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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.

In its third year, the Kansas Pipeline Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program continued its mission to provide some of the state’s most promising startups with the right foundation for further growth.

Executives from eight Kansas businesses were chosen from hundreds of applications and put through a series of quarterly three-day education sessions on subjects ranging from ways to organize their finances to how to improve how they communicate their business to customers and potential investors.

I HAD THE PRIVILEDGE TO BE A NATIONAL JUDGE FOR THE KANSAS PIPELINE iNNOVATOR OF THE YEAR PROGRAM. I PERSONALLY SERVE AS A JUDGE FOR SEVERAL BUSINESS PLAN OR ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAMS AND BELIEVE THAT THE PIPELINE, YEAR LONG IMMERSION PROGRAM, IS ONE OF THE BEST ENTREPRENEURIAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAMS IN AMERICA.THIS PROGRAM COULD BENEFIT MANY STATES REGIONS AND COUNTRIES. JONI COBB, ITS PRESIDENT AND CEO, IS WILLING TO DISCUSS SUCH EXPANSION IDEAS WITH THOSE THAT DESIRE TO CREATE A MORE ROBUST ENTREPRENEURIAL ECOSYSTEM. CHECKOUT HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RECENT INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR PROGRAM WITH THE FOLLOWING BRIEF VIDEO.

RICH BENDIS

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Photo Credit: Maye Webb AS they marvel at Apple’s new iPad tablet computer, the technorati seem to be focusing on where this leaves Amazon’s popular e-book business. But the much more important question is why Microsoft, America’s most famous and prosperous technology company, no longer brings us the future, whether it’s tablet computers like the iPad, e-books like Amazon’s Kindle, smartphones like the BlackBerry and iPhone, search engines like Google, digital music systems like iPod and iTunes or popular Web services like Facebook and Twitter.

Some people take joy in Microsoft’s struggles, as the popular view in recent years paints the company as an unrepentant intentional monopolist. Good riddance if it fails. But those of us who worked there know it differently. At worst, you can say it’s a highly repentant, largely accidental monopolist. It employs thousands of the smartest, most capable engineers in the world. More than any other firm, it made using computers both ubiquitous and affordable. Microsoft’s Windows operating system and Office applications suite still utterly rule their markets.

The company’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, has continued to deliver huge profits. They totaled well over $100 billion in the past 10 years alone and help sustain the economies of Seattle, Washington State and the nation as a whole. Its founder, Bill Gates, is not only the most generous philanthropist in history, but has also inspired thousands of his employees to give generously themselves. No one in his right mind should wish Microsoft failure.

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The new book Innovation, Intellectual Property, and Economic Growth, by
Christine Greenhalgh & Mark Rogers, looks interesting:

What drives innovation? How does it contribute to the growth of firms, industries, and economies? And do intellectual property rights help or hurt innovation and growth? Uniquely combining microeconomics, macroeconomics, and theory with empirical analysis drawn from the United States and Europe, this book introduces graduate students and advanced undergraduates to the complex process of innovation. By addressing all the major dimensions of innovation in a single text, Christine Greenhalgh and Mark Rogers are able to show how outcomes at the microlevel feed through to the macro-outcomes that in turn determine personal incomes and job opportunities.

From a quick skim of ch. 1 (available here), it appears to adopt a mainstream approach--finding out whether there is market failure or a public goods problem (see Hans-Hermann Hoppe's "Fallacies of the Public Goods Theory and the
Production of Security," in The Economics and Ethics of Private Property for criticism of the concept of "public goods"), and then asking whether we can fix it with some kind of state invervention. The same old "the market is not perfect, so let's let the thugs with guns have more power" song and dance.

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UnLearning in ProgressOne of the reasons why many startups fail to cross the chasm is founder’s ability to unlearn and relearn.

If you have been working in corporate world, you were used to certain ways of conducting business, a certain respect that you commanded in the industry (especially with vendors).

And the moment you step out of your designation, you lose all of the softer perks associated with the designation.

When you start-up, you again have to build the same level of credibility – you were earlier respected as ‘Engineering Manager @ BIG firm’ and now, you need to build credibility as ‘Founder of an unknown company’.

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President Obama and NFTE award winnersPresident Obama may be talking tough with Wall Street, but on one issue they both agree: They like the nonpartisan Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), an organization dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurship among youth in low-income communities.
President Obama and NFTE award winners

NFTE, founded in 1987 by Steve Mariotti, a businessman and teacher from the toughest, most crime-ridden schools in New York City, has tapped into goodwill from all sides of the political spectrum for a cause that counts.

Mariotti discovered that the best way to put at-risk kids’ feet on the right path -- the path to real ownership and success -- is by teaching them how to become business owners.

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US infantary in AfghanistanNot previously known as a driving force for green developments, the US Department of Defense (DoD) is increasingly looking for renewable energy technologies for use on its bases.

The Department has established programmes to help find and develop technologies from the private sector for its use.

The move is part of an overhaul of the DoD's energy use, announced in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Report, published this month.

