SSTI Digest

The latest reporting and analysis on breakthroughs in technology-based economic development research and issues that matter most to you. To receive the SSTI Weekly Digest via email, sign up here.

Geography: International

Startup competitions target the circular economy

The circular economy, a phrase meant to redefine economic growth beyond the current “take-make-waste” extractive industrial model, is gaining attention around the world as a way to produce more positive environmental and social benefits. Over the past few months, three cities have announced efforts to promote circular economy startups. In New York City, a contest will offer a $500,000 prize to the best idea and business plan that seeks to repurpose the city’s recyclables and manufacture a product to sell to the local market. The City of Phoenix and Arizona State University announced four companies will participate in an incubator affiliated with the Resource Innovation and Solutions Network (RISN). Last fall, public sector partners and the university-based Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) collaborated to launch a new Circular Economy Incubator in the region.

U.S. companies investing in foreign R&D

U.S. companies spent 18 percent of their research and development dollars outside of the United States in 2013, according to data recently released by the NSF. The $73 billion in foreign R&D is concentrated in the information industry, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, and automobiles and parts. Those four industries accounted for 52 percent of all foreign R&D performance by U.S.

Depending on Definitions, Canada’s Tech Sector Bigger Than Anticipated

A recently released report finds evidence that Canada’s tech sector – when properly defined – plays an important role in the nation’s economy. In The State of Canada’s Tech Sector, authors Creig Lamb and Matthew Seddon develop a definition of the tech sector based on those industries employing an oversized share of technology occupations. Ultimately, they suggest that the sector is responsible for $117 billion (88.9 billion USD) in economic output, roughly on par with finance and insurance and construction as a percent of total GDP (7.1 percent).

Growth in Global Accelerator Industry Prompts Characterization, Evaluation

Around the world, accelerator programs continue to multiply, prompting the need for continued research on what they are, how they operate, and how they can be evaluated. The Global Accelerator Report 2015, recently released by Gust and Fundacity, highlights the global development of the accelerator industry and includes details on how accelerators are funded and insights into the industry’s future.

Canada Releases Innovation Agenda Areas of Action, Website for Public Input

When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released his administration’s proposed 2016 budget in late March, SSTI covered the significant funds it would allocate for science, research, and technology-based economic development, as well as the country’s plan for a national innovation agenda.

Montreal Mayor Announces 77.3M USD Smart City Startup Fund

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre launched Capital Intelligent Mtl – a 100 million CD (77.3 million USD) investment fund aimed at smart city startups and established businesses offering solutions to urban challenges that also will spur job creation in Montreal. The new public-private partnership will backed by 23 founding organizations including venture capital firms, financial institutions and corporations that have pledged over 100 million CD in private capital to establish the fund.

Recent Research: Does Feedback on Business Plans Help Entrepreneurs?

One of the recurring characteristics of entrepreneurs, based on numerous biographies and case studies, is a driven self-confidence that may border, in some circles, as excessive or even narcissistic. Closer scrutiny, of course, shows there is no such thing as the “self-made” person, but entrepreneurship still is described often as a heroic, lone-wolf quest. Is it paradoxical to advocate for and even expect mentoring and “how to” entrepreneurship training to work? Wouldn’t “real” entrepreneurs leading promising startups succeed without the advice? A recent working paper describes an experiment that attempted to address this issue.

Proposed Canadian Budget Provides C$2.3B for Science, Research; Innovation Agenda to Follow

New Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released his administration’s 2016 proposed budget last week which, if passed, would allocate significant funds to scientific research and technology-based economic development.

Australia Seeks to Boost Economy With $800M Investment in Innovation

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a suite of new policies and investments aimed at catalyzing the nation’s economy through science, innovation and entrepreneurship. The National Innovation and Science Plan would fund university research, invest in K-12 and university STEM programs, limit the financial risks of entrepreneurship, invest in technology commercialization programs, and introduce a new class of visa for entrepreneurs. The changes would also enable equity-based crowdfunding and provide tax credits for early stage investment.

Twenty Countries Pledge $20 Billion to Accelerate Clean Energy Innovation

Over 150 heads of state met in Paris this week, the largest group of leaders ever to attend a UN event in a single day, to address global climate change and the need for policies and technologies that will set the world on the path to a low-carbon, climate resilient future.

Recent Research: Best Practices in Rural Economic Development

Across the globe, the proliferation of innovation-led economic development is typically viewed in an urban context. Despite cities receiving the bulk of the attention, researchers have begun to focus on how to leverage best practices in rural economic development. Just as is the case in nearly all economic development scenarios, practitioners and policymakers working in rural areas benefit from a better understanding of local strengths and opportunities, according to new research from the United States, Canada, and the European Union.

TBED Around the World: Measures Seek to Increase Venture Capital in EU, China

In an effort to increase the proliferation and participation of venture capital firms across the 28-nation European Union, changes are needed at the institutional level, according to the capital markets union plan unveiled last month.