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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.

scaling mountainVC backed startups generally aspire to valuations in the hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, but very few really consider all of the elements they’ll need to make it happen.

After analyzing several startups I’ve worked with that have reached or are approaching these valuations I’ve boiled it down to four interdependent commonalities that always seem to exist.

While they are easy to describe, they are of course very difficult to achieve. Still your best chance of achieving them is to know what they are.

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The number of self-employed Canadians is on the rise.

According to Statistics Canada figures released in March, self-employment rose by 4.3%, or 100,000 people, between October 2008 to 2009, as the recession set in.

The move to self-employment carries with it challenges for newly minted entrepreneurs, lawyers warn. They must avoid the seven common mistakes made in starting a business, which can come back to haunt them years later.

So what are these seven deadly sins?

- 1. No structure The first is "not picking the appropriate structure to operate the business," said Richard Brooks, a Toronto lawyer at Brooks, Barristers & Solicitors who works extensively with entrepreneurs.

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The jury is still out on whether the use of mobile phones increases the risk of cancer.webphotographer/iStockphotoThe results of a major study into mobile-phone use and cancer were released this week, but media interpretation of the findings has varied wildly.

One British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, stated that the study had "found people who speak on their handset for more than half an hour a day over 10 years are at greater risk of brain cancer". Reporting on the same work, the French news wire AFP said that the study showed "no clear link to brain cancer".

Nature looks at the results of a study that has led to such contradictory reports.

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(Washington, DC) –Today, House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) willintroduceThe America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010. The bill is expected to be considered under suspension tomorrow. Bills considered under suspension cannot be amended and need to pass with support from two-thirds of those present, rather than a simple majority.
The bill is identical to H.R. 5116 with two exceptions: it reduces the authorization period from five to three years, and it adopts language from the Motion to Recommit banning the use of the authorized funds to pay the salary of federal employees disciplined for looking at pornography at work. It includes the 52 amendments to H.R. 5116 adopted on the House Floor.
“The reintroduced America COMPETES Reauthorization Act is a 50 percent cut in the funding path from H.R. 5116 as introduced. While I certainly would have preferred the stability a five-year authorization would have given our science agencies, I am willing to compromise with the Minority, in the interest of getting a good bill through the House and to our colleagues in the Senate. This legislation is too important to our nation’s scientific and economic leadership to let it fall victim to political gridlock,” said Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN).  “The bill has a less steep funding trajectory than the 2007 COMPETES, H.R. 2272, which passed the 110th Congress 367 to 57, with the support of 143 Republicans, 101 of whom are serving in the 111th Congress.”  
For more information on the Committee’s work on COMPETES, please visit our website.

Recently we have noted here and here that the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act--one of the nation's key vehicles for keeping the nation competitive--seemed to be proceeding well, with the addition of several important updates, including language embracing the Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Hubs, a related pilot for clean energy regional consortia, and a new regional innovation clusters title.

Well, we spoke too soon. Hours after an amendment to add the Regional Energy Innovation Consortia program to the America COMPETES Act as a pilot program passed on the floor of the House by an encouraging vote of 254-173, a mischievous amendment that linked a hard-to-vote-against ban on federal salaries going to workers who look at pornography on government computers to major cuts in the bill prevailed and has now thrown the whole bill into uncertainty.

Thanks to the amendment by Ranking House Science & Technology Committee Member Ralph Hall (R-Tex.), Science & Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) has at least for now had to yank a bill that has now been shorn of the needed hubs, consortia, and clusters elements as well as critical funding increases for core innovation agencies.

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It was September, 2005. I was fresh off of a workshop with a media company where the company's CEO noted, "Trees don't grow to the sky forever." The company's core business was strong, but the CEO told the group it had to innovate to sustain success in an increasingly turbulent environment.

A couple of days later, I was talking to my colleague Matt Eyring. He said, "So Scott, you've been a big supporter of Apple over the past few years. What do you think about buying some stock?"

"Trees don't grow to the sky forever," I told Matt.


Since late 2005, Apple's stock has quintupled. With a market capitalization of close to $250 billion, Apple is (at least today) the third most valuable company in the world, behind ExxonMobil and Microsoft.

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Long live the Rust Belt.

