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8
Dec
2015

European venture capital (VC) investments are on a healthy upward trend, returns and money multiples are growing, innovation hubs are emerging, and serial entrepreneurs are flourishing. However, European fund-raising has steadily slowed, while governments in Europe have filled the funding gap, at a time when US investment in European ventures is on a sharp upward trend, according to a new report from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Spain's IESE Business School.

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3
Dec
2015

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan this week created a stir when they were reported to have pledged to give away 99% of their shares in the company — worth according to themselves $45bn — to good causes, when they announced the birth of their daughter Max (Maxima). Amidst all the bad news this good news got a lot of attention and it may seem churlish to undermine it. However, the truth is that the Facebook founder effectively pays no income tax and the shares are not being given to a charity.

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30
Nov
2015

The nations of the world gather on Monday in Paris to reach a new and universal climate change agreement, in the knowledge that they have already delivered an almost universal set of national responses to meet the long-term climate challenge before the conference even begins — there is of course a big difference between an aspiration and commitment. India is seen as an obstacle this time while China, which blocked a deal in Copenhagen in 2009, is now seen as positive as its citizens are increasingly concerned about air pollution. The conference is due to conclude on 11 Dec.

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23
Nov
2015

Pfizer & Tax: Pfizer, the US drugs giant, which is one of the world's biggest pharmaceutical firms, is to become Irish for tax purposes and will be Ireland's biggest company — dwarfing the value of Irish companies such as CRH and Ryanair. Ireland's national accounts will be further distorted by companies that are mainly run from the US but hold board meetings in Dublin.

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16
Nov
2015

Noam Wasserman, a professor at Harvard Business School, wrote in a Harvard Business Review article in 2008: "Every would-be entrepreneur wants to be a Bill Gates, a Phil Knight, or an Anita Roddick, each of whom founded a large company and led it for many years. However, successful CEO-cum-founders are a very rare breed. When I analyzed 212 American startups that sprang up in the late 1990s and early 2000s, I discovered that most founders surrendered management control long before their companies went public."

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9
Nov
2015

The Irish Venture Capital Association (IVCA) says "Irish tech SMEs" raised €415m to end September 2015, an increase of 32% on the same period last year. The VenturePulse survey which is published in association with William Fry, the Dublin law firm, includes several firms that are controlled from the US but are legally Irish for tax purposes.

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5
Nov
2015

George Boole, the mathematician who was born 200 years ago this week (2 Nov, 1815) in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England, was the son of a shoemaker, left school at the age of sixteen, never attended a university but would become the architect of what we call the digital age today. The first professor of mathematics at the new Queen's College, in Cork, Ireland, wrote his 1854 magnum opus, An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, while living in the city.

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3
Nov
2015

Last week we wrote that tax breaks remain the main Irish policy tool: they are easy to implement; without having to worry about evidence, they can intuitively seem wise and in accord with the conventional wisdom, and they are always welcomed by vested interests. The palliative for the Dublin housing crisis are more tax incentives not tackling a system that makes development land scare in a country with the lowest density in the EU, and in recent times there has been a chorus of calls for more tax breaks for innovation and entrepreneurship.

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27
Oct
2015
26
Oct
2015

Well-fed Europeans are seen as generally pro-science on climate change but anti-science on genetically modified food and in recent days have been called the Coalition of the Ignorant. By October a total of 19 EU countries or regions within them, have "opted out" of growing genetically modified organism (GMOs)-based crops within all or part of their territories — Austria, Belgium for the Wallonia region, Britain for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

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