10 Fantastic Apps For Business Travelers

So you are all set to embark on your next business trip.

You meticulously make a note: Travel light. Pack Small.

You made those calls and confirmed all your meetings.

Great! Fantastic! But here’s the thing, this is just the beginning.

There are flights to catch, rooms to book, cabs to hail and the most dreaded job of all, preparing the expense report.

Now, you don’t want to end up being unprepared for any of it. That’s not only going to cost you a lot of money but also make you lose your sanity.

With a handful of apps, life on the road can get really smooth. Here are 10 fantastic business apps that will save you a lot of hassle and let you travel with ease.

Apps For Business Travelers

1. TripIt- Keep your master travel itinerary at one place

How does this brilliant app help you?

It’s quite simple. All you have to do is forward all confirmation emails to your TripIt account and the app takes care of everything. TripIt keeps all your travel information at one place. From hotel bookings and flight schedules for all your car rentals and meetings, TripIt organizes all information systems.

There’s another plus point; this app lets you share this information with your friends, family and co-workers. Moreover, it lets you access your travel plans on any device and even when you are offline.

Imagine how sorted your business trip can get!

Availability: iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone 7, Android, Blackberry

2. Yelp

Looking for good places to eat, while dreaming about scrumptious burritos or maybe that earthy Italian wine?

Yelp is your ideal solution.

The app helps you find restaurants and shops by categories or search terms. So all this information is in the palm of your hand!

Important piece of advice: Don’t blindly trust the reviews. The online word of mouth in this case might be misleading as the reviews are written by anyone and everyone. So, they need to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Availability: iPhone, Android

3. Google Translate- Breaking the language barrier

When going to a different country for a business trip, language barrier can be one of the biggest hurdles. In fact, it is one of the most common challenges in the international business environment.  A little conversation starter can lighten that uneasiness.

With its two new incredibly excellent features: real-time voice and sign translation, Google Translate works effectively. The app will help you navigate your new surroundings in no time.

Availability: iPhone, Android

4. FlightTrack Pro- Track flights in seconds

FlightTrack Pro offers all your flight details at your fingertips and that too within seconds. You can track your flights worldwide with big beautiful maps. (Bonus: They are available offline too.) The app provides you with all the information such as gate numbers, delays and real time departure.

Also, if your flight gets cancelled, FlightTrack Pro is right there to help you find an alternate flight with a swipe and tap.

Availability: iPhone

5. Evernote- Makes you more organized

Photos, screenshots, texts, voice notes or any other piece of information- you name it and Evernote will make sure you capture and organize it systematically. From short texts to detailed research, the app lets you write and save notes of all types.

Evernote helps compartmentalize all your information that matters, thereby ensuring you don’t forget the important details of your meeting or your travel arrangements.

Availability:  iPhone, Chrome OS, Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Microsoft Windows, webOS, OS X

6. Google Maps

When it comes to location services, Google Maps is one of the most remarkable apps that instantly come to your mind. The app is undoubtedly the king of digital maps. That’s perhaps the reason why the app sees an average of more than 79 million unique users per month. With constant improvements and the addition of new features, Google Maps remains the market leader in map apps.

Availability: iPhone, Android

Price: Free

7. Expensify- Track your expenses with ease

Keeping a track of all the travel expenses can be a hassle. It’s very easy to lose a receipt or to forget how much you paid for a dinner the other night. But with Expensify by your side, you need not worry any more. The app allows you to keep track of a variety of expenses. You can enter the expenses manually, you could scan your receipts with the SmartScan feature, or you could simply mail these receipts to receipts@expensify.com. And then you can instantly catalog them. With Expensify, you can now stay on top of your finances as you travel along.

Availability: iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows

8. HotelTonight- Booking last-minute rooms just got convenient

With HotelTonight, you are just five clicks away from booking your hotel anytime, anywhere. Yes, you read that right! In case you forgot to book your hotel in advance, HotelTonight acts as your savior. The app lets you find amazing places to stay and even book a room on your very day of arrival. Booking hotel rooms at the last minute and that too the ones that fall in your price range can be an arduous task. But now with the HotelTonight app, you can put those worries aside.

