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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.

imageHelp 25 of the top high school innovators design the future! On March 29th, the Spirit of Innovation Awards challenges YOU to vote for your favorite teams and help select this year's "Pete Conrad Scholars!"

Over the past 6 months, 25 finalist teams have created real products to solve some of the grand challenges facing society. From the depths of the oceans to the edges of space, these students will knock your socks off! Piezo-electric wallpaper, robotic astronaut assistants, advanced water purification systems, and Navajo Solar "Frybread" ovens; these are just a few of the amazing products high school students are designing.

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In India, it is easier to raise two million dollars than it is to raise $200,000.

As the country’s growth story attracts more interest globally, the number of funds and the amount of growth capital available to private companies here is unprecedented.

But there are only a handful of professionally managed, genuine early stage venture capital funds - those targeting pre-revenue, unproven businesses - in India with an aggregate of about $150 million or so under management.

Organized angel investing (an affluent individual who provides investment for a startup) is a very recent phenomenon too, with a handful of companies earning only about $8 million in the last few years.

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Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the EU's commissioner for research, innovation and science, believes that the bloc's target of spending 3% of GDP on research and development (R&D) must remain in place if Europe is to put itself firmly on the road to economic recovery.

The new commissioner acknowledged current debates surrounding the 3% R&D objective but insisted that now is the wrong time to make cutbacks in a sector that is underperforming in many EU member states.

Geoghegan-Quinn was delivering the keynote address on Friday (5 March) at the Lisbon Council's 2010 Innovation Summit, her first major speech as innovation commissioner since the European Parliament hearing in January.

Speaking about the 3% target, she said, ''I know that this is controversial. But I believe that it should stay. Research ministers have told me in clear terms that its existence has strengthened their hand in their dealings with their finance ministers […] Now is exactly the wrong moment to remove this discipline.''

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altThe DC Council recently passed a resolution recognizing the significant contributions of TBED21, Inc., an organization dedicated to keeping the District economically competitive in the 21st century, with a strong focus on underdeveloped and disadvantaged communities.

The text of the Ceremonial Resolution, introduced by At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown, is as follows:

TBED21 Readiness Recognition Resolution of 2010

To recognize the need to ensure that the District of Columbia is economically competitive in the twenty-first century and to acknowledge the significant contributions of TBED21, Inc., in efforts to integrate policy and federal funding opportunities for the nation’s capital.

WHEREAS, the Council of the District of Columbia recognizes the need to develop a more integrated policy and programmatic agenda towards technology-based economic development that ensures the District of Columbia’s economic competitiveness in the 21st century;

WHEREAS, Technology Based Economic Development for the 21st Century -TBED21, Inc., recognizes the District of Columbia as an economically vibrant 21st century knowledge city with a diverse citizenry representing countries from around the world;

WHEREAS, TBED21, Inc. has proposed ideas to the Government of the District of Columbia, including Office of the Mayor and District agencies: Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development; Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education; Office of the State Superintendent for Education; University of the District of Columbia and its Community College;

WHEREAS, TBED21, Inc. has engaged various federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Labor to assist the development of a 21st century tech-based economic development agenda for the District of Columbia;

WHEREAS, TBED21, Inc. has made tremendous strides in coordinating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education, STEM workforce development, entrepreneurship, innovation, tech-based commercialization and entrepreneurship in the District of Columbia;

RESOLVED, BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, that this resolution may be cited as the “TBED21 Readiness Recognition Resolution of 2010”.

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Credit Suisse logoResearch Triangle Park, N.C. — Credit Suisse will manage the new $230 million North Carolina Innovation Fund, N.C. State Treasurer Janet Cowell announced Monday at an event in Durham.

The funds are to be invested in companies that have primary operations in North Carolina.

The fund had been announced initially at being worth a total of $250 million.

Credit Suisse has a large operation in Research Triangle Park where it is in the process of adding about 300 employees, primarily in information technology, to its work force of about 1,000.

The banking conglomerate is based in Switzerland.

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Below is the list of Quotes from some of the well known Tech Gurus who has revolutionized the world of Internet by their innovation. I have collected Quotes from all over the internet but posted only those which are worth reading so go ahead and read what these brilliant minds have to say. Quotes listed include Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and many others.

bill gates 45 Must Read Quotes By Famous Tech Innovators 1. There are people who don’t like capitalism, and people who don’t like PCs. But there’s no-one who likes the PC who doesn’t like Microsoft.

2. Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

3. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

4. If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.

5. We are not even close to finishing the basic dream of what the PC can be.

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Nine Tips for Open InnovationLast week, I [Stefan Lindegaard] attended an open innovation session led by General Mills. Among the distributed materials, I found nine tips for open innovation by Peter Erickson, their Sr. VP of Innovation, Technology and Quality.

The tips are based on General Mills’ successful collaborations with external innovators. I like them and since I believe they are universal, I want to share them with the open innovation community. Here they are:

• Create a differentiated opportunity. Be prepared to articulate how your product, idea or technology is unique and better than anything on the market.

