Monday, December 7, 2009

Conference Board of Canada Report on Cities, Clusters, Labour Mobility and Innovation

Picked up from Brian's blog (with thanks)
The Conference Board of Canada today released the report:
21st Century Cities in Canada: The Geography of Innovation by David A. Wolfe who is the principal investigator of the Innovation Systems Research Network.

One of the key ideas I noticed in this report is the distinction between information and knowledge. Information wants to be free, shared and spread around. Knowledge (and creativity), is a little sticky and moves with brains in people. Since innovation is largely a social activity, getting people with diverse perspectives to interact in-person plays a large role. Logically, this needs to be balanced that too much interaction leads to enclaves of homogeneity, but I doubt we run the risk of that.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Media release: Peter Farrell Cup winners 2009

Student entrepreneurs get a chance to take their ideas to the marketplace

'Ad-a-Bottle',a business concept that provides advertising directly on bottled water distributed exclusively to office building food courts, has won first place in an Australian School of Business competition to encourage student entrepreneurism.

The Peter Farrell Challenge Cup entrepreneurship competition offers students the opportunity to bring innovative business ideas to life.

“The Peter Farrell Cup was a catalyst for me to write a business plan and now I'm poised to implement it, and hopefully people will be drinking Ad-a-Bottle by next April,” said winning team member Iris Qi.

Some of the enterprising ideas in this year's Finals included a Wi-Fi based paperless receipt system, an online rental service where parents can order equipment and toys for their children when on holidays, and an electronic display system to eliminate changing price tags.

More than 45 teams from the University of New South Wales and other participating universities entered the competition, hosted by the Innovation, Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Club at the Australian School of Business, with eight teams participating in the Finals held on November19, 2009.

The finalists presented their business plans to a panel of four judges including high profile business founders and venture capitalists.

Teams were judged on criteria including sound risk analysis, financial attractiveness to potential investors and a clear identification of current market need. The written business plan, oral presentation and responses to judge’s questions helped determine the overall winners.

Christopher Witt, Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE)at the Australian School of Business, said the aim of the Peter Farrell Cup is to foster entrepreneurship and instill a passion for research and innovation. More than $40,000 in prizes and scholarships was on offer to the finalists to pursue their business ideas.

“The Peter Farrell Cup strives to link research projects and businesses with student teams to produce credible business plans that help all parties. It frames the time period and requirements, and rewards excellence through prizes and scholarships," said Mr Witt.

“Amongst the partners of the CIE is the NSW Enterprise Workshop. This outstanding organisation offers finalists a scholarship to continue in to the Enterprise Workshop three month long business planning program, enabling students to take their business ideas to the next level,” he said.

Ramanan Krishnamoorthy, President of the ICE Club, said the Peter Farrell Cup promoted the reality of business innovation as a real option for graduating MBA students.

“The life of an entrepreneur can be extremely rewarding; you are working for yourself on something that you are passionate about, and there is the opportunity to excel to your fullest potential,” said Mr Krishnamoorthy.

For more information please contact CIE Director, Christopher Witt on 02.9385.5654.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Global Entrepreneurship Week, Peter Farrell Cup and Videos

Once again, I've waited until I have too much to blog about and will try and cram it all into one blog post.

This week is Global Entrepreneurship Week (video by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation):

Somewhat related, this evening is the Peter Farrell Cup award ceremony. I don't know if the list of the top 10 finalists I received is public knowledge, so I'll err on the side of caution and not post them here. Great to see such a great list of finalists, and I am looking forward to meeting everyone at the event.

Lastly, here are some videos from the National Angel Capital Organization's 2009 Summit:
There are three pages, each with seven 10-minute videos. You can watch them online or download (and any other youtube video) them using the special bookmarklet here. This tool is super handy if you want to use videos offline, like in lecture theatres with spotty internet connections.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Best Paper Award at EuroMOT and podcast on social networks

Somehow I hardly seem to find the incentive to blog about only one thing. It's only when there's at least two things to blog about that I log on.

