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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.

Top six tips on getting funds for your new business ve...Technology entrepreneurs often have great ideas, but are short of a critical resource: the money to bring their product or service to market.

Creating a business that can grow organically or taking an existing small business to the next level is expensive.

But unless you're taking straight debt financing, from a bank, for example, there's more to a business partnership than just money. But how does a startup find potential partners? And how do they know they're the right fit?

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The grand hope today seems to be that venture capital and entrepreneurship can be salvaged by blue-ribbon panels, government initiatives and grand central plans. The buzzword of choice, "clustering," is a notion that has been around a long time in business supply chain circles, but is fairly recent to the venture capital realm.

In the United States, clustering came about spontaneously as VC activity coalesced into geographic focal points for businesses and their financiers with specialized expertise — think medical technologies in Boston, and IT and semiconductors in Silicon Valley.

The generally accepted premise is new clusters can sprout up from grand plans involving flashy incentives such a new government-funded business centres and targeted grant money. Governments are pouring tens of millions of dollars into these nascent clusters in the hope they catch on. This hope is not based on reality.

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People in technology businesses are drawn to places known for diversity of thought and open-mindedness”, is what Professor Richard Florida concluded after studying the growth and success of 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S. The most successful regions were those with the most gays, bohemians, and immigrants. These groups flourish in Silicon Valley, and its diversity has undoubtedly provided it with great advantage. But after attending the recent Crunchies Awards, I realized that something important is still missing — women entrepreneurs. I was shocked that the only woman CEO on stage during the entire event was TechCrunch’s own Heather Harde. Nearly all the companies that competed in the event (other than the PR firms) had males at the helm. This dearth may be one of the reasons for which the Venture Capital community is in such sharp decline, and why the Valley isn’t achieving even more success.

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DefenseNewsTEL AVIV - Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) is revamping its corporate culture, emphasizing accountability and fiscal discipline in a bid to boost efficiency, growth and its competitive standing in the world market.

With a record backlog exceeding $8 billion and an advanced technology portfolio spanning the full spectrum of aerospace and defense, the state-owned company is Israel's largest exporter and its undisputed flagship of industrial strength.

Two years of streamlining efforts are changing both day-to-day business practices and overall development and investment strategy, executives here say. For example, IAI has overhauled its pricing process and imposed draconian guidelines on oversight.

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David Lerner If you’re in the mood for a really enjoyable film, I recommend Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes. In it he uses the latest movie-making technologies to animate 19th century London in all its dark immensity and brooding menace- from the elegant halls of parliament to the ornate rooms of masonic temples to the labyrinthine sewers beneath the city. The sets and staging in and of themselves are a masterpiece and are simply breathtaking. I think the production designer should be nominated for yet another Academy Award.

I also came to this film with a sensibility that I did not have when I first encountered Holmes as a young boy reading Conan Doyle. I was of course neither an entrepreneur nor an early-stage investor. Not surprisingly, this time, soon after leaving the theater something I had never considered before really hit me. I was struck by the realization that Sherlock would have made an amazing venture capitalist!

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In the hopes to continue a much-needed conversation on how to revamp the economy, this week I would like to highlight another policy recommendation that emerged from the Kauffman Foundation’s State of Entrepreneurship address: reform immigration policy to attract migrants who want to start new companies and create jobs.

First, let me remind you why immigration matters. High-skilled immigrants have been the lifeblood of entrepreneurial companies that have transformed entire industries and the ways we do things, creating tremendous wealth and valuable jobs during the process. Evidence shows that immigrants start a disproportionately high number of new U.S. firms. Of the technology firms started in the U.S. during 1995-2005, fully one-quarter had at least one immigrant key founder. In Silicon Valley, the proportion is much higher: over half the technology startups there were started by at least one entrepreneur born abroad. Several “rockstars” probably come to your mind: Vinod Khosla of India and Andreas von Bechtolsheim of Germany who co-founded Sun Microsystems; Google’s Russian-born co-founder, Sergey Brin; Jerry Yang, the Taiwanese-born co-founder of Yahoo; and Ric Fulop, an immigrant from Venezuela, who co-founded a revolutionary lithium ion battery company, A123sytems.

