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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 the glory days of the digital photo frame business, when his products were still a novelty and shoppers were flush with cash, getting a bank loan to manufacture them was a cinch, Michael Levy says.

“We would say: ‘We got a $1 million order from the Sharper Image. We need financing. With a snap of the fingers, the guy drove down to my office, we’d sign a document, he’d give us the money,” Mr. Levy recalls, sitting in the Deer Park, Long Island, office of the Media Street Group that he runs with his brother, Norm.

But like many other business owners, Mr. Levy saw his prospects change drastically in 2008 as the financial crisis unfolded. The Sharper Image and several other top customers filed for bankruptcy, and Mr. Levy found himself scrambling to keep the business afloat.

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Today, President Obama announced details of his plan to grow jobs, first outlined in his State of the Union address. One of his leading proposals is providing tax credits of up to $5,000 to businesses for every new employee they hire in 2010.

Bill Milliken co-owns the Portland Market House, a purveyor of specialty foods in the city's downtown. He hopes that Congress will approve the president's plan. "It's $5,000 bucks. I don't know about all these big corporations, but for me as a small business owner, $5,000, whether it's help with wages or anything else is a substantial amount of money."

Milliken and his partner opened a coffee shop in the Market House in December, and just hired a fourth employee. They're thinking about hiring a fifth.
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WSJOne of the most exhilarating but also most difficult things about creating a start-up from scratch and trying to nurture it to success is the feeling that everything is tied up in your company - not just your heart and soul, but all your financial hopes too.

At least on the financial side, First Round Capital is trying to help entrepreneurs stressed out by “all-eggs-in-one-basket” syndrome - it has announced a pooled fund for founders in its portfolio companies.

The founders of First Round companies will be able to contribute a small portion of their company stock to the First Round Capital Entrepreneur’s Exchange fund and in return will receive an interest in all the other companies that participate. When any one of the companies in the fund reaches an exit, all the entrepreneurs involved will benefit.

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My PhotoSuppyChainBrain - A new study by global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, Delivering Technology Innovations, finds that while industry leaders overwhelmingly acknowledge the value of IT as an important strategic differentiator, investment in IT innovation misses target levels more than 75 percent of the time. Moreover, although innovation accounted for 30 percent of the average IT budget in 1999, it has fallen to less than half of that -- 14 percent -- in the subsequent 10 years.

The study found that IT innovations were adding value in virtually every aspect of a business, from sales and marketing through R&D and product development, manufacturing and supply chain, and even mergers and acquisitions. Yet a successful IT program does not come easily, and the study identifies the greatest IT growth barriers as complexity, inconsistent data, and excessive time spent on daily activities. Further, it finds that the lack of effective enterprise integration and a limited incubator environment are the two most important reasons why IT innovation projects fail.
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It’s a good time to be an angel: With venture capital in the dumps, Bay Area angel investing groups say the quantity and quality of potential deals coming through the door is up as entrepreneurs are forced to look for alternatives.

“We’re getting some very interesting deal flow that would have gone to traditional venture capitalists in the past,” said Randy Williams, founder and CEO of the Keiretsu Forum, which has 350 members in Northern California. “What’s happening is the venture capitalists are focused on existing companies and the limited partners are not giving them additional capital.”

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Where now for European innovation strategy?This article about European innovation strategy was published by EurActiv on 29th January 2010.

Plans to unveil an Innovation Act in time for the spring meeting of EU leaders have been stalled while the new European Commission beds down and looks at broadening the scope of the strategy.

The document is now expected to be published in June and will fit into the ‘EU 2020′ strategy for growth and jobs. By that time, a clearer picture will also have emerged of the roles of the new European commissioners.

The first clear sign of a delay came when MEPs grilled incoming Industry Commissioner Antonio Tajani at his parliamentary hearing earlier this month.
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As Florida embraces “economic gardening,” a concept first advanced in Colorado and becoming an accepted principle of economic development, much of the initial activity will take place across the Florida High Tech Corridor ... working to see that second-stage companies have the resources necessary to build the state’s economy. • The Florida High Tech Corridor is fertile ground, according to economic gar- dening expert Steve Quello. “Gardening is about serving growth-oriented companies of all sectors. Technology companies tend to create more high-wage, high-value jobs which means focusing on the High Tech Corridor is a good place to start.”

