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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.

Speech by: Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, 16 November 2009, at HDB Hub Auditorium

Mr Lee Yi Shyan, Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Manpower, Minister In-charge of Entrepreneurship and Chairman of the Action Community for Entrepreneurship

Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President of the National University of Singapore

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon

Thank you for the invitation to join you for the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2009.

Initiated last year by the Marion Ewing Kauffman Foundation in the USA and Make Your Mark in the UK, Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. The inaugural event reached out to 1.5 million people from over 100 countries through some 15,000 entrepreneurial activities. Here in Singapore, the Action Community for Entrepreneurship or ACE and NUS Enterprise, together with 37 partners, have impacted 12,000 entrepreneurial minds via some 40 events.

This year, over 70 countries are banding together again to celebrate innovation and entrepreneurship. I would like to congratulate the Singapore co-hosts and 25 partners for lining up over 40 showcase events, competitions and talks for the youth and community. It is commendable that both the private and public sectors have come together to nurture the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow. I urge all youth to take advantage of these exciting programmes.

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Dana Goldstein on the White House's "newer is better" approach to problems:

Every single one of you has something you're good at," President Barack Obama told children in his Sept. 8 back-to-school address. He went on to list future occupations toward which students could strive -- doctor, teacher, police officer, architect, lawyer. Also included in that list was a career option no previous president had ever named: innovator.

Indeed, the Obama administration has been promoting "innovation" to anyone who will listen. The stimulus package includes more than $100 billion for innovation efforts across fields as diverse as school reform, energy research, health care, and poverty alleviation. In July, first lady Michelle Obama spoke at two "innovation events" honoring architects and product designers. On Sept. 21, the president delivered a speech at Hudson Valley Community College in upstate New York on how innovation can create jobs. A search of turned up 531 documents mentioning the term.


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Intel and Newsweek have produced a report on the importance of innovation to economic growth.

For the last 100 years the biggest contribution to industrial innovation has been the electronics industry.

For the last 60 years the biggest contributor to innovation in electronics has been microelectronics.


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Huffington PostToday, Newsweek and Intel released the findings from a survey on innovation and the economy. The good news: despite one of the deepest recessions in history, Americans have an undiminished faith in technology and innovation as the primary engines of economic growth. The bad news: most Americans say that the downturn has hurt the U.S.'s ability to innovate and they have significant doubts about our ability to maintain leadership.

While pursuing game-changing technology innovation is my charge at Intel, I am acutely interested in supporting this undiminished faith of the American people and am working tirelessly to relieve their doubts about our ability to compete on the global stage.
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Many first time entrepreneurs may not fully understand how a venture capital fund works and consequently may not fully relate to how VC’s function. This post makes an attempt to provide a generic overview of how a VC fund functions and what it implies for entrepreneurs.

To start with, it would help to understand similarities between VC’s and entrepreneurs. Just as entrepreneurs go through the cycles of opportunity, business plan, fund raising and eventual exit through IPO or M&A, VC’s also follow a similar cycle. VC’s identify the opportunity space in which they want to play and then develop a business plan. The business plan would broadly cover capital deployment strategies, time-frame for investing/exit, types of opportunities that would be considered for investing as well as target returns at the fund level. With this business plan, VC’s approach a set of qualified investors for raising the required funds for starting the VC fund. This fund raising effort is an intense and time consuming effort and closure can take anywhere from 12 months to 24 months depending on the size of the fund, team, past track record, nature of opportunities etc. Just as VC’s perform due diligence on the opportunities, prospective investors who are considering investing into the VC fund also perform detailed diligence on VC’s.

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Lenexa-based Rush Tracking Systems has been acquired by Pharos Capital Group, a private equity firm based in Nashville and Dallas, the companies said Monday.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the companies said the deal includes a capital investment that will allow Rush, which specializes in outfitting warehouses with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, to grow at an accelerated pace.

Rush president and founder Toby Rush said the 100 percent buyout meant company founders and investors “made out very well.”

