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innovation DAILY

Here we highlight selected innovation related articles from around the world on a daily basis.  These articles related to innovation and funding for innovative companies, and best practices for innovation based economic development.

science fiction

When all the votes are cast and counted in this year’s momentous November 3 election, the results will have deep and potentially long-lasting impacts on numerous areas of society, including science. President Donald Trump and his challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, have presented vastly different visions for handling crucial issues—ranging from the deadly coronavirus pandemic to the damaging impacts of climate change and immigration policies.

 

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Photo of women in a strategy meeting.

The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program provides grant or contract funding to small businesses seeking to commercialize innovative technologies. With $3.2 billion allotted to SBIR each year, there are twelve different agencies that have set aside SBIR funding. One agency is Health and Human Services which provides funding through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH has three grant funding proposal deadlines a year. The next deadline is January 5, 2021. On the NIH/SBIR website, NIH states that the electronic submission process for grants can take from six to eight weeks, so this is a reminder to start now. Below are five key tips to help small businesses in their NIH SBIR electronic submission process.

 

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Picture for representation | Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

Start-ups were once synonymous with Silicon Valley or London – but that’s no longer the case. Here we look at five emerging global start-up hotspots, and ask which factors make each one so attractive to today’s tech entrepreneurs.

COVID-19 has upended the world and our global society at a pace and in a manner that are both unprecedented. In this era of uncertainty, start-ups play an ever more important role by bringing to market innovative solutions for tackling the challenges and mitigating the negative impacts caused by the pandemic. These days, however, such solutions do not originate solely in Silicon Valley or London; they are coming from other regions of the globe with strong start-up ecosystems and unique values and cultures.

 

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Frequent the business section of your favorite newspaper long enough, and you’ll see mentions of private equity (PE).

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Maybe it’s because a struggling company got bought out and taken private, just as Toys “R” Us did in 2005 for $6.6 billion.

Otherwise, it’s likely a mention of a major investment (or payout) that a PE firm scored through venture or growth capital. For example, after Airbnb had to postpone its original plans for a 2020 initial public offering (IPO) in light of the pandemic, the company raised more than $1 billion in PE funding to plan for a new listing later this year.

Image: https://www.visualcapitalist.com

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NewImage

We all face pressure in our lives, but there’s nothing like that of an entrepreneur facing customer crises and the competitive challenges of a new business. Don’t believe the myth that all you have to do to get rich is bring up an ecommerce website, and the money rolls in while you sleep. Most successful business leaders have learned how to reframe pressure situations into opportunities.

Image: https://blog.startupprofessionals.com

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Nate Kitch for the Chronicle

It is January 2021, and you are getting ready to begin the new semester.

Fall term was a wild ride, as Covid-19 continued to rack the nation. The pandemic roared through and receded in repeated cycles of infection, relative safety, and reinfection as death tolls rose. During viral lulls, campuses welcomed back students and faculty and staff members, then sent them off campus again as infections and death rates soared. HyFlex term, some called it, a blending over time of face-to-face and digital-learning experiences. Meanwhile, colleges froze or cut spending while the economy staggered through on-again, off-again recessions.

Image: Nate Kitch for the Chronicle

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Jennifer Lynn Robinson

As an entrepreneur, you need to be your own cheerleader. Many entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of hiring marketing or public relations teams. Staying top of mind was easier pre-pandemic when we were able to go to events and conferences and meet with people regularly in person. Even though things have started to open up in limited ways around the country, it will be a long time before they will be back to pre-covid routines. Additionally, people have varying comfort levels with meeting in person now and it is important to be respectful of those levels. However, there are still things that you can do right now to ensure that you stay visible and grow your business. Here are my top 3 tips:

 

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money

Healthcare, business productivity and fintech startups have dominated the unicorn class of 2020 as an exponential rise in demand for services in these sectors during the coronavirus pandemic has changed VC investing trends.

Since January, 71 companies in the US have reached a valuation of $1 billion or more, while 79 companies were minted unicorns in all of 2019, according to PitchBook data.

 

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Chalkboard with e=mc2 on it.

Starting a business is not for the weak. Nearly half don’t make it to five years, and even fewer make it to the ten-year mark. And every successful business can look back on their history and recall moments where they could have quickly put the nail in the coffin too.

Just look at some of the biggest household brands in history. Stakeholders of Walt Disney rejected the concept for Mickey hundreds of times, and despite wild success with early films like Pinocchio and Snow White, debt mounted. FedEx almost went under but was saved by $27,000 in blackjack winnings (something I wouldn’t recommend as a fallback for struggling entrepreneurs). And let’s not forget how Apple faced more than a decade of financial loss.

 

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People being interviewed in the food service industry.

It seems that most of you entrepreneurs I meet in my role as business advisor are convinced that starting a new business requires equity investors, exponential growth, and a plan to go public via IPO. I often recommend a less painful alternative, called the lifestyle entrepreneur approach, where your focus is on making a living and a work-life balance, rather than changing the world.

Image: https://blog.startupprofessionals.com

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Nish Acharya

In 2009, the Obama-Biden Administration elevated the startup entrepreneur as a key piece of America’s recovery from the Great Recession. This wasn’t a particularly partisan decision—there was broad-based Republican support for it. Nevertheless, it was a fundamental transformation in how the federal government views entrepreneurs. 

The decision to invest government resources to promote high-growth startups was based on three important facts. The first was data from the U.S. Census Bureau showing that young, high-growth businesses were responsible for the majority of net job creation in the United States economy from 1980-2009. Secondly, through the work of Steve Blank and Eric Ries, there was greater awareness that startup companies are different from small businesses and large corporations. They share characteristics of both at different times in their existence but need distinct policies to reflect their unique growth trajectory. And thirdly, there was a realization that America’s large companies in 2009 had embraced a policy of offshoring and outsourcing and would not likely be enticed to build large factories in America without significant subsidies. 

 

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U of T's Patricia Brubaker, who has spent nearly 40 years studying anti-diabetic gut hormones, says the future of diabetes research will be figuring out how to prevent the disease in the first place (photo by Johnny Guatto)

For nearly four decades, Patricia Brubaker has been investigating the biological activities of anti-diabetic gut hormones secreted by the intestine.

Her work is focused on the fundamental biology of the hormones and has contributed to development of drugs for the treatment of patients with Type 2 diabetes. The drugs work by stimulating the secretion of insulin, helping to lower blood sugar levels and reducing appetite, among other effects.

Image: U of T's Patricia Brubaker, who has spent nearly 40 years studying anti-diabetic gut hormones, says the future of diabetes research will be figuring out how to prevent the disease in the first place (photo by Johnny Guatto)

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