Availability: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone

9. Kayak- Your travel agent

From car rentals and flight bookings to currency conversion, Kayak helps get your hands on all kinds of travel information in no time; and with the newly added feature Price Forecasts, you can choose the best flight deals on Kayak. With Kayak on your device, you wouldn’t even need a travel agent.

Availability: iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows 7, kindle

10. Viber- Avoid insane phone bills and stay in touch

So you are travelling outside your country, well in that case Viber is what you need the most to save yourself from insanely large phone bills. Free voice calls, video calls and instant messages over the internet- that’s Viber app at its best.

Just as a search engine is synonymous with Google, free calls are becoming synonymous with Viber.

Availability:  Android, iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Nokia, Bada, Mac, Microsoft

Having these apps on your mobile device, will help you get through the tediousness and hassle of modern travel. Your business trip will undoubtedly be more productive and hassle free.

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Downloadable Excel Financial Spreadsheets

Here’s 8 pretty fundamental financial spreadsheets that every small business needs to have. All are in excel. All are templates and all are downloadable.

Profit and loss

This spreadsheet will help you to prepare a projected profit and loss account as part of your Operating Budget, in a format suitable for inclusion in your Business Plan. Download the Operating Budget Profit and Loss spreadsheet.

Receipts

This spreadsheet will help you to record and analyse receipts made by your business. Download the Receipts spreadsheet.

Overheads

This spreadsheet will help you to analyse the overheads your business is likely to incur, in a format suitable for inclusion in your Business Plan. Download the Operating Budget Analysis of Overheads spreadsheet.

Cashflow

This spreadsheet will help you to prepare a projected cashflow for your business, in a format suitable for inclusion in your Business Plan. Download the Cashflow spreadsheet.

Sales and Profit

This spreadsheet will help you to estimate your business’ likely sales and gross profit, in a format suitable for inclusion in your Business Plan. Download the Operating Budget:Estimate of Sales and Gross Profit spreadsheet.

Expenses

This spreadsheet will help you to record and analyse petty cash expenses for your business. Download the Petty Cash spreadsheet.

Payments

This spreadsheet will help you to record and analyse payments made by your business. Download the Payments spreadsheet.

3 Year Projected Cashflow

This spreadsheet will help you to summarise three years’ projected cashflows for your business, in a format suitable for inclusion in your Business Plan. Download the Cashflow:Summary spreadsheet.

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Offaly Gearbox: A Mobile Garage Concept

Every week we feature companies that have been successful in accessing funding from Microfinance Ireland.

Microfinance Ireland gives loans to small businesses and start ups in every sector up to 25,000 Euro. If you are interested in funding, check out the http://microfinanceireland.ie/how-to-apply/

Offaly Gearbox

Offaly Gearbox is mobile garage concept, from, you guessed it, Offaly. Specialising in, you guessed it right again, gearboxes and transmissions. What is particularly unique and interesting is, what is called the Osinski techniques, named after the inventor, Piotr Osinski. The technique is patent pending.

A family business

Offaly GearBox Ltd. is a family company. They have over 25 years experience in the automotive industry in Poland, Germany and Ireland.  They specialise in repairs/recondition and adjustment of transmission and all kind gearboxes using their specialised knowledge/technique.

Piotr Osinski is the principal driving force in the company and he has proven exceptional skill in accurate diagnosis of gearbox problems and the repair of complex defects. Since arriving in Ireland 7 years ago Piotr Osinski has build up a reputation as a provider of exceptional skills in this area.

He has created a recognition of his skills among main dealer garages which is a key factor in allowing him to transfer world-class GearBox repairs to the market place. The company offer one of the most dynamic services and unique offerings in GearBox repairs in Ireland.

Their service

In their own words, their service is professional, based on the highest international standards. They are providing a unique service based on exceptional skill in the diagnostics and repair of defective gear boxes. The company is Ireland’s only service of repairs/recondition and adjustment of gear boxes of cars, vans and light commercial by using an innovative program “Mobile Garage” at the customer’s location.

