How one Raleigh resident is creating opportunities for Black-owned businesses in North Carolina

Johnny Hackett Jr. in front of statues
Johnny Hackett Jr.

  • Johnny Hackett Jr. is the founder of The Black Dollar Corp., a retail location and online directory.
  • The directory gives Black entrepreneurs opportunities to gain exposure and customers.
  • Hackett also runs Black Friday Market, which has 90 Black-owned vendors and hosts community events.
  • This article is part of a series focused on American cities building a better tomorrow called “Advancing Cities.”

Johnny Hackett Jr. appreciates being a part of the entrepreneurship community in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In 2019, he started The Black Dollar Corp. to support Black-owned businesses in the state through a retail location and online directory.

“We’re trying to give a platform for African American entrepreneurs to be found, to get more exposure, to get more customers,” Hackett, 37, told Insider.

Hackett, who was recently named one of the Triangle Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” said he often partners with the city to spread the word about programs and initiatives.

“So many different opportunities exist here in Raleigh,” he said. “It’s just a place where an entrepreneur can come and get off the ground running. There’s a lot of community support and there are a lot of folks who are invested in making sure that upstart companies do have a chance here.”

Hackett moved to Raleigh just before he started high school and later attended North Carolina A&T State University. His background is in information technology, and he’s worked for Xerox, IBM, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

He first got into entrepreneurship in 2009 when he founded the nonprofit Life Foundation to educate teens about taxes, credit, health insurance, and other life skills.

“I felt like I wasn’t utilizing my strengths to the best of my ability for the community,” Hackett said. “I started to see how many businesses and organizations didn’t have the tools that they needed to either gain access to funding or open certain doors.”

So he started building websites for business owners – and that paved the way for a directory.

Becoming Raleigh’s official Black-owned business directory

The goal of #BlackDollarNC, which features an interactive map, is to increase visibility for North Carolina-based, Black-owned businesses. Owners can add themselves to the directory for free, and it now lists about 1,100 companies. Each day, about 500 people visit the site, Hackett said.

Raleigh’s Office of Economic Development and Innovation engaged Black Dollar Corp. to expand reach, and thus #BlackDollarNC became the official Black-owned business directory of Raleigh. Hackett’s main goals are adding more businesses, turning the directory into a social channel, and expanding to other parts of the US.

Retail space gives entrepreneurs a place to sell goods

Black Dollar Corp.’s newest initiative is Black Friday Market, a department store located in downtown Raleigh where Black-owned businesses without retail space can sell their products. The store opened in December and features more than 90 companies selling clothing, beauty products, artwork, and food items. The market also hosts events.

Companies pay a fee to sell their products in the store and keep 100% of the sales, Hackett said. The store has been a hit so far, he added, and he plans to open more locations in North Carolina and elsewhere.

Hosting events engages the community

Street festivals that feature kids’ activities, musical performances, and food give businesses the opportunity to sell their products. Hackett said they saw a large turnout for their May and June events and is expecting a similar outcome for July’s.

This spring, they also hosted a scavenger hunt. Residents could earn points for posting on social media, attending events, signing up for newsletters from the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, and collecting stickers from locations for a chance to win $5,000 – but the money must be reinvested in a Black-owned company.

“It’s just awesome meeting these folks and talking to them, understanding what their talents are, and then trying to support them as best we can,” Hackett said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

E-cigarette maker Juul agreed to overhaul its marketing – including only using models older than 35 in ads – to crack down on teen vaping

  • Juul agreed to pay North Carolina a $40 million settlement.
  • As part of the settlement, Juul will make major changes to how it markets and sells its e-cigarettes.
  • The company will no longer use models under 35-years-old on ads and will use mystery shoppers to find scofflaw retailers.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

North Carolina reached a $40 million settlement with e-cigarette maker Juul Labs, the state’s attorney general said Monday.

It’s the first state to successfully settle a lawsuit against Juul. The settlement comes after Juul came under fire for “its role in spiking teen use and dependence on e-cigarettes,” the attorney general’s office said in a press release.

