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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.

WSJMany venture investors are expecting the pace to pick up in 2010, with more money flowing into more deals. But it’s hardly going to be a funding free-for-all, and entrepreneurs making their pitches must avoid some of the mistakes that raise red flags in the minds of investors.

So said three prominent Silicon Valley VCs – Ryan Sweeney of Accel Partners, Ann Winblad of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Winston Fu of US Venture Partners – at a breakfast event Tuesday hosted by law firm Pillsbury Winthrop and auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.

One common mistake, Fu and Winblad agreed, is pitching a new company as the certain target of an acquisition by a larger company – as opposed to being one that can stand on its own.
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The UK government has taken the first step in plans to establish a Life Sciences Super Cluster that will pioneer a new approach to collaboration between industry and the public sector, announcing a £1 million pilot to test the proposal.

The overall aim is to speed up the translation of research into healthcare products and services and attract further investment in the sector as a whole.

At the heart of the cluster will be a series of “Therapeutic Capability” sub-clusters, made up of a small number of academic and National Health Service centres that will provide a point of contact and focus for collaboration with industry in specific disease areas.
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Joe Wallin and Brian Todd: President Obama has proposed eliminating the capital gains tax on qualified small business stock. This has been a theme of the President’s for some time, but perhaps significantly he reiterated it in his State of the Union Speech last night. Again, he doesn’t quit.

As startup company and tax lawyers, we believe that eliminating the capital gains tax on qualified small business stock held for more than five years would create a literal flood of investments into startup companies, which would create jobs and future prosperity.

Why? Because reducing the capital tax rate to zero makes investing in startups tax free, and investors like tax favored investments. And a zero capital gains tax rate is an absolutely screaming deal.
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"…what really grinds the gears of small business owners is the near-complete inattention by lawmakers on who creates jobs.”
So said Kimble Fletcher Ainslie in a Cato Institute article from December 20, 2001 titled “Bush Ignores Small Business.”

Eight years later under a different president, Catherine Clifford’s article in on September 30, 2009 continued the criticism of lawmakers ignoring small business:
“Business owners really bring out the pitchforks when they consider the speed with which billions of dollars were distributed to large Wall Street firms and banks. That is what sticks in the small business owner’s throat more than anything…”
Banks received $700 billion dollars in handouts in October 2008, with almost no regulations or restrictions. In February 2009, big businesses and big state governments received $787 billion, an incomprehensible $1.5 trillion total dollars. General Motors alone received $30 billion dollars when they would not have qualified for a credit card. This is a big problem if you’re trying to solve a crisis.
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TMassDevicehe Mass. Life Sciences Center will begin accepting applications Feb. 1 for matching grants of up to $500,000 for companies that have received Phase II or post-Phase II SBIR grants.
Mass Life Sciences Center logo

The Mass. Life Sciences Center will begin accepting applications for a $3 million matching grant program aimed at helping small life science companies that are production-ready and "poised for rapid growth that will create jobs in the Commonwealth."

The quasi-public agency said it will provide matching grants of up to $500,000 to companies that have received Phase II or post-Phase II small business innovation research (SBIR) or small business technology transfer (STTR) grants from federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation or the Dept. of Defense.
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EvAustralia Day Ant Australian Innovation Policy... Where the bloody hell are you?ery government will say its ‘commitment to innovation’ is second-to-none.

Every government will jump at the chance to demonstrate this ‘commitment’, citing numerous initiatives that invariably trump those of the administration that came before it.

This is because the effects of policy on innovation are extremely hard to measure and because ‘innovation’ as a concept (for the purpose of fuelling economic growth) is likely to attract about as many critics as CEO pay cuts (i.e. none).
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Nike Considered BootSince 2007, Nike has reduced the emissions produced by its facilities nearly 15%. The company made a conscious decision to stop focusing on purchasing renewable energy certificates and start focusing on managing actual reductions. This has taken Nike's 2009 energy footprint back down to 2007 levels.

The company's report says that because of resource constraints, innovation is used as a driver to conserve resources and increase efficiency and recycling--so Nike's thoughts about sustainability start with design. Their concept, Considered Design, forces them to consider new materials and approaches that may help them design out unnecessary waste, chemicals, and energy.

The company had previously pledged to use more environmentally preferred materials in both footwear and apparel--it wanted to increase use in footwear by 22% by 2011, and achieved that goal in 2008. The company's goal of using 20% environmentally preferred materials in apparel by 2015 is on track, currently at 6.6% (up 57% from 2008).
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I [Don Tapscott] mentioned in an earlier post that Davos can be a catalyst for great ideas, and one example is the GreenXchange conceived by Nike. This morning the company formally launched the Xchange at a CEO breakfast in Davos.

