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It has now been more than a year since the United States Congress restarted efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws. Despite expected resistance from conservatives, the effort looked promising initially, with strong support from business, labor and President Obama. It was disappointing news for many when John Boehner, Speaker of the House of U.S. Representatives, conceded last week in a news conference that it is going to be politically difficult to move the overhaul forward this year.
Are governments wasting their time and money with all of their efforts to promote entrepreneurial growth in their communities and countries? Not quite, but they could certainly be spending their resources more wisely. A new report from the Kauffman Foundation argues “despite billions of dollars in government research expenditures, the presence of research universities and patents are not associated with higher rates of entrepreneurship” and “the public sector can affect few significant factors to encourage entrepreneurship.”
While startup cities are just emerging, there are smart and sophisticated steps being taken to develop healthy entrepreneurial ecosystems across the African continent. I take a look at one such collaboration, LIONS@FRICA, that promises to set a new example of how the willing can better help in Africa.
The big topic on Capitol Hill this week is protecting consumer privacy with one committee hearing in the House and three in the Senate. In late 2013, Target suffered a massive data breach affecting up to 110 million customers and they will be represented at two of the hearings — along with representatives from Neiman Marcus, Symantec, Consumers Union, U.S. Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission and more. Other topics covered by hearings this week include: the 2014 budget, inefficiencies in federal programs for small businesses, Dodd-Frank’s Volcker Rule, financial research and the commercialization of space.
Each day, Innovation Daily checks the pulse of global innovation--courtesy of Innovation America. Below, we take a look at a handful of relevant stories compiled from the last week on the role of universities in new business starts, entrepreneurial ecosystems enhancing economic diversification, knowing when to accept venture capital and growing confidence from venture capitalists.
Tuesday is a busy day for the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. First, the committee will examine the challenges and advantages of an increasing number of seniors engaging in entrepreneurial activity. It will also conduct a nomination hearing for Maria Contreras-Sweet, President Obama’s pick to head the Small Business Administration. Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on the Budget will be reviewing the Congressional Budget Office’s latest report — The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014-2024. Other topics covered by hearings this week include: the rapid growth of wireless technology and the Internet of Things, regulatory burdens, open science and innovation at the EPA, monetary policy and the minimum wage.
Tuning in for the state of the union (SOTU) address is somewhat of an annual ritual for me. For the past two decades, spanning several presidencies from both parties, I torture myself straining to hear that one word, however challenging it is to say (and spell)--entrepreneur. So I was encouraged when President Obama dropped the "E" bomb early in his 2014 SOTU address, made even more special by the fact that he referenced a woman entrepreneur. And I wasn't alone in my enthusiasm as the twittersphere erupted likewise.
Toward the tail end of 2013, we highlighted a couple of reports that pointed to a fairly stable angel market in the U.S. The latest from one of those reports, the Halo Report — from Angel Resource Institute (ARI), Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and CB Insights — may suggest reason for a bit of concern. According to the report, median angel round sizes are down $180,000 per deal since Q1 2013 ($700,000 to $520,000).
Bit by bit, entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. are picking up confidence along the road to economic recovery — and they are willing to put their money where their mouth is. The latest Startup Confidence Index from the Kauffman Foundation and LegalZoom shows a greater willingness from entrepreneurs to put personal savings toward new business ventures. Personal savings as a means for funding the startup jumped from 66 percent in 2012 to 86 percent in 2013.
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