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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 government this week announced plans to invest more than £80 million to encourage greater development of innovative technology in the UK.

In addition to a £82.5 million funding injection into the cause by the Technology Strategy Board, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, Lord Mandelson used yesterday’s Innovate09 conference to call on businesses to continue to be innovative even during the downturn.

 

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Even in the best of times, venture capital was a dream for most small businesses, especially startups. Now it has dried up for almost everyone, so yes it is a pipe dream.

Angel investors are more interesting. Angel investors differ from venture capitalists because they are individual investors instead of a group, they invest their own money, and they can be more willing to take a flier on small and microbusinesses. Angels are people who invest in your business for a hefty piece of ownership. They do it usually because they are looking for a higher return on their money than they can get elsewhere, because they are interested in helping small businesses grow, or because they are looking for something interesting to do.

 

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Tom Koulopoulos, president and co-founder of Delphi Group, here addresses the European Parliament. He highlights what he calls the “perfect storm” of opportunity for innovation today, consisting of:
“placeless work,” where work and knowledge know no geographical boundaries

“ageless work,” consisting of a multigenerational mash-up of available workers; and

“weightless work,” where electricity and phone service are the only requirements for work to begin.

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Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Venture-capital fundraising dropped to its lowest point in six years during the third quarter as financial turmoil continued to curb universities and pension funds’ investments in startup companies.

Venture firms raised $1.56 billion in the quarter, the National Venture Capital Association said in a statement. The number of dollars committed was the lowest since the first quarter of 2003, while the 17 investment pools raised were the fewest since the third quarter of 1994.

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Oprah has over 2.3 million followers on social networking service Twitter. Steve Jobs? Zero. And yet, in a recent poll by youth organization Junior Achievement, the Apple CEO topped the talk show maven by a hefty margin as the entrepreneur that teens most admired.

It makes perfect sense, really. I mean, sure, Oprah once gave her entire studio audience free cars, but Steve Jobs has given the whole world the iPod and iPhone. I mean, granted, they have to pay for them, but come on--that's what entrepreneurship is really about, right?

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Hassina Syed talks about how she finds opportunity in a war-torn country and why ''if a male businessman can do it, so can a woman.''

Ever since the collapse of the Taliban regime in the fall of 2001, Afghanistan's over-$20 billion recovery effort has been undermined by worsening security, corruption and mixed agendas by the international community. This, however, hasn't prevented a growing number of Afghan entrepreneurs from investing in ways that could be among the most effective tools for bringing peace to their country.

One of these is Hassina Syed, an outspoken 30-year-old former refugee and mother of two. Despite numerous obstacles, including threats by warlords, government officials and rival male interests who deeply resent a female in their presence, Hassina now ranks as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.

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DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ford announced today that it has broadened its Advanced Research and Innovation community through open collaboration with local university professors and students on its industry-leading in-vehicle connectivity system, Ford SYNC.

Through the open innovation model, Ford is deepening its collaboration efforts in high-impact research with academia's brightest minds. As part of this initiative, Ford will receive strategic insight that will enhance the in-car experience for drivers, and drive demand for new features in Ford vehicles.

 

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Some prominent economists tell us we are starting to come out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, but many worry the uptick won’t last.

Since December 2007, Americans lost $13 trillion in household wealth, and our country is swimming in red ink. Today, the federal debt is $11.4 trillion and growing because of a new round of federal spending. Some economists project it could reach $17 trillion in the next decade if Congress and President Obama continue at their current pace.

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There is no better example of the benefits afforded by federal funding in the fields of science and technology than the recent near sweep of the Nobel Prizes in chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine by Americans, the majority of who relied upon substantial public support to make the breakthroughs that are today benefiting the nation and the world.

Of the nine Nobel winners in chemistry, physics, and physiology or medicine, eight are U.S. citizens and at least six of those leveraged federal research dollars to reach their pinnacles of success.

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I regularly teach classes on entrepreneurship and new venture development, and more than occasionally drop in to provide my perspective on topics of interest to those forming or funding technology-driven, high-growth companies. Since I have been spending a lot more time up in front of students (and, thus, getting peppered with great questions), I have been giving a lot of thought to what passes for “entrepreneurial strategy” courses (or sections of courses). To me, it seems that the bulk of entrepreneurship pedagogy has, in a relatively brutish way, simply ported over the issues relevant in a typical strategic management class and attempted to convert those topics into material appropriate to the new venture setting. The more I think about it, the less persuaded I am that this is helpful for students; and I continue to have my suspicions that this approach forwards the research frontier.

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Fifteen invited university teams, representing four continents and eight countries, will descend upon Austin on October 30-31st for the 7th Annual Idea to Product Global Competition. The teams will present their breakthrough technology commercialization plans and compete for over $52,500 in cash prizes that may be used to advance their innovations, as well as a chance to enter the Global MOOTCORP® competition. Each year, the competition draws a large audience from Austin’s technology and entrepreneurial community. The even is in the AT&T Conference Center.

The competition will debut three themed championship tracks and a technology showcase where you can see the teams’ innovative technologies. Which technologies will become the next cure for cancer? Which technologies have a potential to revolutionize the battery technology? What technology will answer the world’s changing energy demands? What technology will drastically improve quality of life for less-privileged communities around the world?

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