They are mobile and focused on getting to the customer in a timely manner that is not on offer in the market at present.

Their primary service is the repair/recondition and adjustment of gear boxes of:

  • Cars
  • Vans
  • Light Commercial

In addition they provide complementary services in:

a) Repair and tuning of sports cars.

b) Repairs of rear and front differential

c) Repairs gear boxes of vintage cars

d) Repairs gear boxes of motor bikes

Visit

You can visit their website here http://offalygearbox.ie/

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Business Women Can Event – Navigating Social Media

Following on from a very successful event in November on the topic of “Building Your Leadership Profile”, the Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series on Thursday 12 February. The purpose of the Business Women Can initiative and events is to support women in business across all sectors and professions.

The topic for this gathering was “Building Your Profile Online – Navigating Social Media”. Those in attendance were in for a real master class of helpful hints and tips when it comes to the sometimes intimidating world of social media.

The event was well organised by two of Ulster Bank’s Business Women Can Ambassadors, Lisa Raftery and Gillian O’Neill. After a bit of breakfast and a lot of networking, Lisa opened the event by welcoming all in attendance, and did admit when bringing the “Tweeter’s” attention to “#BusinessWomenCan” that she had only just found out what a “Twitter Handle” was. Gillian then introduced the very high calibre of speakers that were there to share their valuable insights into using social media.

The Speakers

Ron Immink of Ulster Bank Small Business Can fame, along with a long list of other accolades to his name, was the first speaker to address us. Ron shared lots of nuggets of information and insights with the group. He reminded us that social media makes companies very transparent, and that reputation is everything. Ron spoke about how difficult it is for hotels as an example to succeed in business after terrible ratings on Trip Advisor, and in Ron’s own words how social media can be “word of mouth on steroids”. The key “take aways“ from Ron for me was give social media a go, try one channel to start with, make sure you have some content to offer to people and you can only learn by doing it…..so get going!

Ron was followed by Eva Maguire who is Head of Design and Innovation at the IMI. Eva took on the task of trying to educate us on “How to write a blog”. For this first time “blogger” the topic made me quite nervous about my assigned task for the day of writing a blog on the event for Business Women Can!! And Eva certainly had my undivided attention. Eva spoke to us about why to blog, and how to do it and shared 4 key elements of a successful blog, some of which I hope you can spot in this piece, being.

  • The Point of Interest – something specific you have seen.
  • The Trend – something people are talking about in general.
  • The Insight – your take on it.
  • And very importantly for us all to remember, “The Call to Action….”
The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

 

The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

 

The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

 

The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

The Ulster Bank Business Women Can Dublin contingent held another event as part of the “Inspiring Your Success” series.

 

Startup Stories

The third speaker of the morning was Jill Holtz who founded the online business “MyKidsTime” (http://www.mykidstime.com/). Jill shared her fascinating story of starting her own business, which started out as a directory for parents after she found herself chasing a group of girls dressed in ballet dresses down the road so she could find out where ballet classes were being held. The directory business then evolved into an EZINE and a Blog for parents, along with an online booking and payment service that has since been spun off into a separate business. Jill shared lots of dos and don’ts of social media with us, which she learned from first hand experience. She went on lots of social media platforms to begin with, but then realised that she needed to focus on one core method. Since implementing a social media strategy in 2012, that focussed on the use of Facebook MyKidsTime has attracted over 500,000 likes on Facebook and more importantly according to Jill, gets lots of user comments on Facebook. Jill left us with insight into her 5 key factors for success:

  1. Clear Business Objective
  2. Content Strategy
  3. Engagement Pieces
  4. Unique Brand Voice
  5. Constantly Measuring and Analysing

After our 3 speakers concluded a lively Q&A session commenced with questions and contributions from a wide range of people. Such was the interest and audience participation that Gillian O’Neill had to finally call proceedings to a close before all questions could be asked to allow us all get back to our day jobs.

