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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.

MOSCOW, January 23 (Itar-Tass) --The modernisation of the Russian economy is possible but will require an overhaul of legislation, ROSNANO head Anatoly Chubais said.

“Corporate legislation is outdated and is not consistent with innovation economy requirements,” he said a conference entitled “Russia and the World: Challenges of the New Decade” in Moscow on Saturday.

He stressed that these controversies caused Russia to lag behind technologically. “Labour productivity is 29.4-29.5 percent compared to America. By the share of enterprises engaged in technological innovations, we are behind not only Britain or the U.S., but also Estonia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania and some other countries,” he said, adding that as far as the investment activity rating is concerned, Russia is 51st of 130 countries.
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Are you an entrepreneur or a business-person? The term business-person and entrepreneur are sometimes used interchangeably although they mean different things

An entrepreneur is a person who conceptualizes, initiates and materialize a business process which is entirely unique and original. In other words an entrepreneur is someone who starts a business from a fresh idea and makes it work or applies an existing idea differently.

Merriam-Webster defines an “entrepreneur as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” The key words here are initiative and risk.
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Obama's Bank Bashing May Ignite M&AWhile bull markets and easy financing are critical for strong M&A, another important factor is government action. For example, the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996 led to a surge in M&A activity, as the government allowed competition in local and long-distance communications.

This is why President Obama's recent statement on finance reform is so important, especially to the private equity and hedge fund sectors. He declared: "No bank or financial institution that contains a bank will own, invest in or sponsor a hedge fund or a private equity fund." Symbolically, Obama gave his speech during Goldman Sachs' (GS) earnings call, where the company reported profits of $4.79 billion. The main growth driver was from its trading and principal investment activities (which amounted to $6.41 billion in revenues). It's these kinds of activities that Obama considers too risky for federally-supported financial institutions.
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How to Make America More Innovative

Give scientists more incentives to innovate.

Is America no longer the land of innovation? Everyone from tech billionaires to Times columnists is sounding the alarm, and everyone has his own diagnosis of the problem: innovators kept out of the country by H1-B visa quotas and bureaucracy. Poor science education in public schools. Even U.S.-style health care has been implicated. Would-be entrepreneurs, the thinking goes, can't act on their breakthrough ideas because they feel tethered to middle-management jobs and the health benefits that come with them.

In one way or another, these diagnoses all focus on the inspired innovator as the source of new ideas. Perhaps this isn't surprising, given the stories of innovation that seed our imagination—Newton discovering gravity when an apple bonked him on the head, Archimedes having his eureka moment while soaking in the tub. If the problem is indeed a shortage of innovators, then policy prescriptions that expand the genius pipeline through imports or home-grown development make a lot of sense. But as the saying goes, genius is 99 percent perspiration—Newton and Archimedes also logged countless days and nights producing the theories and inventions that followed from their moments of inspiration.
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Garden CityThis is where towns/cities focus on job creation through local small businesses rather than trying to lure an existing business to move there. I’m [Author] looking for a list of curent projects.

The State of Florida has invested in Economic Gardening and launched the Florida Economic Gardening Institute and is deploying the program in six regions through a pilot program. The areas participating include Orlando, Naples, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, Tallahassee and Jacksonville. check out
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Somewhere along the line some marketer coined the term “point of difference” when advising companies how to stand out and we’ve been running with it ever since. We hear it at every turn – in order to attract customers SMB owners need to establish a POD and what separates them from their competitors out selling similar services. They need to find what makes them unique. Some call it an angle. To me, it’s always been about creating experiences that customers will remember, want to talk about and remain loyal to. It’s about creating something that stands out and has meaning.
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In my last post, I described the trend among angel groups in the US to fund more angel-only deals, primarily because of the changing world of US venture capital. I did so without really describing the characteristics of angel-only deals.

Perhaps I should start by describing angel deals. Oh…I did that in the January 6th New Zealand Herald. See What Start-ups Need to Know to Speak the Language of Angels.

