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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.

If you want a Small Business Administration loan, you better act fast -- in a couple of months, the agency will run out of the $375 million in economic stimulus funds that made the program more attractive to lenders.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enabled the SBA to increase its guarantee on 7(a) business loans to 90 percent, up from its usual 75 percent to 85 percent. The stimulus bill also allowed the SBA to reduce or eliminate fees on 7(a) loans and its 504 loans, which are primarily used for real estate.

 

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A plan that proposes a $100-million, five- year pilot federal program to accelerate the commercialization of university-developed technologies was praised by a top White House Office of S&T Policy (OSTP) official last week at a Capitol Hill briefing organized by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

The plan is contained in a 14-page white paper, IMPACT: Innovation Model Program for Accelerating the Commercialization of Technologies, prepared by Univ. of Southern California vice provost for innovation Krisztina Holly (also known as ‘Z’). It outlines an initiative that would use federal funding to coax existing university research results into the US commercial marketplace through ten local demonstration sites or centers. Each center would be funded at a level of $2-million per year for five years to “nurture a culture of entrepreneurship within each university, create and enhance the innovation ecosystem around each university, and provide the resources necessary for researchers to effectively translate their ideas into societal impact.”

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In fighting technology, neo-Luddites claim to be protectors of the general well-being. What they're really doing is safeguarding their own interests

More than 50 years ago, noted economist Joseph Schumpeter wrote, "The resistance which comes from interests threatened by an innovation in the productive process is not likely to die out as long as the capitalist order persists." He might have been more prescient if he had said that such resistance would actually strengthen over time.

A growing array of neo-Luddites (they get their name from Englishman Ned Ludd, whose followers sabotaged textile factories at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution) views new technology as a threat, not as progress. A host of organizations—ranging from liberal groups such as the ACLU to conservative ones such as the Eagle Forum—is fighting innovations like mobile commerce, smart IDs, behavioral targeting on the Internet, and the use of IT in health care, decrying them as threats to privacy and civil liberties.

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Welfare Reform For Start-Ups - The EVCA is preparing to ask European governments to withdraw funding for start-ups in favor of raising a pan-European fund of funds, according to our colleagues at Private Equity News. The goal is to “produce a more sustainable sector” by weaning companies off public funding and drawing more private capital to finance innovation.

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SAN FRANCISCO - EDITOR'S NOTE -- One in a series of stories assessing how last fall's financial meltdown and the Great Recession have changed our lives.

Our economy sure could use the Next Big Thing. Something on the scale of railroads, automobiles or the Internet -- the kind of breakthrough that emerges every so often and builds industries, generates jobs and mints fortunes.

Silicon Valley investors are pointing to something called cleantech -- alternative energy, more efficient power distribution and new ways to store electricity, all with minimal impact to the environment -- as a candidate for the next boom.

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My big insight about innovation these days would make Nobel Prize winner, Niels Bohr, proud.

"Now that we have met with paradox," explained Dr. Bohr, "we have some hope of making progress."

Innovation is full of it -- paradox, that is.

On one hand, organizations want structures, maps, models, guidelines, and systems. On the other hand, that's all too often the stuff that squelches innovation, driving it underground or out the door.

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The smell of high-tech regulation is increasingly in the air these days and many lawmakers and some activist groups now have the mobile marketplace in their regulatory cross-hairs. Critics make a variety of claims about the wireless market supposedly lacking competition, choice, innovation, or reasonable pricing. Consequently, they want to wrap America’s wireless sector in a sea of red tape. Two important new studies thoroughly debunk these assertions and set the record straight regarding the state of wireless competition and innovation in the U.S. today. These reports are must-reading for Washington policymakers and FCC officials who are currently contemplating regulatory action.

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All India Engineering Project Innovation Contest (AIEPIC, pronounced as eye-pic) aims to identify, promote and reward outstanding engineering talent across India. The contest is open to all final year undergraduate engineering students and MCA students in India. This contest is expected to bring together more than six lakh students in their final-year course from 3000+ colleges across India to showcase their projects. This is the only event of its kind being organized for the first time in India. The contest provides a level-playing field for every budding engineer to display his/her technical brilliance.

Eligible candidate's, register yourself, invite your team members, and post a summary of the project you intend to execute. You need to constantly update the progress of your project every 15 days. You can also vote/ comment on projects of other students and network with industry experts for guidance.

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Eight winners have been announced in a tender for the New Hungary Venture Capital Program (Új Magyarország Kockázati Tőkeprogram), which will see venture capital funds receiving EU backing to help finance local start-ups.

The eight winners were selected from among 18 applicants, and will be managing nearly Ft 45 billion (€165.75 million), of which the local firms will provide Ft 13.4 billion and the EU Ft 31.5 billion.

According to gazdasagiradio.hu, the winners are Big George's NV Equity Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő, Central Fund Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, DBH Investment Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Etalon Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Finext Startup Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Morando Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt, Portfolion Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt and Primus Capital Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt.

 

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Ever since innovation became the buzzword du Jour, a lot of people seem to have lost their ability to tell smart ideas from stupid ones. Case in point: the financial "innovations" (read: stunningly stupid loan products) that kicked off the trillion-dollar economic meltdown mess we're currently in. The simplistic notion that "new equals good" has often been a recipe for grand-scale disaster, just as it was in the dotcom debacle at the turn of the millennium. And when the doo-doo inevitably hits the fan, it's all too easy to level the blame at innovation per se rather than admit to being a bonehead. Here's why many ideas that are labeled "innovations" are just plain stupidity.

Simply put, innovation goes wrong (sometimes big time) when an organization over-commits to an idea before validating the key assumptions on which it is based. Let's take the infamous sub-prime mortgage. The assumption here was that a jobless, homeless person who is just out of jail and doesn't even have a bank account can afford to make mortgage repayments of any description, let alone horrendously overpriced ones.

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The Doing Business 2010 report highlighted how the financial crisis has prompted governments to act in areas where regulatory reform may be more difficult and require more time. The report states that in times of recession, “the more quickly the assets of nonviable firms can be freed up, the easier it is to remobilize those assets.” While the U.S. remained ranked 4th in the 2010 ease of doing business list compared to its 2009 rank, other countries have implemented several reforms that improved their ranking. How has the EU fared?

I [Johnathan Ortmans] post today from Berlin where following the recent elections there is considerable government interest in new start-ups. Germany may rank 25th in the ease of doing business (I learned today in a meeting with their Ministry that it only costs one Euro to start a business), but in “ease of employing workers,” the country ranks 158th out of 183 economies, which can only constrain Germany’s entrepreneurial potential. And the problem is not unique within Europe as you may know. In France, where we found the word entrepreneur, there are not only the same employment constraints (155th in the ease of employing workers), but also the challenge of property registration where France ranks 159th, although it has improved since last year when it ranked 170th.

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