If you would like to receive information on future Business Women Can events such as this one, please drop us an e-mail with your details to businesswomencan@ulsterbank.com, we would love to hear from you.

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Overwhelmed in the Workplace! 5 Reasons for Employee Burnout

In today’s competitive business world, employee burnout is a growing occupational hazard. Characterized as exhaustion accompanied by a loss of interest in work-related activities, burnout is said to be primarily stress-related. While there are a number of factors that can contribute to burnout in the workplace, certain stressors have been identified that employers seeking to mitigate employee turnover should be aware of. The following is a short list of the five main reasons employees experience burnout.

Unrealistic Expectations and Employee Burnout

To stay competitive, companies often cut back on personnel and resources while expecting the same or better results. The result is that employees are faced with unrealistic expectations by management as to what they should be able to accomplish. This can lead to a stressful work environment where employees are unclear as to how to proceed and constantly worry that they do not have the time or resources needed to properly complete the task. Try as they may they will never feel successful in meeting management’s impossible expectations, putting them at higher risk of burnout. Managers need to be sure that employee work requirements are both realistic and that the means of achieving desired objectives are clearly understood.

Lack of Sufficient “Down Times”

Today, many employees are subject to high-stress “crunch times” that require them to put in long hours in order to handle more intense workloads. As long as these intense work periods are followed by adequate down times, employees can generally handle them. But when every day feels like “crunch time”, and the down times become few and far between, stress builds up as employees feel overworked and under appreciated. To avoid employee burnout from overwork it’s incumbent upon management to factor sufficient down times into the work schedule.

Lack of Empowerment

Employees thrive best in a work environment that gives them a sense that they belong, have a real purpose, and that the work they are doing really matters. They also do better with managers who ask for ideas and suggestions relative to the job at hand and allow them the opportunity to use their creativity and skills to solve problems without being micromanaged. Conversely, work environments where employees feel that they have no say or control over how the work gets done, and are constantly micromanaged, are at risk of creating burned-out workers.

Lack of Recognition

Working for a company that never shows appreciation and employee recognition for a job well done is no fun for anybody. Companies where management fails to recognize and reward both individuals and teams for their achievements run the risk of putting employees who feel under appreciated and taken for granted on a path that will lead to burnout. Implementing a program that recognizes and rewards employee achievements via awards, public praise, bonuses, and other means can go a long way in elevating morale and reducing burnout. The key is to avoid generic cookie-cutter awards and make sure that employees are recognized and rewarded in ways that are personal, meaningful and relevant to them.

Poor Communication

In every company there are barriers to communication that exist between employees and management. Failure to address and break down these barriers can lead to poor communication and eventual employee burnout. Good workplace communication is about managers engaging employees with real-time face-to-face conversations. It’s about sharing passions for the company and clearly explaining the company’s mission and objectives. It’s about being open and encouraging honest feedback to show employees that their ideas and opinions matter. Most importantly, it’s about staying positive and helping employees feel confident, inspired and empowered.

When employees stay motivated to light things up they are far less likely to ever burn out.

The post Overwhelmed in the Workplace! 5 Reasons for Employee Burnout appeared first on Small Business Can.

Business Women Can & Jobcare

Business Women Can joined forces with Jobcare on Wednesday 11th February to run a joint event for a cohort of their Female delegates. The theme for the afternoon was ‘Inspiring Success’ and sub themes included motivation, attitude and aspiration.

The Positive Economist – Practical Steps Forward

Susan Hayes MD of Hayes Culleton, and otherwise known as the Positive Economist, was the key note speaker. She described very eloquently her own career journey and the road blocks she has encountered and detoured. She discussed the need to take charge of your own destiny and said how ‘every journey begins with one small step’. She talked about the power of networking and how it has been so invaluable in her own career to date. In doing so, she provided tips around relevant agencies and stakeholders also who would provide assistance and ideas to the group.

