Silicon Valley: A Powerhouse for Innovation

Silicon Valley's economy is a powerhouse. Representing 14% of U.S. Gross Domestic Product, if California were a country, it would have the sixth biggest economy in the world. Although it has remained successful for decades, California was not always the leader that it is today. What about California led it to become a high-tech phenomena? The Growth of Silicon Valley Semiconductor Expertise Although Silicon Valley is well-known among the American public today, this area was not always known f...
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Capitalizing on Competencies: Augusta, GA’s Innovation Path

Cities around the country constantly aim to increase their innovative competitiveness. The city of Augusta, Georgia, continues to emphasize this goal to boost the local economy. After thorough research, the McNair Center generated suggestions to help Augusta’s leaders drive this growth. The Ideal Situation for Growth Although there are more than 28 million firms in the U.S., economic growth comes disproportionately from only a tiny fraction. More than half of growth in the American economy com...
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Houston’s Next Step: The Role of Funds of Funds in Venture Capital

Recently, Houston Exponential announced plans to create a venture capital Fund of Funds (VC FOF) to support the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. This strategy has been used by other cities, such as Detroit and Cincinnati, to spur local startup growth. Private firms also offer VC Fund of Funds. What does this type of fund look like, and how has it played out in other locations? The Basics FOFs are funds that invest in multiple smaller funds. The increased diversification that they offer invest...
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The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

McNair Center Intern Shelby Bice attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference along with 18,000 other computer scientists on October 4-6, 2017 in Orlando, Florida.  The Grace Hopper Celebration honors the legacy of Grace Hopper, a trailblazer in computer programming who led the team that developed the first programming language, a precursor to COBOL. The conference is organized by The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, a nonprofit organization founded in ...
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Interview with Dr. Armen Orujyan

Dr. Armen Orujyan is the founder and chairman of Athgo, an entrepreneurship platform that is in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, U.N. Department of Public Information and the World Intellectual Property Organization. Athgo advances innovation ecosystems in Europe and Africa and has established recurring global innovation forums at the U.N. and World Bank. Orujyan earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2000 and hi...
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Social Capital Wins over Financial and Human Capital

Entrepreneurship can spur economic growth and job creation. As a result, state and local governments are seeking ways to establish entrepreneurial ecosystems. One way to strengthen an ecosystem is to increase its social capital. Social capital is the networks of relationships among people who work in a particular field. Lack of social capital is among the top reasons that nine out of ten startups fail. Money and skills are not enough for success in entrepreneurship. Aspiring entrepreneurs als...
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Entrepreneurship for All: Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C. is known for its politicians and bureaucrats, but it's also where the top-20 U.S. government contractors are based. In recent decades, high-tech, high-growth entrepreneurship has been on the rise in the U.S. capital. Startup ventures, coupled with a diverse economy, largely fueled by the federal government, have led D.C. to emerge as a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. History of Entrepreneurship The diversified needs of the federal government have led to a varied ecosystem. F...
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MassChallenge: Connecting Startups and Big Business

Corporations and startups are moving toward early stage interactions. MassChallenge, a highly successful nonprofit accelerator, has been connecting corporations and startups since its 2010  launch in Boston. MC has several US and international locations, which accelerated 372 startups in 2016. MC delivers positive results and has been listed among the Best Startup Accelerators by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, led by Baker Institute Rice faculty scholar Yael Hochberg.  There are over ...
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Mile-High Entrepreneurship

Boulder has long been considered Colorado’s startup hub, but Denver is emerging as a strong contender. Mentoring and venture capital support have helped Denver’s ecosystem expand rapidly so that it is well on its way to becoming self-sustaining. Denver has garnered a reputation as one of the best places for high-tech, high-growth ventures.The total number of tech startups located in downtown Denver has increased by 13% in the last two years; 4% above the national average in new startup growth...
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Read the Houston Entrepreneurship Pipeline Report

This paper examines the startup training institutions in Houston, Texas, and what they are doing to open up the city’s pipeline of startup firms. Recent academic research has shown that startup training institutions can have an enormous positive effect on an ecosystem’s growth. A good ecosystem pipeline turns out a large quantity of high-quality startup firms that have received top-tier training. Houston’s accelerators and incubators do not perform at the levels of benchmark institutions. The...
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