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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:
Welcome to 2012 – a year which, without any official proclamation, will likely be an excellent year for entrepreneurs. In so many respects, advocates in 2011 for startups and entrepreneurs could not have done better in setting up 2012. Better data, more relevant policy and legislation, streamlined programming and more widespread public support should give all reason to be optimistic that more people will take a risk, unleash an idea and make a job. And we should expect even more new developments that will shape even better entrepreneurship ecosystems across the world.
Two professors from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business are sharing the top prize for the Kauffman Foundation’s 2012 Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship. Erik Hurst is the V. Duane Rath Professor of Economics and the John E. Jeuck Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. An expert in entrepreneurship, macroeconomic policy and housing markets, Hurst researches barriers to entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial finance, and household consumption and financial behavior. Tobias Moskowitz is the Fama Family Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. An expert in entrepreneurial finance, financial markets and investments, Moskowitz researches the returns to private business ownership, the political economy of financial regulation, corporate finance and financial networks.
In a world where seemingly every nation is scrambling to bolster innovation and entrepreneurship, how can the U.S. strengthen its competitiveness? According to a new report from the Department of Commerce, the formula is simple and based on looking at the country’s track record for promoting innovation—increased government funding for research, education and infrastructure. It argues that “failures to properly invest in, and have comprehensive strategies for” those three pillars are responsible for the shrinking gap between the US and other nations.
No hearings scheduled for the week ahead. The House of Representatives is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, January 17 with the Senate scheduled for Monday, January 23.
According to the latest figures from the National Venture Capital Association, dollars invested are on the rise while the number of funds continues to fall. In the US, thirty-eight (38) venture capital funds raised $5.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011—representing an increase of 162% in commitments. While the total number of funds for 2011 held constant in comparison to 2010 totals, the fourth quarter total of 38 marks a low point since the third quarter of 2009.
As we close out 2011, I did not want to forget to applaud the welcome attention this year brought to maximizing the entrepreneurial potential of women. A recent report, Overcoming the Gender Gap: Women Entrepreneurs as Economic Drivers, showed that despite the fact that about 46 percent of the workforce and more than 50 percent of college students are female, they represent only about 35 percent of startup business owners and tend to experience less growth and prosperity compared to firms started by men.
Last week, we highlighted a new piece of legislation introduced by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Mark Warner (D-VA) that pulls a number of ideas from a collection of policy reforms suggested by the Kauffman Foundation. It wasn’t the only new bill aimed at reviving the sluggish economy through new and young firms.
Following years of temporary extensions, it looks as though the SBIR and STTR programs are going to have a bit of stability. The U.S. House and Senate recently came to an agreement that would reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs for six years.
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