Innovation America Innovation America Accelerating the growth of the GLOBAL entrepreneurial innovation economy
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.

Some prominent economists tell us we are starting to come out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, but many worry the uptick won’t last.

Since December 2007, Americans lost $13 trillion in household wealth, and our country is swimming in red ink. Today, the federal debt is $11.4 trillion and growing because of a new round of federal spending. Some economists project it could reach $17 trillion in the next decade if Congress and President Obama continue at their current pace.

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In the past month, I have attended three conferences-the National Association of Seed Venture Funds (NASVF) national conference in Oklahoma City, Innovation Philadelphia’s regional conference Global Creative Economy Convergence Summit 2009 and most recently, the Association of Corporate Growth’s annual Mid-Atlantic Capital Conference.

All three conferences were very well run and had great speakers. Although unemployment is somewhere between 10 and 15 percent, depending on whose numbers you believe, I think there is growing optimism that the worst is behind us. No questions that the economy is still soft, manufacturing jobs are still disappearing and the economic stimulus hasn’t had much of an impact. Let me tell you what I learned at each conference that shows me America and the world at large are slowly making progress.

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As the scope and quality of child-generated content continues to grow online, which sites are setting the pace, and how can parents help their kids get involved?

Kids’ Web Exploration Can be Valuable Learning Experience

In an interview with CNN, Cliff Boro of kid-friendly browser KidZui discussed how kids are using the Web, what they demand from content and how to keep them engaged while they learn.

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Here is a video reminder that a small insight can make possible radically different results.

Was this just a proof of concept ... or will it be the catalyst to more. To some it might be little more than science fiction ... to others it may have been the open door to something completely new and different.

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Some 1,400 people filled the fieldhouse at St. John Fisher College on Friday to get revved up about Rochester.

"You have a distinct competitive advantage," said keynote speaker Richard Bendis, a Philadelphia-based authority on innovation, referring, among other things, to Rochester's educated and skilled work force.
But Bendis didn't come to Eyes on the Future just to be a cheerleader. His talk focused on some of the serious problems in the U.S. economy, including a worrisome shortage of money to help new businesses get off the ground. The flow of venture capital is at a 12½-year low, and many state governments are too strapped to be of significant help. It goes without saying that New York is among them.


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KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Already a hotbed of research, the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley has a new roadmap for turning those technological and human assets into a prosperous future. The strategy identifies four promising industry sectors:
-- instrumentation
-- nuclear energy
-- bioenergy
-- energy-related materials.

Developed by Innovation Valley officials and consultants from the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, these four high tech areas utilize the high tech resources of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, the University of Tennessee , and partnerships and initiatives across the Innovation Valley, and reflect current national business trends.

"Our focus at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is to deliver the kind of science that will be the foundation for economic growth in the years ahead," said ORNL Director Thom Mason, who also chairs Innovation Valley. "This roadmap will allow our region to benefit from the technology assets we have and further strengthens the linkage between economic development priorities and the research direction for ORNL."


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Richard Bendis (CARLOS ORTIZ staff photographer)The United States is falling behind its international competitors, and funding for innovation in business has hit a 12-year low.

That was the assessment by Richard A. Bendis, founder and CEO of Innovation America in Philadelphia, who cautioned an audience at St. John Fisher College on Friday that Switzerland and South Korea are among the countries overtaking the U.S. in innovation.

Bendis was the keynote speaker for the economic development conference called Eyes on the Future, which drew more than 1,400 people to the college in Pittsford.

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BANGKOK, 16 October 2009 (NNT) – The National Innovation Agency (NIA), in cooperation with the Education Ministry, opens a distance learning program on Innovation Management for Entrepreneurs, in a hope to increase the number of innovative businesses.

Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich, Science and Technology Minister said NIA has signed a joint agreement to that effect with the Distance Education Institute (DEI) and the Non-Formal Education Promotion Office of the Education Ministry. The program offers interested entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about innovation development in a self-study style. The curriculum is divided into 9 parts such as Innovation and its Management, Strategic Innovation, and Intellectual Properties. The program should help the entrepreneurs create value-added products and enhance their competition in the market.

Interested people are invited to submit application forms by mail or to directly visit DEI office. The application period is from 2 – 30 November 2009 or log on to for more information.

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If you made your first sale while still in diapers and your lemonade stand was a substantial contributor to the family income, you've likely been called a born entrepreneur. But just how heritable is the ability to work hard, take risks, and seize opportunities? According to research conducted at the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at Kings College in London, 37 percent to 48 percent of the tendency to be an entrepreneur is genetic.

Researchers tested a number of indications of entrepreneurship including running or starting a business, the number of businesses a person had started, and the length of time they were self-employed, but for all of these factors there was the same strong genetic component.

