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Can the U.S. Government “Out-Startup” Silicon Valley?

October 12, 2011 Leave a comment

Lean LaunchPad, Steve Blank, Stanford and the Nat’l Science Foundation Set Out to Prove They Can Starting Sunday, Oct. 9

From BusinessWire:

“One hundred of the best U.S. scientists and engineers are about to start one of the most exciting science experiments ever attempted — can you turn Rocket Scientists into startup founders? It might be called the U.S. Government versus tech incubators like Y-Combinator, as the National Science Foundation (NSF) creates a full-fledged incubator, complete with mentoring, for 100 teams of top engineers and scientists.

The National Science Foundation, which funds all non-medical science and engineering research in the U.S., is giving out 18,000 grants a year — with a $7 billion annual budget for innovation. This new Innovation-Corps program will infuse “startup” culture, training and mentoring for the best science and engineering funded by NSF–taking the best projects out of the science labs and universities to speed privatization and job creation, following the path of incubators like TechStars and Y-Combinator…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
NSF I-Corps Program [web]
I-Corps 1st Round of Awardees Announced [web]
Stanford Technology Ventures Program [web]
I-Corps introduction by Steve Blank [web]

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By the numbers: Is basic research worth it?

September 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Across the United States, scientists depend on funding from [federal agencies] to conduct research and pay students and staff. Their research examines a vast array of fields, from the examination of subatomic particles to the birth of galaxies at the edge of the known universe.

From The Statesman:

“During tense economic times, arguments over the federal budget and national debt have caused many Americans to lose sight of the tremendous value of science. But as the nation grows increasingly worried about the economy, are we aware of the real cost of basic research?

Consider the National Science Foundation: Across the United States, scientists depend on funding from the foundation to conduct research and pay students and staff. Their research examines a vast array of fields, from the examination of subatomic particles to the birth of galaxies at the edge of the known universe. These endeavors sound very expensive, yet they only cost each of us about $22 dollars a year…”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE [web]

Categories: Federal

Uncle Sam to university inventors: School is in session

August 13, 2011 Leave a comment

[The Kauffman Foundation] found that post-docs with entrepreneurial training served as critical bridges between the university and the businesses that were interested in licensing university technologies.

From Vivek Wadhwa of Washington Post:

“The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced at the end of July that it is setting up a public–private partnership to turn the most promising breakthroughs from its funding portfolio into successful start-ups. The partnership, called Innovation Corps (I-Corps), will teach participants the basics of entrepreneurship, connect them with mentors, and provide $50,000 in seed funding. This is essentially a Silicon Valley-style incubator for scientists and engineers.

If past is prologue, the vast majority of the start-ups to emerge from this program will fail. Even venture capitalists only claim to have a one-in-ten batting average. The government can’t possibly do better. But I am optimistic that I-Corps will be a game changer. In the long term, it will likely produce returns that are orders of magnitude greater than the $5 million per year that will be spent. That’s because it addresses one of the core problems of the university research system, narrowing the gap between science and innovation…”

READ FULL ARTICLE [web]
About the NSF I-Corps program [web]
NSF Innovation Corps Website [web]

White House “White Board” Looks at Startup America

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Chief Economist Austin Goolsby uses the White Board to walk through the basics of Startup America.

From Policy Forum Blog:

“Recently, [the White House White Board] marked the first 180 days of Startup America with a self-conducted progress report on administration commitments to improve the environment for high-growth entrepreneurship. That list covers five main categories:

  • Unlocking Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
  • Connecting Mentors to Entrepreneurs
  • Reducing Barriers and Making Government Work for Entrepreneurs
  • Accelerating Innovation from Lab to Market
  • Unleashing Market Opportunities

READ FULL BLOG POST [web]
View White House White Board Presentation [web; video]
Announcing Startup America [web]

NSF Awards $10 Million Grant to Stanford University to Launch National Center to Educate Entrepreneurial Engineers

July 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Next generation of engineers will combine innovation and entrepreneurial know-how with technical skills to power the nation’s growth.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year, $10 million grant to launch a national center for teaching innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering, based at Stanford University. Directed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center at Stanford’s School of Engineering, the new center addresses the critical need for innovative and entrepreneurial engineers. STVP’s key partner on this initiative is the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).

The center, which launches operation in September 2011, will catalyze major changes in undergraduate engineering programs by developing an education, research and outreach hub for the creation, collection and sharing of resources among the almost 350 engineering schools in the United States… [more]

Learn more about the initiative [web]
Stanford Technology Ventures Progam [web]
NCIIA [web] [Facebook]

I-CORPS – NSF Innovation Corps [web]

NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) is a new effort to help develop scientific and engineering discoveries into useful technologies, products and processes.The NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program, a public-private partnership, will connect NSF-funded scientific research with the technological, entrepreneurial and business communities to help create a stronger national ecosystem for innovation that couples scientific discovery with technology development and societal needs (www.nsf.gov/i-corps).

Dept. of Commerce Announces New Website to Accelerate Regional Innovation

May 14, 2011 Leave a comment

The Virtual Network Connects Venture Development Organizations and Fosters Collaboration to Promote Business Development and Job Creation

The Regional Innovation Acceleration Network (RAIN) was unveiled recently at the U.S. Economic Development Administration Southwest Region Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Albuquerque, NM.

“RAIN builds on President Obama’s national innovation agenda by bringing Venture Development Organizations within America’s regions together to help increase business development and competitiveness,” said John Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “Across the nation, these organizations are helping to grow local economies and create jobs, and this new network will enhance their impact and efficiency.”

The RAIN website offers an interactive map designed to help economic development practitioners identify their regional innovation colleagues, where they operate, and connect with them. To facilitate the growth of existing innovation networks, the website provides technical assistance; and for those regions where networks have yet to develop, it provides the means for peer-to-peer sharing of information between existing and emerging VDOs.

Read Full Announcement [web]
Regional Innovation Acceleration Network [web]
BenFranklin TechVentures [web]
State Science & Technology Institute [web]

DOE Aims to Double Number of Startups Coming Out of the National Labs

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Department of Energy Launches “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator”

As part of the Administration’s Startup America Initiative, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced recently the “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator” challenge, which will give start-up companies the opportunity to license groundbreaking technologies developed by the national laboratories for $1,000 and build successful businesses. As part of this effort, the Department is reducing both the cost and paperwork requirements for start-up companies to obtain an option agreement to license some of the 15,000 patents and patent applications held by our 17 national laboratories.

Beginning May 2, 2011, DOE will kick off the challenge by posting a streamlined template option agreement online for entrepreneurs to submit to laboratories. Entrepreneurs must identify the technology of interest and submit a business plan to be considered for the program. Participants will have until December 15 to make their submission to the laboratory.

As part of the program, the Department will reduce the total upfront cost of licensing DOE patents in a specific technology to a $1,000 upfront fee for portfolios of up to three patents. This represents a savings of $10,000 to $50,000 on average in upfront fees. Other license terms, such as equity and royalties, will be negotiated on a case by case basis and will typically be due once the company grows and achieves wide scale commercial success.

Entrepreneurs interested in participating can already view the available technologies on the Department’s Energy Innovation Portal.

Press Release [web]
Startup America Initiative [web]
DOE’s Innovation Portal [web]