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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.

Do-good prize season—less glamorous than the Oscars, but contentious nonetheless.

The MacArthur Fellows (often called the "Genius" awards) were announced a few weeks ago and last Friday—well, you know. While everyone else is trying to figure out whether President Obama should have won the Nobel Peace Prize, I'm happy to ponder whether the Nobel Peace Prize should exist at all.

There are generally two kinds of prizes that try to improve the world. The first, like the Nobel, awards those who have made the world better in extraordinary ways. The second, like the X Prize, tries to incentivize innovation that could have enormous impact in the future.


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NYC universities see a spike in enrollments for studies focusing on how students can launch and manage their own businesses.

Colleges have often provided fertile ground for innovation: Facebook was founded by Harvard classmates, Google by Ph.D. students and Napster by a freshman at Northeastern. Even FedEx was born of an economics term paper.

With the job market lagging, success stories like these are boosting interest in entrepreneurship among college students. Colleges and universities nationwide offer more than 5,000 courses on the subject, compared with just 250 in 1985, according to a report from the Kauffman Foundation, an organization that promotes small business formation in the U.S. And in the Big Apple, where many are looking to the startup sector for economic growth, colleges have found a growing demand for entrepreneurial studies.

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Earlier this month at the Mass Tech Leadership Council's Innovation Unconference, I helped lead a session called "How Do We Turbo-Charge the Culture of Entrepreneurship in Massachusetts?" It attracted a room full of about 35 people.

I believe, as you may know, that there is a cultural revolution happening here, and that there are two kinds of people in our region's innovation economy:

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TORONTO, Oct. 14 /CNW/ - We are wasting the productive lives of many brilliant and courageous knowledge workers and losing large sums of money doing it. This is the stark conclusion of a new study, released today by The Impact Group. Understanding the Disappearance of Early-stage and Start-up R&D Performing Firms is the fourth in a series of white papers by H. Douglas Barber and Jeffrey Crelinsten examining Canada's innovation performance and culture. Through interviews with former CEOs and investors from 18 R&D performing companies that are no longer part of Canada's business landscape, the authors discovered that of these 18 firms 10 became insolvent with the remainder disappearing through merger or sale, in five cases profitably. On average the events took over seven years to unfold.

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As the Ohio Capital Fund rounds the finish line in investing $150 million in venture capital firms, two legislators want to breathe new life into what they consider one of the state’s key economic development programs.

State Reps. Jay Goyal, D-Mansfield, and Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland, said Wednesday they plan in the next few weeks to introduce legislation in the House of Representatives that will boost the investment capacity of the Ohio Venture Capital Authority by at least $100 million.

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Corporate investors and acquirers are showing more interest in potential deals after a difficult economic downturn, but start-ups can improve their chances of a favorable exit by taking some steps of their own.

A group of top executives from technology companies speaking at the Dow Jones VentureWire Technology Showcase on Wednesday gave their suggestions on do’s and don’ts when seeking an investment or acquisition from these companies.

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KNOXVILLE — A local economic development consortium has outlined a new strategy for attracting high-tech companies.

Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley today unveiled a plan to focus on recruiting companies — and boost existing firms — in four specific industries: instrumentation, nuclear energy, bioenergy and energy-related materials.

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Governor Jim Doyle today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Province of Manitoba and the State of Wisconsin promoting the growth of innovation through collaboration, commercialization and bilateral trade.

The agreement, signed by Governor Doyle and Premier Gary Doer, promotes a working relationship between Wisconsin and Manitoba and builds upon current efforts to advance emerging technologies and enhance the mid-continent knowledge “IQ” corridor.

“Wisconsin and Manitoba share a strong past and a bright future in research and technology development,” Governor Doyle said. “This agreement builds on our common strengths and commits to continuing collaboration that will lead the future of innovation and grow our economies.”

