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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.

The day is finally here, and we’re excited to announce the winners of the 2009 Intranet Innovation Awards! These are global awards that celebrate new ideas and innovative approaches to the enhancement and delivery of intranets. Winning entries in 2009 include CRS Australia (Australia), IDEO (USA), IBM (USA), SunGard (USA/NZ), NYK Group (UK), Sabre (USA), COWI (Denmark), ChTPZ (Russia), Prophet (USA) and AEP (USA).

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(Fortune magazine) -- First and foremost, Steve Jobs is an entrepreneur. And that is how history will long remember him. Not primarily as a fiduciary or an institution builder or an administrator (though he has worn all those hats), but rather as an individual who relentlessly pursued new opportunities.

From the first Apple computers to the breakthrough innovations of the past eight years -- the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, and his Apple stores -- he has chased new possibilities without being deterred by whatever obstacles he encountered.

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Will Seek General Assembly Approval to Expand Tax Credit Allocations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber and Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr today announced the names of the six selected venture capital firms and two alternates named to participate in the TNInvestco program. They are:

• Tennessee Community Ventures Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee. 
• XMi High Growth Development Fund, LLC, Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
• Limestone Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.
• Tri-Star Technology Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.
• Innova Fund II, LP, Memphis, Tennessee.
• Council & Enhanced Tennessee Fund, LLC, Nashville, Tennessee.


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The U.S. is in deeper trouble than I thought, if Warren Buffett is right. In proclaiming an “all-in wager on the economic future of the United States, Buffett just paid $44 billion for a 19th century technology platform, a railroad, that carries 20th century goods—coal, agriculture, imports from Asia, petroleum. This is a vision of an America mired in the past and in economic and political decline.

And Buffett just might be right. He has a great track record betting against innovation. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, is famous for investing in insurance companies and utilities, and avoiding high tech and innovative corporations. Its stock is up 84% over the past decade, while the S&P 500 is down by 18%.

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I can’t play poker, but I do enjoy watching it on TV. We’re in the middle of the 2009 World Series of Poker, an event that draws thousands of professional and amateur players to Las Vegas every year. The grand finale is the Main Event, a massive Texas Hold ’Em tournament with thousands of players and millions of dollars for the winner.

Tournament poker used to be the province of professionals. But starting a few years ago, a huge wave of amateurs has invaded the game. As a result, of the thousands of entrants into the Main Event, only a few hundred are real pros.

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People forget how small Israel is. Its entire population is a little over 7 million -- smaller than Lima, Peru. Its land area is about 8,000 square miles, smaller than New Jersey. By comparison, Jordan, its neighbor to the east, occupies 35,000 square miles; Egypt, to the West, covers 386,000 square miles.

There are more than 20 Arab states with a combined population of 325 million, and more than 50 majority-Muslim states with a combined population of well over a billion. By contrast, Israel is the world's only Jewish-majority state -- and 20 percent of its population is Arab, most of them Muslim.


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Today we are beginning to accept nominations for the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship, which will take place in Washington, D.C. next spring.

This event is the direct result of President Obama’s speech in Cairo last June.

In that speech, the President sought to establish a new beginning built on the basis of mutual respect, the pursuit of partnerships in areas of mutual interest, and the shared principles and aspirations that bring us together as human beings.

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Motley Fool Holdings Inc. this week announced it raised $25 million in venture financing. Good for The Fool.

But pulling back the curtain, there’s more than just a simple round of financing here. The deal points to creative ways in which venture firms are finding liquidity other than the standard acquisitions, IPOs and secondary sales.

The funding comes from mezzanine investor BIA Digital Partners and growth investor Patriot Capital, new shareholders in the online investing site. Motley Fool’s early investors - venture firms Maveron and Mayfield Fund, which invested during the dot-com bubble - and secondary firm Saints Capital, which bought shares in 2005, did not reinvest. Instead, they will eventually be bought out.

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Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has snapped up Bay Area talent for years, first as an executive at Sun Microsystems Inc., then as CEO of computer maker Novell Inc. and now as the 54-year-old boss at Google.

The hiring has been particularly fast and furious at the Internet search giant, which has grown to more than 19,600 employees world-wide. Roughly a third of those workers live in the Bay Area, according to Google.

Google recruits from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, among other places, and has set off hiring wars with rivals such as Microsoft Corp. Now Google is poised to beef up its work force again as the tech industry comes out of a recession and workers remain plentiful amid high unemployment rates in Silicon Valley.


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Can prize competitions propel energy and climate technology the way they have space technology? The recent proliferation of contests with ample rewards suggests that many people think they can.

Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Group, said he would award $25 million to someone who develops a method to sequester enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to stabilize the climate.

Have an idea for contest to drive energy or climate innovation? Leave a comment or drop us a line at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. The X Prize Foundation is offering $10 million to the developers of a commercially viable car that gets at least 100 miles per gallon.

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STANFORD, Calif.--(Business Wire)-- "Make Saving Money Fun." That`s the task that thousands of students of all ages from at least 51 countries will tackle in the next week in response to a challenge unveiled yesterday by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. And the students` actions just may help people find a way through the global recession.

