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.
Here are our biggest stories of the year, as determined by you, the VentureBeat readers, and where you clicked. The list covers some of 2009’s most important products, announcements, and ideas, but also includes posts that fell squarely into the “just for fun” column.
We’re counting down to the most popular stories of the year:
Emily Medina isn't running a pyramid scheme, despite what people often think. As the petite 26-year-old works her way through some of New York City's poorer neighborhoods, she approaches women selling food and trinkets on the street and offers to lend them money to grow their businesses. The organization Medina works for, Grameen, is one of the world's largest microfinance outfits and has a Nobel Prize to its name for this work. But in New York neighborhoods where loans to street vendors tend to come with interest rates north of 40%, it can take a while to build trust. "I didn't believe it until I had the $1,500 check in my hand," says jewelry seller Rosa Lopez.
Thirty years ago Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the Grameen franchise, started lending small sums to poor entrepreneurs in Bangladesh to help them grow from a subsistence living to a livelihood. His great discovery was that even with few assets, these entrepreneurs repaid on time. Grameen and microfinance have since become financial staples of the developing world, but by coming to the U.S. Grameen is taking on a different sort of challenge: one of the planet's richest countries. Yes, money may be tight in the waning recession, but this is still a nation of 100,000 bank branches.
Even before the current global meltdown, a New Age business model for entrepreneurs had emerged in the United States as a result of the convergence of four major factors: globalization, the Internet, knowledge and technology, and advancements in the understanding of entrepreneurship, management and leadership.
The development of the New Age entrepreneurial business model is a composite of research from a number of sources, including the Kauffman Foundation's 2008 State New Economy Index and my personal research and experiences in evaluating dynamic, high-growth ventures.
This business model includes two major components - a description of the New Age entrepreneur and the emergence of high-growth business ventures that achieve extraordinary results.
When you create your corporation and make it a legal entity in the principal State of Business, Nevada, or Delaware, one of the requirements is to Capitalize your company to give it value.
What this means is to create a number of shares (stock) in the company and give it a “par value” (which may be no par value). You are taxed based on this value until you start making revenue, etc.
Do you think you live in a state that encourages and supports entrepreneurism? You simply need to ask the Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) Council. Recently, the SBE Council released data announcing the top states that have the best climate for entrepreneurs to excel – and the results may surprise you!
The SBE’s Take on the Small Business Environment
Who is the SBE Council? The SBE Council is a non-partisan, non-profit small business advocacy group whose mission is to protect small businesses and promote entrepreneurship. Part of their mission is to educate lawmakers and elected officials, as well as the public, to advance policies and laws that make entrepreneurship easier.
In response to the terrorist bombing attempt on Christmas Day, Dutch officials have announced that they will begin using more full body scanners for United States-bound flights.
Security experts think that this technology could have detected the explosives Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was concealing when he successfully boarded Flight 253 to Detroit from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam.
But concerns have been raised that these full body scanners can reveal more than just explosives. Is improved security worth sacrificing your personal privacy?
Marketing to consumers’ cellphones has long been viewed as something of a holy grail by businesses – prized but always beyond reach. Recently however, new mobile technologies have gone mainstream, making the elusive goal of an always-on connection with customers firmly within reach of even the smallest business.
- There are four times the number of cellphones in the world versus PCs (4Bn vs. 1Bn) and 20% of all U.S. households are now “mobile-only”
- Over 130 Billion texts are sent each month, up from practically nothing in 2000
- Gen Yers (18-29) say their phone is the most important device they own
- According to multiple analysts, Mobile Marketing and Advertising will explode from just a couple hundred million dollars in revenues in 2008 to $3 – 5 Billion by 2012.
NanoScale is a private U.S. Corporation dedicated to the marketing, manufacturing and commercialization of nanotechnology products. In the past they’ve worked with clients in the government, the US army, the civilian population and scientific researchers. Not only do they develop nano-materials, but they also write and publish numerous nanoscience papers. Based out of Kansas State University, this corporation is world-renowned for their decontamination and environmental remediation solutions, in particular.
Over the past 14 years, NanoScale Corporation has been recognized as the leading nanotechnology company in America. Since 1995, their company has won more than 10 SBIR Bridge Awards and two KTEC Applied Research Matching Funds awards given out by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation. KTEC explained, “NanoScale synthesizes reactive nano-particles, which are composed of tiny clusters of atoms that have unusual chemical and physical properties. These nano-particles aggressively interact with and break up other molecules. The potential for commercial applications includes detoxification of hazardous chemicals, odor control, air and water filtration, drug delivery, improving sun protection and skin care products, protection systems for microchips, and more. The total market size for nanotechnology products and services, as projected by various U. S. industry associations, will be $1 trillion annually in 10 to 15 years.”
In the early 1990’s, traffic in Los Angeles was so horrendous, it could take hours to travel a dozen miles. Commuting was a nightmare and the last thing anyone wanted to do was sit in more traffic. At that time, single people would always have that elemental question in the back of their minds whenever they met a prospective date – are we Geographically Compatible (GC)?
The sweet spot:
I recall many a magical conversation ending with that mutual inevitable shrug of the shoulders; a secret code for “have a nice life”. In Los Angeles, GC peaked in the sweet spot of 1-6 miles. After that, GC diminished roughly proportional to the square of distance with 20 miles as an absolute maximum. Any more was no closer or farther than, say, Nashville.
In the 2009 economic climate, as angels and venture capitalists tightened their grip on the rope, companies seeking funding found themselves playing by a new set of rules. So what’s the state of the playing field today, and what can entrepreneurs expect from investors in the coming year?
Karen Bantuveris entered the spring of 2009 hopeful that her company VolunteerSpot would receive the $450K in seed funding that would take it to the next level. But when the Texas-based startup actually did receive a bite from a local angel group, it decided to decline, and instead to create and go with a plan B.
“We were offered a Series A (the name typically given to a company's first significant round of venture funding) in the spring. Their terms were not acceptable to us. They wanted a lot of control for not enough money,” she said.
Before you celebrate New Year's Eve, invest in a few minutes of tax planning. True, taxes might not bring thoughts of confetti in the air or New Year's kisses, but making use of these seven strategies can go a long way in reducing your tax burden.
1) Establish retirement plans.
2) Invest in an IRA.
3) Defer Income
4) Spend, spend, spend.
5) Give to charity.
6) Prepay taxes, (maybe).
7) Visit the doctor.
8) Review your portfolio.
Choosing the short route left them snow bound, cell phone GPS saved them
GRANTS PASS, Ore. - A Nevada couple letting their SUV's navigation system guide them through the high desert of Eastern Oregon got stuck in snow for three days when the GPS unit sent them down a remote forest road.
On Sunday, atmospheric conditions apparently changed enough for their GPS-enabled cell phone to get a weak signal and relay coordinates to a dispatcher, Klamath County Sheriff Tim Evinger said.
"GPS almost did 'em in and GPS saved 'em," Evinger said. "It will give you options to pick the shortest route. You certainly get the shortest route. But it may not be a safe route."