“For years, JUUL targeted young people, including teens, with its highly addictive e-cigarette,” AG Josh Stein said in a press release. “It lit the spark and fanned the flames of a vaping epidemic among our children – one that you can see in any high school in North Carolina.”

A lawsuit against Juul was first filed back in 2019 for “designing, marketing, and selling its e-cigarettes” to be more appealing to teens and misrepresenting nicotine’s harmful effects in its products.

As part of the settlement, Juul has agreed not to use anyone in its marketing videos under 35. Retail stores selling Juul products in North Carolina will also receive monthly checks from secret shoppers.

Juul also agreed to other conditions, according to the settlement agreement, including:

  • Avoiding marketing that appeals to people under 21.
  • Not advertising near schools or sponsoring sporting events and concerts.
  • Ensuring Juul products are sold behind store counters, requiring employee assistance.
  • Not making claims about the health effects of Juul use versus that of combustible cigarettes.
  • Requiring third-party sellers an independent age verification system.
  • Receive FDA authorization for any new flavors or nicotine content levels.

More lawsuits against the e-cigarette company could come in the future. According to CNBC, 39 states have launched investigations against JUUL.

“This win will go a long way in keeping JUUL products out of kids’ hands, keeping its chemical vapor out of their lungs, and keeping its nicotine from poisoning and addicting their brains,” AG Stein said.

A Juul spokesperson told the New York Times: “This settlement is consistent with our ongoing effort to reset our company and its relationship with our stakeholders, as we continue to combat underage usage and advance the opportunity for harm reduction for adult smokers.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How one Durham-based foundation is investing in North Carolina’s entrepreneurs and growing the state’s innovation footprint

Thom Ruhe and Roy Cooper in suits
Thom Ruhe and Roy Cooper.

  • The NC IDEA foundation supports entrepreneurship and economic development across North Carolina.
  • Using grants, seed funding, mentoring, and other programs, NC IDEA helps entrepreneurs directly.
  • Some initiatives include the NC Black Entrepreneurship Council, NC IDEA SOAR, and NC IDEA LABS.
  • This article is part of a series focused on American cities building a better tomorrow called “Advancing Cities.”

From a non-dairy cheese brand and sustainable oyster-production company to many software, hardware, and social-media firms, the nonprofit NC IDEA invests in a variety of businesses across North Carolina.

Thom Ruhe of NC IDEA headshot
Thom Ruhe.

“It’s a shorter list to tell you what we wouldn’t fund than what we do fund,” Thom Ruhe, NC IDEA’s president and CEO, told Insider.

The Durham, North Carolina-based organization supports entrepreneurship and economic development across the state through grants, seed funding, mentoring, and other programs. Last year, it distributed about $3 million to entrepreneurs – and plans to provide $3.5 million more this year.

Durham is a “national case study for what an entrepreneurial ecosystem can do,” and the region has long been a center for innovation, Ruhe, who previously directed entrepreneurial programs at the Kauffman Foundation, said.

“There’s a lot of collaborative energy here, more than I’ve experienced in other markets,” he said. “It’s refreshing and productive. I know it’s cliche to say, the rising tide argument, but it really has helped here.”

Here’s a look at how NC IDEA invests in entrepreneurs, who the organization believes transform communities and boost local economic development.

Broadening its reach to help more entrepreneurs

NC IDEA is a private foundation that was created in 2006 under the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, a nonprofit connecting North Carolina entrepreneurs to the resources they need. It became independent in 2015.

Unlike other foundations, such as the Gates Foundation or Kauffman Foundation, NC IDEA doesn’t have a benefactor, Ruhe said. The primary source for its endowment came from an equity investment that the state of North Carolina made in the 1990s and liquidated in the early 2000s.

To protect the investment, the private foundation was established to economically empower people through entrepreneurship. NC IDEA’s endowment is invested, and the investment income funds the organization.

