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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.

NYTAnyone familiar with Tom Cruise’s breakout role in “Risky Business” or the reality television series “Shark Tank” has a pretty good idea of what business plan competitions are.

They’re contests held — often but not always — by institutions of higher education to prepare newcomers for the rigors of entrepreneurship. They require participants to conceive an original company, summarize it in writing, and — if invited — expand on the idea before a panel of investors, sponsors and business owners.


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The race is on for energy-technology entrepreneurs who have won federal economic-stimulus grants from a special high-risk technology program—with promises of more money if they can move their inventions closer to market over the next two years.

The Energy Department's ARPA-E agency—modeled on a military program for bankrolling cutting-edge technology, including computer networking that led to today's Internet—has awarded $151 million to 37 companies around the country. Nearly 3,700 companies applied for the money. A complete list of the winners selected by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy can be found here.

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Mumbai: Even as corporate groups and financial institutions in India are floating their own private equity funds, the downturn in the global economy has affected their fundraising plans indefinitely. However, by exploring new sources such as domestic institutions and high networth individuals (HNIs), a few PE firms have received commitments while a few others remain optimistic about completing fundraising soon.

Avendus, the Mumbai-based merchant banking firm, and one of the latest entrants into the PE market, is expected to complete raising Rs 1,000-crore private equity fund next year. The PE firm has started talks with domestic sources for the purpose. Early this week, Aditya Birla Private Equity, the PE arm of the Aditya Birla Group, reportedly raised about $100 million out of its targeted $250 million. Reliance Equity Advisors, PE arm of the ADAG Group, is expected to close its first fund of Rs 1,500 crore by the year-end. The firm, which is targeting domestic investors instead of raising overseas capital, is in discussions with State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, and Canara Bank for the commitment. The investment focus will be on growth capital buy-outs, minority investments and acquisition financing in sectors such as services, retail, logistics, media, infrastructure ancillaries and healthcare, according to reports.

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The report card aims to highlight the sorts of innovations in education – such as an extended school day – that lead to better schools.

If states truly want to improve their education systems, they need to do away with the rules, regulations, and bureaucracies that stymie innovation.

That's one message from a new report that measures states on how well they foster education innovation, grading them in areas ranging from finance and school management to how well they hire effective teachers and remove ineffective ones.
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It is clear that innovation and technological change got us into many of the messes we are in today, but only innovation and technological breakthroughs will get us out of trouble.

My career represents a somewhat schizophrenic split between technology strategy and policy, and varied involvements in the humanities and arts. This schizophrenia, however, has reinforced my enduring interest in cross-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary practice, especially in mission-directed industrial research.
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BusinessWeekKai-Fu Lee became famous in 2005 when the engineering whiz left Microsoft, where he had created Microsoft Research Asia, to head search giant Google’s operation in China. Microsoft sued, charging that he violated a noncompete agreement, but eventually settled. This time, as Lee leaves Google, he’s sure to avoid a lawsuit, because he’s starting his own venture, which launches Monday morning in Beijing.

Innovation Works is intended to be something of an incubator for new Chinese companies in mobile computing, e-commerce, and cloud computing. Lee (who hates the term “incubator” because of the failure of so many in the U.S. dot-com crash) intends to brainstorm ideas, find entrepreneurs and engineers to prove them out, and provide seed funding.


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The MacArthur Foundation seeks to increase the effectiveness of international cooperation in fostering peace and security in Asia. Read our news for the latest ideas from the Initiative network, and read our blog for real-time commentary from network experts.

Beginning Wednesday, the ASI Blog will feature a special report by ASI bloggers and grantees on President Obama’s visits to Japan, Singapore for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, China and Korea. Experts from across the Asia-Pacific will offer their views on what can be expected from his meetings, explain what happened, and offer their views on the opportunities for fostering peace and security in the region as a result of the trip.

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To stay ahead, companies need to find ways to keep engineers motivated and happy.

In the high-tech industry, “innovation” is part of our everyday vocabulary and one of the main reasons why many of us have chosen this field. And innovation is why, even after two decades, I get up every morning, excited about how our ideas can improve the way we live or do business.

I’m constantly asked how I came up with a certain idea for a product or technology, and how I managed to bring them to reality – that is, actual products that someone can purchase.

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BWNearly two years after the U.S. tumbled into a recession, business is starting to think about ways to grow again. And for many, this means spending more money on innovation, says a new study from Accenture. In a survey of 630 execs in the U.S. and the U.K., 48% said their companies had upped their innovation budgets from six months ago. A third said innovation outlays were flat.

There’s a gray lining in these numbers: One in every five companies is still cutting spending on the development of new products or services.


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The Washington region has the nation’s richest set of federal research and development assets, but they are not fully realized partners in our technology community. To unlock their full potential, we need to provide them with the tools necessary to connect with the present, using a federal connection model from the past.

