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Founded by Rich Bendis

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 United States private venture capital industry has entered a period of significant change and decline. The industry is rapidly becoming dramatically smaller and less able to foster the development of innovative, early stage businesses. The argument that these changes are just part of the normal business cycle is superficially appealing. In light of private venture capital’s importance to the U.S. economy, however, leaving the industry to self-adjust is not good economic policy.

Over the last 30 years, the private venture capital industry has been a primary driver for technology company creation, intellectual property commercialization and small business employment in the United States. Simultaneously, the federal government has played a strong role as a driver of basic research and intellectual property creation. The symbiotic relationship between the federal government’s encouraging invention and the private venture capital market’s financing of innovation has created new industries and commercialized a wide range of technologies.

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PROVIDENCE — In looking to plug the incessant drain that happens each spring when newly minted college graduates flee Rhode Island for bigger metropolises, this state might do well to take a lesson from Philadelphia, experts say.

Back in the 1990s, the City of Brotherly Love struggled with that image. Its universities were first rate and attracted students from around the world, but after graduation, the vast majority of those youngsters took flight for places like New York and Chicago.

It wasn’t that anything was wrong with Philadelphia; it just didn’t have enough to keep them there.
“Statistics say the more students you get engaged in internships as early as you can, the higher retention rate you’re going to have because they know the businesses and they get more comfortable with the work environment within that community,” said Richard Bendis, founding president and chief executive officer of Innovation America, a public private partnership that worked on the Philadelphia project.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009 – 8:00am – 1310 Longworth – Open

The Defense Acquisition Reform Panel will meet to receive testimony on Can DOD Improve Innovation and Competition in Acquisition by Better Utilizing Small Business?

Ms. Linda Oliver (pdf)
Acting Director, Office of Small Business Programs
U.S. Department of Defense
Mr. Calvin Jenkins (pdf)
Deputy Associate Administrator, Government Contracting and Business Development
U.S. Small Business Administration

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the Indonesian president, yesterday pledged to promote entrepreneurship and education reform as part of his push to raise economic growth to 7 per cent by the end of his term in 2014.

Speaking after being sworn in for a second term last week , Mr Yudhoyono also promised to streamline government bureaucracy. He said successful implementation of his plans would reduce unemployment to 6 per cent from 8 per cent. His efforts would lower the poverty level to as low as 8 per cent from 14 per cent.

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PRLog (Press Release) – Oct 30, 2009 – Diego Sánchez, the director of the “Centro Integral de Servicios Empresariales” (Comprehensive Center for Business Services) CreaMe, located in Medellín, Colombia, visited the International Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship 3IE of the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María for one week. The objective of the internship was to internalize the processes, incubation model, team, the Institute´s portfolio of projects, and sources of financing. On top of that, he participated in an entrepreneurship workshop, met with entrepreneurs and shared his experiences in Colombia.

CreaMe is a business incubator that started in 1996. Their objective is to generate an entrepreneurial culture, create and strengthen businesses in Colombia. Diego Sánchez is the director of business development. With respect to their methodology he added that, “we work using a system called nodes that are specialized units of business accompaniment to cover any type of services. The special feature is that this is done in alliance with a third party that has identified market or technological needs. Together we work on the entrepreneurial processes and give more potential to the entrepreneurs.”

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As reported to you on Oct 26, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), chair and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship (SBE) were able to get the Senate to pass S. 1929 that extends SBIR/STTR for all agencies (except DoD which was handled separately) for 6 months, expiring on April 30, 2010. The bill was then sent to the House for a vote.

Naturally, Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), chair of the House Small Business Committee (SBC), didn't see eye to eye with the Senate, so she amended the bill by changing 6 months to 3 with an expiration date of January 31, 2010. With the short leash of the current October 31, 2009 expiration, and the fact that the House will not meet on Friday, the Senate will concur with the amendment and the President will sign this new Continuing Resolution (CR).

Bottom line, the SBIR/STTR programs will be extended through January 31, 2010, except for the DoD which was addressed separately by the Senate and House Armed Services Committees, and run through September 30, 2010.

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One of the area’s economic-growth engines is faltering.

The process of turning discoveries by researchers at area universities into commercial products and services is being hampered by a lack of funding, according to people familiar with it.

“There is an enormous amount of innovation in the Delaware Valley in all sectors of science and business models, but the early-stage financing capability is drying up,” said David Freschman, founder and manager of Innovation Ventures, an early-stage venture-capital firm based in Wilmington.

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This may be the best time in years for an investor to become an angel. But that doesn't mean you should rush out to get yourself fitted for wings and a halo.

An angel investor is anyone who privately provides capital to a promising business, often a start-up, that isn't run by a friend or family member. Scott Shane, an economist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, estimates that the U.S. has at least 140,000 active angels who collectively invest some $20 billion a year in new businesses.

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Oct 30, 2009 (Congressional Documents and Publications/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- Good morning Chairman Andrews, Ranking Member Conaway, and Committee Panel Members. I am Linda Oliver, Acting Director of the Office of Small Business Programs of the Department of Defense.