Recently, the organization began fundraising, which Ruhe said is “very unusual for private foundations because we’re considered self-funded.” NC IDEA wants to increase its budget so it can fund more companies and cover the administrative cost of reviewing additional applications.

“We could see a greater return if we simply had more budget to allocate,” Ruhe said. “We’re trying to take that message out into the economic development and philanthropic communities within North Carolina to say, ‘If you think there’s value to North Carolina and the activity that we do, you can help us increase the yield by just increasing our programmatic budget.'”

Giving grants to businesses and organizations helping startups

Many foundations either operate programs or provide funding. NC IDEA is unique in that it does both, Ruhe explained.

“Our grant-making is better for what we learn in our programmatic activities, and vice versa,” he said. “All of our programs and grants are targeted at helping people live up to their entrepreneurial potential, and in a broader context, make North Carolina the best state in the nation for people to start and grow firms of economic impact.”

NC IDEA operates two categories of grants. Seed grants and micro-grants of $50,000 and $10,000 are provided directly to entrepreneurs or startup founders.

Grants are awarded to founders to whom the money would “at this particular time be very impactful in their ultimate success,” Ruhe said. It provides assistance to get ideas off the ground or help companies scale to the next level so they can create jobs and generate tax revenue for the state. The grants don’t need to be paid back, and the organization doesn’t receive equity in the business.

Another category of grants is what Ruhe calls B2B, where NC IDEA supports other organizations that help entrepreneurs, such as universities, two-year colleges, cities, counties, and others. The organization has about 60 partners in its network.

Supporting underserved communities

NC IDEA recognizes that economic development in North Carolina is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and the organization strives to support underserved communities. Grants are distributed based on what’s relevant in different parts of the state, whether it’s educational programs, access to capital, or mentoring.

“We have to meet people where they are and help them from that starting point,” Ruhe said. “The best way we could do that was the creation of this ecosystem partner program where organizations that are on the front lines in various parts of the state say, ‘Here in our corner of the state, this is what’s most needed.'”

NC IDEA also created the North Carolina Black Entrepreneurship Council and has committed $1 million to advance Black entrepreneurs in the state. The council and foundation will work together to identify and recommend programs, grant recipients, and partners.

large group of people around table in board room
NC IDEA SOAR Day May 2019.

Another program, NC IDEA SOAR, aims to support women in entrepreneurship. The program offers networking, professional development, and connections to resources to help female founders grow their businesses. There’s also a four-week program called NC IDEA LABS that’s open to anyone wanting to take their business to the next level.

Group of men around a table with laptop
NC IDEA LABS fall 2018.

SOAR and LABS are “traditional accelerator”-type programs, Ruhe said. “It’s specific business-growth assistance around market valuation, customer discovery, lead generation, revenue generation – all the nuts and bolts,” he added.

NC IDEA delivers its programs at no cost, but Ruhe said there’s a competitive application process that involves companies providing details about its founders, the company as a whole, revenue, funding, and the type of grants they’re seeking. The organization receives hundreds of applications during each application period.

Growing North Carolina’s innovation footprint

Since its beginning, NC IDEA has provided about $15 million to companies and partners throughout North Carolina. Ruhe added they’ve supported nearly 500 companies, which have created more than 3,300 jobs and brought many benefits to communities.

Marrying innovation and entrepreneurship offers the biggest economic impact, and he said the state of North Carolina does well cultivating both. As word gets out about the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and it keeps attracting major tech companies like Apple and Google, the region has even more potential for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

“The greatest natural resource that exists is the entrepreneurial spirit of people,” Ruhe said. “It’ll be entrepreneurs who will solve our biggest problems. It’s entrepreneurs who are creating the companies that create the jobs we so desperately need. That’s why we do what we do.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Raleigh-based nonprofit RIoT is boosting entrepreneurship and job growth in the city

Rachael Newberry, RIoT's program director, connecting virtually to a cohort of startups during pandemic gathering restrictions.
Rachael Newberry, RIoT’s program director, connecting virtually with a cohort of startups during the pandemic.

