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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.

How Should Government Spur Small-Business Innovation? by Robb Mendelbaum

With health care reform and economic recovery sucking up so much of what little oxygen circulates in Washington, you’ll have to forgive The Agenda for only now turning to the Small Business Innovation Research program, which is set to expire on July 31 unless Congress acts to reauthorize it.

Last week, the Senate did its part, but its version of S.B.I.R. reauthorization is much different from the one the House passed on July 8. Now Congress faces the difficult task of reconciling two visions of how the government should harness the power of small firms to innovate, and the competing interests are choosing sides. The bills pit companies with venture funding against those without it — and research institutions against them both.

Administration Committed to Innovation by Alexandra Cheney

Amid tumbling banks and bankrupt companies, small businesses may have cause for celebration. The Senate reauthorized the Small Business Administration's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs last Wednesday. In the House, Congressman David Wu (D-OR) shepherded the bill through, with a resounding 386-41 vote.

The bill will now head to the conference committee, where differences between the House and Senate bills will get ironed out, says Edsel Brown, assistant director for the Office of Technology at SBA. Congress has until the July 31to conference the bill. If the revision passes, this legislation will reauthorize the programs for eight years as well as add some much necessary fixes. One major adjustment includes allowing small businesses backed by venture capitalists to participate in the programs.

Wuxi iPark Selects IBM to Build Innovation Incubation Platform

WUXI, China, July 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- IBM and Wuxi Software Industry Development Co., Ltd. (Wuxi iPark) today announced the launch of a new, smarter-IT infrastructure service offering to help Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) in China dramatically reduce the cost and time required to develop business software applications. The new cloud computing service offering is also designed to help ISVs reach new markets by providing them with the ability to sell their software solutions as Web-hosted services to customers around the world.

Typical Company Founders Are Married with Children and Well-Educated; Strive to Rise Above their Lower-, Middle-Class Heritage

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) July 8, 2009 — Although entrepreneurs provide the majority of jobs in the United States, little is known about what makes them tick. The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur, a newly released study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, fills in some gaps by providing insights into high-growth founders' motivations and their socio-economic, educational and familial backgrounds. The findings: Most founders came from middle-class or upper-lower-class backgrounds, are well-educated and married with children.

SBA chief speaks out on credit crunch, venture capital

Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills says improving access to credit for entrepreneurs is her top priority, and she cites the creation of $6.2 billion in loans since the stimulus package went into effect. As for the controversy over providing SBA loans to companies backed by venture capital, Mills says "we don't want to turn away the most promising businesses ... [just] because they have a certain structure." BusinessWeek (07/23)

Top 5 Venture Capital Firms: Funding Social Missions by David Capece

In recent years, a new breed of venture capital firms has emerged to make an impact beyond just profitability. Social venture capital funds are adding a new mission in combination with positive financial returns: social and environmental impact. Highlighting social venture funds across the world, this week’s top five will focus on VC portfolios that range from organic beverages to water purification systems in Rajasthan to fiber optic enterprises making energy companies more efficient.

Another View: A Golden Age for VCs by Cameron Lester

For 14 months, we at Azure Capital tried to invest in companies but could not reach an agreement with entrepreneurs and existing investors on valuation and terms — the gap was too great. Despite meeting with hundreds of companies and reaching the point of discussing terms with a few, we did not make a single new investment.

South African innovation agency takes shape by Linda Nording

[CAPE TOWN] South Africa's government has taken a key step towards establishing an agency that it hopes will improve the country's patchy record in commercialising research.

Science minister Naledi Pandor unveiled the board members of the soon-to-be-launched Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) in Johannesburg this month (6 July).