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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.

BusinessWeek Logo Venture capitalist Jim Breyer has seen a global change over the past decade in the entrepreneurs seeking financial backing and the investors willing to risk money to develop their ideas.

In 2000, Breyer and all the other investing partners in the venture capital firm Accel Partners were "100 percent" based in the United States.

"Today 33 percent of our investing partners are based in the United States," he said."We have seven partners in China, we have four in India, we have four in London, with the rest of the investing partners based in Palo Alto, Calif.," where the firm is headquartered.

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“I do not accept second place for the United States of America,” President Obama said last week in his State of the Union address. Speaking of investments that countries like China, Germany, and India are making in their innovative economies, the president was clear: “These nations, they’re not standing still. These nations aren’t playing for second place. They’re putting more emphasis on math and science. They’re rebuilding their infrastructure. They’re making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs.”

Fortunately, the budget request for fiscal year 2011 that the Obama administration released on Monday includes foundational investments that will help the United States remain the leader among innovative nations. Congressional leaders should support the president’s vision by adopting these investments in their budget later this year.

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(KANSAS CITY, Mo.), Feb. 2, 2010 – Despite promising economic growth numbers in the last quarter of 2009, economics bloggers have a grim outlook, according to a new Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation survey released today. Just last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its advance report of a 5.7 percent growth rate (annualized) of gross domestic product during the fourth quarter of 2009. But even before the fourth-quarter estimate was published, 48 percent of economics bloggers said in the mid-January survey that the economy was "worse than official government statistics show." Most respondents rate the overall condition of the economy as "mixed," and 33 percent say it is still "facing recession" or "weak and recessing."

In the inaugural Kauffman Economic Outlook: A Quarterly Survey of Top Economics Bloggers, the Kauffman Foundation sent invitations to more than 200 top economics bloggers, most of whom were on the Palgrave's econolog.net December 2009 rankings. The Foundation will be surveying the bloggers about their views of the economy, entrepreneurship and innovation every quarter to provide a new gauge for the nation's fiscal health.

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Employment in California’s biomedical industry has remained fairly stable through the recession, according to a new industry study that also points to numerous challenges on the horizon for the sector.

The report yesterday from the La Jolla-based California Healthcare Institute says the biomedical work force shrank slightly in the 12 months through March 2009 but was still up by more than 1,000 jobs from 2007.

Altogether there were 272,181 jobs in areas that ranged from biopharmaceuticals and medical devices to academic research and laboratory services, according to the report. The industry employed 24,123 people in San Diego County.

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Goals From A Small Business OwnerIn a recent AP-GFK poll, 72% of Americans said they’re optimistic about what 2010 will bring for the country. That’s a dramatic difference from their same poll answer where almost 75% of them thought 2009 was a bad year for the country.

Despite the recent earthquake tragedy in Haiti (and who knows what else the year will bring), I’ve noticed that people are generally much more hopeful this year. I know I am!

Here are some resolutions you can make, to have a great business and a great life in 2010:

1. I will first schedule for the year all activities that support my health and family (including workouts, doctor appointments, vacations, family events). Why? Because without these, I won’t be able to be productive in my business.

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eye on you peasap flickr 230xarticle Six things you should know before meeting with a US venture capitalistMany Australian companies set their capital raising sights on California’s Silicon Valley, as the availability of venture capital funds there is much greater than in Australia. There are many reasons to seek funding in the US, and not all of them involve preparation for entry into the American market (my company, for example, is seeking funding to help us expand into the Indian, Asian and African regions instead of into the US market).

Today, a growing population of VCs in Silicon Valley hails from Australia, China, India and Singapore, among other countries. And because of this, these US-based investors are more willing than ever to invest in international companies that have a global vision. So even if your intention isn’t to move into the US market itself, the VC community there can still offer major support toward your goal of expanding in other international markets.

Last month, I was given the opportunity to participate in the G’DAY USA Australian Innovation Shoot Out — an event that connects Australian technology startups with investors and potential partners in the United States. There I received the extreme honour of being named Australian Innovator of the Year. Through the experience, I not only established valuable connections with US-based VCs — I also learnt quite a bit about the ins-and-outs of the US venture capital market.

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The Silicon Valley Association of Startup Entrepreneurs (aka SVASE) has set up a new seed funding program for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs in conjunction with newly established early-stage investment firm Cambridge West Ventures.

On the East Coast, meanwhile, things are in motion too, with the introduction of a new seed startup fund dubbed IA Venture Strategies that was founded by New York angel investor Roger Ehrenberg.

SVASE and Cambridge West Ventures are looking to connect with startups and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, and have developed a program apt for very early-stage companies. Selected startups are eligible for up to $50,000 in venture capital in return for an unspecified ‘modest stake’ and deferred legal costs up to $15,000 from certain law firms from the region.