  • RIoT is a nonprofit organization driving innovation and entrepreneurship in the Raleigh area.
  • One program, RIoT Your Reality, is a competition where teams pitch AR ideas to improve the city.
  • Other initiatives include an accelerator program and a data-centric stormwater management project.
  • This article is part of a series focused on American cities building a better tomorrow called “Advancing Cities.”

In July, six teams will demonstrate their ideas for how augmented reality can help solve some of the challenges facing Raleigh, North Carolina, and the surrounding areas.

Through the program RIoT Your Reality, the teams are examining ways to improve diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in city programs, promote workforce development, and reinvent the Raleigh Convention Center to drive economic development.

Tom headshot
Tom Snyder.

“It’s the intersection with government,” Tom Snyder, executive director at RIoT, a local nonprofit working to advance innovation, told Insider. “The city of Raleigh and town of Cary together posed a few problem statements that they’re looking for help on. And we’re running a challenge where people are developing new prototypes of augmented-reality applications to serve those challenges.”

RIoT Your Reality is a partnership with RIoT, the city of Raleigh, the town of Cary, Google Fiber, US Ignite, and Facebook Reality Labs. It kicked off in April with several teams pitching their AR ideas. Six were selected to receive $1,000 to build a prototype, which they’ll demo during an event on July 27. A final winner receives $40,000 and a spot in the RIoT Accelerator Program to launch a new startup.

Snyder said the goal is to create a municipal pilot project and learn how to scale a startup to assist cities beyond North Carolina.

The AR competition is just one of the ways that RIoT works to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in the Raleigh area. Here’s a look at some of the organization’s other major programs.

Helping businesses create new tech jobs

RIoT was founded in 2014 as part of the larger nonprofit Wireless Research Center, located in Wake Forest, North Carolina, which works to advance wireless technology innovation.

Originally, the name was an acronym for Raleigh Internet of Things, then Regional Internet of Things. Now it just goes by RIoT.

“Our grounding thesis is that the best new jobs are created at the forefront of emerging technology,” Snyder, who helped found the organization, said. RIoT’s programs help entrepreneurs start companies and established businesses grow through new technology adoption, all of which creates new jobs.

Being headquartered in Raleigh offers advantages, Snyder said. The area is home to several top universities, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University, which fosters a talent pipeline. Several major tech and data companies, including IBM and SAS, have a presence in the region, creating a “great diversity of industry” within the tech sector, he said.

“There are just massive industries and a really nice balance here that makes it a more attractive place for people to be,” Snyder said. “You can’t just job hop during your career, but you can industry hop successfully. And that brings fresh ideas and really makes us a strong place to live.”

RIoT has another location in Wilson, North Carolina, though its presence extends beyond the state. The organization hosts events around the country and is planning to establish new offices in Colorado and Virginia.

Enabling startups to get off the ground

One of RIoT’s programs to boost economic development, the RIoT Accelerator Program, connects entrepreneurs with partners in their industries and gives them access to prototyping tools and other resources.

RIoT Accelerator winner Michael Bender, founder and CEO of Intake, a healthcare analytics company, holding the RIoT championship belt.

The accelerator is currently on its eighth cohort. Snyder said RIoT is purposeful in supporting underrepresented groups when selecting startups to participate, and about 60% of the companies involved have been run by women, minorities, and veterans.

Since 2014, the companies participating in the accelerator have created more than 200 jobs, generated more than $100 million in revenue, and earned millions in grant and venture funding, he said.

Growing the accelerator to help more startups is one of its goals. By the end of 2021, Snyder said the accelerator will be offered in multiple cities.

To help startups prototype and experiment with ideas without having to spend money on equipment, RIoT Labs offers hardware, wireless, and software prototyping tools, including a 3D printer, electronic equipment, soldering irons, and more.

“We can provide that equipment for you to go create your new connected device, do the performance testing on the front end, do the regulatory certification testing on the back end, and get it to market,” he said.