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altGoogle made its Super Bowl commercial debut with its “Parisian Love” 30-second spot. Did the company get its money’s worth from the $2.5 million or so it spent? The ad is cute and does make a good point about how you can use Google to find out so many things that are important to you in life. It is focused on the product itself, not silly humor like the Doritos or Bud Light ads. And I think that’s an intelligent approach to brand marketing. What do you think?


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It’s great to get recognition for your small business and it’s even better if that recognition comes with great prizes. This list of competitions and awards for small businesses is updated every two weeks and brought to you as a community service by Small Business Trends and

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Journal Of Business EthicsThis paper explores the reasons for the less than optimal level of social responsibility demonstrated by some small-scale individual entrepreneurs (SIEs) in developing countries. The authors examine the influence of a number of contextual factors including: business environment; cultural traditions; socio-economic conditions; and both international and domestic pressures on business practices. They offer some suggestions as to the reasons for the lack of responsible entrepreneurship of SIEs and signpost important implications for promoting sustainable business practices.
Key Findings

CSR in industrialized nations does not reflect the way SIEs operate in developing nations. While some SIEs are managing to forge a responsible orientation despite situational restrictions, the number engaged in socially irresponsible business practices is on the rise.

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These 5 laws distill the wisdom from the successful entrepreneurs interviewed for the book: 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs Thriving in Uncertain Times which features exclusive interviews with some notable entrepreneurs including: Kim Jordan of New Belgium Brewing Co., Jake Jabs of American Furniture Warehouse, Christine Comaford, Allen Fishman of TAB, Bob Parsons of Go Daddy, and Michael Gerber of E-Myth. They are the common thread among all of the most successful entrepreneurs… whom have built great businesses and are living fulfilling lives:

1. Uncover a consuming passion. The more you share, the stronger it becomes. Similar to an addiction, they can’t turn it off and it rarely feels like work.

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Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery will be uniqueMadison — When it opens in December, the $205 million Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery will be a showcase of high-tech design and model of collaboration.

The public/private research center under construction in the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus features a circular auditorium for as many as 300 people, with walls that can be lifted into the ceiling, modular research neighborhoods with "plug-and-play" fume hoods and lab sinks, and clusters of casual seating beneath four-story high skylights.

These and other design elements embody the urge that is driving one of the country's most advanced interdisciplinary research hubs.

Developers see the institutes as a place where a diverse group of researchers from the UW-Madison campus and beyond will mix with each other and with industrial partners to tackle technical problems in new and unexpected ways.

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Julia Goines of Pediatric Bioscience in Davis tests blood samples in her research on autism. The company grew out of breakthrough work done at UC Davis.From biofuels to pharmaceuticals, Sacramento-area inventors have created scores of promising scientific breakthroughs, many of them in the well-funded laboratories of UC Davis.

Turning those inventions into jobs and wealth is hard, however. Starting a high-tech company in Sacramento means overcoming the region's risk-averse mind-set, a scarcity of big-money investors and the allure of the Bay Area's tech-friendly landscape.

In at least one respect, though, the climate for entrepreneurs seems to be getting better. After decades of indifference, the University of California, Davis, is laboring to convert its massive portfolio of scientific research into products that could help transform the Sacramento economy.

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♦   A $700 million renewal of Ohio Third Frontier — the 10-year, $1.6 billion project to re-energize Ohio’s economy by investing in emerging technologies — is on its way to the May 4 ballot, thanks to bipartisan support of a compromise resolution by state Senate and House members this week. Third Frontier stakeholders celebrated the passage of the ballot initiative, which not only would renew funding for the project, but raise its annual grant-making ability to $175 million from about $160 million a year. In addition, the bond funding would not be subject to state budgetary issues, as is two-thirds of Third Frontier’s current budget.
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Reverse Innovation is a Popular TrendThanks to a number of spectacular successes obtained by blue-chip companies in recent years, Reverse Innovation is becoming a popular trend. Examples include GE's portable ultra-sound equipment designed in China and sold worldwide, LG's low cost air conditioner designed in India and sold worldwide, Renault's Logan low-cost model designed for Eastern European markets and now selling on Western Europe, etc.

In an enlightening article, Vijay Govindarajan outlines a historical perspective from globalisation to reverse innovation, and highlights the key driver behind this evolution: the revenue gap between developed and emerging markets. But there are other drivers that may be less visible but no less powerful.

