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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.

The world's most innovative company just announced that it can't do business in China. What does this tell us about the state of Chinese innovation? The question answers itself.

When Google entered China in 2006, it got a lot of advice from old hands that China's Leninist state would make it hard for them to do business. Google ignored this advice and gambled that the internet would prove stronger than the Communist party - that once Google was in the door on however compromised terms - popular demand for freer information would create incremental movement toward a more open internet.

Four years later, Google seems to have concluded that they were wrong and the old hands were right: in the short term, and within China
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BusinessWeek Logo The creation by entrepreneurs of a destination for tech companies in Rajasthan's Thar Desert shows it's time to rethink regional development planning

For government officials and planning consultants looking to create regional economic growth and drive innovation, industry clusters are the Holy Grail. Popularized by Harvard professor Michael Porter in the early 1990s, cluster theory holds that a government or economic development body can create a viable hub of economic activity in a specific industrial sector by bringing in businesses, suppliers, researchers, and additional related people or entities. In other words, a focused governmental effort can create something from nothing, turning, for example, a fallow field into a tech park bursting with highly competitive, innovative companies. Governments all over the world have invested millions—sometimes billions—of dollars to attract industries they consider strategic.
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Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher EducationIs everything in a university for sale if the price is right? In this book, one of America’s leading educators cautions that the answer is all too often “yes.” Taking the first comprehensive look at the growing commercialization of our academic institutions, Derek Bok probes the efforts on campus to profit financially not only from athletics but increasingly, from education and research as well. He shows how such ventures are undermining core academic values and wha…  More
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Venture Capital Investments In India Fall To $475 Million In 2009MUMBAI -(Dow Jones)- Venture Capital firms invested $475 million in 92 deals during 2009, down from the $836 million invested across 153 deals in the previous year, according to a study by Venture Intelligence and Global-India Venture Capital Association.

Venture capital firms, however, began to increase the pace of their investments in Indian companies in the October-December quarter, making 42 investments worth $265 million, compared to 23 investments worth $102 million in the comparative period a year earlier, the study said.
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ATLANTA - (Business Wire) Much like the inventions themselves, IP Advocate ( began just over a year ago as an idea in one inventor’s mind – and has since grown to become a national movement that has amplified the collective voice of academic researchers on critical issues related to intellectual property rights. Dr. Renee Kaswan, former research professor and inventor of the groundbreaking drug Restasis®, along with a team of experts, launched the non-profit advocacy organization to address the inherent problems in university commercialization.

In its freshman year IP Advocate has been recognized for:

  • Widespread exposure for the issues of technology transfer and patent reform, in national press and influential online science forums and web publications
  • Collaborations with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Small Business Coalition on Patent Legislation, the National Small Business Association and university technology transfer veterans nationwide
  • Participation with recognized scientists, academic inventors and industry experts, who have contributed their opinions and insights exclusively for IP Advocate’s growing online community
  • International awards in education, advocacy and user experience
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 IN THE old days, the job of eradicating disease fell to governments and inter-governmental bodies. Then charities, often led by celebrities or entrepreneurs, joined in. Finally, in the Western world at least, governments accepted the need to pool their efforts with those of private donors, big and small. The effort still seems unequal to the task. Every year, nearly 11m children die before the age of five because of a mixture of poor nutrition and preventable disease. Many of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (calling, for example, for a plunge in child and maternal mortality by 2015) look unattainable.

The good news is that more imaginative ways of raising and spending money are now on the horizon. How well they do will depend on many details—like the quality of information flowing between poor places and the governments, firms and individuals that want to help.
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MADISON - Wisconsin entrepreneurs and researchers do a world-class job of coming up with ideas that will transform health care, energy, manufacturing and other industries. Finding the investors who can move those ideas forward is too often the problem.