RIoT works with government and corporate partners, including Cisco and SAS. Snyder said the organization is always on the lookout for new ones willing to support the entrepreneurial community.

“We want Raleigh to be the place that anyone in the world who wants to participate knows if I come here, I can find the partners that I need to be successful,” he said.

Making Raleigh the center of the ‘data economy’

RIoT worked with Raleigh and the surrounding communities on a data-centric stormwater management project.

Partnering with local startup GreenStream Technologies, they used water-level monitoring sensors to better understand water movement and predict when to shut down a street before it floods or dispatch emergency responders before flooding reaches emergency levels.

Snyder said Raleigh has done a good job of thinking about how to make data collected at the city level accessible – and has the potential to be the “center of excellence of the data economy.” Processing and measuring data depends on the advancement of artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and automation technologies.

“We’re moving from a world where the economy was driven by the internet to now one where it’s being driven by real-time data,” he said.

Through programs like RIoT Your Reality and the water management project, Raleigh serves as a testbed to experiment with new ideas and technologies.

“When we can do that successfully, not only are we solving the city’s needs in a way that they can remain focused on their day-to-day operations, but if it’s a local company that provides for those needs, we’re creating jobs here in the community,” Snyder said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Donald Trump attacks Big Tech during a meandering speech, in which he accused Silicon Valley firms of ruining the US and demanded their ‘monopoly’ be broken up

Former President Donald J. Trump in North Carolina on Saturday.
Former President Donald J. Trump in North Carolina on Saturday.

  • Donald Trump told an NC crowd on Saturday: “We will break up the Big Tech monopoly.”
  • The former president fiercely criticized Silicon Valley executives for deplatforming him.
  • He also said he wasn’t interested in waiting two years to return to Facebook.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump on Saturday slammed Big Tech for deplatforming him, accusing Silicon Valley executives of ruining the country.

He also said he wasn’t interested in waiting two years to be allowed back on Facebook.

“They may allow me back in two years. We got to stop that, we can’t let it happen – so unfair,” he said. “They’re shutting down an entire group of people. Not just me. They’re shutting down the voice of a tremendously powerful – in my opinion, a much more powerful and a much larger group.”

The comments came as Trump emerged from his post-presidency hiatus to speak at the North Carolina Republican Party Convention.

He gave a meandering 90-minute speech, speaking to a mostly subdued crowd of about 1,200 seated guests, and touching on well-worn highlights of his political rallies.

Trump said President Joe Biden had been destroying the country “before our very own eyes.” He then criticized the country’s top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, denouncing him as “not a great doctor.”

Trump also said the ongoing criminal investigation into the Trump Organization was part of a “five-year witch hunt” and that dead people had voted in November.

The speech was carried live on C-Span, which tagged it as a “Campaign 2024” event. Despite losing the 2020 election, Trump has a firm grip on the GOP. He told associates he planned to run again in 2024, if he’s healthy, Politico reported last month.

“We will break up the Big Tech monopoly,” he said on Saturday. “We will reject left-wing cancel culture.”

Trump at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina.
The North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina.

Trump took aim at Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive at Facebook, calling him “another beauty,” saying his “human nature” was ruining the country.

“This election will go down as the crime of the century,” Trump said. “And our country is being destroyed by people who perhaps have no right to destroy it. Zuckerberg broke the law, spending millions of dollars – don’t you think he broke the law? – millions of dollars to get out the vote in highly Democrat areas.”

Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment.

The speech came a day after Facebook announced Trump’s suspension would last at least two more years. He was removed from the social network the day after the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The company’s Oversight Board in early May had extended the ban by six months.

He was permanently banned from Twitter in January.

Without direct access to the billions of social-media users, Trump has struggled to find a way to speak directly to his followers. He launched a blog called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump,” posting statements that could be shared by users allowed on Facebook or Twitter. But readership and sharing floundered. It was also buggy. The blog was taken offline last week.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Friday said: “Feels pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change his stripes over the next two years. We’ll see.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Lara Trump says her potential Senate run is a ‘no for now, not no forever’

lara trump
Former President Donald Trump, right, listens as his daughter-in-law Lara Trump speaks at the North Carolina Republican Convention Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Greenville, NC.

