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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.

Last June in Cairo President Obama promised to host a Summit on Entrepreneurship “to identify how we can deepen ties between business leaders, foundations and social entrepreneurs in the United States and Muslim communities around the world.”

Next week in Washington, DC, President Obama will make good on that promise.

Bringing together 250 participants from 60 countries, the administration will host the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship at the Ronald Reagan Building on Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Obama will address the summit on Monday evening and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will close the summit on Tuesday evening.

“This was a direct commitment the president made in his Cairo speech last June,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said briefing reporters on conference call to preview the summit, “He made the point that as we work to address issues, the US wants to deepen a set of partnerships with Muslim communities, related to education, and economic opportunity, science and technology.”

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A group of potential investors listen to a presentation at the Rice University Business Plan Competition.(Fortune) -- For most entrepreneurs-in-training, the best part of a business plan competition is the feedback from judges who pitch and scrutinize business ideas in the real world. But the judges also benefit: Events like these are ideal grounds for casing new ideas and networking with peers.

At the recent Rice University Business Plan Competition in Houston, two judges, both seasoned venture investors, riffed with Fortune on the state of today's venture capital market, and what they look for in a business pitch.

Ed Olkkola is managing director of Teakwood Capital, a private equity buyout fund. Olkkola built his career at Motorola and Compaq before creating the hardware and systems practice at Austin Ventures. He has served as a judge at the Rice contest for seven years.

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Creating Regional Wealth in the Innovation EconomySilicon Valley. Boston. Singapore. Ireland. Scandinavia. Munich. When it comes to promoting entrepreneurial culture, some places just seem to 'get it right': serving as powerful magnets for talent, money, and ideas, and as powerful incubators for tomorrow's best companies.This book draws on extensive new research to pinpoint the key reasons why some locations succeed in the quest to become a technology centre, while others fail. The authors answer crucial questions about the world's entrepreneurial hotspots: What makes these locations so special? Which local characteristics are inherent? Which can be fostered? What are the best ways to promote local entrepreneurship? And what can budding centres of entrepreneurship do in order to enter the game?Creating Regional Wealth in the Global Economy analyses the key factors for developing regional success and wealth in the Networked Ecomomy. It identifies the best practices that business and government leaders need to consider to develop their area into a powerhouse of the future.

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Venture capitalist  Randy Komisar suggested today that Web startups may not actually need his money — at least, not right away.

Komisar, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, reached that conclusion in a roundabout way during a question-and-answer session at the Startup Lessons Learned conference in San Francisco. His main point was a piece of common entrepreneurial advice: To paraphrase Komisar’s new book on the topic, startups need to “get to plan B.” They need to cycle through different ideas with as little time and money as possible to discover which of their assumptions are wrong. For startups in fields like biotech or cleantech or enterprise technology, that process may take months or years of work, and it probably requires sizable funding. But at a consumer Internet company, things should be much faster and cheaper.

“So why do we need venture capitalists?” Komisar asked. “They may not be as important.” That means he might tell an early-stage Web startup looking for funding, “You get my money later, at a higher valuation, when you need to accelerate a good idea to a great one.”

Another interesting — and quotable — part of the discussion covered Komisar’s idea of a startup’s “analog” and “antilog.” Every startup idea involves a few “leap of faith” assumptions. As entrepreneurs explore those assumptions, he said, they should look for companies that successfully built on those ideas (analogs), as well as companies that used those ideas and failed (antilogs).

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fred-wilson-99-percent.jpgAt the 99% Conference in New York last week, venture capitalist Fred Wilson gave a presentation entitled ‘Ten Ways To Be Your Boss’. He argued that there are many ways to be an entrepreneur but unfortunately the iconic image of the entrepreneur is so paramount that it causes a lot of people to doubt that they too can run a business. He told the audience:

“There are many, many ways to be an entrepreneur. We can all be our own boss – it’s energizing to work in a place that you imagined and created and where the culture comes from you and your partners.”
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washingtonpost.com1. Solar and wind power are the greenest of them all.

Unfortunately, solar and wind technologies require huge amounts of land to deliver relatively small amounts of energy, disrupting natural habitats. Even an aging natural gas well producing 60,000 cubic feet per day generates more than 20 times the watts per square meter of a wind turbine. A nuclear power plant cranks out about 56 watts per square meter, eight times as much as is derived from solar photovoltaic installations. The real estate that wind and solar energy demand led the Nature Conservancy to issue a report last year critical of "energy sprawl," including tens of thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines needed to carry electricity from wind and solar installations to distant cities.

Nor does wind energy substantially reduce CO2 emissions. Since the wind doesn't always blow, utilities must use gas- or coal-fired generators to offset wind's unreliability. The result is minimal -- or no -- carbon dioxide reduction.

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Fresh from passing a landmark angel investor tax credit, Minnesota lawmakers are advancing a bill that would, in time, radically alter high-tech economic development in the state by concentrating authority in a single public-private entity.

