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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.

With a slowly rebounding economy, many are left wondering how to recoup investment losses incurred through this recession. In 2008 alone, the average investor saw their 401(k) balance shrink by 27 percent, according to Fidelity Investments.

Good thing there’s a silver lining to every dark cloud. While “angel investing’’ is always a good option for those who want to diversify their investable portfolio, one of the best times to pursue angel investing is in a down economy, because human capital usually increases in supply due to downsizing and business closures.

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Without warning cancer can arise from a single catastrophic chromosomal event involving tens to hundreds of breaks in the DNA that are haphazardly pieced back together, researchers reported in the January 7th issue of Cell.

"In most cancers, a handful of mutations are accumulated over time, gradually evolving into a more aggressive form," said Peter Campbell, blood oncologist at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and lead author of the study. But in some situations, he adds, cancer can come out of nowhere, leaving its victim little time for treatment.
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If you startup is your dream, why would you want to think about an exit? It’s going to be so successful and so much fun that you don’t need to think about what comes after. Wrong. There are two very real and practical reasons why you need to plan an exit:

  • Outside investors want to collect their return. Remember that equity investments are not like loans with interest. The investor sees no return until he cashes out, or the company is sold. Even three years is a long time to wait for any pay check.
  • Entrepreneurs love the art of the start. Assuming your startup takes off, you will probably find that the fun is gone by the time you reach 50 employees, or a few million in revenue. The job changes from creating a “work of art” to operating a “cookie cutter.”
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Something surprising happened during the recent lame duck session of US Congress. Lost amid a flurry of year-end activity, the America Competes Act, which overhauls how the federal government supports private-sector R&D, was reauthorised to the tune of US$45 billion.

Renewal of the act has been seen as a major boost in the face of Republican Party attacks against science-funding “waste” and the end of the US stimulus package. And it’s an indication of the different approaches nations are taking to fund science in the face of continuing economic and political obstacles. While the US government is casting a wide net to fund science, the UK and Spain have cut science funding in real terms. France, China, Sweden, and Germany are among countries that are increasing science funding, despite making cuts elsewhere.

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The people factor appears over and over on my list of top five tips. It is the basis of many entrepreneurial successes and, because many business leaders discount it, innumerable failures. While the current thinking in business schools holds that all someone with an idea needs to succeed are focus, clarity and a good business plan, I have found that bringing together a great team that's united by strong motivation, determination and bravery is much more important. Here's how to get started.

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Through targeted business assistance, the Florida Economic Gardening Institute (FEGI) and its program GrowFL helped entrepreneurial growth companies create at least 418 jobs throughout the state in just its first year. Based on proven business support strategies referred to as “economic gardening,” the State of Florida-funded program targets companies in the second stage of growth that have passed the start-up phase and are most likely to create jobs.

Of the 208 companies that have participated in the program to date, 124 responded to GrowFL’s recent job creation survey. Those companies reported creating 418 jobs as a result of participating in the GrowFL program. CEOs of second-stage businesses have had more than 1,300 encounters with the program, against the program’s initial goal of 1,000 encounters.

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Over the past few years, as the credit crunch tightened, we’ve all heard horror stories from successful entrepreneurs who had growing businesses but couldn’t get working capital, or saw their business lines of credit cut or their loans called in for no reason. No wonder many small business owners have become leery of traditional financing sources.

For small business owners seeking capital in a tough economy, will crowdfunding prove to be the next big thing?

Crowdfunding has some similarities to the peer-to-peer lending sites, such as Prosper.com, that arose several years ago, but some important differences as well. Both types of sites allow individuals to solicit financing from others for any purpose. But while peer-to-peer lending typically focuses on one individual lending to another, crowdfunding—as its name implies—aims to reach a funding goal by getting many investors to put in small amounts.

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One of the biggest red flags I see in many Internet-related business plans today is advertising as the initial revenue stream, or a key part of it. If challenged, the founder usually cites the Facebook business model (free service to users, revenue from ads), but forgets that Facebook has had several hundred million in funding, and has been profitable only in the last two years.

The most challenging time is your first couple of years, when your site is unknown, and your page-views are low. Until you get a million page-views per month, your revenue will be negligible, and advertisers won’t be interested in your site. Don’t count on that to fund your startup.

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The Creative Industries represents one of the leading assets and opportunity areas for the Nordic Region of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. The greatest assets of any region are its people, their individual creativity, skill and talent. Within the economy those industries based on these assets are known as the ‘Creative Industries’ – a unique sector that is creating wealth and jobs through developing and exploiting intellectual property1. As well as representing one of the largest and fastest growing sectors, the Creative Industries sits at the heart of the Creative Economy: encapsulating those wider processes, products and services for which creativity is a central activity. In doing so, it plays a critical role in the economic competitiveness of the Nordic Region, providing the added value required for a distinctive, high quality, knowledge-driven offer. A strong, well-supported and highly connected Creative Industries sector provides the platform for a competitive, entrepreneurial and globally-facing Nordic Region.

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Fears of a stalled recovery and a loss of American economic power globally are on the minds of many these days.

In a 21st century world where new products and innovation mean everything, the sciences – the engine of so much past American innovation – have suffered major cutbacks in funding from Congress.

On Thursday’s edition of On Point, host Tom Ashbrook asked whether science can nevertheless dig the country out of its financial hole, this time around.

It can, said Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Susan Hockfield.

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If you're an entrepreneur, you're probably going to screw up at some point. That's ok. Entrepreneurship is a constant process of quickly testing hypotheses, failing, refining and testing again. If you're not failing, you're not learning, right?

Well, not all fails are created equal. Some are wholly unnecessary, and I'd like to list my top 15 here. Note that many of these are based on advice from actual entrepreneurs who would rather you learn from their mistakes than repeat them.

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When I first started in the venture business in late 1999 the market was hot and deals were getting done very quickly, and with hindsight some of them were done too quickly and without enough analysis. Investment memos were briefer then than they have become since and I remember people joking that in the ‘exit strategy’ section there was often little more than “This company will exit via M&A or IPO”.

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