  • Lara Trump said she’s not running for Senate in North Carolina in 2022, but may in the future.
  • The daughter-in-law of the former president was rumored to be considering a bid.
  • Former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd on Saturday instead.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lara Trump announced Saturday evening she would not be running for Senate in 2022, knocking down months of rumors and speculation while leaving open the possibility for a future bid.

“I am saying no for now, not no forever,” the North Carolina native told an audience at the North Carolina GOP state convention.

The daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump cited her two young children as the main reasons she wouldn’t run. She added that one is just a year old and the other is 3.

“When you do something, you give 100%. That is the only way to operate,” she said. “At the right time, I would absolutely love to come back and consider running for something here in my home state because I love it dearly.”

Donald Trump lauded Lara Trump, saying she would have been “tough” to defeat.

“But I think she did the right thing for her and for her family,” he added.

Instead, Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd in his speech Saturday evening, noting that a number of potential candidates had waited until Lara Trump had made her decision before announcing their candidacies.

“He will fight like hell. He will fight like nobody fights,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Coca-Cola vending machines have been removed from a North Carolina county’s offices over its CEO’s stance on a Georgia voting law. It follows conservatives’ previous calls to boycott the company.

Coca-Cola Logo on Wall Street
Coco-Cola’s logo on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

  • A North Carolina county banned Coca-Cola vending machines in the wake of the Georgia voting law.
  • Surry County officials voted to remove them after Coca-Cola’s negative comments, NBC News reported.
  • The Georgia law “is unacceptable, it is a step backward,” Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey told CNBC.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Officials in a North Carolina county removed Coca-Cola vending machines from their offices after the soda-maker’s chief executive spoke out against a voting law in Georgia

In a letter sent to Coca-Cola executives, a Surry County official said Coca-Cola’s comments on Georgia’s controversial voting law were a “disappointment,” NBC News reported.

“Our Board hopes that other organizations across the country are taking similar stances against Coca-Cola and sincerely wishes that future marketing efforts and comments emanating from your company are more considerate of all your customers’ viewpoints,” Eddie Harris, Surry County commissioner, wrote in a letter viewed by NBC’s “Today.”

Critics said the Georgia law, SB 202, “The Election Integrity Act of 2021,” added restrictions to the voting process that amounted to voter suppression. President Joe Biden in a statement in March said the law was “a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience.”

Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey joined a handful of high-profile company executives in denouncing the law earlier this year, with many saying it restricted the right to vote. Coca-Cola is headquartered in Georgia.

“Let me be crystal clear and unequivocal, this legislation is unacceptable, it is a step backward,” Quincey told CNBC in late March.

Apple CEO Tim Cook also commented on the law, saying it “ought to be easier than ever for every eligible citizen to exercise their right to vote.”

The move by North Carolina officials followed a call from former President Donald Trump in April to boycott “woke” companies opposing the law.

Trump’s comments came after Major League Baseball relocated its All-Star game out of Georgia. He urged conservatives to “fight back” by boycotting Coca-Cola, Delta, JPMorgan Chase, and other companies that opposed the law.

NBC News reported on Friday that Surry County officials said Coca-Cola supported the “out-of-control cancel culture and bigoted leftist mob” that fought back against the law.

“We decided we wanted to push back against this woke cancel culture, push back against Coca-Cola, because they were one of the ones out front,” Harris told Fox News on Friday.

He said he’d received hundreds of emails in support of the ban, which he said could lead to a boycott of the company. He said local citizens supported the removal.

“They’re absolutely sick and tired of this outrageous left-wing mob that is attacking freedom of speech, attacking people’s jobs, that is completely out of control in this country,” Harris told Fox News.

In statements to Fox News and NBC News, Coca-Cola said its local staffers had reached out to county commissioners about the ban.

