SSTI Digest

Geography: International

Growth Dashboard Highlights Startup Growth in UK Regions

The Growth Dashboard, an annual report released by the Enterprise Research Centre, a policy advisory group with researchers from five United Kingdom business schools, and the government’s Business Growth Service, serves as a source of evidence to inform discussions on the country’s business support priorities. Presenting a set of growth metrics for startups and existing firms across a range of sub-national geographies in the UK, the metrics used in the annually updated dashboard are: 

MI, IA, VA, Others Target Future Demand for Autonomous, Connected Vehicles

Uber and the City of London are among the growing number of backers of a nearly driver-free world. Proponents of autonomous vehicles contend that they will lead to large cost savings for both consumers and transportation organizations while delivering a faster, more efficient transportation experience. However, there are still major strides to be made before the technology can be safely deployed in real world settings. Several U.S. states, cities, and the Canadian Province of Ontario have recently announced initiatives in an attempt to position themselves as leaders in the rapidly growing industries of autonomous and connected cars.

Five Canadian Provinces Adopt Equity Crowdfunding Exemptions

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) announced that securities regulators in five Canadian Provinces have agreed to CSA Notice 45-316 – a common set of rules that will allow startups to raise up to $500,000 CD (approximately $401,600 USD) per year from unaccredited investors via authorized Canadian-based funding portals. With the passage of the new rules, the provinces of British Columbia, Manitoba, Québec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia join Saskatchewan as provinces that allow non-accredited investors to make equity investments in startups and other small businesses, according to

Canada Reveals Updated S&T Strategy, $1.5B Fund to Spur Academic R&D

On December 4, the Canadian government revealed their national Science and Technology (S&T) Strategy – Seizing Canada's Moment: Moving Forward in Science, Technology and Innovation 2014.  An update to the original report released in 2007, the S&T strategy identifies five priority research areas for federal support over the next seven years: environment and agriculture; health and life sciences; natural resources and energy; information and communications technology; and, advanced manufacturing. Read the strategy…

Around the World in TBED

Around the world, national governments are working to cultivate their innovation economies and increase their global competiveness by creating and increasing support for government-led initiatives. Leaders of advanced economies recognize that their positions as global leaders face a murky future due to the emergence of new economies. In turn, officials from emerging economies realize that supporting innovation is necessary for their economies to continue their rapid growth. In 2014, governments from both advanced and emerging economies searched for methods that would help their high growth-firms transform their economy and increase their global competiveness. One of the global trends of 2014 was the emergence of government-backed, privately managed venture capital initiatives.

Around the World in TBED

UK Moves to Support Growing Social Innovation Sector
The United Kingdom (UK) recently announced that it will petition the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, for permission to increase the size of tax relief for social investments that address significant social issues. The proposed plan would:

Ontario’s New Public-Private Fund-of-Funds Could Raise $300M

Ontario officials launched a new fund-of-funds this week intended to boost capital resources for high-tech companies. The Northleaf Venture Catalyst Fund is a privately led initiative, supported by federal and provincial funds. The governments of Canada and Ontario have agreed to make a combined capital commitment of $1 for every $2 secured from the private sector. Current commitments total $217.5 million CAD ($195.4 million USD), but leaders hope to match the government’s maximum match level of $300 million CAD ($269.6 million USD) in a second closing later this year. Read the announcement…

Around the World in TBED

In the face of the spiraling unemployment in Greece and Spain, the European Union (EU) received encouraging news regarding the economic recovery of firms across its 27-member states. According to the EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard, European firms reported increased R&D investment (8.9 percent nominal growth), sales (4.9 percent nominal growth) and profits (3.5 percent nominal growth) for the second straight year in 2011. The 8.9 percent growth in R&D investments by European firms puts them above world average and similar than that of U.S. firms (9.0 percent). However, U.S.-based firms continue to perform better than EU-based firms in terms of sales growth (12.3 percent for U.S. firms versus 4.9 percent for EU firms) and profits growth (12.4 percent for U.S. firms versus 3.5 percent for EU firms). These numbers are particularly encouraging for the EU only two years after reporting negative growth in Industrial R&D investment in 2008 and a continuation of adverse market conditions and uncertainties due to the persistent effects of the crisis including the potential collapse of the Spanish and Greek economies.

Around the World in TBED

Governments of advanced economies are starting to believe as the 21st century advances significant opportunities for their technology-based product and service sectors will emerge from increasingly open, competitive and affluent global markets. To compete in this changing world, they are looking to expand access to capital for startups and entrepreneurs, support their research and development (R&D) infrastructure and address weaknesses in their national economies. Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU) are among those that recently have announced initiatives or released reports intended to strength their national innovation economy.

Around the World in TBED

As global economies shift, developing nations are attempting to transition as suppliers of raw materials to nations that are producers of value-added goods. Africa has been a major supplier of raw materials to the developed world. However, it drastically lagged behind in the production of valued-added goods. Recently, African nations have attempted to reinvent their economic development efforts from suppliers to producers by developing programs to grow tech-based economies. Two recent initiatives, the LIONS@FRICA Partnership and South Africa's manufacturing incentives program, highlight the changing attitudes on the continent. In addition, a new survey of European business leaders found discouraging results relative to European Union policies to improve innovation.

New European Union Initiatives Connects Europe's Public Research Organizations

The European Union (EU) launched the Technology Transfer Offices — Connecting Innovation and Research Centers and Laboratories in Europe (European TTO CIRCLE ), a network of tech transfer offices at Europe's 25 largest public research organizations. With the goal of increasing the market and societal impacts of publicly-funded research, the European TTO CIRCLE members already have adopted a set of several initiatives including:

MaRS Launches Canada's First Early Stage Clean Tech Venture Fund

MaRS Discovery District, Toronto's innovation and entrepreneurship center, has launched a $30 million early stage clean tech fund, the first of its kind in Canada. This week, the group announced that it had raised its fundraising goal entirely from private sources, and that released information about its first two investments. The MaRS Cleantech Fund LP portfolio companies will be encouraged to seek maximum support from MaRS. Read the announcement... Interested in how U.S. states and regions are catalyzing clean tech innovation? Join Lewis Milford of the Clean Energy Group, Mark Muro of the Brookings Institution and Matthew Stepp of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation on April 19 for a webinar to learn about how the energy debate is resulting in new policies and programs and the local level. Read about SSTI webinars...