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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.

Pro Mujer, an organization that funds microcredit cooperatives in Latin America, also provides women’s health screenings, using a special van retrofitted with medical consultation rooms and staffed by a nurse and doctor. The vans travel into remote parts of southern Peru, combining financial help with preventative health care and education.

Women in Peru get health care during meetings of their microcredit group in a program of Pro Mujer, a non-profit supported by Seattle-based Global Partnerships. The van combines mobile banking with health services to rural areas.. It’s based on a simple fact that people who are poor tend to get sick, and people who are sick easily become poor, or deeper in debt.

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The idea of small, capital-efficient venture funds is resonating so strongly among technology investors that it has spawned a support group.

Operating largely under the radar, about 30 small, up-and-coming venture firms have been meeting annually for the last four years to discuss matters of mutual concern.

The latest of these invitation-only events was last week in New York. The conference was called VC2.0, which pretty much sums up how members think their philosophy relates to venture investing, at least on the technology side.

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Twitter, the fashionable microblogging service, is set to close a round of financing of around $100 million that values the three-and-a-half-year-old start-up at $1 billion, according to a person briefed on the company’s plans.

The investors include Insight Venture Partners, a New York venture capital firm, T. Rowe Price, the mutual fund company, and the current Twitter backers Spark Capital and Institutional Venture Partners.

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This morning Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced the creation of a new office for entrepreneurship and innovation. The announcement was first made during a CNBC interview (see below - note that the interview covered a number of other issues as well, including G-20 protesters and health care).
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Innovation as a driver of worldwide economic recovery and growth is the key theme at the Fifth Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, a gathering of top CEOs and world leaders that opened on Sept. 22 in New York and continues through Friday, Sept. 25. "We need new businesses to unleash new innovations," said President Barack Obama, citing the world's economic downturn in his address to the crowd on Tuesday evening. "We need new collaborations to advance prosperity." The President's speech was meant to help set the tone of the entire conference and followed on the heels of the White House's Sept. 21 release of a white paper outlining a national innovation strategy.

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You may think street smarts are enough to be a successful entrepreneur, but these top entrepreneurship programs are giving students the practical and theoretical knowledge they need to succeed in any venture. The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine surveyed more than 700 undergraduate and business schools about their offerings in entrepreneurship.

The survey included questions covering everything from mentoring, experiential learning and specific course offerings to alumni successes and career prospects of current students. Schools that ranked high demonstrated a commitment to entrepreneurship both inside and outside the classroom and had faculty, students and alumni actively involved and successful in entrepreneurial endeavors.

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As of Oct. 1, all they can do is await the decision. The quality of their business plans, the depth of their experience and the strength of their character will be for others to deliberate.

Six will be chosen. Possibly twice as many more will, like “fired” apprentices on Donald Trump’s reality TV show, snap shut their briefcases and exit the stage empty-handed.

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Talking Innovation at the Clinton Global Initiative
The unique ways we can harness innovation for sustainable development in the 21st century was the topic for the third major session at the Clinton Global Initiative. The dominant theme, unsurprisingly, was the use of innovation to emerge from various crises--of the economic, health, and, yes, climate variety. Al Gore was on hand to issue another call to action on climate, and he revealed the surprising innovation he'd most like to see develop next.

In the introduction to the talks, a CGI producer noted that the nature and implementation of innovation must necessarily change to meet the challenges of the climate crisis. Instead of the incremental, or continuous innovation, that we're mostly engaging in right now, we're going to need "disruptive innovation" that replaces the 'base of the pyramid'. Good example: we're going to need an energy economy that knocks coal-fired power plants out of the picture, and replaces them with wind, solar, and so on.

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A recent BusinessWeek article called for the investment of billions of dollars more in "basic research" to create millions of new jobs. It's hard to argue against the importance of scientific research.

But too often overlooked in discussions over research spending is a fundamental fact: We've already got an abundance of research. The next transistor, semiconductor, or breakthrough in MRI technology may already have been discovered.

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Sep 23, 2009 (Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- SBCOE | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- H.R. 3614 Passes and Extends SBIR and other SBA Programs to Small Businesses

WASHINGTON, DC - Today Ranking Member Sam Graves (R-MO) of the House Small Business Committee spoke on the Floor in support of H.R. 3614. The bill will extend all of the Small Business Administration (SBA) programs currently scheduled to expire on September 30, 2009 through October 31, 2009. Included in the extension is a correction to the America's Recovery Capital (ARC) loan program giving small businesses that qualify for a 7(a) loan and ARC loans more flexibility in the use of the funds. Changes to these programs will require no additional funding and are designed to increase the flow of capital to small businesses. The measure passed by a vote of 417 to 2.

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History should be our guide. The United States led the world’s economies in the 20th century because we led the world in innovation. Today, the competition is keener; the challenge is tougher; and that is why innovation is more important than ever. It is the key to good, new jobs for the 21st century. That’s how we will ensure a high quality of life for this generation and future generations. With these investments, we’re planting the seeds of progress for our country, and good-paying, private-sector jobs for the American people.”
-President Barack Obama, August 5, 2009

Since taking office, President Obama has taken historic steps to lay the foundation for the innovation economy of the future. The Obama Innovation Strategy builds on well over $100 billion of Recovery Act funds that support innovation, additional support for education, infrastructure and others in the Recovery Act and the President’s Budget, and novel regulatory and executive order initiatives. It seeks to harness the inherent ingenuity of the American people and a dynamic private sector to ensure that the next expansion is more solid, broad-based, and beneficial than previous ones. It focuses on critical areas where sensible, balanced government policies can lay the foundation for innovation that leads to quality jobs and shared prosperity. It has three parts:

Download full PDF Here.