Susan is a real believer is making yourself different from the crowd and each of us needs to know our own USP. In addition she spoke of the importance to reach out to others and consider finding a Mentor to support, guide and drive in the right direction. Susan finished up by encouraging the Group ‘The only way you’ll fail is if you quit – never never never quit’ she concluded.

Susan is a powerful speaker and motivator. She brings spades of passion, colour and energy to her sessions, and further information can be found on her website www.thepositiveeconomist.com

Start your own business wokshop – the good the bad and the ugly!

Next on the agenda was a workshop from Ron Imink co founder of www.smallbusinesscan.com and Paul Neary of Ulster Bank, who addressed the group around the dos and don’ts of starting your own business. Ron didn’t cushion the fact that starting up in business is certainly not an easy road and ‘be prepared for hard work – the average entrepreneur works circa 70 hours per week’. Ron discussed the importance of ideation, technology and commercialisation among other headlines.

Paul addressed the subject of business plans and their purpose when dealing with a Bank. He described how the plan is ‘your opportunity to sell yourself as the individual, knowledge of the sector and competitors and also the uniqueness or your product/service to the market’. In addition he described that the financial part of the plan needs to show realistic financial forecasts.

Getting Interview Ready – the importance of a positive state of mind

The final workshop of the day was delivered by Anna Danicka, the Job Interview Surgeon. Anna delved into the anxieties that are felt by many in the lead up to an interview. She offered suggestions around how to deal with such anxiety and reflected on the things that make individuals feel confident First impressions are really important so how we look and feel stepping into interview mode are critical. There was lots of discussion within the working groups on this topic and shared learnings.

 

Anna Dannicka, The Job Interview Surgeon, Hannah Gamble Jobcare, Emma Chapman Ulster Bank, Peter Johnson Jobcare, Susan Hayes The Positive Economist, Fiona Kingston Ulster Bank, Paul Neary Ulster Bank.

Anna Dannicka, The Job Interview Surgeon, Hannah Gamble Jobcare, Emma Chapman Ulster Bank, Peter Johnson Jobcare, Susan Hayes The Positive Economist, Fiona Kingston Ulster Bank, Paul Neary Ulster Bank.

 

Business Women Can Inspiring Success

Business Women Can Inspiring Success

 

Business Women Can Inspiring Success

Business Women Can Inspiring Success

 

Business Women Can Inspiring Success

Business Women Can Inspiring Success

 

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Terraclean Ireland

Every week we feature companies that have been successful in accessing funding from Microfinance Ireland.

Microfinance Ireland provides loans to small businesses and start ups in every sector up to 25,000 Euro. If you are interested in funding, check out the website www.microfinanceireland.ie

Terraclean Ireland

Terraclean is a unique decarbonising service which helps lower emissions, improves miles per gallon and restores engine performance. It is much better explained here:

Terraclean Ireland was set up by Cathy Kelly in 2012 and already has a network of 13 agents nationwide. Cathy applied for a loan to finance her expansion plans.

The market

There are 3.2 million vehicles in Ireland and Northern Ireland. People are keeping their cars longer, and need to spend more money on maintenance. Emmissions is now part of the NCT and MOT and can result in a “fail”. Apart from the private market, there is a business case for fleet owners and the motor trade and garages who are looking for more value add services for their clients.

The story, UK, Edd China and Ireland

TerraClean is the by-product of research being carried out by a group of environmentally conscious Canadian physicists in their attempts to create an ultra low emission internal combustion engine.

TerraClean launched into the UK professional automotive market at AutoSport International in early 2012. Edd China was attracted to the technology and the impact it claimed to have on engine performance, emissions and fuel consumption, he visited the stand and spent some time chatting to our engineers about the principles of the process.

Edd left the show interested in the product and later contacted Terraclean asking for help with a project car in a TV show he co-presents. Some of the Terraclean team travelled to Edd’s studio to provide a demonstration of its capabilities and for use in the show. Edd was extremely impressed with the results and decided it was perfect for use on the show’s project car.

