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8 Spring Events to Add to Your Schedule Beforehand



Winter might be bleak, but spring is always just around the corner to infuse the world with some much-needed color. No matter where you are on this irregularly-shaped ellipsoid called Earth, humans have created fun ways to celebrate life’s renewal. Some springtime festivals are linked to the place where they originated. Others have gone global and are now celebrated around the world. Here are eight amazing spring events to add to your calendar in advance so you don’t miss them!

1. Holi — India, March 28-29

Speaking of adding some color to the world, perhaps none do it better than those in India at the annual Holi festival. Holi is quite literally the festival of colors, where people throw brightly saturated herbal powders in clouds throughout the streets. Smells of incense and marketplace dumplings float through the air as cheers and laughter ricochet with the flying colors. The night before Holi, a bonfire is lit to celebrate good’s triumph over evil.

Although Holi was originally a Hindu tradition, it is now celebrated in many places around the world. However, you’ll still want to schedule a flight to India to get the authentic experience. It’s a festival that’s truly unlike any other, uniquely Indian, and is a beautiful sight to behold.

2. Songkran — Chiang Mai, Thailand, April 13-15

After all that color-fun, you might need a bit of a rinse. Thankfully, Songkran in Thailand’s got you covered if you’re willing to wait a few weeks. Otherwise, maybe take a shower. Songkran is a massive water fight to celebrate the new year in Thailand.

Every year in April, Chiang Mai becomes a water war-zone, with people of all ages carrying around squirt guns, water balloons, and homemade water-flinging catapults. Thailand can be incredibly hot and humid in April (around 95 degrees Fahrenheit), so the chilled water fight is a welcome relief. Just make sure you’re prepared if you plan on visiting Chiang Mai in mid-April.

3. Hanami — Japan, Spring

Perhaps it’s because life is fleeting that it’s also beautiful. You can’t capture the best moment of your favorite song because, as soon as you pause it, the music stops. In a similar manner, Hanami is a spring festival throughout Japan where people picnic and enjoy the transient beauty of the cherry blossoms.

The sakura cherry blossom trees of Japan are famously beautiful, but short-lived. Rather than hold onto the moment in futility, Hanami picnickers simply enjoy the beauty while they can. At Hanami, you can hear clinks of tea sets paired with delicious Japanese sweets as soft pink and white petals flutter lazily in the breeze. Japan is a thin but long country where spring rolls down from north to south. If you’re going to try and catch the sakura blooms in their delicately short window of time, make sure you schedule appropriately!

4. Tulip Time — Holland, Michigan, May 1-9

Holland is famous for its beautiful tulips, and Tulip Time is their annual celebration of these colorful flowers. Over six million flowers transform the landscape, dotting it with so much color it rivals Holi. So pack your clogs and book a trip to Amsterdam for — wait, where is this again? Michigan? Huh.

So pack your clogs and book a trip to Holland, Michigan, USA. Like the sakura of Japan, tulip blooms are also rather short-lived compared to other plants. Tulip Time is a great option to get some springtime color, especially if traveling internationally just isn’t in the cards this spring. As an added bonus, you’ll get to tell everyone you got to visit Holland!

5. Cimburijada — Bosnia, March 21

Do you like eggs? I mean, do you really, really like eggs? If your answer is yes, then consider heading over to Bosnia on the 21 of March. All over the country, Bosnians celebrate the advent of spring with a scrambled egg festival. Yes, scrambled egg connoisseurs have finally found their time to shine.

Traditionally, Bosnians will make their way to a nearby river to break their morning fast. You’ll hear the scraping of cast iron pans and smell the wafting of fresh coffee as the sun glistens on the moving water. In Bosnia, eggs symbolize new life and the promise of warm weather as the sun returns to its higher position in the sky. People will be handing out free scrambled eggs all morning, so make sure to bring your appetite with you.