Abraham Lincoln was the nation’s first technology president. He is the only president ever awarded a patent, he approved the congressional charter for the National Academies of Science, and he signed the nation’s first technology transfer statute creating the state university system of service to regional economies.
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A few months ago, Business Leaders for Michigan emerged as a new organization of CEOs from across the state all speaking in one voice around one goal: making Michigan a “Top Ten” state in the long term and an above-average state in the short term for job and economic growth.

To get us there, we have proposed the Michigan Turnaround Plan, a comprehensive strategy that lays out the case for change, sets achievable goals, identifies specific action steps and explains the impact of change. Specific to innovation and entrepreneurship, we call for:


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Suppose you’ve started a business that needs $100,000 of external financing to get off the ground. Because none of your friends or family has the money to make the investment, you’re looking for an accredited angel investor.

That investor is going to be very, very hard to find. Statistically, very few people are in a position to make these kinds of investments.

Let me give you some numbers to show you how rare this source of financing is. Because only a small number of new companies are successful enough to generate a reasonable return on an investor’s capital, most accredited angel investors realize that they need a diversified portfolio. Therefore, most investors will only invest a small portion – sophisticated angels say no more than 10 percent – of their net worth in start-ups. So a person who can invest $100,000 in start-ups needs a net worth of at least $1 million.

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Yale UniversityNew Haven, Conn. — A consortium of six leading research universities and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) today announced their endorsement of a far-reaching “Statement of Principles and Strategies for the Equitable Dissemination of Medical Technologies” in the developing world.

Harvard, Yale, Brown, Boston University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oregon Health & Science University and AUTM have taken a major step beyond Nine Points to Consider in Licensing University Technology, a 2007 statement endorsed by about 70 organizations and academic institutions, committing themselves to “implementing technology transfer strategies that promote the availability of health-related technologies in developing countries for essential medical care.”

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Kentucky Broadband model used as national example goes global

LEXINGTON, KY - After being lauded as model for the United States in President Barack Obama's stimulus plan, the head of the program that has made it so 95 percent of Kentuckians can have access to high speed Internet has been invited to advise Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak.

Brian Mefford, chairman and CEO of Connected Nation, which grew out of ConnectKentucky – a program established in 2002 by the non-profit Center for Information Technology Enterprises to give people across the commonwealth the ability to connect to Web on more than just dial-up – was invited by the Malaysian PM to be a part of the Southeast Asian country's 12th International Advisory Panel Meeting.

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BusinessWeekLanding a banking or consulting job used to be the main reason for going to B-school. These days, it's just as likely to be launching a business

Business schools have quietly become the back door to starting your own business. Once considered merely the hallway to a high-salaried career with an investment banking or consulting firm, business schools are now drawing attention from those tinkering in their garages and hoping to find the next big thing. Through virtual and traditional business incubators, business schools are helping students launch startups with everything from fund-raising and networking to finding office space and interns.

During the economic crisis, many people took shelter in graduate programs, while many others who had been pursuing careers at companies large and small sought opportunities to become their own boss so they won't have to worry about the next round of layoffs. These ingredients have come together in a recipe that has graduate business programs cooking up entrepreneurial ideas like never before—from RecipeKey, a reverse search engine that has visitors to its Web site typing in ingredients to get recipes, to, an online community for finance professionals.

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Newswise — The Fox School of Business at Temple University and the National Association of Seed Venture Funds (NASVF) have released a new survey indicating that about half of the organizations polled reported that 25 percent of their portfolio is in-loss.

The survey respondents were comprised of NASVF and non-NASVF members that included angel investors, angel funds, early- and seed-stage venture capital funds and economic development agencies that provide investments for startup and early-stage emerging companies.

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BERLIN (IDN) – There is so much gloom and doom after Barcelona and St. Andrews that a catastrophic climate change appears inevitable. Some seem to envision the planet Earth being smashed to the smithereens if the milestone Copenhagen conference fails to reach a legally binding agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol that holds the ground until 2012.

In this treaty agreed 1997, 37 industrialized states committed themselves to cutting emissions by an average of 5 per cent against 1990 levels over the period from 2008 to 2012.

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The months-long wait for small device companies looking for revisions to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program may be nearing an end as a compromise version could be introduced later this month, a Senate staffer says. “We’re hopeful we will be able to reach compromise before the November recess,” Vicki Ekstrom, spokeswoman for the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, said.

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David Brophy, director of the Center for Venture Capital and Private Equity Finance at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, was honored Monday night with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual awards dinner of the Ann Arbor-based Michigan Venture Capital Association.

In 1972, Brophy, who is also an associate professor of finance, founded the Michigan Growth Capital Symposium to help diversify the state’s economy away from its dependence on auto manufacturing.


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TORONTO, Nov 10 (Reuters) - Activity in Canada's venture capital market hit a 14-year low in the third quarter, tumbling 51 percent to $191 million from the same period a year ago as uneasy investors stayed out of the market.

According to data put out by the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (CVCA) and Thomson Reuters, the province of Ontario saw the steepest fall in investment, sagging to $24 million from $179 million a year earlier.

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