TBED Around the World: Governments Launch Startup Investment Funds to Spur Innovation, Prosperity

In the last month, several international countries and Hong Kong have made significant monetary contributions to establish investment funds that will make strategic investments in their country’s startups. These investment funds have a two-fold focus. First, they want to help provide early stage capital to companies that have the potential to spur economic prosperity within their borders. Second, they want to help make their companies more appealing to foreign investors.

TBED Around the World: National Governments, Foundations Look to Attract Star Scientists

As globalization transforms national R&D funding priorities and increase the demand for top S&T, nations are shifting their national R&D strategies toward initiatives intended to attract top scientists from other countries. These attraction efforts have a specific focus on repatriating top researchers by offering them access to the funds necessary to build world class facilities. In addition to large national commitments, foundations also have announced efforts to attract researchers by providing grant funding to support R&D projects and build facilities. In countries such as Singapore, these efforts have started to yield results as top expatriates have returned home to launch large-scale research projects to find transformational solutions to some of the globe’s most pressing issues.

Ontario Government Launches Fund to Develop Cluster Initiatives

Through a partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the government of Ontario is launching the Cluster Development Seed Fund, offering grants of up to $100,000 to support cluster initiatives. The funds are part of the Partnerships for Jobs and Growth Act, passed in 2014 by the Ontario government. According to the act, clusters – geographically concentrated groups of interconnected businesses and related entities – perform an important function in regional economic development by increasing productivity, innovation and competitiveness. To help support the development of these clusters, Ontario is offering funding through two streams: supporting cluster consortium building and networking, as well as research and feasibility studies.

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. Learn more…

The Water Council Announces Partnerships to Advance U.S. Water Entrepreneurship

Veolia, The Water Council, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation have reached an agreement to launch the emPowering Opportunities in Water (POW!) program – a two-year national competition to support entrepreneurship and economic development while fostering sustainability efforts in the field of water. Sometime this year, Veolia, a leading water and wastewater treatment company, and The Water Council should issue a nationwide challenge to fast-track water-related ideas by entrepreneurs and startups revolving around specific areas of interest.  Startups that have the highest likelihood of solving the challenge, will be chosen to enter the program that will be housed at The Water Council’s Global Water Center located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Read the announcement…

Europe’s ICT Startups Critical to Economic Growth, Difficult to Retain

Europe is catching up to the United States in areas such as idea creation and risk capital but lacks the means to retain its talent, according to a recent report from authors at the Imperial College Business School in London. In ICT innovation in Europe: Productivity gains, startup growth and retention,  the authors note that the fragmentation of the European digital market and the scarcity of skills and venture capital create growth constraints for the region’s smaller firms and negatively impact Europe’s ability to retain high-growth ICT firms.  

UK Government, Pharma Companies Launch $100M Alzheimer’s Disease Venture Fund

In partnership with several major pharmaceutical companies, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Secretary of Health Jeremy Hunt announced the creation of the $100 million Dementia Discovery Fund. The UK government-led venture fund will support innovative research across the globe to help find new ways to prevent and treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Private sector partners that already have agreed to invest in the project include Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly and Pfizer. One of the UK’s largest Alzheimer’s-focused foundations, Alzheimer’s Research UK, also will commit funding to support the development pioneering new drugs to treat the condition. Read the press release…

Entrepreneurship Continues to Recover Globally, Report Finds

One of the few surveys based on the international collection of primary data on individual entrepreneurial activities, the sixteenth annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report was released earlier this month at the annual GEM meeting in Monterrey, Mexico. Across 73 economies representing 72.4 percent of the world’s population and 90 percent of the world’s GDP, more than 206,000 individuals were surveyed for the 2014 report. The sheer scope and size of the report leads to many findings regarding the current state of global entrepreneurship, including:

China Top Country of Origin for Global Patent Filings, According to IP Report

Global patent applications jumped by 11 percent in 2013, while patents granted rose by a more modest 4 percent in the top five worldwide patent offices. The 2013 data was recently released by IP5, a cooperative effort of the European, Japanese, South Korean, Chinese and U.S. patent organizations, which together represent about 80 percent of the world’s patent activity. China has now solidly emerged as the top nation for patent applications and first filings after first taking the lead in 2011. China has also become the top country of origin for global patent filings, with the U.S. ranking third behind China and Japan. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reported that it had reduced its backlog of applications by 31 percent from the peak level in 2009, and finalized the first-to-file provision of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act.  Download the report…

Useful Stats: Canadian Patent Applications per Capita, by Province

With the hopes of better understanding which policy environments encourage and support innovation, new research  from the C.D. Howe Institute, a Canadian public policy thinktank, examines which sectors and provinces drive Canadian patent intensity. Using a new database on patent applications in Canada, the authors find that inventors from Ontario and Alberta, in addition to inventors in the utilities, construction, and computers and electronics sectors produce a disproportionally large share of Canada’s patents, while inventors from Atlantic Canada or in the pharmaceuticals and medical equipment sectors are not producing a large share of patents. 


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