6. Falles — Spain, March 1-19

Scrambled eggs and flowers are nice, sure, but if you’re looking for something a bit rowdier, head on over to Spain this spring. Fallas is a festival commemorating St. Joseph and the Spring Equinox. It’s loud, and it’s fun, and, most uniquely, it’s smokey. Patrons build puppets or dolls, sometimes massive, called ninots that are often bawdy and satirical in nature. These effigies are paraded around through street parties before being engulfed in roaring flames at night.

Party-goers dress in colorful attire, dancing and drinking throughout the festival. Though the whole festival takes place from the beginning of March, the main events are held over five days, from the 14-19. You can enjoy savory Spanish tortilla and drink cups of delicious sweet melted chocolate.

7. Rio Carnival — Brazil, February 17-22

Perhaps Falles seems like child’s play to you. A great festival, to be sure, but you’re looking for something even bigger and louder. Well, when it comes to festivals, few are bigger or louder than the Rio Carnival in Brazil. Carnival is a Christian-tinted festival with Pagan roots held every year before Lent. It is also quite literally named “The biggest show on Earth.”

While there are Carnivals all over the world, the Carnival in Rio steals the show. Over two million people flood the streets of Rio de Janeiro to dance, sing, and drink for almost a week. Stupendous floats helmed by dancers of various Samba schools roll in procession at massive events. The Samba dancers are dressed ornately and expressively, putting on shows they train all year for. The explosive music, cheers, and vibrant atmosphere are unique and unforgettable. That is, of course, unless you drink too much while you’re there.

8. Wildflower Blooms — California, Spring

California’s environment gets lots of press for its notorious wildfires and increasingly dry deserts. However, there is a good period of time, from late February to early April, when California’s rolling hills are in bloom. It doesn’t happen every year, but when the conditions are right, wildflowers carpet the hills in various spectacular colors, stretching for miles on end.

Looking at the wildflower tapestries, lupines, daisies, and the aptly-named Indian paintbrush stretch across your vision in pleasing color. The smells of spring permeate the air in the gentle weather of California spring. While the blooms don’t have a particular festival associated with them, they offer a good opportunity to enjoy local foods and wines.

Party Around The World

Winter is often one of the hardest seasons for anyone to endure. The lack of warmth and sunlight can take a real toll on your mental health. This is nothing new, however — people have been enduring winter for countless generations. The return of spring has been celebrated and revered throughout history by people all over the world.

Many cultures have created festivals to mark the changing of the seasons, often based around natural phenomena, like flower blooms. Some of these events and festivals can be enjoyed around the world, but some are inherently linked to their physical location. If you’re looking to celebrate the renewal of life, plan a trip and pack your bags for these timeless celebrations of life.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Alesia Kozik; Pexels; Thank you!

The post 8 Spring Events to Add to Your Schedule Beforehand appeared first on Calendar.

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2023 Acko Drive Awards All Set to Honour the Best From the Automotive World



The Acko Drive Awards is one of the most prestigious awards in the Indian automobile industry, recognising excellence of the best cars and bikes from 2022 as well as the manufactures taking top honours in the categories for Advertising, PR and Communications. The awards ceremony is set to declare winners in over 55 categories, honouring the best from the industry on March 29, 2023 in New Delhi.

This year’s event promises to be a thrilling one. With cars like the Maruti Suzuki Grand Vitara, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Meridian, Citroën C3 and many others eyeing for the top prize, the two wheelers side sees tough competition between the Bajaj Pulsar P150, Honda CB 300F, Vida V1 Pro, Ducati Streetfighter and more.

The EV of the year category is also expected to be hotly contested with cars like the Tata Tiago EV, BMW i4, BYD Atto 3 and others eyeing the top prize. Finally Tech too finds its way onto the list and the best Gadgets, safety and automotive technology will be honoured.

The Acko Drive Awards is one of the most prestigious awards in the Indian automobile industry

Apart from the product categories, the Acko Drive Awards also recognize excellence in Advertising, PR and communications. This year’s ceremony will feature awards for the best Creative film, social media campaign, best integrated campaign and the best PR & Communications team in the automotive space.

