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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.

Eight winners have been announced in a tender for the New Hungary Venture Capital Program (Új Magyarország Kockázati Tőkeprogram), which will see venture capital funds receiving EU backing to help finance local start-ups.

The eight winners were selected from among 18 applicants, and will be managing nearly Ft 45 billion (€165.75 million), of which the local firms will provide Ft 13.4 billion and the EU Ft 31.5 billion.

According to gazdasagiradio.hu, the winners are Big George's NV Equity Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő, Central Fund Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, DBH Investment Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Etalon Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Finext Startup Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Morando Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Portfolion Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt and Primus Capital Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt.

 

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Ever since innovation became the buzzword du Jour, a lot of people seem to have lost their ability to tell smart ideas from stupid ones. Case in point: the financial "innovations" (read: stunningly stupid loan products) that kicked off the trillion-dollar economic meltdown mess we're currently in. The simplistic notion that "new equals good" has often been a recipe for grand-scale disaster, just as it was in the dotcom debacle at the turn of the millennium. And when the doo-doo inevitably hits the fan, it's all too easy to level the blame at innovation per se rather than admit to being a bonehead. Here's why many ideas that are labeled "innovations" are just plain stupidity.

Simply put, innovation goes wrong (sometimes big time) when an organization over-commits to an idea before validating the key assumptions on which it is based. Let's take the infamous sub-prime mortgage. The assumption here was that a jobless, homeless person who is just out of jail and doesn't even have a bank account can afford to make mortgage repayments of any description, let alone horrendously overpriced ones.

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The Doing Business 2010 report highlighted how the financial crisis has prompted governments to act in areas where regulatory reform may be more difficult and require more time. The report states that in times of recession, “the more quickly the assets of nonviable firms can be freed up, the easier it is to remobilize those assets.” While the U.S. remained ranked 4th in the 2010 ease of doing business list compared to its 2009 rank, other countries have implemented several reforms that improved their ranking. How has the EU fared?

I [Johnathan Ortmans] post today from Berlin where following the recent elections there is considerable government interest in new start-ups. Germany may rank 25th in the ease of doing business (I learned today in a meeting with their Ministry that it only costs one Euro to start a business), but in “ease of employing workers,” the country ranks 158th out of 183 economies, which can only constrain Germany’s entrepreneurial potential. And the problem is not unique within Europe as you may know. In France, where we found the word entrepreneur, there are not only the same employment constraints (155th in the ease of employing workers), but also the challenge of property registration where France ranks 159th, although it has improved since last year when it ranked 170th.

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Every year some of the most brilliant minds from business, science, art, technology, education and government come to the Business Innovation Factory’s BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI for two days to share their stories about innovation. It’s sort of like the TED conference, but more intimate and relaxed. But, like TED, it blows your head off with new ideas. There are no rules, best practices, methodologies, how-to presentations. Instead, each person takes away something meaningful to them.

Here are 10 patterns and my personal takeaways from the 39 diverse speakers:

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Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire George Soros, looking to address the “political problem” of climate change, said he will invest $1 billion in clean-energy technology and donate $100 million to an environmental advisory group to aid policymakers.

Soros, the founder of hedge fund Soros Fund Management LLC, announced the investment in Copenhagen on Oct. 10 at a meeting on climate change sponsored by Project Syndicate. The group is an international association made up of 430 newspapers from 150 countries.

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SBA FAQ UPDATE
The SBA's Office of Advocacy, that small business "watch-dog" and oversight office that the House of Representatives would forbid to "provide to the Administrator, to any individual who reports directly or indirectly to the Administrator, or to any Federal agency any advice, guidance, oversight, or review with respect to [SBIR]" (See Section 414 of the "Engrossed in House" version of H.R.2965 at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-2965), has issued a new fact sheet on small business statistics.  It's chock full of useful data and statistics.
Copy attached FYI. Web source:  http://www.sba.gov/advo/stats/sbfaq.pdf

DOD INTENDS TO CONTINUE SBIR NO MATTER WHAT
If you aren't up to date on the DOD's move to continue SBIR no matter what happens with the "official" Reauthorization effort, check out Rick Shindell's latest SBIR Insider (http://www.zyn.com/sbir/insider/sb-insider10-07-09.htm).

SBTC CONFERENCE CALL - TUESDAY OCT 13th, 11AM EDT
Purpose is to update the SBTC Membership on SBIR Reauthorization efforts (including the DOD's unilateral initiatives), the efforts to get the NIH to un-exclude SBIR from their Stimulus funds, and other relevant stuff. Phone: 616-712-8000   Code: 727524#

VNBusinessNews.com - IBM has launched what it calls the System z Competency Centre within the IBM Viet Nam Innovation Centre, strengthening its commitment to supporting clients and business partners in the country as well as the larger Indochina region.

The System z offers the latest IBM System z10 mainframe resources and the high-end IBM System Storage DS8300.

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BEIJING — Kai-Fu Lee's recent departure as head of Google China stirred speculation in the tech community here that he finally tired of battling the Chinese government, which has constantly pressured the Mountain View search giant and temporarily shut down some of its services.

But Lee, whose 2005 hiring by Google from Microsoft in China triggered a lawsuit on allegations the move violated a noncompete agreement, says he's simply going after a new opportunity. After nearly doubling Google's market share in China to 31 percent, he has founded Innovation Works, a venture fund that will provide coaching for early stage startups. The organization fills a void in China, where entrepreneurs lack the experience and advice readily found in Silicon Valley, he said.

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Kids these days. It seems like they're writing HTML before they learn how to talk. And a lot of them are starting companies before they graduate from high school.

Here's a list of some of our favorite teen entrepreneurs. And please keep in mind that there are lots of startups we've yet to hear about. So if you are a young entrepreneur, make sure to leave a comment below and add your bio and startup information to CrunchBase.

 

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AGRA is a dynamic, African-led partnership working across the African continent to help millions of small-scale farmers and their families lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. AGRA programs develop practical solutions to significantly boost farm productivity and incomes for the poor while safeguarding the environment. AGRA advocates for policies that support its work across all key aspects of the African agricultural “value chain”—from seeds, soil health, and water to markets and agricultural education. AGRA is chaired by Kofi A. Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations. AGRA, with initial support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, maintains offices in Nairobi, Kenya and Accra, Ghana.

Many global and national leaders have recognised the critical importance of agriculture to Africa’s development, and they are ready to act. In his tenure as Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan called for a new “uniquely African Green Revolution—a revolution that is long overdue, a revolution that will help the continent in its quest for dignity and peace.”

 

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Journalism is dying! News has no business model! Reporting is for crap! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Welcome to the conversation about news media today. Faced with the onslaught of "citizen reporting" and social media, traditional news media is hemorrhaging resources and wondering if the whole house of cards is about to collapse.

Yet one news organization has not only not collapsed, but is seeing its brand and leverage on the rise. In the last few years, NPR has jumped from favorite of the intellectual commuter crowd to perhaps the most media-savvy news organization in the country.

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