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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.

At the World Business Forum, Gary Hamel gave a rousing speech about the need for companies to update their management models. An area on which he put a lot of focus was the need for companies to better utilize the talents and passions of their employees. Specifically, he called for reorienting work around "natural leaders" versus relying only on titled leaders. These are people who have earned the respect of their peers, and have demonstrated a capacity for getting things done that advance the company.

And, perhaps for you the reader, it goes without saying that often these people may not be in leadership positions.

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AKRON, Ohio -- Milking algae for oil. Insuring the family pet. Regenerating tissue in damaged hearts.

These are concepts driving early-stage companies in Northeast Ohio, whose promise of fast growth has drawn money and guidance from JumpStart Inc.

The regional, venture-development organization celebrated entrepreneurship Friday with 500 business, elected and nonprofit leaders. They attended JumpStart's fifth annual community meeting at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron, and applauded as JumpStart Chief Executive Ray Leach accepted a national award recognizing the nonprofit group's economic development efforts.

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"Kosovo should create an environment for development sustainable and competitive businesses including in major world markets and it is not something unachievable," said on Thursday the representatives of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) during the promotion of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Executive Development - CEED Kosovo.

Kosovo has become the seventh country in the Balkans with this kind of center that has started its work on Thursday through which Kosovar enterprises will be supported for creating a climate more favorable in view of establishing sustainable and competitive businesses in the Republic of Kosovo, and abroad.

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Technology transfer lets you shop for existing technology and commercialize it yourself, but such programs can be risky

If you just can't come up with a great idea for your next venture, you can shop for one. So-called technology transfer lets you license existing technology from a university or federal laboratory and then use your own resources to commercialize it. These sorts of programs can be great options, but they're very risky. And it can take years before a product derived from the technology starts to bring in cash.

But the biggest question is whether you personally are a good fit for tech transfer. David Allen, associate vice-president for technology transfer at the University of Colorado, says the ideal candidate is an experienced entrepreneur with a solid understanding of the technology they'll be bringing to market. That's not to say newcomers can't make a go of it—if they can find a way to fill that knowledge gap. Kris Appel was with the National Security Agency for 17 years, but she always wanted to be an entrepreneur. In 2005 she saw a flyer for a program at the University of Maryland that helps women entrepreneurs exploit technology-related opportunities. "I never would have tried this without the program," Appel says.

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Entrepreneurs who want to raise angel funding can approach three types of potential investors: individuals, angel networks, and angel funds.

Individual angels are wealthy people looking to invest in private companies on their own. Angel networks are affiliated groups of individual investors who meet regularly to consider potential deals, but invest individually rather than as a group. Angel funds are groups of investors who pool money to invest together, usually alongside extra investments from individual members.

There’s some indication that the last type is on the rise. Of the last 14 angel groups that joined the Angel Capital Association, half of them have organized funds, according to John Huston, the group’s chairman, who visited BW in New York this week. On average, only 20% of the ACA’s existing member groups have angel funds, he says.

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SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Disappointed investors who threatened to abandon venture capital have carried through, sending the number of new funds tumbling and signaling a smaller industry with fewer venture capitalists.

In the first three quarters of this year, only 86 U.S. funds raised money, according to data compiled by the Venture Capital Journal and the National Venture Capital Association

It the trend is maintained, by year's end there will be somewhere between 104 and 118 new funds.

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I have always respected Nokia which I consider to be a quite innovative company. Lately, I have been wondering how they approach open innovation so I did some research on their activities.

"The sourcing, integration, and development of product and business system innovations through win-win external partnerships to capture maximum commercial value for R&D investment."

Kari-Pekka Estola also argued that open innovation is a critical trend and not yet another management fad due to these reasons:

Innovation happens in smaller companies, global innovation hotspots and increasingly influential user communities.

Several factors such as workforce mobility and venture capital are eroding the ability of corporate research labs to contain their useful knowledge.

A new breed of independent research labs create a new source of R&D development.

"Innomediaries" - innovation intermediaries - are enabling an increasingly active and distributed market for ideas.

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The U.S. Small Business Administration and Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence (CMI) launched a cooperative Strategic Alliance Memorandum to promote opportunities for women entrepreneurs through education, training and counseling. The launch, held in Washington, D.C. at SBA’s headquarters, also recognized Women’s Small Business Month.

The alliance between SBA and CMI will help to strengthen and expand small business development opportunities, particularly those to women entrepreneurs. The alliance is intended to promote collaboration on the development of resources and information to benefit the needs of the small business community, and of women-owned small businesses. SBA and CMI will develop a joint podcast on business start-up and financing, as well as a Web chat on small business issues affecting women entrepreneurs.

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The Swearer Center’s Social Innovation Initiative is creating a new blog aimed at promoting social innovation and entrepreneurship at Brown.

Although students and others have already written online material describing their individual experiences and sharing tips, the improved version will feature a new crop of student authors who research and write about salient social innovation issues in the University community and the world at large.

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Nanotechnology has surprising applications in mundane materials like sunscreen and esoteric items like high-tech body armor for soldiers. But some fear scarier scenarios worthy of a science fiction novel.

At Florida State University, engineers are creating new body armor for American troops. It's more durable, more bulletproof and light enough that it can cover arms and legs as well as torsos.

``It's definitely more flexible and more comfortable,'' says Frank Allen, operations director for FSU's High Performance Materials Institute.

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Economic growth is highly correlated with an abundance of small, entrepreneurial firms. This relationship is even stronger looking across industries within cities, and has been taken as evidence for competition spurring technological progress, product cycles where growth is faster at earlier stages, and the importance of entrepreneurship for area success. Any of these interpretations is possible, however, and the only thing that we can be sure of is that entrepreneurial clusters exist in some areas but not in others. This paper first documents systematically some basic facts about average establishment size and new employment growth through entrepreneurship, then analyzes entry and industrial structures at the region and the city levels using the Longitudinal Business Database. Key concepts include:
  • There is a remarkably strong correlation between smaller average firm size and subsequent employment growth due to start-ups.
  • Evidence does not support the view that regional differences in demand for entrepreneurship are responsible for these entrepreneurial clusters.
  • Instead, the evidence suggests that spatial differences in the fixed costs of entrepreneurship and/or in the supply of entrepreneurs best explain cluster formation.

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Fundraising by U.S. venture capital firms continues to lag. A survey released overnight by Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst shows that 26 VC funds raised about $3.5 billion during the three months that ended September 30—down about 51 percent from the same quarter last year.

The findings nevertheless represented an improvement over the previous quarter, when VC fundraising was down by almost two-thirds compared with the second quarter of 2008. While fundraising was down for all types of VC firms over the past three months, those that invest in late-stage startups were hit hardest.

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