• Test your innovation. You’ll be able to speak to market interest and consumer or retailer reaction if you’ve previously placed your innovation before these audiences.

• Be selective. Avoid courting multiple corporate partners. Companies want to know you are as dedicated to them as they are to you.

• Find a contact to be your champion. Within a large company it’s essential to have a “tour guide” which is why all of General Mills’  external partners are matched with specific employees.

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Researchers at Stanford University have just made a major breakthrough that may impact the technology industry for years to come: they've built a better battery. The project, an attempt to use lithium-sulfur in place of the lithium-ion technology that is used in batteries today, has been in development since 2007. Recently, the scientists' efforts were rewarded when they created a battery that lasts four times as long as its lithium-ion counterparts while also having the benefit of being "significantly safer" than today's batteries which occasionally explode after short-circuiting.

Although still a ways off from commercial viability (and availability), the lithium-sulfur batteries promise advances like 80% more capacity, 10 times the power density and, theoretically, the ability to last four times as long as modern batteries.

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PhiladelphiaIt used to be, if you were serious about starting a tech company, you went to Silicon Valley. But emerging entrepreneurial hubs around the country are giving startup aspirants options. In this series, we talk to leading figures in those communities about what makes them tick. Here, part nine in our series.

When you look around the country, you see that second-generation entrepreneurs play a big role in thriving communities. They serve as mentors, cheerleaders and early capital sources. Philadelphia is an exception to the rule. Because despite a Web 1.0 legacy of hits like CDNow (acquired by Bertelsmann in 2000 for $117 million), (acquired by eBay in 2000), e-commerce company GSI ($1.55 billion market cap) and VerticalNet (valued at $12 billion in 1999), the city is mainly driven by first-generation entrepreneurs and few of them have hit a serious scale or impact yet.

But what Philadelphia's current startup scene lacks in experience it makes up for in enthusiasm. Blake Jennelle, a self-appointed leader of the community, founder of Philly Startup Leaders and a serial entrepreneur (Anthillz, TicketLeap), calls it a "self-help ethos." That sounds about right for a place known as the City of Brotherly Love.

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Photo By maubrowncowThe other day, I came across a heated forum discussion that went back and forth debating over the definition of a “true” entrepreneur versus just a regular small business owner. The thread was over 5 pages long and participating in this discussion were a wide variety of different business owners. Some of them ran brick and mortar retail stores. Some of them ran small-medium sized internet consulting or software companies. And some of them were freelancers looking to eventually start their own firms.

The main crux of the debate was whether a person opening a brick and mortar business like an ice cream store or a freelancer with no employees could be considered a true entrepreneur. Where do you draw the line between true entrepreneurship and just running a small business?

As the two sides argued back and forth, I couldn’t help but think…who the heck cares? Why are you guys wasting your time on such a stupid topic and who are you to define what a “true” entrepreneur is? As the discussion progressed, the small brick and mortar business owners as well as the freelancers were clearly getting miffed because they were being excluded from the entrepreneurship category. Since when did entrepreneurship become a club?

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US veteran "angel" investor Bill Payne has put US$1.5 million (NZ$2m) into about 50 technology start-ups during the past 30 years and reckons he has achieved an average annualised return of 20 per cent to 25 per cent, thanks mainly to "four really nice exits".

Now he is spending five months in New Zealand as "entrepreneur in residence" at Auckland University, sponsored by BNZ and other businesses, trying to pass on what he learnt along the way to entrepreneurs and other angels. Last year he won the US Angel Capital Association's highest honour, the Hans Severiens Award.

Funding options for entrepreneurs include using their own savings or mortgaging their homes, borrowing or accepting investments from friends and family, "organically" growing their businesses by reinvesting profits from early sales, and seeking out angel investment or venture capital.

Mr Payne says no-one knows how much money entrepreneurs invest in their own companies. "We do know that in the United States about 500,000 companies are formed each year, and what we have found out recently - which shocked me - is that friends and family invest about three times as much annually as angels and venture capital funds."

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“We’re in a crisis, and there is an opportunity to reinvent our energy infrastructure; it would be a folly to waste it.”

I [Eric Wesoff] wrote a mildly antagonistic profile of star investor Vinod Khosla last week as part of our "Green Kingpins" series.  Mr. Khosla responded with a well-thought-out and reasonable rebuttal, which we print here in its entirety.

To review the issues you raised:

Khosla is somewhat of a contrarian and can always be counted on to say
something that doesn't agree with the conventional wisdom. Actually
sometimes he says things that don't agree with things he's said.

Absolutely -- especially the latter line. I've always maintained that all  forecasts are wrong -- including mine, as I stated at the ARPA-E conference last week. The ability to learn from mistakes is an importantone. That being said, I think the examples you cite do not meet the threshold of disagreeing with myself.

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