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For all the discussions of "green shoots" in housing or consumer spending over the past few months, too little attention has been paid to a classic American economic advantage: innovation. If cash flow is the blood of the global economy and spending and investment are its main arteries, then innovation is the heart that does the pumping.

Over the long term, innovation is what drives cost reduction, higher employment, spending, health care, investment and ultimately, better living standards. Many business owners see it as their No. 1 priority. When consulting group McKinsey asked executives in February where the government should direct the majority of its stimulus spending, 59 percent of respondents said on "fostering innovation and potential new industries," putting it in the top spot, even before potential solutions such as "helping workers who have been laid off" or "helping existing companies."

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Venture investors are still keeping a tight grip on their capital in the wake of the world’s financial meltdown, making the third quarter of 2009 look about as anemic as the first two quarters of the year.

According to data from industry tracker Dow Jones VentureSource, VCs put $5.07 billion into 616 deals in the third quarter, which marks a 6% drop from the $5.42 billion put into 595 deals in the second quarter of the year.

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On September 9, the giant data storage hardware and software company EMC announced it would spend $1.5 billion to further develop its R&D capabilities in India. A new research facility will employ 2,000 engineers and scientists with the potential for an additional 1,500. A day earlier, EMC announced a R&D alliance with the Indian Institute of Information Technology-Bangalore, one of a constellation of Indian research universities equivalent to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, albeit with harder admissions requirements.

Such announcements are usually met with despair and anger. The decision to domicile those jobs in India nails yet another in the coffin for U.S. industry and R&D, goes the old saw. The naysayers bray that EMC's decision is more evidence that America makes and designs less and less, and has become a soft-bellied country of marketers, PR people, and lawyers—make-nothings, in other words. Even President Barack Obama has joined this chorus, calling for more engineers and a return to a country of people who make things.

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Haiti Innovation was founded five years ago by four Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Haiti. We wanted to do this because we felt Haiti had given us more than we were able to give back during our two and a half years of service. This website has been a way for us to repay a debt - to Haitian colleagues, friends, and family who we learned from and have not forgotten. Haitians like to say that their country has teeth - it bites on to you and it doesn't let you go. Haiti has changed, we've changed, and the website has changed. But five years and 527 blogs later, Haiti still hasn't let go.

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Here’s the latest from VentureBeat’s Entrepreneur Corner:

How to make friends and influence people (and convert them) – Social media can be a good marketing tool for your company, but if you’re able to become a trusted resource for people via Facebook or Twitter, then you’re really on to something special, notes co-founder Adam Toren.

Is your product a “must have” or “nice to have”? - Many entrepreneurs are too close to their topic to realize where they really are on the user adoption curve. Are they building something essential or just something people would like. Lunsford Group vice president Bernard Moon describes the differences.

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Peter Drucker said:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Yet, time after time we see companies trot out responses to competition that aren’t much different than the competition. Witness the box like car pioneered by the Scion Xb, then the Honda Element, and now the Nissan Cube. Honda misjudged the primary market so badly for the Element- thinking young hipsters would be the primary market- and it ended up being a car for the practical geriatric set (don’t worry, Chrysler had the same experience with the PT Cruiser).

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Venture capital fund-raising, the rocket fuel for the nation’s entrepreneurial economy, slid to its lowest level in 15 years in the third quarter, when just 17 venture firms raised $1.5 billion, according to data released yesterday by the Thomson Reuters research firm.

By comparison, 63 venture capital firms raised $8.5 billion in the third quarter of last year, while 27 firms raised $1.9 billion in the second quarter of this year, the firm’s data showed.


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The Rochester region has many assets to foster econmic growth and could benefit by having one person - an "innovation intermediary"- who makes it easier for the region to bring innovation to the marketplace.

That's the message of Richard Bendis, keynote speaker and one fo the scheduled panelists at next Friday's annual Eyes on the Future, a regional economic summit, at St. John Fisher College.


Weekly Update from Build A Stronger America - Issue 1 - October 14, 2009

Manufacturing Business Owner, Bill Wydra, Shares His Story

Bill's mission is to revive the manufacturing industry in the U.S. His full-service facility employs 38 people. See Bill tell his story >>


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For many, the biggest problem with getting a good business idea off the ground is the cost...However, with the right set of resources, many of these costs can be pinched down without risking your venture. Read more from >>


COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Ohio's increase in venture capital investment - the only state that has not experienced a decline - is on display Oct. 14-15 at the Ohio Early Stage Summit V, an education and networking event for entrepreneurs and investors from across the country. According to the Ohio Business Development Coalition, the nonprofit organization that markets the state for capital investment, state funding supporting early stage venture capital investment through public-private partnerships has been key to Ohio's proactive strategy for business climate success that is beating the odds in the current VC environment.


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