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GLOBAL MARKETING AGENCY OFFERING NEXT GENERATION OF START-UPS A CHANCE TO COLLABORATE WITH LEADING BRANDS

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GLOBAL MARKETING AGENCY OFFERING NEXT GENERATION OF START-UPS A CHANCE TO COLLABORATE WITH LEADING BRANDS

MEC, one of the world’s leading advertising media planning agencies, is offering three lucky digital start-ups a once in a lifetime opportunity to work in partnership with top global brands and receive guidance from its expert business mentors.

MEC Wavemaker, the new content specialist division at MEC in Manchester, is launching a start-up hub competition to give three cutting-edge start-ups the chance to secure a commercial partnership with MEC and its clients, which include Comparethemarket.com, EE, Jet2 and Great Western Rail.

The aim of the competition is to forge strong links between promising entrepreneurs and leading brands, and inspire creative thinking to generate new ideas for the industry.

Digital and tech start-ups are being invited to take part in the competition. To enter, all they need to do is fill out a simple application form detailing information about their company and the reasons why they should be selected.

MEC Manchester will then choose six semi-finalists who will be invited to battle it out in a Dragon’s Den style contest at SAScon, the UK’s finest search, analytics and social media conference, on 17 June 2016. The businesses will have to pitch their business proposition to an expert-judging panel including senior MEC execs, leading figureheads from Tech City North and Jonathan Bowers, managing director at UKFast, which is the event’s headline sponsor.

The winning three start-ups will be chosen based on their pitch, as well as their ability to foster creative thinking and enable innovation. As part of the prize, they will be invited to spend a three-month residency working out of MEC’s Manchester office from 4 July, where they will gain expert business advice and the opportunity to secure commercial partnerships with MEC’s roster of clients.

Hannah Blake, open innovation director at MEC UK, said: “MEC Wavemaker is all about encouraging creative thinking to create compelling content and who better to learn from than those working at the cutting edge of innovation. MEC and our clients have so much to gain from inviting bright entrepreneurs into our environment and I believe we can also add huge value in helping start-ups to scale and prosper. To accelerate this process, we have partnered with SAScon to give the start-ups an excellent platform to present their business and gain wider brand exposure.”

Richard Gregory, co-founder at SAScon said: “SAScon is an event organised by the digital community for the digital community. And so we are proud to play host to the MEC Wavemaker start-up hub as we believe more initiatives like this one are needed to give new emerging digital businesses the support and guidance they need to succeed. We are anticipating that the MEC Wavemaker panel will be one of the highlights of this year’s conference as it will really showcase the exceptional talent that the North West is housing.”

Creative and digital start-ups interested in applying should complete the application form found here and send it to [email protected].

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Britain’s Heathrow sinks to $2.8 billion loss during pandemic

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Britain's Heathrow sinks to $2.8 billion loss during pandemic 1

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s Heathrow Airport plunged to a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) annual loss after passenger numbers collapsed to levels last seen in the 1970s during the pandemic.

Heathrow called on the government to agree a common international travel standard to allow passengers to start flying again in the summer and to provide business tax breaks for airports to help them ride out the crisis.

The airport, west of London, is hopeful that travel markets will reopen from mid-May after a government announcement on easing lockdown on Monday.

Still Britain’s biggest airport, Heathrow last year lost its title as the busiest in Europe to Paris as its flight schedules contracted more than its rival’s.

The airport said on Wednesday that during 2020 passenger numbers shrunk 73% to 22 million people, with half of those people having travelled during January and February before COVID-19 shut down global travel.

The airport sunk to a 2 billion loss before tax on revenues which were down 62% to 1.18 billion pounds, but Heathrow said it had 3.9 billion pounds of liquidity and that could keep it going until 2023.

The airport is owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corp, among others.

($1 = 0.7044 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton and James Davey)

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Strong exports, construction boost German economy in fourth quarter

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Strong exports, construction boost German economy in fourth quarter 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – Bullish exports and solid construction activity helped the German economy to grow by a stronger-than-expected 0.3% in the final quarter of last year, the Federal Statistics Office said on Wednesday, revising an earlier estimate.

The office, which previously had reported a 0.1% expansion on the quarter from October to December, said it also revised upward its 2020 full-year GDP figure for Europe’s largest economy to -4.9% from -5.0%.

Adjusted for calendar effects, the economy last year shrank by 5.3%, which was a much smaller contraction than many other European countries recorded, mainly due to a strong fiscal response of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The debt-financed fiscal splurge created an overall state budget deficit of 139.6 billion euros or 4.2% of gross domestic product in 2020, the office said. This was the first deficit since 2011 and the second-highest since German reunification.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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UK’s Sunak could extend stamp duty holiday until June-end – The Times

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UK's Sunak could extend stamp duty holiday until June-end - The Times 3

(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak is preparing to extend the stamp duty holiday by three months until the end of June in an attempt to boost activity in the housing market as the country emerges from lockdown, The Times reported on Wednesday.

The extension to the policy, which covers sales of properties worth up to 500,000 pounds ($708,100), could cost the government 1 billion pounds, the report https://bit.ly/3sglJoS added.

Britain raised the threshold of property tax to 500,000 pounds last July from 125,000 pounds, exempting nine of 10 people buying a main home from stamp duty. The temporary cuts are set to expire in March 2021.

Sunak will use his annual budget on March 3 to move the policy to the end of June, bringing it in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions, the newspaper said.

He will also announce plans to raise corporation tax while Treasury officials are considering a 25% tax hike.

Sunak said on Tuesday that he would set out more details of job support measures at his budget next week, after official figures showed unemployment had risen to its highest since early 2016.

($1 = 0.7061 pounds)

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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