While Wisconsin's angel capital investments have climbed steadily, the state continues to lag in the next stage of private equity investments - venture capital. These rounds of investment, which begin around $2 million and build upon smaller investments by individual “angels” or networks of such investors, can help turn a start-up into a thriving company.
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SOE 2010 coverCarl Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, delivered the "2010 State of Entrepreneurship Address" on January 19, 2010, on the heels of alarming unemployment numbers and citing sobering new data that show a majority of American entrepreneurs do not expect to create jobs in 2010. He called on policymakers to make this cornerstone of American capitalism a priority.

During an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. that included perspectives from entrepreneurs and remarks from U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, Schramm underscored the importance of entrepreneurs to economic recovery, emphasizing that hundreds of new companies are being created each day.

Schramm also unveiled a new survey of entrepreneurs, commissioned by the Kauffman Foundation and conducted by Douglas Schoen, LLC that shows entrepreneurs are optimistic about their companies but are struggling to expand and create jobs in the current economy. Highlights from the survey include the following:

  • 36 percent of entrepreneurs reported reductions in head count in the past year; only 8 percent have added employees.
  • Nearly two-thirds have seen their sales volume and their profitability decrease.
  • 71 percent of entrepreneurs do not expect to add any new jobs in 2010.
  • 61 percent of entrepreneurs think the economy is on the wrong track.

KauffmanTo catalyze job creation and to ease the burden that entrepreneurs feel in today's economic climate, Schramm presented a number of policy recommendations that he said would help set the country on a path toward economic recovery:

  • Reform immigration policy, granting citizenship for foreign students graduating from American universities and other immigrants who want to start new companies and create jobs.
  • Revise Sarbanes-Oxley regulations to allow company shareholders to choose whether their companies must fulfill some of the most onerous reporting requirements if they think the costs of compliance outweigh the benefits.
  • Provide a temporary payroll tax holiday to companies less than five years old.
  • Give academic entrepreneurs the choice of multiple avenues to commercialize their research so their innovations can reach consumers more quickly.
  • Offer fellowships for doctoral graduates in scientific fields to educate them about how to start companies.
  • Provide entrepreneurship education and training to students in high school and college.
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This whitepaper begins with the Department of Commerce report that 100% of net job growth over the last 20 years can be attributed to startup companies - and goes deeper, exploring the three main drivers of startup companies: investment, innovation, and entrepreneurship - and how cities across the country measure up in terms of these metrics. Then finally, we explain what cities can do to help jumpstart the growth of startup companies, focusing on an exciting new economic development tool called crowdsourcing. We take a by-the-numbers look at regional innovation competitions as a cost-effective way to drive real growth in local startups, innovation, and investment.
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At the completion of his keynote address at the Global Urban Summit in Rotterdam on the 4th December 2009, Prof. Chris Ryan was joined by Prof. Han Brezet, from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, to announce the creation of the Rotterdam Eco-Innovation Lab: REIL. REIL will follow the methodology, and build on and adapt the outcomes, of VEIL within the development around the immense harbour of Rotterdam city. This development responds to the opening up of land for housing and commercial activity as the functions of the old harbour move ‘outwards’ towards the ocean. The Harbour development aims to set new environmental standards as part of an innovative new zone, known now as the “Clean Tech Delta”. In announcing the creation of REIL, with its collaboration with VEIL, Prof Brezet also announced that the Clean Tech Delta will send a staff member to Melbourne for several months (starting in Feb 2010) to work with the VEIL team to better understand the potential for similar projects in REIL.
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Startups during recessionsDo people start businesses more frequently as a result of recessions? You might think so, but a new study just released by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation suggests otherwise.

The study Exploring Firm Formation: Why Is the Number of New Firms Constant? shows that the level of new firm formation has remained virtually consistent from year to year for more than 30 years.

Authors Dane Stangler and Paul Kedrosky of the Kauffman Foundation researched several types of data on company formation, beginning in 1977. These included employer firms as tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Small Business Administration, firm startups tabulated by the Census Bureau, and new establishments (including existing firms adding locations) as tracked by the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. No matter which type of data the authors studied, they found that the number of new companies launched each year varied by just 3 to 6 percent. In fact, the number of startups stayed fairly consistent even from quarter to quarter within a given year.
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