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Founded by Rich Bendis

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.

Small BusinesMore than half of all U.S. businesses are home-based. These firms are often dismissed as hobbies or part-time ventures with limited economic impact.

But our research shows otherwise. We estimate that about 6.6 million home-based enterprises provide at least half of their owners’ household income and together employ more than one in 10 private-sector workers.

The rise of the homepreneur is a long-term trend that will continue to accelerate over the next decade. Fueled by technology and enabled by low costs, businesses of all kinds are finding there is no place like home.
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CTSIEntrants are encouraged to submit their applications prior to the February 12, 2010 deadline.  Participating companies to be matched with test and early adoption partners.

Entries for the Utility Technology Challenge, identifying the top commercial and near-commercial innovations in energy generation, management, and conservation, are already being received from companies worldwide.  The Utility Technology Challenge (UTC) is supported by organizations committed to the development and adoption of clean energy solutions, including the US Department of Energy, Austin Energy, Accenture, the City of Anaheim, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), National Grid and Lockheed Martin.  Managed by The Clean Technology & Sustainable Industries Organization (CTSI), the Utility Technology Challenge will give needed visibility to the companies that can make a short-term impact on our energy future.

"In our role as trusted advisor for more than 40 smart grid initiatives, Accenture has a strong appreciation for the value of collaboration," stated Sharon Allan, Accenture Smart Grid Services Executive.  "This encompasses the sharing of information, experience and insights between utilities and the citizens served by them, utilities and their technology providers, and utilities and the regulators and policy-makers who impact strategic decision-making.  It is for this reason that we embraced the opportunity to participate in the Utility Technology Challenge.  We believe that participation in this initiative offers many opportunities to both leverage lessons learned and to identify and test new technologies that can help the industry achieve its goal of a more sustainable energy future."

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Cathy SandeenI have been delving into the brand new Report on The Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region,* just released a couple weeks ago. For a copy go here. As a relative newcomer to Los Angeles, I continue to be amazed by the spirit of creativity that surrounds us here (and I came here from a pretty creative place—Silicon Valley). Of course here in LA we see creativity manifested in the entertainment and performing arts areas in a big way. But I believe we also see it in little ways like the incredibly effective and striking logo on a vehicle of a small landscaping company or the way young people express themselves through fashion, mixing up styles from different parts of the world or mixing modern and vintage into a stylish and cohesive whole. Creativity, diversity, color, inventiveness truly permeate the LA culture. And it shows.
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Mark PryorWashington, DC – The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee today unanimously passed legislation, introduced by Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), intended to spur innovation and economic development through the development of science parks.

The Building a Stronger America Act will help construct or expand science parks, which seek to encourage new startup businesses, generate student interest in science and technology fields, and encourage relationships between universities and industry. Specifically, the legislation allows the Secretary of Commerce to guarantee up to 80 percent of loans exceeding $10 million for the construction of science parks. The bill would also provide grants for the development of feasibility studies as well as plans for the construction of new, or expansion of existing, science parks. Finally, the bill would require the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the program.
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NASVFThe membership of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds (NASVF) commends thoughtful application of lessons learned in modeling the Angel Investment Tax Credit legislation. We believe that tax credit for investing in qualified early stage companies is crucial to enhancing the local and regional entrepreneurial business environment. Clearly, Wisconsin Act 255, which provides tax incentive for investors in early stage companies, has helped to create a healthy angel community, which helps sustain that region’s innovative early-stage companies. Every effort should be made to take advantage of lessons learned from this legislation, in order to build effective tax policy that helps sustain local and regional economic improvement on a national basis.

We urge a comprehensive legislative initiative regarding angel investor tax credits, with specific attention to the areas of immediate behavioral reward, venture eligibility, and investment eligibility.

Rich Bendis and Innovation America fully support the NASVF position on this matter.

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Business WeekHurt by smaller R&D budgets and offshoring, Yankees are winning fewer U.S. patents than non-residents

Has the U.S. lost its Yankee ingenuity? For the first time in 2009, non-Americans were granted more U.S. patents than resident inventors, accounting for 50.7% of new grants, according to recent data from the Patent & Trademark Office. Moreover, for only the second time in the last 25 years, patent applications fell overall in the year ended Sept. 30.