After using the petrol machine Edd asked to have a personal demonstration of the diesel machine too. He operates his own vehicle workshop and invested in both machines for his own use.

Subsequent to the demonstrations and show use Edd has been using the machines himself and given the technology a firm thumbs up. He is now working with Terraclean to help promote the range of solutions and products which all help make; motorcycles, cars, vans, trucks & agricultural vehicles operate more efficient and environmentally friendly, restoring MPG and performance.

Since the product was featured on TV, enquiries from garage operators asking to become part of the distribution network, and from the public requesting details of where they can have there vehicle TerraCleaned, have increased massively.

In the UK there are now over three hundred agents and Cathy wants to expand in Ireland to about 30 agents.

Visit

The Terraclean service can be performed mobile and takes place approximately 1 hour to complete. Terraclean’s offices are located at Unit 15 Gorey Business Park, Ramstown, County Wexford.

You can visit their Facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/TerracleanIreland and their website here http://www.terracleanireland.ie/

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Happy Feet, Happy Customers

Happy Feet

Every week we feature companies that have been successful in accessing funding from Microfinance Ireland.

Microfinance Ireland gives loans to small businesses and start ups in every sector up to 25,000 Euro. If you are interested in funding, check out the website www.microfinanceireland.ie

It takes real courage to set up a retail business. Peter Foley did that with Happy Feet. He started in Bridgewater Centre in Wicklow, expanded to Whitewater in Kildare and applied for funding to Microfinance Ireland for his 3rd shop in Navan Town Centre.

Shoes

They are stockists of Men’s, Women’s and Children’s sizes.  Stockists of leading brands like UGG Australia, Converse, VANS, Dubarry, Fitflop, CROCS, Dr Martens amongst many others, this is a family one-stop-shop for all your family’s footwear needs!

All the staff are trained fitters and will be happy to assist their younger customers in finding the most suitable shoe for their requirements, ensuring they leave the store with Happy Feet!

School savings club

Happy Feet proudly offer a school saving club to help you spread the cost of going back to school!

There is no purchase necessary – simply save as much or as little as you want between now and September giving you greater flexibility when it comes time to buy!

This fantastic service is available in all their stores. We wonder if a subscription model is on the cards next?

Payment Plan

Happy Feet also proudly offer a Payment Plan service enabling you to pick your favourite product, secure it with a deposit and pay in further installments over the course of two months before collection. This service is available to all products (excluding sale items) throughout the store.

A shoe shop with some very neat innovations and an obvious customer focus. We are expecting a 4th one soon.

Visit the shops

Whitewater S.c,  Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Tel: (045) 430027, Happyfeetnewbridge@gmail.com            

Bridgewater Centre, Arklow, Co. Wicklow, Tel: (0402) 24100, Happyfeetnewbridge@gmail.com    

Navan Town Centre,  Navan, Co. Meath, Tel: (046) 9022209, Happyfeetnavan@gmail.com

Or visit their Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/pages/Happy-Feet-Shoes/158711134307738?fref=ts

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Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is looking for committed female entrepreneurs heading initiatives with the potential to grow significantly in the years to come. The selection of the finalists and laureates of the competition is done by an independent international Jury of entrepreneurs, investors, business executives and other profiles engaged in the support of female entrepreneurship.

Eligibility Criteria

The project to be considered for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards must be an original for-profit business creation in the initial phase (1-3 years old) led by a woman.

  • The “for-profit” requirement: the business submitted for the Award must be designed to generate revenues. We do not accept non-profit project proposals.
  • The “originality” requirement: we want your project to be a new concept, conceived and imagined by the founder and her team and not a copy or subsidiary of an existing business.
  • The “initial phase” requirement: the project you submit should be in the first stages of its development with one year of operations and sales to account for but no older than 3 years.
  • The main leadership position must be filled by a woman. A good command of English is required (both verbal and written) to take full advantage of the benefits the Award has to offer.
  • All entrants must be aged 18 or the age of legal majority in their respective countries or states of citizenship, whichever is older, on the day of the application deadline.

For more information on how to apply, go here.

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