Companies in the Corridor are already creating new technologies, and Florida can capitalize on technologies ready to be transferred from its established research universities, Quello observes. “Visionaries in the Florida Legislature have said it is time to be there to support growth companies at the second stage of development,” Quello says, “and the potential for return on investment in the High Tech Corridor is very high.”

Quello was an early advocate of the concept in Florida, urging leaders to consider investing in second-stage development. He has served as an advisor to the Edward Lowe Foundation of Michigan, advancing their mission of supporting entrepreneur- ship and second-stage businesses, and worked closely with Chris Gibbons ... consid- ered “the co-founder” of the economic gardening movement. Gibbons, of Littleton, Colo., helped create and refine practices now in place throughout the country in communities ranging from California to New Mexico, Indiana and Georgia.

“Florida has been wise to protect the focus on the stage-specific needs of growth companies. This aspect of the Florida economic gardening pilot is unique when com- pared to other related initiatives that we’ve observed across the nation,” says Mark Lange, executive director of the Edward Lowe Foundation.

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socalTechVenture capital firm First Round Capital, the early stage venture fund whose Managing Directors include Idealab's Howard Morgan, said last night that it has created its own startup exchange fund, a fund which allows the founders of the firm's various startups to diversify their investments and share in the success of the company's portfolio. The fund allows founders of First Round Cpaital's portfolio firms to contribute some of their equity into a central pool, and share in any exit success of others who also participate in the fund. The fund is similar to Startup Exchange, a fund run by Michael Barton, which strives to do the same thing across venture firm lines. First Round Capital said the new fund is only available to its portfolio firms. First Round's local portfolio firms include GumGum, Dayak, Kidzui, Techforward, and OpenX, and Howard Morgan sits on the boards of Internet Brands, Energy Innovations, Evolution Robotics Retail, and Snap.com
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Stanford UniversitySINGAPORE, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- A new training program called Singapore-Stanford Biodesign was established here on Friday, aiming to train the next generation of Asian leaders who can develop innovative medical devices to address Asia's growing healthcare needs.

The program was set up by the Stanford University Biodesign Program and Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology & Research (A*STAR), and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

The Singapore program will provide a fellowship for four Asian fellows to go to Stanford for six months of training in the Biodesign process.
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Coral reefs aren't just beautiful and rich in species. They also have long served as an evolutionary wellspring for countless types of marine life, even groups such as clams and snails that researchers thought had originated in shallow coastal waters. That's the conclusion of a new examination of the fossil record, and the findings reinforce the idea that evolutionary potential is linked to the environment.

Coral reefs are well-known hot spots for biodiversity, but scientists have assumed that many types of reef-dwelling animals had migrated from other ecosystems, such as shallow coastal waters. Paleontologist and lead author Wolfgang Kiessling of the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin initially shared that assumption. But spurred by older studies of reefs and hints from the genetics of fishes, he took a closer look.
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A comprehensive look at the scientific, commercial and economic development accomplishments in New York City's growing bioscience industry during the past year

WHAT'S INSIDE

  • Funding successes and advancements made by bioscience companies in NYC
  • Science highlights from NYC's top academic medical centers
  • Chronicle of the City's commitment to the biotech sector

This report captures the momentum of New York  City's bioscience cluster and outlines the City's key initiatives, including developing commercial lab space, incentive programs and supporting industry events for the sector.

CLick here to download the full report: Link to report

01/29/10 - Gov. Charlie Crist announces his budget priorities for the 2010–2011 fiscal year.TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Charlie Crist Friday laid out his budget priorities for Florida’s 2010–2011 fiscal year.

Three big ‘E’s’ -- Education, Environmental protection and Economic recovery -- were among the biggest recipients for state funding under the governor’s proposed budget.
Environment

Crist said he planned to dedicate $2.1 billion to protecting the state’s natural resources, including $50 million each for Everglades restoration and the Florida Forever program.

An additional $167.6 million would go toward wastewater and drinking water initiatives, while solar tax rebates would receive $10 million.
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