Canadian Provinces Partner to Invest in Venture Capital Fund

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island are collaborating to increase access to capital through the Build Ventures fund, a private early stage capital investment organization based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The fund helps entrepreneurs build startups and invests $1 to $5 million (CAD) per venture. The provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will both contribute $15 million (CAD) to the fund, while Prince Edward Island will provide $2.5 million (CAD). Together with private contributions, Build Ventures has raised $50 million (CAD).

Puerto Rico Gov Joins List of Govs Using Executive Orders to Boost Renewable Energy

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla recently issued three executive orders aimed at advancing the island's renewable energy industry. The orders will grant priority approvals to renewable energy projects and introduce two new councils that will coordinate energy initiatives. Gov. Garcia Padilla joins a growing list of governors who have used executive orders to quickly implement energy policies without going to the legislature. The National Governors Association (NGA)has published an issue brief on the use of executive orders in energy policy, along with an index of these orders since 2008.

New Report Highlights Best Practices in Manufacturing Policy, Importance of Global Supply Chains

Manufacturing creates more high-value jobs than any sector in the global economy and is essential to sustainable economic growth in both the developing and developed world, according to the Manufacturing for Growth – Strategies for Driving Growth and Employment from the World Economic Forum (WEF). Written in collaboration with Deloitte LLP, the three-volume series of reports examines key trends, effective strategies and best practices related to the global manufacturing sector in three key areas:

Canadian Council Proposes Model, Metrics for Regional Innovation Ecosystems

Innovation is not a causal, linear process, but a dynamic and ever-changing network of actors connected by activities and linkages, according to a report from the Council of Canadian Academies. Despite this complexity, however, by identifying behaviors that feed firm innovation, regions can make informed decisions about high-tech economic development. In the report, the council identifies quantitative ways to measure the actual and potential impact of innovation investments, along with presenting a new firm-centric model of innovation ecosystems.

Study of UK Peer-to-Peer Lending Hints at Potential Crowdfunding Participants

Shortly after the first anniversary of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act — see the March 28, 2012 issue of the Digest) Mary Jo White was sworn in as the 31st Chair of the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). In the crowdfunding and tech communities, Chairperson White's appointment sparked significant discussion about the future of SEC regulation of equity-based crowdfunding and when the regulations would be released. According to a recent Bloomberg article, Chairperson White intends to prioritize establishing rules mandated by the JOBS Act by pushing for changes that will allow hedge funds to advertise to the general consumers. Although there is no clear timeline for the release of these equity-based crowdfunding rules — experts believe it could be as early as the end of 2013 or well into 2014 — some important questions remain:

In Era of Resource Scarcity, National Governments Rebalancing Investments in Innovation

Recent national strategies for innovation investment have been publicized by the governing parties in Brazil and Australia, highlighting both a growing global focus on national innovation as well as a growing global divide over how public investments are paid for.

U.S. Government Gets Tougher on Protecting American Innovation

In his first speech as secretary of State, John Kerry declared that U.S. economic competitiveness should be the centerpiece of American foreign policy. In the weeks following his appointment, the U.S. government has signaled a push to work with international partners to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and protect tech innovation at home. Two key elements of this strategy include continued harmonization of global antitrust laws and new efforts to protect American intellectual property from theft.

Canada Rolls Out Start-Up Visa Program

Following up on an announcement made in September, the Citizen and Immigration Ministry of Canada will launch a new visa program on April 1 to recruit innovators and entrepreneurs to the country. The Start-Up Visa Program will connect immigrant entrepreneurs with organizations who will be able to provide services and expertise to these entrepreneurs to help create startup businesses. Initially, venture capital groups, angel organizations, and incubators will be tapped to provide these services.

Saudi Arabia Expanding Global Investment in Research and Innovation

The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) will invest $500M in launching four new technology and innovation facilities this year. Two facilities will be based in Saudi Arabia, and the other two will be built in India and China. SABIC's expansion will bring the organization's number of research facilities around the world to 18. The new facilities will focus on commercializing university technologies, training students and academics in entrepreneurship, and cultivating innovation infrastructure that can help Saudi Arabia develop industrial clusters.

Former Secretary Clinton Announces $86.5M in Public-Private Initiatives

On her last day, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced several State Department initiatives that aim to have a global impact. A number of those that will be funded focus on technology-based development. The program wPower seeks to advance women's clean energy entrepreneurship around the world by supporting 7,000 women to launch small businesses around energytechnologies that might increase energy access in their area. Another initiative is the Alliance for Affordable Internet that will promote internet access in low-income communities through partnerships between governments, regulators and the private sector. The Department of State also will use funds to recognize women scientists in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region through their newly establish U.S.-ASEAN Prize for Women in Science. Read more...


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