There is also something for the Viewers. With 3 Viewers’ Choice categories to vote in, the participants stand a chance to take home a car or bike.

The Acko Drive Awards night promises to be an exciting and memorable event, honouring the very best of the Indian automobile industry for it is finally “The One That Matters”

Disclaimer: This article has been produced on behalf of the brand by HT Brand Studio.

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How Fyle Plans To Make Expenses Hassle A Thing Of The Past



“This is nobody’s job – and nobody should be wasting even a second of their time on it,” says Yashwanth Madhusudhan, CEO and co-founder of Fyle, of the work and hassle involved in managing expenses. Fyle, the start-up launched seven years ago, is all about making that a reality, he explains.

“The work involved in administering staff expenses isn’t core to anyone’s role, but it’s just so time-consuming and frustrating,” he says. “We want to get to a point where people just say ‘Fyle it’ when they’re dealing with this issue.”

Fyle’s focus is on corporate credit cards, which have become the default way for many US companies to ensure their staff can pay for business expenses. Indeed, credit cards were the second-most-sought-after form of financing for small businesses in the US last year according to Federal Reserve.

Around $1.4 trillion is spent on these cards each year; employers then have to check that credit card bills have been run up appropriately – and ensure that the data from them flows through into the company’s finance and accounting systems.

The problems with the status quo are three-fold according to Fyle. First, financial controllers at companies that have issued credit cards to staff have little visibility over how they are being used. To see what’s been spent on them, they have to wait for statements to arrive at the end of each month, or log into their credit card provider’s portal and download transaction data, typically in a format that is far from user-friendly.

The second issue, Fyle maintains, is that even when the business has all the data it needs, this information has to be entered into its accounts manually. Finance departments are wasting valuable time processing what may be thousands of transactions in this way. Problem number three is the challenge of dealing with receipts, with many companies stuck in a cycle of chasing staff to supply the correct receipts for their spending.

Fyle’s solution is a software package that taps straight into the business’s credit card transaction data; managers can then monitor spending as it happens through Fyle’s app. The data also comes in a form that can be automatically be integrated into the accounting software used by the business, so that it doesn’t have to be re-entered. And when an employee uses their credit card, Fyne’s software sends them a message asking them to submit a photo of the receipt.

The obvious place to go for this data and functionality is the credit card provider itself. In practice, however, most US banks providing credit cards are unable or unwilling to help. They’ve either not built the technology infrastructure necessary to provide transaction data in this way, or they’re not prepared to put such technology to work other than for their largest corporate customers.

The result is that credit card providers – with the exception of new fintech entrants to the market – have not typically offered this functionality to small business customers. Nor have providers been prepared to offer it to Fyne.

The company’s solution has been to focus on another link in the credit card payments chain. Last year, Fyne announced a partnership with Visa that allows it to access the transaction data of corporate credit card holders – assuming they agree. And this week it is announcing a similar deal with Mastercard. The result is that it will be able to offer its services to the vast majority of US businesses that have issued credit cards to staff.

“This integration will empower small businesses to harness the power of real-time visibility for any card that suits their business needs,” says Madhusudhan of the Mastercard collaboration. “We are democratising access to businesses’ own expense data and removing their dependence on the issuing bank.”

It’s a software-as-a-service solution through which small businesses pay a monthly fee per user of Fyne’s technology. Irrespective of which bank they use for corporate credit cards, Fyne is then able to supply them with real-time data, secured from Visa and Mastercard, on how employees are using their cards. This information can be used for monitoring purposes, and can also be dropped straight into accounting software. Employees get reminders of their employers’ expenses policies, and messages to submit their receipts with a picture sent by their phone.

It’s an elegant way to deal with US banks’ reluctance to address this problem for themselves. But one irony of Fyne’s approach is that it is increasingly attracting interest from these very same banks. Small business banking in the US is becoming more competitive, particularly as new fintechs enter the market, prompting providers to look for points of competitive advantage. Fyne therefore offers a white label service to banks, enabling them to offer small business customers the same functionality, built into their banking apps.