"The Department will… speed innovative energy and conservation technologies from laboratories to military end users. The Environmental Security and Technology Certification Program uses military installations as a testbed to demonstrate and create a market for innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies coming out of the private sector and DoD and Department of Energy laboratories… The Department is improving small-scale energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at military installations through our Energy Conservation Investment Program," says the QDR Report.

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EconomyMoneyAs one looks around the economic landscape I am struck by the devastation. One number stands out above all others. One in five males between the ages of 25 and 55 is out of work! That is a staggering number. The numbers are not going back to anything “normal” anytime soon according to the IMF. Financial crises followed by recessions do not return to normal levels of employment for over a decade. Why you might ask? The answer I guess is that the levels of debt need to be worked down. Everyone owes everyone money and none pay anyone. Second, the recession destroys real capital. In this situation it was housing. It will take years to work off the excesses of the housing crisis.

So what does entrepreneurship have to do with the recession? If we take what we know today, entrepreneurs and innovation play a vital role in the economy. But can they help us in the great recession? In other words, what policy should we be pursuing to move the unemployment rate below 10 percent and back into the neighborhood of 5 percent? We know that new firms are important. They create most of the net jobs. However, only a small percent, perhaps 4 percent, create almost all of the jobs in any given four-year period. And this seems to hold up in different times, different countries, and different industries.

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Carmen Scott Dawson was living the good life. He was No. 1 in sales nationally for his Washington, D.C.-based, multi-national communications company, living with his buddies in a $2 million-plus home, and enjoying everything that comes with being young and successful. Then he developed Lyme disease, which went undiagnosed, rendering his hands useless and severely hampering his ability to walk.

Now, almost a decade later, when Dawson talks about what he does, he says proudly: “I’m a disabled entrepreneur.” Back in his hometown of Erie, Dawson is building his own communications and business development firm, AdVanz LLC, and looking to build entrepreneurial resources and networks for minorities, the disabled, immigrants, urban poor, and veterans--populations not always immediately associated with entrepreneurism, but many times among the most well-suited.

AdVanz has served as the state’s director for National Entrepreneurship Week the last three years and also for Global Entrepreneurship Week in 2008. Last week he launched a statewide entrepreneurial mentoring and technical service campaign called UnleashPA, which will run through Feb. 27, the last day of National Entrepreneurship Week. Dawson will be identifying and enlisting 100 mentors to be part of a statewide entrepreneurship leadership team. His Adreamz Institute and Training Center, established through the Cisco Entrepreneurship Institutes, is the first of its kind in North America. Dawson also unveiled his UnleashErie program, with programs at the Booker T. Washington Center and the Urban Erie Development Corporation, among others. He hopes to replicate the program throughout the state, and his supporters include Team PA Foundation CEO Rich Hudic.

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guardian.co.uk homeThe Guardian's Dan Roberts speaks to Harvard's Josh Lerner about entrepreneurship and venture capital

In an extended interview, Josh Lerner, professor of investment banking at Harvard Business School, discusses the role of government in entrepreneurship and venture capital.

The Guardian's head of business Dan Roberts also asks him about the role of Asian economies, teaching business ethics and if the global investment banking system is in need of reform.

Prof Lerner's book Boulevard of Broken Dreams is out now.

Have a listen to the podcast, and post your comments on the blog below.

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USTAR is publishing a new kind of annual report, one that’s in “bite-sized” pieces you might have time to read. We’ll be adding chapters over the next few weeks. Today’s edition covers the USTAR Technology Outreach and Innovation Program.

163 companies assisted. $9.73 million in capital raised.

The Technology Outreach program aims to expand the benefit of USTAR beyond the major research universities to the entire state. In 2009, Technology Outreach worked with 163 companies in 18 counties to help them connect with university research and expand their businesses. In particular, early stage technology companies face a challenge finding capital investment. Even in a tough investing climate, USTAR helped innovation-based startups secure $9.73 million in 2009

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Venture capitalists often invest in start-ups whose business models are dependent on Internet traffic, or in companies whose technology is geared toward delivering those eyeballs. But how good are VC firms at bringing in their own Web site traffic?

Larry Cheng, a partner at Volition Capital (formerly Fidelity Ventures), has ranked 150 venture firms based on their Web sites’ average monthly unique visitors for the fourth quarter, as scored by Compete. This is the second list of its kind compiled by Cheng, who has previously ranked individual VC blogs using the same data.

So who’s at No. 1? It’s not Sequoia Capital, perhaps the best-known venture firm, which ranks at No. 2 with 22,441 uniques. Nor is it the venerable Bessemer Venture Partners, famous for publishing an “anti-portfolio,” coming in at No. 3 (14,825).

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BRUSSELS, February 4 /PRNewswire/ --

- http://www.realeconomyfuel.eu

A new website goes live today that provides a forum for a much-needed debate around the role of private equity and venture capital in the real economy.

The site http://www.realeconomyfuel.eu is part of a campaign by the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association "EVCA" (http://www.ecva.eu) to encourage an informed discussion about the real role of the asset class within Europe.

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