Sunday, January 15, 2006

A sustainable surge of entrepreneurial energy

We began planning InnoVenture last summer, and early on set January 9th as the date applications were due from companies and inventors interested in presenting at the conference on March 28th and 29th.

As of the first of January, we had four applications. So we called for a full court press by the extended InnoVenture team of 150 or so Executive Committee and Advisory Board members to pull in interested companies and inventors. We now have 40 applications and are very confident that some will make exceptional presentations.

In prior years, InnoVenture had about the same number of applications, but this year's effort is a more significant accomplishment than it at first seems. In the first two years of InnoVenture, many of the companies that applied were personal contacts of a small, core group of organizers. We asked companies we already knew, and occasionally called in a favor, to get strong group of presenting companies.

In 2004 and 2005, the core InnoVenture group pretty much exhausted the easy targets that we already knew. The 40 companies and investors that applied this year represent the potential of the extended InnoVenture network to fulfill a major objective - to identify "a pipeline of emerging companies with game changing innovations."

This is a very encouraging sign, not only for 2006, but for the long-term sustainability of InnoVenture.

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