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Ahead of North Carolina GOP convention, people close to Trump are hoping he doesn’t talk about a bogus theory he could be ‘reinstated’ as president in August

Former US President Donald Trump addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held in the Hyatt Regency on February 28, 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

  • Allies close to Trump are asking him not to mention being reinstated, The Daily Beast reported.
  • The warning comes ahead of a planned speech by the former president in North Carolina.
  • Advisers reportedly said he could only bring it up if he plans to denounce the conspiracy theory.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ahead of Donald Trump’s speech at the North Carolina Republican Party’s annual convention, people close to the former president are asking him not to publicly mention the idea of being reinstated, The Daily Beast reported.

Three sources familiar with the conversations told the outlet that advisers have been calling the former president after New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said Trump has been telling people “he expects he will get reinstated by August.”

Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech Saturday night at the GOP convention in Greenville.

“I conveyed something [to Trump] to the effect of, ‘It would be a terrible idea to even say the word, ‘August’ [at Saturday’s event],'” a person who is in contact with Trump told The Daily Beast.

The allies have reportedly been walking a tight line on how to convey this message to Trump, with some worried that if they are too forceful about getting the president to drop the idea, he might instead hammer down on it.

Advisers are telling Trump that if he suggests he could be reinstated during President Joe Biden’s term, it could be used against him, and to only bring it up if he plans to dismiss it. Sources told The Daily Beast they are encouraging him to focus on the midterm elections and the 2024 presidential election instead.

The conspiracy theory has been bubbling up in fringe conservative media for several months. It gained traction when MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell, a staunch Trump ally, said he agreed with the claim. However, there is no constitutional support or legitimate legal framework to support the idea, Insider’s Jake Lahut reported.

Attorney Sidney Powell, who waged dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits trying to overturn the election, also falsely claimed Trump could be reinstated.

Sources told The Daily Beast Trump believes reinstatement would be possible when evidence of mass voter fraud is revealed. However, there is currently no evidence to support the claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A bad hurricane season could be the next headache for businesses already facing a supply shortage

iota monday morn
Satellite imagery captures Hurricane Iota bearing down on Nicaragua as a Category 5 hurricane on November 16, 2020. NOAA/NASA

  • It will be another active year for hurricanes following 2020’s record-breaking season.
  • The storms could cause problems for already struggling supply chains like lumber, oil, and pork.
  • “It’s a significant risk that all businesses need to be thinking about right now,” said AccuWeather.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A bad Atlantic hurricane season may be the next disruption to the supply chain.

“It looks like another active year,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter, “which is not good news.”

Items from lumber and housing supplies, to toilet paper and tampons, to gas and plastics, to pork and chicken, have been plagued by shortages caused by a sting of factors: Supply chains snarled in the coronavirus pandemic, backed-up ports, reverberations from the February Texas freeze, the Suez Canal blockage, worker scarcity, and the temporary shutdown of a vital oil pipeline, among other issues.

Though meteorologists aren’t predicting the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, will be as record-breaking as 2020, they’re saying the number of named storms and hurricanes will be higher than in a normal year.

DTN, a Minnesota-based analytics firm, is predicting 20 named storms, compared to the annual average of 12. Of those, nine will be hurricanes, and four will be major hurricanes of category 3 or stronger. AccuWeather had similar predictions of 16 to 20 named storms, seven to 10 becoming hurricanes, and three to five to becoming major hurricanes.

The economic impact from last year’s hurricane season, which had six category 3 or higher storms, was about $60 to $65 billion in damage and losses, according to AccuWeather.

“The combination of another enhanced hurricane season and the threat of landfall across a big section of the East Coast of the US this year will be disruptive to the supply chain,” said Renny Vandewege, a leading weather expert at DTN.

Read more: Morgan Stanley says the stock market is flashing early warning signs of weakness as businesses face supply shortages. It recommends investors make these 4 trades to avoid the risks ahead.

Vandewege said the storms are more likely to favor the East Coast this year, compared to 2020, when the Gulf Coast felt a heavier impact.

