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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.

two scientific beakers, one with green liquid, another with blue liquidRoughly every two years, the National Science Foundation’s National Science Board releases the much awaited Science and Engineering Indicators report, a kind of temperature-taking for science in America that compiles all the latest evidence on science funding, student trends, the science workforce, and much else. Within this data dump, the heavily read Chapter 7 always addresses a subject that has been dear to me, and to the many pieces I’ve written for Science Progress: What are the latest findings on the relationship between science and the U.S. public, not only in terms of knowledge, but also engagement?

In my view, the picture here remains pretty dismal. But perhaps out of academic evenhandedness (and also in part by avoiding at least two very problematic areas), NSF paints a more mixed picture.

On the positive side, for instance, the report consistently shows that Americans are not so scientifically benighted as one might think, at least in comparison with the rest of the world. We go to science museums more frequently. We claim a higher level of interest in “new scientific discoveries” than citizens in South Korea, China, and many parts of Europe. And in terms of sheer factual knowledge, we perform pretty much on par with Europe, and ahead of other countries like Japan, China, and Russia.
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair, Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), and Ranking Member, Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine), today sent a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administrator, Karen G. Mills, encouraging the swift allocation of funds for the Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership program that was included in the FY2010 appropriations bill.

"The FAST program was created to expand and improve the participation of small technology firms in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs by providing matching funds to states," Senators Landrieu and Snowe said in the letter. "FAST funds are used within the states to raise awareness of SBIR and STTR, to provide technical assistance to firms participating in the programs, and to encourage commercialization of technology developed through the SBIR and STTR programs."

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For many entrepreneurs, 2009 was another year of slumping sales and frustratingly tight credit. Their expectations for this year aren’t shaping up to be much better. One big reason for this lack of optimism: uncertainty. Entrepreneurs are worried about how pending policy decisions will affect recovery, according to recent polls and conversations I’ve had with business owners from across the country.

So earlier this afternoon, when I watched a webcast on the state of entrepreneurship in the U.S. led by Kauffman Foundation head Carl Schramm held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., I brightened up a bit. Schramm, along with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, entrepreneurs Reggie Aggarwal (Cvent) and Mary Naylor (VIPdesk), and educator Frank Douglas (Austen BioInnovation Institute), acknowledged the need to reduce the uncertainty facing entrepreneurs and offered fixes for policymakers to consider.
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Germinating an idea to seed companies across the commonwealth, Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. (KSTC) and state government officials have been holding one-day how-to-get-started sessions for entrepreneurially spirited individuals near state universities.

“This is another tool in our Kentucky tool shed,” said Kris Kimel, founder and CEO of KSTC. “You have to do relentless innovation to keep entrepreneurship alive in the state, and this helps with the first step. The start is half the deed, as the old Roman saying goes. … These events are designed to be simple, fast and high energy, and offer concrete results.”
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WELLESLEY/BOSTON -- Babson College of Wellesley, Mass., and Philadelphia's Drexel University and Temple University have won the top three places in a ranking of colleges running the best entrepreneurial programs, compiled jointly by Entrepreneur magazine and the scholastic testing company Princeton Review (Nasdaq: REVU)..

Babson was rated the best overall in a list that combined separate rankings for undergraduate and graduate programs. Drexel was second, and Temple tied for the third spot with the University of Arizona at Tucson .
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Women Business Owners to Lead the Nation in Job Creation Where will tomorrow’s jobs come from? Everyone from Main Street to the White House is focused on that question. Well, according to new data projections from The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, future job growth will be created primarily by women-owned small businesses.

Guardian’s research shows that by 2018 women entrepreneurs will be responsible for creating between 5 million and 5.5 million new jobs nationwide. That’s more than half of the 9.7 million new jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects small businesses to create, and about one-third of the total new jobs the BLS projects will be created nationwide in that time frame.
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A major report released last week by the National Science Board concludes that U.S. global leadership in science and technology is declining as foreign nations – especially China and other Asian countries – rapidly develop their national innovation systems.

“U.S. dominance has eroded significantly… The data begin to tell a worrisome story,” stated Kei Koizumi, assistant director for federal research and development in President Obama’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). The Director of the National Science Foundation, Arden Bement, noted that “China is achieving a dramatic amount of synergy by increasing its investment in science and engineering education, in research, and in infrastructure, which is attracting scientists from all over the world.”

The report, “Science and Engineering Trends 2010,” is published every two years by the National Science Board, a 25-member expert council that advises the National Science Foundation, President, and Congress on science and technology policy, education, and research. Koizumi called it a “State of the Union on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
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With the growing number of online services, it's becoming more economical for small business to rely on web-based tools rather than expensive enterprise software. Not too long ago we brought you 5 Web Apps To Keep Your Startup Organized, and now the website Business Pundit has released their top 10 list of online collaboration tools for small businesses.

Call it Web 2.0, or Enterprise 2.0; the fact of the matter is that online services just make more sense for businesses on a budget. Because these software platforms are web-based, users can use any computer to access them at work, at home or even on the road. They eliminate the need for expensive software and fewer IT employees are required for setup, updates and patches to systems.
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Chris Dixon, co-founder of hunch, VCI think you could make a strong argument that the most important technologies developed over the last decade are a set of systems that are sometimes called “collective knowledge systems”.

The most successful collective knowledge system is the combination of Google plus the web. Of course Google was originally intended to be just a search engine, and the web just a collection of interlinked documents. But together they provide a very efficient system for surfacing the smartest thoughts on almost any topic from almost any person.

The second most successful collective knowledge system is Wikipedia. Back in 2001, most people thought Wikipedia was a wacky project that would at best end up being a quirky “toy” encyclopedia. Instead it has become a remarkably comprehensive and accurate resource that most internet users access every day.
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How BASE program worksCHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Fifteen emerging companies will receive a variety of services and report from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as part of its Business Accelerator for Sustainable Entrepreneurship program.

The BASE initiative is in its second year.

Support ranges from capital to expertise and focuses on what Kenan-Flagler calls a “triple bottom line” of profitability, social equity and environmental sustainability.

The school provides support through mentors, students who are working on Masters degrees in business, networking events, training, workshops, access to service providers, and opportunities for financing.
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AnglesoftIt’s not enough to keep the deals flowing. Angel investors also have to keep sharp tabs on everything from event organization and member tracking, to syndicating opportunities and portfolio control. With no real solution available, David Rose, founder of New York Angels, one of the country’s most active angel groups, created one.

“In trying to streamline our processes, I looked far and wide for a tool or service to help with that. When it turned out no such platform existed, I decided to create one,” he says, explaining how Angelsoft came into being.
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