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Earlier this month, I hosted a gathering of 40 experts from Japan at our new GEW Global conference center in Washington, DC, where we discussed the notion that Japan needs to launch a rebirth by being more open, building a better startup ecosystem, bringing in more foreigners and sending more Japanese overseas. We also looked at whether Japan needs more examples of Japanese startup success that underscore the importance of globalization—startups that convince others that taking risks is alright, and political leadership that encourages entrepreneurial behavior even if only to keep Japan’s big businesses competitive and dynamic. We concluded that Japan needs to celebrate the great Japanese pioneers and entrepreneurs who built some of the most innovative companies in the world and pose the entrepreneurial imperative to a new generation.
Each day, Innovation Daily checks the pulse of global innovation-- courtesy of Innovation America. Here, we take a look at a handful of relevant stories it compiled last week:
Dell made a splash last week with its announcement of the Dell Innovators Credit Fund—a $100 million initiative intended to amplify the effects of venture or angel funds recently invested by a select group of VCs or angel investors. Once startups are approved, they can borrow up to 10% of their funded amount—up to $150,00—for an added boost to their growth trajectory.
The APEC Startup conference that just wrapped up in Seoul signaled stepped-up interest within the 21 APEC member nations in policies that promote new firm formation as ameans of “booting up” economies. Interestingly, the drive for this effort is being led not by the United States, but by South Korea which has taken big strides over the past two years to rebuild its own startup ecosystem.
The White House is getting attention recently for its efforts at X Prize style competitions—which makes sense since its ‘assistant director for grand challenges’ is a former X-Prizer. One of the challenges at the heart of that approach is its i6 Challenge—a $6 million competition that “seeks to develop Proof of Concept Centers and create a network of experts to support innovators and researchers; spur sustainable startups, small businesses, and new ventures; expand access to capital to fuel growth; connect mentors and education to entrepreneurs; and spark job creation.”
The House of Representatives returns from a week-long recess with a full slate of hearings and activities of interest to entrepreneurs and those who support them. Highlights include Startup Day which puts 18 startups on Capitol Hill meeting with members of Congress and a hearing on efforts to boost technology transfer through a look at “creative approaches to the Bayh-Dole Act.” Other hearings cover topics such as the nation’s science policies, commercializing space, the looming fiscal crisis and small business lending.
Confidence is on the rise among small business owners. A new survey from Citibank shows a sizable jump in the number of those who said their own business is better than it was a year ago—from 24 percent in August 2010 to 43 percent in June 2011. The sentiment seems consistent with others targeted toward entrepreneurs—including the Startup Confidence Index from the Kauffman Foundation.
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