Thank you for inviting me to address the ways in which the Department of Defense (DoD) can improve innovation and competition in acquisition by better utilizing small businesses. The first key word - innovation - is what small businesses do best. The second topic - competition in acquisition - is the primary reason we nurture small business activities in the Department of Defense.


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In the late 18th century there was a buttonwood tree in lower Manhattan where brokers gathered to trade stocks. But by 1817, the tree had become obsolete as a trading hub. The traders migrated indoors and changed the name of their group to the New York Stock and Exchange Board. The exchange moved a couple of more times after that, and in 1903 the NYSE opened for business in the neoclassical masterpiece that still stands at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets.

Today a giant American flag stretches across the tall Corinthian columns of that elegant design—the very symbol of American economic freedom. Yet even as hordes of out-of-towners stroll by daily on tours of New York's financial landmarks, it sometimes seems that international finance is leaving the bricks and mortar behind.

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's top economic planner said on Friday that it had launched venture capital funds totaling 9 billion yuan ($1.32 billion) jointly with several provincial governments and private investors to support the country's growing high-tech sector.

Investments will focus on electronic and information industries, the biological and pharmaceutical sector and environmental and energy-related projects, the National Development and Reform Commission, the powerful planning agency, said in a statement on its website (

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What has become the Internet was started 40 years ago when computer scientists at UCLA made the first host-to-host connection to the Stanford Research Institute. From there, there's been no looking back.

It was October 1969 and Paul McCartney was not dead. He even said so in a press conference. The 100-to-1 shot New York Mets won the World Series. The cold war between Russia and the U.S. was anything but with nuclear testing continuing unabated by both sides. The U.S. though, was riding high in the space race after successfully landing two men on the moon earlier in the summer.

Buoyed by the national interest in the space race, U.S. science and technology programs were blossoming throughout the country with the best and brightest high school grads flocking to college science and computer majors. They could be spotted on campuses as the ones with shoe boxes full of punch cards to fed into university mainframes.

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A POPULAR children’s song has a refrain — “the more we get together the happier we’ll be” — that may sound like a simplistic formula for solving the complex challenges of climate change and sustainability. But if any area is ripe for sharing and collaboration among organizations, it’s green innovation.

“We all want to save the planet, and the problems are bigger than any one firm, sector or country,” says Dr. Sarah Slaughter, coordinator of the M.I.T. Sloan Sustainability Initiative. In that spirit, several major corporations have taken inspiration from the open-source software movement and are experimenting with forums for sharing environmentally friendly innovations and building communities around them. The first such effort, the Eco-Patent Commons, was started in January 2008 by I.B.M., Nokia, Pitney Bowes and Sony in collaboration with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

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A growing global appetite for agricultural assets is revolutionising farming in Australia and spawning new investment models that depart from the traditional family-run farm.

The Australian Financial Review reports that even as the most talked about model for city investors to take a stake in agriculture - through managed investment schemes - is under challenge after high-profile collapses, new alternatives are emerging.
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Harlan Anderson turned 80 this month. With Ken Olsen, he started Digital Equipment Corp., which was one of the pillars of the Route 128 era in Massachusetts and at one point was the second-biggest technology company in the world, after IBM. Next month, his memoir (“Learn, Earn & Return: My Life as a Computer Pioneer’’) will be released.

Oh, and he also started blogging recently.

I spoke with Anderson earlier this month to ask him about becoming an author, meeting (and later parting ways with) Olsen, how they raised money for the start-up, and what he views as the Achilles’ heel that undermined DEC.
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Over 300 Members filled out a recent survey. 81.7% are CEOs, just 29.1% are running their first startup, and 49.3% are on the West Coast of the US. Help TheFunded by filling out the nine question survey at
Survey results are below:

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Mark Suster, a partner at GRP Partners, has an outstanding post up this morning titled VC Seed Funding is Dead, Long Live VC Seed Funding. Mark started blogging recently and has quickly turned into my second favorite VC blogger (after Fred Wilson) – if you don’t subscribe to his feed, you should.

Mark just did his first seed deal, a $500k investment in a company called, and his post is a long essay on how he’s thinking about seed investing these days. He makes the appropriate warning (and differentiation) between VC investors who view seed investments as “options” on future rounds (e.g. they toss a little money in and then generally ignore the company until the next financing) and “active seed investors” (like First Round Capital, SoftTechVC, True Ventures, Union Square Ventures, and O’Reilly AlphaTech) who view the seed investment as their first round of several as they help get a company up and running.


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Looking for more than just our good word and that of our community on how open innovation is changing the world for the better? We hope you’ll be impressed by our announcement this week about the findings of Forrester Consulting’s study, “The Total Economic Impact of InnoCentive Challenges.” Results? A $15 billion global consumer goods company, SCA , achieved a Return on Investment (ROI) of 74 percent (saving the organization more $1.5 million) with payback in less than three months as a result of posting innovation Challenges to the InnoCentive Global Marketplace.

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Data on third-quarter venture capital shows that green-technology companies are attracting dollars from both investors and government programs.

Ernst & Young on Thursday said that venture investing in green tech rose 46 percent compared to the prior quarter to total $965 million in 50 deals. Solar, auto, green buildings, and biofuels continue to be fast-growing segments within the overall category, according to the Ernst & Young analysis of data from Dow Jones VentureSource.

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