Free to interpret the challenge any way they want, students have just eight days to come up with innovative solutions and convey their results in a short video posted to YouTube. Called the Global Innovation Tournament 2009, the competition is organized by STVP at Stanford University for Global Entrepreneurship Week and run locally by over 100 universities, schools and other organizations. The global sponsor for the competition is Intuit Inc., a leading provider of financial management solutions for consumers and small businesses.

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India is currently the world’s fourth largest economy in terms of real GDP (PPP) and the tenth largest economy in terms of nominal GDP. Over the last decade, the country has emerged as a leading actor on the international stage. The outsourcing of services to India has over the past decade redefined the international business environment, and major Indian companies are now moving abroad on a scale never before witnessed.

In a situation where the world requires innovative companies to address the serious global challenges faced by humanity, including high resource consumption, pollution, population growth, demographic and geopolitical changes, India, with its rapidly changing business environment, may indeed prove to be one of the most important countries.

One of the first events kicking off the 2009 MichBio Expo in Kalamazoo today focused — no surprise — on money.

A panel of venture capital experts from across the state discussed the trends in funding for life sciences companies at the annual gathering, held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Radisson Plaza Suites and Hotel downtown.

The panel prepped companies, consultants and investors on existing funding opportunities.

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I am exceptionally energized and inspired with hope by the conversations and experiences we’ve shared with Chinese colleagues here in Hangzhou this week. We have a great deal to learn together and from each other, as we both continue to explore a variety of issues and challenges. Among theses, the role of ICT in the learning process, and more generally the ways creativity and innovation can be supported within as well as outside of formal educational institutions, are critical issues. The respect with which the Chinese treat and regard educators in their society is a breath of fresh air in so many ways. These relationships of respect can pose challenges in the context of 21st century learning, however, as we encourage educational leaders to be co-learners and facilitators of learning with students. Just as teachers in the United States can have LOTS of problems letting go of their perceived CONTROL over the learning environment, the role of Chinese educators as the director of all activities in the classroom is supported culturally, institutionally, and politically. Our challenges in these conversations about 21st century learning and educational transformation are formidable. Fortunately, there are a LOT of very smart and courageous people involved in these conversations, and our continued work together is bound to bear abundant fruit.

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Here at SmallBiz, we spend a lot of time thinking about what drives an entrepreneur. The issue was at the heart of our special report earlier this year on social entrepreneurship, and our feature story on how entrepreneurs beat burnout and stay passionate about their business. We’ve asked several of our guest columnists to examine the subject, including Steven Berglas and Vivek Wadhwa.

In fact, you could say we’re obsessed.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing. After spending an evening listening to Robin Chase, co-founder of Zipcar and current CEO of GoLoco, dissect one of Carl Jung’s paintings at the Rubin Museum of Art last week, I’m convinced that obsession is the core of the entrepreneurial spirit. The Rubin has invited numerous artists, intellectuals, and executives to sit on stage with a Jungian analyst and respond to a painting from Jung’s legendary Red Book diary, which famously chronicles the psychologist’s descent into madness. Chase could have gone anywhere with the painting, which featured a deity-like man floating above an urban waterfront scene. Instead, she spent an hour discussing the potential tragedy of climate change if people don’t deal with excess capacity (share your cars!) and sprawl (infrastructure first!).

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A recent survey developed for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy by researchers at New York University’s Stern School of Business and NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development suggests that successful entrepreneurs can be taught and aren’t merely born with a start-up gene, like Harvard dropouts Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook.

The study of 5,618 respondents finishing or holding business degrees from five Northeast US schools (unnamed because of confidentiality agreements) found that there is a correlation between taking classes on entrepreneurship and forming a company with original ideas, as defined by obtaining patents, copyrights, and creating new production techniques.

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Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
– Abe Lincoln

The latest gross domestic product numbers for the United States — showing 3.5 percent growth in the third quarter — are surely the light at the end of the recessionary tunnel.

Feel better?

Probably not.

You or somebody you know probably doesn’t have a job or health insurance. People are losing their houses or are up to their chins in debt and not spending much. Parts of our education system remain in tatters. Our environment could be cleaner, our politicians and business leaders more honest.

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WASHINGTON: Former US vice president Al Gore could become the world's first carbon billionaire following his investments in green energy companies.

Gore's venture capital company has been investing to develop energy-saving technologies. Last year, they had loaned Spring Networks, $75 million to produce products to improve electricity grid efficiency.

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Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- European venture capitalists may be wary of startup technology companies even after an economic recovery, according to the investment arm of Intel Corp., the world’s biggest computer-chip maker.

Venture funds stung by the recession are “moving away from the early stage” and toward less risky, later deals for young technology companies, Ashish Patel, Intel Capital managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, said in an interview in London. Intel Capital has about $2 billion under management.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- In general, venture capital funding has dried up in the semiconductor industry. But In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), continues to invest in the semiconductor and related industries.

The CIA has invested in materials supplier Cambrios Technologies Corp. (Sunnyvale, Calif.). In fact, Cambrios has received investments totaling $14.5 million in a first closing of its Series D financing round.

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