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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.

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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MANILA, Oct. 10 — In the aftermath of storm “Ondoy,” microfinance will play a key role in the rehabilitation of Metro Manila, which accounts for a third of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

Instead of the short-term benefits of dole-outs, microfinance is considered globally as a critical tool in fighting poverty.

In the Philippines, where 40 percent in a population of 92 million are poor, microfinance extends easy credit to entrepreneurs, among them: meat and vegetable vendors in public markets and sidewalk sellers of garments, toys, and household goods. Microfinance enables them to earn enough for their families and for the education of their children.

 

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One of the most interesting topics of the evening was reverse innovation. Radjou explained that traditionally, new technologies and gadgets were produced in the developed world, and then exported and adapted to developing markets. Now, that is changing. Because the growth potential for lots of industries is now in developing countries such as India and China, innovation is shifting: new things are now invented for developing markets, and then imported and adapted to the quirks of developed nations.

Radjou used GE as an example to explain the reverse innovation phenomenon. When he explained the concept, the first thing that came into my head was… mobile, of course.

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SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Disappointed investors who threatened to abandon venture capital have carried through, sending the number of new funds tumbling and signaling a smaller industry with fewer venture capitalists.

In the first three quarters of this year, only 86 U.S. funds raised money, according to data compiled by the Venture Capital Journal and the National Venture Capital Association

It the trend is maintained, by year's end there will be somewhere between 104 and 118 new funds.

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AKRON, Ohio -- Milking algae for oil. Insuring the family pet. Regenerating tissue in damaged hearts.

These are concepts driving early-stage companies in Northeast Ohio, whose promise of fast growth has drawn money and guidance from JumpStart Inc.

The regional, venture-development organization celebrated entrepreneurship Friday with 500 business, elected and nonprofit leaders. They attended JumpStart's fifth annual community meeting at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron, and applauded as JumpStart Chief Executive Ray Leach accepted a national award recognizing the nonprofit group's economic development efforts.

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"Kosovo should create an environment for development sustainable and competitive businesses including in major world markets and it is not something unachievable," said on Thursday the representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) during the promotion of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development - CEED Kosovo.

Kosovo has become the seventh country in the Balkans with this kind of center that has started its work on Thursday through which Kosovar enterprises will be supported for creating a climate more favorable in view of establishing sustainable and competitive businesses in the Republic of Kosovo, and abroad.

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Technology transfer lets you shop for existing technology and commercialize it yourself, but such programs can be risky

If you just can't come up with a great idea for your next venture, you can shop for one. So-called technology transfer lets you license existing technology from a university or federal laboratory and then use your own resources to commercialize it. These sorts of programs can be great options, but they're very risky. And it can take years before a product derived from the technology starts to bring in cash.

But the biggest question is whether you personally are a good fit for tech transfer. David Allen, associate vice-president for technology transfer at the University of Colorado, says the ideal candidate is an experienced entrepreneur with a solid understanding of the technology they'll be bringing to market. That's not to say newcomers can't make a go of it—if they can find a way to fill that knowledge gap. Kris Appel was with the National Security Agency for 17 years, but she always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In 2005 she saw a flyer for a program at the University of Maryland that helps women entrepreneurs exploit technology-related opportunities. "I never would have tried this without the program," Appel says.

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Think of this recession as a monstrous hurricane that swept through the job market and is still wreaking havoc. The latest unemployment rate for California is a knee-buckling 12.2 percent, the highest since World War II.

The job market nationwide is the worst it has been in 70 years, noted Robert Reich, the former labor secretary, during one of several conversations that I had with him over the past week. He dismissed the upbeat talk of “green shoots” sprouting in the devastated economic landscape and the dreamy notion that recovery is no longer just around the corner, it’s here.

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Entrepreneurs who want to raise angel funding can approach three types of potential investors: individuals, angel networks, and angel funds.

Individual angels are wealthy people looking to invest in private companies on their own. Angel networks are affiliated groups of individual investors who meet regularly to consider potential deals, but invest individually rather than as a group. Angel funds are groups of investors who pool money to invest together, usually alongside extra investments from individual members.

There’s some indication that the last type is on the rise. Of the last 14 angel groups that joined the Angel Capital Association, half of them have organized funds, according to John Huston, the group’s chairman, who visited BW in New York this week. On average, only 20% of the ACA’s existing member groups have angel funds, he says.

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I define innovation as any change in a process or service which creates incremental value for a customer. Notice the definition does not include any reference to technology. Technology by itself is not innovative unless applied to a process or service a customer cares about.

How do you know if something is innovative? Easy. Ask yourself, “Did this change create value for my customer?” The opposite of innovation is the status quo. I find it amusing that Ronald Regan defined “status quo” as Latin for “the mess we are in.” Which seems appropriate. Innovation always involves change.

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