EuroMOT 2009

Last Month (September), a paper I co-authored with Ian McCarthy and Elicia Maine won the best paper award at the Fourth European Conference on Management of Technology (or EuroMOT 2009 for short). The prestigious award was sponsored by Arthur D. Little, "the world's first and oldest management consulting firm". A copy of the paper, titled "In Search of Entrepreneurial Network Configurations: Using Q-Analysis to Study Network Structures and Flows" is available via SSRN.

The second part of this blog is that I just listened to a CBC Quirks and Quarks podcast over dinner, which featured this book:


I can't quite tell if the authors are rediscovering scale free networks and just analyzing one network at time (by association or behaviour: obesity, smoking, friendship, ..) or if there is more to this book than a new longitudinal dataset. It looks like they have a good publicist, since they're getting good reviews at CNN and NY Times. If I find a copy, I'll give it a read.

Ok, here's a third tidbit to blog about. While Eric Sanderson's TED talk was not very clear on how he crunched his numbers, I am intrigued to see he is overlaying multiple networks of species (animals, plants, humans) and related ecological attributes. This sounds not unlike my research on the interaction between structures and flows (see SSRN link above).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Webinar: Seducing business angels

Reposted from email.

Please join us one October 20th for “Seducing Business Angels: The Art of Courting Investors”.

Angel and venture capital is hard to come by. According to some sources, only one pitch in 100 is successful. But equity capital is not your only option.

This session looks at the options available for financing a young tech business. Learn what equity investors are looking for and how you can make the very best case for your business. Also learn how to choose the right investor and negotiate a successful deal (and what to do if you’re not successful).

You can register at:

The session takes place on Tuesday October 20 at 12:00 EDT. Sessions are accessible over a standard web-browser. Attendees will receive access to the Ready, Set, Grow Resource Guide, which captures the content of the series.

There is no cost to attend, but space is limited, so don’t miss it - sign-up now!

The Ready Set Grow webinars are intended as a resource for emerging and established Canadian Technology companies to help them accelerate their growth. Each webinar features recognized subject matter experts and Canadian tech industry executives addressing a broad range of the issues facing growing companies.

The series is being presented by the Canadian Innovation Centre and the Technology Marketing Resource Centre in collaboration with the Canadian Advanced Technology Association (CATA). The Ready Set Grow series is sponsored by Export Development Canada (EDC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

We hope you can join us!
Thank you for your time and please feel free to forward this to others you know who might benefit from attending this event.

Canadian Innovation Centre
519 885 5870

Friday, August 21, 2009

Books and blogs: growth and exits

Here are a few resources I've come across over the last couple weeks.

I visited the facilities of ATP Innovations earlier this week and am impressed with the level of innovation happening there. Along the way, I came across a related blog calles Successful Innovation which emphasizes events and podcasts by ATP Innovations' bizBetClub.

While at the last Angel Forum, I picked up a copy of Basil Peter's latest book: Early Exits.

"This book is about the large number of other exits - the ones that are not driven by the VCs. Exit opportunities have changed dramatically in the past few years. Today, it's more likely that a company will be sold without ever having an investment from a venture capitalist.

Exits are also happening much earlier than before. The largest number of exit transactions today are in the under $30-million valuation range. These exits are often completed when companies are only two or three years from startup.

The goal of this book is to help entrepreneurs and angel investors have more successful, more frequent and more profitable exits."

I also recently had the pleasure to preview and provide a review for Tom McKaskill's latest book: Raising Angel & Venture Capital Finance. In a private email from him, he mentions the book is available free and may be distributed and put on my website, even though it costs $25 on his. Well .. here goes: FREE. Tom writes about his book:

"The objective of this book is to show the entrepreneur how they can create a business which assists the Angel Investor or VC fund to achieve their objectives. In doing so, there is a high probability of raising finance."

Overall, both books provide great overviews of the current state of privately funded startups (read not publicly listed). I highly recommend both for entrepreneurs who want to start companies, keeping in mind how they want to structure their business to attract the support of angels. While the ultimate goal is presented as a successful exit, the intermediate goal is just as clear: build a profitable business with high-growth potential.

PS: I have added a google calendar bar to the blog to highlight upcoming events related to innovation and entrepreneurship. Thankfully the events can easily be imported into other calendars without requiring manual transcription, and there's a separate RSS feed, too.