The storms could “disrupt really anything that’s being imported in,” Vandewege said.

“We’re already having a months-long backup at the Port of Los Angeles, and then if we had also the same thing on the East Coast for an extended period of time, it could phenomenally exacerbate product shortages,” said Chris Wolfe, chief executive officer of logistics company PowerFleet.

Storms affect a state’s big industries, too. Along the Texas gulf coast, hurricanes can have an impact on the chemical and the oil and gas industries. A storm there could echo issues that arose from the Texas freeze in February and the six-day Colonial Pipeline shutdown that caused gas prices to surge and prompted some East Coast residents to panic-buy gas.

The forestry industry could be “deeply impacted” as well, Vandewege said. “There’s been shortage on building materials, and that could be enhanced even more if we’re seeing key manufacturing areas shut down around Louisiana and Alabama” because of a hurricane.

Pork, which is heavily produced in North Carolina and other southern states, has faced shortages in the past year, as well, thanks to the pandemic.

When hurricanes, like Florence in 2018, have struck the state in the past, thousands of hogs died. Other livestock and agriculture are also at risk when hurricanes hit.

“There’s huge pork production, chicken production, all the way through the South,” Wolfe said, so storms “could dirsupt food supplies.”

Porter from AccuWeather also noted that the West Coast could see another damaging wild fire season, and he said companies have to prepare ahead of time. “It’s a significant risk that all businesses need to be thinking about right now,” he said. “What’s their vulnerabilities and plan to mitigate.”

Climate change and extreme weather events topped the World Economic Forum’s list of biggest global risks in 2020. That was no surprise to Porter, who said, “people are getting negatively impacted almost on a daily basis by weather events. He said for businesses, the supply chain is a “major component” of that.

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The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack is prompting fuel outages throughout the southeastern US

Colonial Pipeline
Trucks line up at a Colonial Pipeline facility.

  • Close to 15% of gas stations in North Carolina are out of fuel, oil analyst Patrick De Haan said.
  • Many gas stations across the southeast are also out of gas.
  • The shortages are a result of a cyberattack on a pipeline that carries 45% of the East Coast’s fuel.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack is prompting fuel outages throughout the southeastern US and causing fuel prices to rise.

On Friday, the ransomware group, DarkSide, demanded money in exchange for releasing the pipeline it had compromised.

The pipeline is one of the largest in the country and runs from Texas to New York, transporting about 45% of the East Coast’s fuel, the operator said.

While operation resumed manually on segments of the pipeline on Monday, the company said it expects to restart most of the operations by the end of this week, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said

The attack has led to shortages across several states. In North Carolina, some gas stations are filled with customers trying to stock up on gas, while others have already completely run out, WJZY reported.

Tom Kloza, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s Oil Price Information Service, told the Los Angeles Times that some gas stations are selling “three or four times as much gasoline that they normally sell in a given day because people do panic.”

Prices have been on the rise in North Carolina and across the border in South Carolina, in some cases surging past $3 a gallon, WCNC reported.

AAA reported that national gas prices hit an average of $2.98 on Tuesday, the highest level in nearly six years.

WCNC also reported that the gas shortage is forcing airlines like American Airlines to add stops to two long-haul flights that have stops in Charlotte. A flight routed from Charlotte to Honolulu (HNL) will change aircraft in Dallas Fort Worth to conserve fuel and another that goes from Charlotte to London will add a stop in Boston to add fuel.

North Carolina declared a state of emergency as a result of the shortage on Monday, WLOS reported.

Georgia and Virginia have also declared a state of emergency, CNN reported.

Patrick De Haan, an oil analyst at Gas Buddy, reported that nearly 50% of the gas stations in Atlanta were out of gas by Tuesday night.

De Haan also reported that by Tuesday night, 9.4% of gas stations in Georgia, 7.5% of stations in South Carolina, and 14.7% in North Carolina were out of fuel.

More than 3% of Florida’s gas stations and 9.6% of Virginia’s gas stations are also out of gas.

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