source: Economic Times
English Heritage announces mass redundancies
At least 200 posts will have to be cut at English Heritage, the organisation announced today.
The move is a response to the Department of Culture, Media & Sport’s decision to slash its £136 million grant by a third.
The government is also demanding a 50% cut to the administration costs of all surviving quangos.
But Jane Kennedy, an EH commissioner and chairman of Purcell Miller Tritton, said they were being penalised for being responsible.
“It’s a lot, especially as EH has streamlined the organisation considerably over the last two years,” she said.
The commissioners met on Wednesday to work out how to implement the cuts imposed on them as a result of the comprehensive spending review.
Kennedy said it was a sombre meeting, although they were confident they had safeguarded EH’s most important work, including its advice service, listing and heritage protection. They decided to prioritise the work that only EH can do, and also vowed to raise more money through the organisation’s commercial activities. These currently account for a quarter of its income.
All existing grant commitments will be honoured, but future grants will be reduced by about a third.
“We are all very disappointed by the cuts,” said Kennedy. “We were trying to find the best way of ensuring that what EH is bound to do by statute is done, and to minimise the effect on the historic environment. But obviously it’s a major cut and you can’t disguise that, and it will have an effect on what our organisation can do.
“There’s still an awful lot of working out to be done but we agreed the things we must do at all costs, which include providing support for local authorities which are also going to be badly cut.”
English Heritage will publish a corporate plan soon, giving greater detail on how it will manage the next four years. Redundancy notices have not yet been issued.
Latest government figures show employment levels at 17 year low
Unemployment rates among construction graduates are running at their highest for 17 years according to figures released today.
The Higher Education Careers Services Unit (Hescu) surveyed 21,020 students who graduated last year and found the percentage out of work in January this year had risen to 8.9% - the worst figure since 1993.
Construction was among the hardest hit sectors with a jobless rate of 10.9% for architecture and building graduates, 11.8% for mechanical engineering and 11.9% for civil engineering.
Charlie Ball, deputy research director at Hecsu, said job prospects were looking better for next year: “Graduate unemployment hasn’t risen as high as we feared and is some way off the levels of the last recession in 1992, when it reached 11.6%.
“Prospects for graduates in the short term look brighter, with unemployment as a result of the downturn likely to have peaked. However, with the anticipated public-sector job cuts, the future in the medium term looks less clear.”
The average salary for new graduates rose marginally to £19,695. The lowest average starting salary was £14,625, while graduates who studied Chinese reported the highest starting salary of £24,540.