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Only a slight breeze blew across the plains of Inner Mongolia on a recent afternoon, but the giant turbines at the Huitengxile Wind Power Field were spinning steadily. This facility, 200 miles northwest of Beijing, has 550 turbines churning out enough juice to power a small city, and inside a monitoring station, plant manager Zhang Jianjun points to a wall chart showing the 11 different suppliers of the high-tech windmills. Four are Chinese companies, but when Zhang is asked to pick his favorite, his nationalism is trumped by a desire for quality. "General Electric," he says, citing its reliability. "I'm excited when all of the turbines are working."

GE's roots lie in Thomas Edison's Menlo Park lab, the site of some of the most significant innovation in our history. Today millions of Edison's spiritual descendants—engineers, geneticists, programmers, entrepreneurs—are toiling in basic research across the country. But amid a profound economic slowdown, Americans have real doubts about their ability to maintain their edge in innovation, even as they agree that technological innovation is more important than ever.

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Having people ask to "pick your brain" can be the ultimate compliment to an entrepreneur. It makes us feel like we're experts in something, or that we've been successful enough at something that someone values our thoughts. But brain picking comes in many shapes and colors. Some brain pickers (BPs) are just looking for inspiration; talking with you stirs their own ideas. Others want resources--money, contacts, insider knowledge that will help them with their endeavors. None of these are inherently bad, but none of them are good if you aren't getting something out of the sharing.

I used to love it when people asked to pick my brain, especially early into the business. I might not have been drawing a paycheck, but by golly! Someone wanted to talk to me about something. It was a small sign of traction.

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A quick tour of the state of cultural policy in the English speaking world. The UK creative industry movement proves that the power of the creative economy can only be achieved through coordinated local, national and international cultural policy initiatives. So what’s going on in the creative industry policy world? Who is succeeding and who is failing?

John Brown argues in the Huffington Post to turn the US Department of Defense into the American Ministry of Culture. Many would argue that is already the case but he does offer some interesting ideas on what could possibly happen if that change were to occur.
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If the past week is any indication, big pharma is showing that it is willing to pay for biotech innovation. On the receiving end this week, Alder Biopharmaceuticals stands to reap more than $1 billion from collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb for the development and commercialization of ALD518, a novel biologic that has completed phase 2a development for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Bothell, Washington-based Alder is granting Bristol-Myers Squibb worldwide exclusive rights to develop and commercialize ALD518 for all potential indications except cancer, for which Alder will retain rights and grant Bristol-Myers Squibb an option to co-develop and commercialize outside the United States. In return, Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay Alder an upfront cash payment of $85 million, potential development-based and regulatory-based milestone payments of up to $764 million across a range of indications, and potential sales-based milestones that may exceed $200 million and royalties on net sales. Alder also has an option to require Bristol-Myers Squibb to make an equity investment of up to $20 million in Alder during an initial public offering.

In another antibody deal, Sanofi-Aventis expanded its global collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to discover, develop, and commercialize fully-human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. The expanded partnership adds five years and at least $800 million to the existing deal. Under the revised partnership agreement Sanofi-aventis will increase its annual funding commitment from $100 million to $160 million beginning in 2010, and the research funding will now extend through 2017. The companies aim to advance an average of four to five antibodies into clinical development each year. In addition to its VelocImmune technology, Regeneron will contribute to the collaboration its next generation technologies related to antibody generation. Sanofi-aventis also has an option to extend the discovery program for up to an additional three years for further antibody development and preclinical activities.

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BWFareed Zakaria wrote an excellent book, The Post American World: The Rise of the Rest, in which he said the relative decline of the US was due to political, not economic problems. As someone who’s covered the global economy for decades, and as an old Political Science major, the argument never satisfied. Fareed was right about the delta—the direction of decline, but wrong about the cause. It was economic, as well as political.

Now Fareed is saying what we conceed to be increasingly true—the US is losing its edge in innovation. And with that loss, comes the loss of geopolitical clout. President Obama’s trip to China is about soothing our banker, not pressuring for civil rights.

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U.S. private equity returned 4.3% for the second quarter, its best quarterly return since the fourth quarter of 2007, and 1.1% for the six months ended June 30, while venture capital offered a 0.2% return for the second quarter but lost 2.6% for the same six-month period, according to Cambridge Associates.

Private equity managers called more capital than they returned as profits to investors in the second quarter. Private equity mangers called about $7.4 billion, $1.1 billion more than the first quarter.
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