Angel-only deals are startups that can achieve positive cash flow and grow organically using capital raised from angels without any follow-on venture capital investment. Since angels rarely invest more than $1 to $1.5 million in total in any deal, these are startup ventures that can achieve positive cash flow with less than, say $2 million, and usually less than $1 million in equity investment.
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Solar CellsI [Marty Hoffert] write to propose a high-level briefing, perhaps at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Pre-Conference Workshop on March 1 at the Gaylord Convention Center in DC, on space-based solar power (SBSP); and, as a possible specific example, a near-term ARPA-E funded project to test it by laser beaming of solar energy collected in orbit from the International Space Station to collectors on Earth (see attached). Longer term, but soon, a laser SBSP demonstrator in geostationary orbit could be deployed. If successful, there are many plausible business plans for commercialization, at least as much as for terrestrial solar, with which space-based solar would logically can co-evolve. Even now, a California company, Solaren, has signed a proprietary agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric to deliver 200 megawatts of electricity from space to their grid by 2016. And whereas, for technical reasons relating to large space components needed for "first power," we don't think their microwave beaming approach is the way to go initially, the technology needs to be taken seriously.
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ohio.comTo commemorate its 100th birthday this year, Kent State University commissioned a study to quantify its impact on the region's economy.

One figure it revealed at a gathering of 100 alumni and business leaders Thursday: $1.9 billion.

That's the average annual added income of Kent State's eight campuses and its alumni — and is the equivalent of 1.5 percent of the Northeast Ohio economy.

The report, titled ''Prosperity By Degrees: The Economic Impact of Kent State University on Northeast Ohio,'' examines it as an investment and engine of growth and prosperity.
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Jess Wells They say that the only common trait among successful entrepreneurs is that they were raised in families headed by successful entrepreneurs, where kids watched first-hand as someone believed in their own ideas, had the courage to take a risk, rode the cash-flow roller coaster, and enjoyed it enough to succeed.

Today, the National Women's Business Council, which advises the Small Business Administration, estimates that in 2008 there were 7.2 million majority-owned, privately-held, women-owned businesses in the United States, employing 7.3 million people and generating $1.1 trillion in sales. It's estimated that women are starting businesses at twice the rate as any other group of entrepreneurs.
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Adeo Ressi’s Founder Institute is going international. This Spring, the startup mentorship program will be expanding to Singapore, Paris, Los Angeles, and Denver, meaning that the Founder Institute is now active in nine cities worldwide. Interested entrepreneurs can apply starting tonight, with an early application deadline of February 15 2010 and a final deadline of February 28. These four new programs will start simultaneously this spring.

Ressi, who founded the program, says that the Founder Institute is the first incubator program to expand beyond the United States (though there are other entrepreneur-focused programs like Seedcamp). As the Institute grows, it comes closer to Ressi’s goal of training 1000 founders a year. Conservatively, he think that this year the nine programs in aggregate will graduate over 700 founders and 500 companies, though he wouldn’t be surprised if the tally is more like 750 companies.
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BusinessWeek Logo Leaders who demand proof that a new idea will work inadvertently stifle innovation. There's a better way to react to brainstorms

Once upon a time there was a very big bank. Its CEO wanted to better serve its best customers and hired some consultants to tell him what to do.

At the time, the very big bank served its high-net-worth customers at stately private banking offices in downtown branches. The consultants discovered that many of these wealthy customers—lawyers, executives, and partners in big professional services firms—were unattractive customers. They chose plain-vanilla services and were both demanding and price-sensitive.

But the consultants found another high-net-worth segment that was underserved: entrepreneurs and partners from smaller firms. These folks had diverse needs, such as mortgages for their homes and investment properties, and investor agreements for multipartner ventures. But they didn't want to bounce from one banking specialist to another to get a deal done, or drive to a fancy branch filled with high-backed chairs and wood-paneled walls, paid for with their fees. Instead, they wanted integrated, personalized service in their neighborhoods, with no divide between their commercial and personal banking services.
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altComparing Germany's Ruhr Valley to the Rust Belt is old hat. These two regions jump to the fore when we discuss industrial decline in Germany and the United States. However, the analogy is still instructive as we struggle to find a functional contiguous geography that might lend itself revitalization:
Germans often think of the region as a single entity, and taken together, it would in fact be the country's biggest city, with more than 5 million inhabitants. But the valley has less the feel of a city than a small, densely populated island: In some areas of the region, cities bleed into each other, while in other places there are wide stretches of agriculture that act as buffers between municipalities. Residents often have attachments to their local towns and develop rivalries against their neighbors. “When there's a soccer game between Dortmund and Bochum, you should probably stay off the local trains,” Willi Kaiser, a resident of Essen, said.
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Berlin Fashion Week - Hausach CoutureGudrun Flieger tucks into a steaming bowl of bean stew at a soup kitchen in the well-to-do Berlin district of Charlottenburg. The 63-year-old pensioner has been a regular guest at the church-run meeting point since losing her job as a fitter at an electrical factory which went bankrupt in the late 1990s.

