A network of Oregon public universities is hoping to tap a new pipeline for entrepreneurial funding through a program that rewards donors with considerable tax breaks.

A 60 percent tax credit is available to Oregon taxpayers who contribute to the newly formed University Venture Development Fund, designed to help the state's eight public universities push research discoveries into the commercial marketplace.

The state will provide the universities with up to a total of $14 million in tax-credit eligible gifts, to be repaid to the state through royalties and licensing fees.

Northwest Technology Ventures and Bend Research are two of the early donors.

More information on the fund and tax break, including frequently asked questions, can be found at www.ous.edu/venturefund.

Put Your IT Strategy to the Test

A well-managed IT team can make the workday go a lot more smoothly. But developing a clear IT strategy can be a challenge for small businesses with limited resources.

Vernon Hills, Ill.-based CDW (NASDAQ:CDWC) this week published its online Small Business Technology Assessment Tool, which allows business owners and their IT managers to assess where their companies stand on a variety of IT strategy and management issues. The assessment can help small businesses address neglected areas that stunt growth.

The tool compares a small business with peers nationally on key aspects such as size, longevity, and growth rate; growth challenges; business/IT strategy; owner involvement and knowledge of IT; and IT staffing and outsourcing strategies.

To access the Small Business Technology Assessment Tool, visit www.cdwconduit.com

Computer Help Is Just a Click Away

Most people have had the experience of sitting through a lecture, regurgitating the information learned -- and promptly forgetting most of it.

The same thing can happen with software training programs. But a new product from Orem, Utah-based Transcensus is geared toward helping companies build step-by-step software guidance embedded in the application in which their employees are working. No separate browsers or simulation windows are necessary.

According to the company, anyone who uses a computer, without any programming knowledge, can successfully use the product.

"SHO Guide dramatically reduces the need for formalized IT classroom e-learning instruction," Transcensus CEO David Adkins said in a prepared statement.

SHO Guide runs on Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows 2000 operating systems.

For more information, visit www.transcensus.com