I [Author] am still trying to process the mammoth Brookings "State of Metropolitan America" report. I plan to dig deeper into the chapter about educational attainment. For now, the big story is how Brookings has boldly served up a novel perspective on US geography:

In fact, my Brookings colleagues and I identify seven categories of metropolitan areas based on their population growth rates, their levels of racial and ethnic diversity, and the rates at which their adults have earned college degrees. Together, these indicators say a lot about not just these three dimensions of metropolitan populations, but also factors such as development patterns, age, household structure, economic history and trajectory, and income inequality. Associating metro areas in this way breaks them out of their traditional regional boxes, bringing together areas as far flung as Allentown and Jacksonville, Portland and Atlanta.
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Graduation season is upon us, and everyone from President Obama to John Grisham is delivering commencement speeches across the country. TIME looks at some of the most successful people to never receive their sheepskins.

The Harvard Crimson called him "Harvard's most successful dropout" — the rest of the world just calls him ridiculously rich. For more than a decade, Bill Gates has been one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, men in the world. The son of an attorney and a schoolteacher, Gates entered Harvard in the fall of 1973, only to drop out two years later to found Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen. In 2007, more than thirty years after he left Harvard, the co-founder of Microsoft would finally receive his degree (an honorary doctorate) from his alma mater. At the commencement, Gates said, "I'm a bad influence. That's why I was invited to speak at your graduation. If I had spoken at your orientation, fewer of you might be here today."

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The FT reports that Google, Intel and Sony will announce a “significant breakthrough into consumer electronics and the broadcast industry” later this week with the launch of a so-called “Smart TV” platform.

In case that sounds familiar, that’s because Bloomberg and the WSJ reported as much on April 29, apart from the apparent name of the Web TV platform that would be making its debut at Google I/O.

Google’s developer conference will be held May 19 – 20 in San Francisco.

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Airplanes powered by coal -- at first blush it sounds about as attractive as the toddler chainsaw. But Accelergy in Houston says it has come up with a way to convert the ubiquitous rock into an economical, clear, and arguably clean form of jet fuel.

The company will initially try to sell fuel to the U.S. military -- the Air Force has already begun initial testing -- and has also started to field inquiries from China and some commercial aircraft and engine manufacturers. Biomass can also be substituted for coal, or at least part of it, in the recipe, depending on the desired characteristics of the final fuel.

The Department of Defense will likely set its standards for synthetic jet fuels in 2013, and CEO Tim Vail claims that Accelergy's fuel will be able to meet those standards.

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There has been a lot talk in the past year about job creation, entrepreneurship and economic recovery. Under the economic pressures, it became more important to than ever to examine closely how to unleash the entrepreneurial potential of various groups in society. We know for example that women are under-represented among business founders in high-tech and other high-growth fields despite their increasing participation in science and engineering. Fortunately, we are better prepared every day to inform policy. Today, I examine some of the most recent findings on the factors that affect the survival and growth of startups founded by women.

With women representing over half of the population in the U.S. and the majority at U.S. colleges and universities, it is important to explore whether successful, high-growth women entrepreneurs differ from successful men entrepreneurs. The Kauffman Foundation has recently released a new study, "Are Women Entrepreneurs Different from Men?" which suggests the answer is both yes and no.

Read more ..., the drugs that shaped the pharmaceutical industry of the 1970s and 1980s, were largely abandoned by most major drug companies in the mid 1990s. Big pharma’s exit from the vaccines business was based on a variety of factors, including 1) the rising costs of manufacturing biologics as compared with small molecule drugs, 2) diminishing market sizes in the developed world, 3) a lack of innovation in vaccine R&D, and 4) the increasing frequency of lawsuits brought against drug companies by persons who were allegedly harmed or injured by their use. By the early 2000s, there were only five major vaccine manufacturers in the world: Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, sanofi-aventis, Novartis, and Wyeth (now Pfizer). However, government-imposed limits on the liability of vaccine manufacturers; improvements in vaccine research and manufacturing capacity; the growth of emerging markets in Asia, South America, and elsewhere; and the advent of so-called therapeutic vaccines have rejuvenated the vaccine business. In 1992, the size of the global vaccine market was estimated to be $2.96 billion. This grew to almost $23 billion in 2008, and the size of the worldwide vaccine market is expected to exceed $30 billion by 2018.

While renewed interest in vaccines has spawned a multitude of start-up companies with novel and intriguing technology platforms, the industry is still dominated by the so-called “big five” vaccine manufacturing companies (mentioned above). One of these companies, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), has long been recognized as a leading manufacturer of prophylactic childhood and adult vaccines. Since 2008, GSK has garnered regulatory approval and launched a number of new vaccines, including two highly touted, multivalent subunit vaccines. One, called Synflorix, is a vaccine designed to prevent pneumococcal disease. The second, called Cervarix, is an anti- human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer vaccine.

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