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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.
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.
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.
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.
This week, I am on the ground in Italy where startup savvy policymakers are experimenting with new policies as fast as their startups are testing disruptive ideas. Both are racing in tandem to restore sustained economic growth to the Italian economy.
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 developing entrepreneurial ecosystems, Bitcoin, the Series A crunch, state-sponsored VC and entrepreneurship trends for 2014.
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