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The Delaware Valley Innovation Network (DVIN) was formed to apply for a Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) grant from the United States Department of Labor. In 2007, DVIN received a $5.1 million grant to support worker training and talent development within the life sciences and its supporting industries. Of the 39 WIRED initiatives established across the United States, DVIN was the only tri-state WIRED project and was endorsed by Governors RuthAnn Minner (DE), James McGreevey (NJ) and Edward Rendell (PA). DVIN was a regional collaborative partnership amongst government, academia, industry, and economic and workforce development organizations that served 14-counties within three states including New Castle county in Delaware; Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Mercer and Salem counties in New Jersey; and Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania. The DVIN project was governed by a dedicated Executive Committee who ensured that the initiatives showcased in this report were innovative, industry driven and regional in scope. Although this was only a three year grant, the social and human capital impact will be felt for many years to come.

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Ask an aspiring entrepreneur why they’d kill to make the jump and, without fail, four of the top 5 reasons will be:

  • Freedom
  • Control
  • Money
  • Passion

They dream of working their own hours, not having to report to “the Man,” skipping though fields of money, loving what they do every moment of every day and changing the world. All great aspirations.

Question is -
How much is real, and how much is outright fantasy?

Let’s take a deeper look at the 4 big entrepreneurial motivations, bust a few myths and open a few eyes:

1. Freedom.

First let’s break it down. What do people mean when they say freedom? Sometimes they mean geographic freedom or what people have come to know as the ability to be location independent. Sometimes they mean financial freedom. Sometimes it’s the freedom to do what they love. And, other times it’s freedom from a fixed schedule. Or, not having to follow the orders of a boss. Either way, there’s a lot of myth here.

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Dr. Steven BerglasImportant reminders for all the mothers, corporate soldiers and baby boomers looking to launch.

There is a swelling class of first-time entrepreneurs, and they need help.

This class includes, among others, mompreneurs (women who saw business-building as a way to bolster their retirement stash and waning self-esteem from being out of the workforce for years); homepreneurs (recently laid-off cubicle warriors, or just those fed up with their 90-minute commutes); and boomerpreneurs (50- to 70-year-old careerists driven to pursue lifelong dreams while they still have the health and gumption to do it).

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We are here live from the 2010 Front End of Innovation Europe, making final preparations for the opening of this year's conference. As readers of this blog we offer you an opportunity to share in some of the great presentations and information from the conference. This year to help you stay informed and in the loop of everything that is happening here at FEI as it is taking place, we have several tools in place like live blog posts, twitter updates, photos from Flickr, daily emails, and discussions in our LinkedIn and Facebook fan page that we will continue to post throughout the event. Don't forget, if you're attending the conference and twittering, use #FEIEurope in your tweets to share in the conversation.

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Sir Richard Branson's new submersible, dubbed the Necker Nymph, received widespread media attention. The sleek watercraft is made by Hawkes Ocean Technologies. Image source: Hawkes Ocean TechnologiesI know it’s easy to call for innovation to drive economic growth at any point in history.

And the context of the times can always be sticky. If the United States was flush with venture capital or excess dollars in 2010, it would make the answers and next steps so much easier.

Of course, we are all familiar with the economic times.

The Economist, the august, market-oriented publication, recently reminded readers in the United States of words that always merit attention: Jobless recovery.

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Mike Michalowicz is the author of the book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, a great book for first-time entrepreneurs. He’s launched three multimillion-dollar companies, including Obsidian Launch, a company that partners with first-time entrepreneurs to grow their concepts into industry leaders.

In terms of resources, Mike explains that when you have a company with a staff of five people, you’ll find a way to use them. You might not use them efficiently, but you’ll use them. The same thing goes for money, or for any other resource.

However, when you have scarcity you become very disciplined and get the most return from the few resources that you have. Mike argues that this is the best way to grow a business. He adds that he’s an advocate for the scrapper entrepreneur: the people who are willing to dumpster-dive to get their business to succeed. Here’s a quote from Mike:

“I discovered that it does not take money to make money. In fact, it is the lack of money that forces innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. And when you are a startup entrepreneur with no money, you start finding new, unexpected ways to get things done. Ironically, if you had a fat wallet, you would be blinded to the innovations you could bring about.” (Source.)
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