"Without the soup kitchen and state help I'd be lost," she says.

At a pawn shop on Karl Marx Strasse, in Neukölln, one of Berlin's poorest districts where one in four people are unemployed and half of all children live in poverty, an elderly woman in her 70s, dressed in a fur coat, hopes to pawn a family heirloom – a gold watch – to help cover a heating bill.
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larry-page-sergey-brinGoogle revealed a plan today for co-founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin to sell off some of their company stock, with the end result that the pair’s voting power will drop below 50 percent.

The news was revealed in a regulatory filing disclosing a plan that Page and Brin made last November to sell off about 5 million shares each. It’s described “as part of their respective long-term strategies for individual asset diversification and liquidity.” The sale, which will take place over five years, will decrease their voting power from 59 percent to 48 percent.
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Gartner_mobileappsAccording to a new report from Gartner, worldwide revenue from mobile applications will total $6.8 billion in 2010, an increase of 60% over the $4.2 billion spent in 2009. Growth in revenue from mobile apps can be expected to continue at a rapid rate, as more consumers purchase smartphones and more apps become available. Gartner predicts that in 2013, 21.6 billion apps will be downloaded, generating nearly $30 billion in revenue — more than a fourfold increase over 2010.

Gartner forecasts that 82% of all downloads will be free in 2010, and that the share of free apps will increase to 87% by 2013. This leaves mobile advertising to make up for the loss in share for paid apps — Gartner claims that in 2010, 0.9% ($0.6 billion) of mobile app revenue will be generated by advertising.
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apple_tabletYes, my [Tom Slater] headline is a bit facetious. But even if Apple’s tablet doesn’t save the planet, its users will be cutting carbon in three major industries. Music, books & printers could all be, to some extent, displaced by lightweight mobile computing like the Apple tablet.

The iSlate is expected to be a touch screen computer with similar features to the iPod Touch but larger, about 10-11″. I say expected because everything is a rumor at this point — though Apple has invited journalists to see their “latest creation” at a press conference on January 26 & 27.

So how will the iSlate help? For one thing, every time a real, physical CD (remember those?) is purchased, it is the product of an extensive supply chain. Raw oil is processed into plastics. Plastics are turned into CD blanks. CDs are burnt en masse and liner notes are printed with a variety of synthetic inks. The product is shipped (usually) in little plastic jewel cases which are as fragile as they are infuriating to open with scraps of tape sealing them shut. It is all done on costly machinery in large rooms with fluorescent lighting and the product is transported in a diesel burning truck. Toxic materials, electricity and transport can all be eliminated from this industry by going digital.
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Pretending to be a CustomerIt's a challenge to objectively examine your own website as if a prospect or customer seeking information would. There's an approach you can follow to get ideas flowing though: Look at a direct competitor's online presence, trying to shoot holes in it based on how a customer might view it.

You should really be able to get into it by answering a few questions:

* What misleading or out-of-date information is presented?

* What's not compelling about the website?
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When NBIA’s longtime chief executive Dinah Adkins retired from the association in August, she took with her tremendous institutional memory, a contact list that spans the globe, and fond memories of the people and places she has known through her work here. But she left behind far more in the form of a legacy of contributions that have shaped the business incubation industry. Adkins’ name has been synonymous with business incubation since 1988, when she assumed management of the association. Even before that time, she was an industry pioneer, working in the field since 1982 and becoming a founding member of NBIA in 1985. Under her leadership, the association has grown to nearly 2,000 members representing more than 60 nations. This growth is due in large part to innovative programs Adkins introduced, novel concepts she championed and strategic decisions she made.


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