The venue was a conscripted hairdressing salon that was pressed into service by the Forum as a meeting space. We were like sardines. But the energy in the tiny room was high.

To recap: The Xchange is a Web-based marketplace where companies can collaborate and share intellectual property which can lead to new sustainability business models and innovation. Ten organizations have already signed on. The Xchange is the first step in a journey towards more sustainable innovation, and the more companies that get on board, the faster we’ll all make progress. More info can be found at
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Kettering University’s cutting-edge approach to educating for innovation and entrepreneurship has received a national award as ‘Best in Class” for teaching students how to become innovators. The award was presented by the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) during its winter convention in Orlando. Kettering Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Harris accepted the award during ceremonies.

We share a vision on our campus to become the nation’s model for the preparation of innovative engineers, scientists and business leaders. Our philosophy of Entrepreneurship Across The Curriculum incorporates innovation, entrepreneurial concepts, attitude and understanding throughout the many courses a student takes. This is a defining paradigm that sets us apart. This ‘Best in Class’ award is a distinguished recognition of the vision, creativity and hard work of many that is evolving at Kettering University.”

Kettering President Stan Liberty said the University is honored to be singled out for this award, especially among the prestigious institutions in the Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network. "The Kern philosophy is based on excellence in customer awareness, business acumen, societal values and technical fundamentals." President Liberty thanked Provost Harris for leading this valuable initiative that will have a long-term impact.
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Technology Review - Published By MITI [Jason Pontin] am in Davos, Switzerland, attending the World Economic Forum, the annual, invitation-only meeting of executives, bankers, venture capitalists, politicians, and a handful of media leaders, high in the snowy Alps.

Invitations to the event are sought-after, but participants who are not academics, editors, or otherwise penurious pay up to $30,000 for the privilege of attending the gathering. The wealth and the seniority of the cast of characters who travel to Davos, plus the titles of the event's sessions (some samples from this year: "Rethinking Systemic Financial Risk"; "Rebuilding Fragile States"; "Securing CyberSpace") have created a myth around the event and its supposed, typical attendee, often called "Davos Man." At Davos, the myth goes, our secret governors meet in a shadowy cabal to strenuously discuss the fate of the world.

In truth, it is an invitation-only event like others--distinguished mostly by the social seriousness of the programming, overseen by the Forum's founder, Dr. Klaus Schwab, by the intelligence and authority of the participants and the high intellectual theater of the panels, and by the assumption, common to all the attendees, that entrepreneurial capitalism, appropriately regulated, is the greatest imaginable force for expanding human possibilities.
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How much are Googlers worth to Google? According to revenue generated per employee, around $336,000 per quarter, or about $1.34 million per year on an annualized basis.

That's the highest that figure has been in three years.

For comparison, Yahoo is only getting $130,303 per employee per quarter, or $512,212 annualized.

Obviously, certain employees are making more money for the company than others, but Google says it's ready to hire aggressively.

chart of the day, google headcount vs revenue dollar per employee,
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ScienceDaily: Your source for the latest research news  and science breakthroughs -- updated dailyScienceDaily (Jan. 26, 2010) — Reading and retaining information. That's the challenge faced by the one in five children who have some form of dyslexia.

Overcoming that challenge could soon become easier for educators and children thanks to pioneering design research from the University of Cincinnati's internationally ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

Renee Seward, UC assistant professor of digital design, will present her innovative electronic project, titled "Reading by Design: Visualizing Phonemic Sound for Dyslexic Readers 9-11 Years Old," at the Southwest International Reading Association Regional Conference in Oklahoma City, Okla., on Feb. 5, 2010.
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You can't wait for things to happen. You have to plan ahead and know how to turn a business plan into an action plan.What does it take to be an entrepreneur?

Here are some of the things it takes to become a successful entrepreneur, according to experts:

Motivation: You have to be willing to pursue your idea. You've likely thought about it for a while, and you are ready to launch your own business.

Sacrifice: It takes time and effort to operate your own business. There's no accounting department or receptionist, and you'll have to pay for your own benefits.
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Ryan Weber considered himself a prudent business owner. He borrowed $6,000 from family members to start Radiant Photography in Las Vegas, and he paid them back--with interest--in three years. To cut expenses, he rented a studio when he needed it, instead of building his own. And when Advanta, a credit card company in Spring House, Penn., offered a business credit card with a $7,500 line of credit, he accepted it.

"Having $7,500 in reserve really helped," Weber says. "In case a check didn't go through from a client, it was there to rent studio lights or pay my cell phone bill."

Then last spring--a few months before declaring bankruptcy--Advanta pulled the credit lines of 1 million small-business customers, including Weber. It also capped their credit cards at the level of their outstanding balances, effectively cutting off their access to emergency cash.
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imageHave a dream but starved for start-up capital? Enter one of these 15 university-sponsored contests.