The role reversal had been only a matter of time. Led by Japan and the likes of South Korea and China, other countries have been zigzagging their way higher in patent awards for decades, while the number granted to U.S. residents peaked in 2001. Still, the inflection point troubles American tech industry advocates and other analysts. "The U.S. is losing its innovation base," says Robert D. Atkinson, founder and president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington think tank.
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WSJPrivate equity has long lost its mantle as the enemy at large in the capital markets. The banks now have become the focus for public opprobrium, to such an extent that there is little ire left to be expended on other corners of the financial world. The European Union, belatedly, seems to be acknowledging this as it moves in the direction of common sense in shaping the regulation of private equity.

Yesterday's news that the European Council had put forward a compromise text that was in line with the European Parliament's prevailing position was encouraging. That private equity should be lumped into the Alternative Investment Fund Management Directive seems anyhow to be unnecessary but, since its inclusion appears to be inescapable, the drive has to be to achieve a regime that is at least workable. The European Venture Capital Association has greeted the latest development enthusiastically, saying it shows the Swedish presidency to be "clearly cognizant of the unique contribution venture capital can make to European innovation and long term economic growth."
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ClimaticoIt’s crunch time in Copenhagen: the governmental leaders are here and they will have to find an agreement during the next two days if they are to leave with their credibility intact. Having now seen two official drafts of the text being discussed by AWG-LCA, it’s possible to glean some insights into the direction in which negotiations over technology transfer are moving.

Technology transfer is one of the five negotiating themes that have been under negotiation for the last two years as part of the Bali Road Map. There are two key questions surrounding technology transfer. The first is architecture: what institutional framework will be in place after 2012 to govern technology transfer activity? The second is financing: how much money will be available for technology transfer and who will decide where this money is spent?
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WalkerThis is part two of my two-part series on angel financings. In part one, I provided the following five tips for entrepreneurs: (i) push for the issuance of convertible notes; (ii) understand the key business terms; (iii) diligence the angel(s); (iv) never subject yourself to personal liability; and (v) comply with applicable securities laws. Below are five additional tips for entrepreneurs to help them through the angel financing process. Obviously, this is still a difficult environment to raise angel capital; however, I am confident that 2010 will bring greener pastures.
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Venture I have noticed that VCs tend to talk to the public and with their peers more about their home runs than their strike outs. Angel investors, on the other hand, prefer to relentlessly revisit their pain—often comparing their battle scars like veteran samurai. Probably because angels put up their own capital. Cs, angels truly eat their own cooking so it’s harder to forget their fallen soufflés.

VCs achieve their highs from the opium of OPM…so even a bad trip is still a free trip.

I recently had lunch with an inveterate venture investor (aka “angel”) whom I had co-invested with in a biotech, as well as, a med-tech company, several years back. Our conversation inevitably turned to peck at our past portfolios.
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Wealth BulletinCompanies that received some government support outperformed those backed purely by private venture capital in recent years, according to new research that conflicts with recent reports by other bodies.

Enterprises that received up to half of their venture capital funding from governments outperformed rivals backed purely by private venture capital and also those with over 50% of government backing; both in terms of value on exit and patent creation, according to a report published today by the World Economic Forum, the Switzerland-based, non-profit foundation.

The report's authors – James Brander and Thomas Hellmann of the University of British Columbia and Qianqian Du at Shanghai Jiao Tong University – wrote: “In small amounts, government-supported venture capitalists can address obvious market failures and improve economic outcomes [by] picking the low-hanging fruit. In large amounts, however, GVCs may simply compete with, and crowd out private venture capitalist activity”.
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BiofuelsRenewable oils developer Solazyme took the #1 spot in the 2009-10 “50 Hottest Companies in Bioenergy” rankings.

The list recognizes innovation and achievement in bioenergy development.

The rankings were based 50 percent on votes from a 75-member panel of international selectors, and 50 percent on votes from subscribers of Biofuels Digest, the world’s most widely-read biofuels daily.

POET (#2), Amyris Biotechnologies (#3), BP Biofuels (#4), Sapphire Energy (#5) Coskata (#6), DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (#7), LS9 (#8), Verenium (#9) and Mascoma (#10) round out the top 10.
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