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Middle Eastern Technical University President Ahmet Acar.Aiming to promote the concept of “business angels” in Turkey, a leading university in Ankara has established Turkey’s first business angel network association to support early-stage technology entrepreneurs.

“Our aim is to develop the business angel sector in Turkey and boost technology-based economic development. Turkey should be a technology producer, not a consumer, an important precondition for the welfare of the country in the medium and long run,” Middle Eastern Technical University, or METU, President Ahmet Acar told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Once used in the art world to describe wealthy individuals who provided money for theatrical productions, the term business angel, also known as an investor angel, now refers to qualified, experienced and affluent businesspeople who provide capital, expertise, managerial assistance and a network for early-stage entrepreneurs to solve their initial financing problems and help establish their firms in the marketplace.

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With the rapid development of clean-energy technologies, what will our lives look like in the next 20 years? Are we going to be plugging in our cars soon? Will we have a smart meter in our home that tells us our washing machine is leaking?

These questions were posed at the end of a panel on clean energy at last week’s Private Equity Analyst Outlook conference. The panelists – a venture capital investor, a private equity investor and an energy lawyer – each gave their answers, as transcribed below. (For more coverage of this panel, check out this story in VentureWire about how strategic investors will be a major driver of clean-technology investment.)

Tucker Twitmyer, managing director, venture firm EnerTech Capital
From an end-consumers perspective, we think it looks remarkably the way it does today. People are just not interested in managing their daily energy consumption. They want to turn to switch on, wonder how the miracle happens, and enjoy all the benefits of cheap and available energy. And that actually informs a lot of what we do in our investing. In the end, the utilities win. They are regulated monopolies for some very fundamental reasons. And what you will see is – we think, not so much in-home displays – but the ability of central management and control through the electrical wires to reach down and observe and see those new solar arrays – we think hybrid cars more than pure electric – to see all those various things at the edge of this massive network and be able to integrate their vision and their decision making around these millions and billions of devices, as opposed to today where really the only thing they’re integrating is the large central power plant. So the changes will occur back to the core on the infrastructure side much more so than down to the consumer. But we’re all going to love our flat screen TVs and everything else in 20 years.

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The United States of Science: President's Budget Marks a Turning Point for ScienceWhen future American economic and science historians assess the course of the nation in the early 21st century, they might well identify February 1, 2010, as a landmark date. The reason is the juxtaposition of numbers in the Obama administration’s federal budget for fiscal year 2011, beginning this October. One set of numbers tackles the threat posed by ever-rising federal deficits to our country’s long-term stability, and the other set provides the financial wherewithal for sustained economic recovery based on science and education.

Behind the numbing fiscal calculations in the budget, the president faces up to the reality of a national government that must bring down a fiscal deficit that stretches as far as the eye can see. What is truly sobering is the possibility that our long-term budget challenges might lead to a crisis of confidence in the U.S. economy that could at some time not only wreak more havoc on the financial markets, but lead to the kind of unrest that fosters political extremism and international conflict. The steps taken by the Obama administration in the FY 2011 budget are the right way to go. The new budget will boost our economy in the short term to ensure tax revenues rise amid a broad economic recovery while also trimming government spending where it is least effective to bring down the deficit over the medium to long term.

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Kef KasdinThere is no shortage of technological development aimed at cleantech solutions. At academic institutions, nonprofit R&D facilities, and private and government-funded laboratories, researchers, scientists and engineers are working on innovations for alternative energy, batteries, biofuels, smart-grid and other energy-efficiency solutions, just to name a few.

The challenge for cleantech investors is identifying those inventions that can successfully address specific pain in the energy and environmental marketplaces and also offer strong potential for the market adoption that leads to successful commercialization.

Such scientific development is taking place at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories, where tens of thousands of scientists and engineers perform cutting-edge research in world-class facilities. In March 2009, the DOE announced $1.2 billion in new science funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for major construction, laboratory infrastructure, and research efforts sponsored across the nation by the DOE Office of Science, which manages 10 National Labs and funds research at another seven. (The Wall Street Journal reported on Nov. 25 that the total science office budget is now $4.76 billion.)

KEF IS A FELLOW NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SEED AND VENTURE CAPITAL (NASVF)  BOARD MEMBER AND GETS IT.

RICH BENDIS

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Patents ‘ American GreatnessWe all know what a patent is in general, but how much do you really know about patents and how they have shaped America? Our advances in technology here in America have surpassed that of all other countries combined. Many do not like to hear that, but it is a fact, and it has more to do with how America moved ahead of other countries economically than any other factor and still does today.

In this article, I will cover many of the advances made by American Inventors throughout our relatively short history compared to other countries.

Not all inventions that helped make America great were originated in America, but even those that were not invented and patented here, were put to better use here, like a way to produce steel in large quantities for instance. Originally patented by a British inventor named Henry Bessemer. He invented the Bessemer Converter or the Bessemer Process.

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