In time, therefore, Fyne’s distribution model may change. Right now, it makes most of its revenues from selling its subscription straight to small businesses. In future, it may earn more from providing its services within the bank’s own value proposition, charging the bank, rather than its small business customers, for the software.

Either way, small businesses can’t afford to waste more time on administering expenses, argues Madhusudhan. “We need to automate as much of this work as possible,” he says. “We can do that directly with small businesses, or through their banks, but the goal will be the same, providing real-time visibility and automation.”

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What Is Your Plan?



Have you watched the television show “Succession?” And who hasn’t? Logan Roy is trying to figure out who should head up his company – Waystar Royco. Are you struggling with the same question with your family business? What if it is time to think about passing your company on to the next generation, but, there is no one ready to pass it to?

Don’t panic! The situation arises more frequently these days for several reasons. It could be you have no children to pass the company to, there could be a lack of trust in the offspring to lead the company, a lack of interest in the heirs or a conflict between family members when it is time to pass the reins.

There are other options which include transitioning the business to outside leadership – perhaps while a family heir is being groomed – or to its employees through an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP; selling the business; or simply closing it.

Often, the reflexive response is to sell. Given today’s pace of disruptive change, no one will fault you since the market for private companies continues strong. Plus, financial advisors and attorneys assisting owners in such succession matters are typically incented to advise selling the business (if they generate revenue only when a transaction occurs, as is often the case).

In my experience family owners move too quickly to a sale. Instead, they should consider all the alternatives and benefits that can derive from keeping the business operating as a family concern. This is an area I have spent much time talking to company owners about all their ownership alternatives.

First, take an honest and dispassionate reality check and determine if the business truly possesses the requisite capital, products, infrastructure, leadership, committed employees and innovation to continue to thrive. If it does not, a sale may maximize value. But if the business possesses these critical strengths, then the family can create more wealth by continuing to operate it.

According to a study conducted by KMPG and the Step Project the family business leaders in their study stated that choosing the right successor will, indeed, be their most important legacy and a moment of personal pride.

In determining what to do, an owner should ask these questions: How important is the business to the family and its legacy? Are you sensitive to the disruption a sale will have on employees? On your community? Have you considered an ESOP? Who within the family could be groomed to take charge? And can an outsider as CEO keep a strong family business thriving?

If your answers incline you towards keeping the company, two approaches exist for bringing forward the next CEO for a family business when one is not immediately present:

No. 1: Coach a family member Remember, the second generation needn’t be a carbon copy of the successful founder, because those skills aren’t necessarily what’s needed in the next generation(s). What’s generally required is engagement, pride and commitment.

Indeed, mapping skills needed for the business against those of possible future family leaders or employees should be ongoing. There is a wealth of training and coaching opportunities that exist for family businesses. Coaching can bring forward the skills necessary.

No. 2: Hire an outside CEO. Yes, this takes time. Typically, it requires six months to find the person and another six months to know if the executive is a good fit. If it is, the outsider can be hired for the long-term or act as the regent until the likely family heir develops the necessary leadership skills. Compensation should be structured to reward performance and, if the executive will be handing over the reins, to encourage turning the business over in good shape.

Be mindful that it may take more than once to bring the right outsider onboard. That was the experience of one of my clients, a nationally known family-owned company, whose second outside president, who had worked with the company at one time, was the right person to lead the company. Now president and chief operating officer, he became CEO in 2020 when the chairperson and CEO, the daughter of the founder, retired. Since he joined as No. 2, the business has continued to thrive.

The message here: Don’t despair and rush to sell your business if an heir isn’t apparent. With the investment of some energy and time, alternatives that can keep the business in the family and retain its distinct culture and values are at hand. I’d love to sit down with Logan Roy and talk about his options.

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