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Arlington, Va. (PRWEB) October 13, 2009 -- On Columbus Day, Richard C. Litman, the Founder of the Global Academic Innovation Network (GAIN), announced GAIN's 2020 plan to help universities and businesses in emerging countries connect with their counterparts in more developed parts of the world.

Global circumstances have shifted in the last 500 years so that the New World and the Old World have become one world united by a more ancient type of discovery -- innovation. Twenty-first century explorers are not found on ships like the Nina, Piñta or Santa Maria, but are steering through uncharted waters in laboratories at universities and research centers, and at spin-off companies in business incubators and technology parks. In the current era, the quest for technology and entrepreneurship is more important than staking a claim to new territories.

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The University of Michigan is among the nation's leaders in creating startup ventures based on university technology. To build on that success, UM technology transfer officials have created the new Michigan Venture Center, a one-stop hub for entrepreneurs, investors and faculty inventors.

The center will help faculty inventors create business plans, assess a technology's commercialization potential, deal with intellectual property issues, attract investors, and acquire gap funding to enhance the market appeal of a new technology.


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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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Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- House Democrats plan a renewed push to raise taxes on executives at private-equity and venture- capital firms to help pay for year-end economic recovery legislation, a top congressional aide said.

Matthew Beck, a spokesman for the House Ways and Means Committee, said the panel will revive an effort to raise the 15 percent tax rate on “carried interest,” a term for the share of a fund’s profit that is paid as compensation to executives.

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BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Venture-capital firms raised the smallest number of funds in 15 years in the third quarter, weighed down by the credit crisis.

Firms raised 17 funds, the same number as in the third quarter of 1994, according to a report by the National Venture Capital Association and Thompson Reuters(TRI Quote). Venture-capital firms gathered $1.6 billion, the least since the first quarter of 2003, when they managed to raise only $938 million. So far in 2009, firms have collected $8.4 billion, compared with $28.6 billion for all of 2008.

"Many limited partners are still determining their long-term strategies in the wake of the past year's financial crisis, and that slows the process down considerably," said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA, in a statement. "We expect commitment levels to remain modest for the remainder of 2009, with gradual increases beginning in 2010."

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Abu Dhabi, UAE - Growing businesses in a complex environment, leading enterprises to innovate and using technology for innovation were the key themes of discussion at Frost & Sullivan's flagship event -GIL 2009: Middle East- Growth, Innovation and Leadership: A Frost & Sullivan Global Congress on Corporate Growth. Held on 7th October 2009 at Hotel Beach Rotana, Abu Dhabi, UAE for the first time in the Middle East, the Congress saw attendance from senior dignitaries across industries at a single venue.

The highlight of the Congress was its keynote presentation, 'The CEO's Perspective on Growth in a Complex Business Environment' by David Frigstad, Chairman, Frost & Sullivan. Elaborating on the CEO's perspective of growth, Frigstad said, "Now more than ever, CEOs need a 360-degree overview of the business for making decisions. Through this powerful Congress, Frost & Sullivan offers insights to grow and sustain business in the current economic environment, seize opportunities for networking and forge new partnerships."

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In a classic episode of “The Simpsons,” the owner of convenience store Kwik-E-Mart, Apu, is being held up at gunpoint and shouts to a policeman in the store for help. The cop, Chief Wiggum, retorts, “Hey, I got problems of my own right now,” as his tie is pulled slowly into a hot dog rotating machine.

”Oh boy, this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better,” Chief Wiggum dejectedly declares.

I couldn’t help but think of that line this morning while listening to several veteran venture capitalists discuss the unsettling state of the venture industry in front of dozens of hopeful start-up CEOs at today’s VentureWire Technology Showcase.

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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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Strengthening Europe’s Innovation Performance

Brussels: 12 to 14 October 2009

The 1 st European Innovation Summit is underway at the European Parliament. The summit has been organised by the Knoweldge4Innovation (K4I) – The Lisbon Forum.


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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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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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