As students at MIT, Lucchino and his team were eligible for the MIT 100K Entrepreneurship Competition. Entrants to the contest need only present a business plan; proof of concept helps, too. Lucchino and his team, at what would soon become Semprus BioSciences, bagged the grand prize: $30,000 in cash. (Back then the "100K" refers to the competition's entire purse.)

Semprus then hit the business plan circuit, winning top honors at small-business contests at Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Rice University, Oxford University and Cambridge University. Total take: about $75,000 in cash and plenty of "street cred" with deep-pocketed investors. "It's a good spring training exercise," says Lucchino, who went on to raise $2 million in 2007 from private investors and another $8 million in venture funding in December 2008.
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IBISWorld reveals top Aussie Export industries for 2010 Market research company and business information provider IBISWorld recently released its findings on Australia’s leading export industries for 2010 and their outlook for the next five years.

A forecast of $237 billion of combined export revenue for 2010 (representing 21.4 percent of the Australian economy) puts Australia in the top echelon of global exporters, with only Germany (40.8 percent) and China (33.2 percent) recording higher export proportions of their total economic revenue.

As expected, mining constitutes Australia’s largest export industry, generating $283.7 billion of revenue for 2009/2010 — of which $128 billion was from exports. The industry is forecast to grow by 6.1 percent in the next five years.
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Mission: China Business Competency for Every Interested Executive in America

Philadelphia (PRWEB) January 27, 2010 -- In the past 30 years, China has raked in massive amounts of foreign direct investment; its trade surpluses continue to break records; and its vast foreign-exchange reserves make it a key player in determining the value of the dollar. Summary: China has gained tremendous global economic strength, and the nation’s economic relevance to the USA is not fading anytime soon. Leaving us with the question, “What can we do, through our own business lives, to gain some leverage, strength, and effectiveness relative to Chinese businesses?”

One of the key USA-based programs of The China Business Network, China Business Boot Camp, taking place in Philadelphia at the Union League on February 18, 2010. China Business Boot Camp ( is designed to provide practical answers: namely, a knowledge of what really works when doing business in China, and what resources are available in the region and beyond, to help us win in every China business challenge.

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Will 2010 be the year of Start-Up America?On January 24th 2010, New York Times Columnist Thomas L. Friedman wrote an op-ed piece titled, “More (Steve) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” which gave advice to President Obama as he puts the finishing touches on this week’s State of the Union speech.

He wrote “We need to make 2010 what Obama should have made 2009: the year of innovation, the year of making our pie bigger, the year of “Start-Up America.

He went on further to say, ”Obama should make the centerpiece of his presidency (this year) mobilizing a million new start-up companies that won’t just give us temporary highway jobs, but lasting good jobs that keep America on the cutting edge.

Well Mr. Friedman, I [Melinda Emerson] believe you are spot on. While your editorial largely focused on exposing youth to entrepreneurship, which is absolutely needed, I think there should be a two-pronged approach with a focus on working professionals and academic innovators who are ready to start businesses right now.
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Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced the launch of the second I-Prize contest, an open global innovation competition in which entrepreneurs worldwide can collaborate and submit their proposals with the potential to be Cisco's next billion-dollar business idea. Following last year's competition, which drew nearly 2,500 entrants, this year innovative thinkers will have access to an expanded portfolio of Cisco® collaboration solutions to build on as they share their ideas with other participants around the world. The winning team will be eligible for $250,000 in prize money.
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Reminder: Just 2 Days Remain

AURP 2010 International Conference
Building the Innovation Engine

Hosted by the University of Minnesota
Academic Health Center

Minneapolis, Minnesota
September 15-17, 2010

Association of  University Research ParksThe Association of University Research Parks invites you to share your knowledge and experience with your colleagues at our 2010 International Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 15-17, 2010.

University Research Parks are the engines of innovation. During this conference, we will examine the best way to build that innovation engine.

Interesting approaches and creative solutions to the challenges surrounding the topic of "Building the Innovation Engine" are sought for concurrent presentations.

Proposals for suggested concurrent sessions should be no more than one page in length. Each proposal should include the following:

-a full description of the proposed session, including how the information to be shared will benefit the attendees and address the conference subject;

-a 50-75 word description for possible future marketing materials;

-the contact information, biography in narrative format, and high resolution photo of each proposed presenter

The proposals are due no later than Friday, January 29th at 5:00 p.m. MST. They should be sent in electronic format by email to AURP Event Manager Victoria Palmer, at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please contact Victoria with any questions. 

Accepted proposals will be announced no later than March 15th, 2010.