The proposed Minnesota Science and Technology Authority, modeled after programs like Third Frontier in Ohio and The Ben Franklin Technology Partners in Pennsylvania, will craft a long-term science and technology strategy. More importantly, it would also oversee economic development efforts, including money to retain locally grown companies and attract out of state ones.

“People felt hope” after the angel credit passed, said Sen. Kathy Saltzman (D-Woodbury). “Now that we have your attention, this is the next step.”

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Who is online? As the figure shows, the majority of adults from 18 to 50 are living some form of digital life. Even older adults 65 and older are growing in numbers with an estimated 38% online.

Now that they are online – what are they doing there? A recent Forrester study indicated that 60% of baby-boomers are avid social media users. Whereas many industry leaders consider boomers too old to embrace technology, in fact their presence in the various social media outlets is up 40% from last year.  Women over the age of 55 are in fact the fastest growing segment on Facebook. Nonetheless, boomers don’t seem to post status updates, check in at foursquare, or post twitter feeds as often as their younger social media predecessors. So, what are they doing with social media?

Digital Healing
Marketing Agency, Epsilon, recently found that 40% of online consumers use social media for health information. But the lives of the online is more than simply information seeking.

Consumers are trying to fulfill both rational and emotional needs. In addition, to finding basic information about drugs or specific health conditions, they are seeking reassurance, support and, at times, validation – digital healing. Reassurance that the behaviors they are pursuing are in the mainstream. Support that they are not alone as either patient or family caregiver. Validation that the medications, devices and health services they are adopting are correct.

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"The pricing just gets crazy. You're almost worth more before you've proven out your model. That's usually one of the early indicators of a bubble." -- Pete Bodine, Managing Director, Allegis Capital.The U.S. economy hasn't officially emerged from recession, but some observers fear a new bubble is already inflating in the venture capital industry.

Companies with the word "social" in their mission statement - better still "social" and "mobile" - have sparked a frenzy among early-stage investors. The rush to plug cash into the hottest startups has propelled investments into nine figures and valuations into billion dollar territory, on math that often has more to do with promise than profits.

"The pricing just gets crazy," said Pete Bodine, managing director of Allegis Capital, a Palo Alto venture capital firm. "You're almost worth more before you've proven out your model. That's usually one of the early indicators of a bubble."

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HomeIsrael, a global cleantech powerhouse, is now attracting hundreds of millions of dollars in cleantech investment every year.

The country gets more from its soil, water, air, and sunlight than most other nations on earth.

Why has such a small country been able to position itself a world leader in cleantech?

The answer, I believe, is a combination of many factors: its history, attitude of the people, ingenuity, and challenges to survival.

According to my research, the following are major highlights of Israel’s cleantech leadership to date in 2010:

1. Israel is the Silicon Valley of water. Relative to its small size, Israel has devoted more resources to the development of waste water treatment and reclamation than any other country in the world. Seventy percent of its waste water is recycled, three times the figure of number two: Spain. Israel is the birthplace and world leader in drip irrigation, which has literally turned deserts into farmlands. The Israeli firm Netafim, a $500 million high-tech drip-irrigation giant, is a world leader in smart irrigation technology and has been credited with starting the drip irrigation revolution. Israel Newtech, which promotes Israeli clean energy and water technologies, has identified hundreds of water companies. It's estimated that Israel's water industry was valued at $1.4 billion in 2008 and could reach $2.5 billion by 2011. The sector is supported by early stage private and government investment programs, such as the Kinrot incubator, 11 investments to date) and the Office of the Chief Scientist (several million dollars in early stage R&D grants), as well as large industrial players such as IDE Technologies, a global leader in water desalination and Mekorot, the country’s innovative technology-oriented water carrier.

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Retirement nest eggTwo reports released recently by the SBA and spotlighted in The Entrepreneurial Mind blog confirm what many small-business owners may already know:  Entrepreneurs and their employees aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Saving for Retirement: A Look at Small Business Owners (PDF), written by SBA economist Jules Lichtenstein, assesses how well entrepreneurs are preparing for their own retirement. Among the results:

  • Just 36% of business owners have individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Of those, one-third contributed during the 2005 tax year (latest data available). Only 18% of business owners have a 401(k) plan, and less than 2% have a Keogh plan.
  • The business owners most likely to have and contribute to retirement accounts are non-minority, older, have higher education levels, own more established and more profitable companies and are more likely to own multiple businesses.
  • The overall asset ownership of entrepreneurs affects how they save for retirement. Those who own homes and have other retirement accounts are most likely to have IRA, Keogh or 401(k) participation (in other words, those who have one type of retirement account are likely to have more than one.)
  • Business owners who own micro-businesses (less than 10 employees) are less likely to own or contribute to retirement accounts.
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10 Awesome Companies Built by TeensThe entrepreneurial spirit starts early for many teenagers, but for most things like high school, college and social lives overpower the urge to start a business.

But not every teenager.

Occasionally there are a few really driven youngsters who actually create successful companies before they are old enough to vote, buy alcohol, or even drive. Here are 10 inspirational stories of some incredibly successful young entrepreneurs, who all started their empires in their teens.

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