2012/2013 Africa-wide Women in Science Competition Call for Abstracts

With a population of approximately 1.03 billion in 2011, and a growth rate of 24 million per annum, Africa’s population is expected to double by 2050. Africa’s chances of halving poverty and hunger by 2015 remain slim. The continent needs to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner as well as find endogenous solutions to respond to the twin challenges of climate change and volatile food and energy prices. Increasing investments in the agricultural sector and more specifically in science, technology and innovation is seen as a viable option for achieving broad-based agricultural led economic growth, equity and prosperity.

This competition seeks to promote excellence and recognize and reward outstanding women scientists who are undertaking scientific and innovative research, technology and engineering related development activities and communicating the outputs (knowledge, technologies and approaches) to improve agricultural performance and socio-economic development in Africa.

Apparently Cybersecurity is important to the US economy, the Congress learns

H. R. 2096 To advance cybersecurity research, development, and technical standards,
and for other purposes.

Also, planning related to a national strategy concerning “HIGH PERFORMANCE COMPUTING” and “NETWORKING AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY”, and stuff like IT, Big Data, etc. is worth investing in at a national level.

H. R. 3834 To amend the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991 to authorize activities for support of networking and information technology research, and for other purposes.

DATA Act Passes the House [was One Day at Bandwagon Camp…]

Update (nearly two years later to the day):

My comments to a colleague over at ATCA on Yammer:

H.R. 2146 The DATA Act passed the House yesterday. Mark Warner is scheduled to introduce the companion bill in the Senate today. A synosis from an AP piece: On a voice vote, the House backed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, known as the DATA Act. The legislation would establish uniform standards for all recipients to report federal money and set up a single website where average Americans could search for information on how government agencies, departments and other recipients spend federal funds.

Read more: AP blurb on Foxnews

#Occupy needs to be on this ferociously. Extensible business reporting language (XBRL — pronounced “ecks burl”) is growing as a global accounting and reporting technology and the various accounting standards boards are bringing their standard vocabularies (taxonomies) into alignment. The question is: once #Occupy can identify wrong doing, do they have a legal fund and PAC strategy to pursue it? Notably, the National Governors Association came out against DATA ostensibly because it is filled with unfunded federal mandates. Point well taken. But the amount of savings each State would accrue by putting XBRL into their “data chains” would create so many efficiencies and cost savings it would be hard to anticipate at this point. However, it would also allow for apples to apples comparisons of States’ programs and we would know within a very short time who is overpaying and who is getting the graft, kickbacks, sweetheart deals, etc.

# # # #

From April, 2010:

<ed.note>I made some comments on Facebook re: where were the Tea Partiers when Bush was… Does anyone remember the Reform Party? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_We_Stand_America – this strain of “we want accountability from our government” never disappears and manifests itself in a variety of ways. The Tea Partiers (and anyone else interested in government accountability) would do well to concentrate on the necessary technology — begin with requiring your politician (whatever party) to commit to open budgets expressed using extensible business reporting language (XBRL) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extensible_Business_Reporting_Language I would also do well to point out that both political and financial press are afraid to cover this technology as it applies to realpolitik… [update] and realeconomik[update] .</ed.note>

Mike Haywood: Here’s some recent articles relating to the European crisis, extracted from my Banking Crisis Digest

Mike comments at Yammer.com/ATCA:

Why Europe’s Banks Trail in Deleveraging Process http://online.wsj.com/article/…
Spain in the spotlight as troika returns to Greece http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/26/…
lrish Property Prices fall by 17.8% in the year to February http://www.housefund.co.uk/2012/03/27/…
Banks buy bonds with ECB cash, lend less to firms http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/28/…
ECB Cash Isn’t Reaching Private Sector http://online.wsj.com/article/…
Portugal may need a plan B http://online.wsj.com/article/…
Pimco expects ‘second Greece’ in Portugal http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9151804/…
European crisis is not over, Bernanke says http://www.marketwatch.com/story/…
Euro Crisis: Plight of the Netherlands, Staggering Unemployment in Spain and Greece http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33662.html
This burden of bank debt is simply not sustainable for Ireland http://www.independent.ie/opinion/analysis/…
Eurozone crisis live: Greek credit default swaps ‘pay out $2.5bn’ – 19 March 2012 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/mar/19/…
Greece is heading for hell, thanks to the EU’s botched handling of the crisis http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/19/…
Could Portugal follow Greece? http://www.moneyweek.com/news-and-charts/economics/europe/…
Spain may be euro zone’s next source of contagion http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/21/…
Growing Antitax Movement Shows Irish Stoicism Wearing Thin http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/20/world/europe/…
No Spanish siesta for the eurozone http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/…
Spain’s public debt soars to record high http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/…
Euro zone may raise bailout fund capacity to 581 billion pounds – officials http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/16/…
Storm clouds gather over debt-laden eurozone as output nosedives http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2119166/…
Investors take fright, grab profit on Italian debt http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/23/…
Italy PM Monti says worried about contagion from Spain http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/03/24/…
Jean-Claude Trichet: radical central bank action should not disguise crisis http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9165016/…
Spain starts to feel the heat http://blogs.wsj.com/eurocrisis/2012/03/23/…
Europe according to Hayek http://online.wsj.com/article/…
Portugal Town Halls Face Default Amid $12 Billion Debt http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-23/…
German Bond Prices Decline, Unsettling Confidence in a Safe Haven http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/22/business/…

Updated: Jim Clifton, Chairman and CEO, Gallup on the State Economies (and the state of the global economy)

At the recent National Governors Association meeting courtesy of C-SPAN. Read about his new book, The Coming Jobs War.

Robert Mix’s summary of the book.

Along the same lines, “We’re in a Jetsons economy. Technology is just massively disintermediating jobs” http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-05-09/whats-wrong-with-the-u-dot-s-dot-job-market#p2

Is America In Permanent Decline? http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130507153331-14634910-is-america-in-permanent-decline

Condos and Clouds

This is arguably one of the most useful presentations I’ve seen and can recommend. Note: Rated MA for language

Condos and Clouds – A LinkedIn Tech Talk by Pat Helland, Distributed Systems and Databases Architect [this description from the LinkedIn event page]

Over the last 100+ years, the way people design, build, and use buildings has evolved. It is now normal to construct a building without knowing in advance who will occupy the building. In addition, we increasingly have shared occupancy of our homes (apartments and condos), retail, and office space. To accomplish this change, the way we use the buildings has evolved. There is a new trust relationship, customs, and laws that establish the relationship between the occupants and the building managers. Recently, our industry has been moving to implement Cloud Computing. This has been very successful in some applications and very challenging in others. This talk posits that many of the challenges we’ve seen in cloud computing can be understood by looking at what has happened in buildings and their occupancy. Standardization, usage patterns, legal establishment of rights and responsibilities are all nascent in the area of cloud computing. We examine a very common pattern in the implementation of “software and a service” and propose ways in which this pattern may be better supported in a multi-tenant fashion.

Biography: Pat Helland has been working in distributed systems, transaction processing, databases, and similar areas since 1978. For most of the 1980s, he was the chief architect of Tandem Computers’ TMF (Transaction Monitoring Facility), which provided distributed transactions for the NonStop System. With the exception of a two-year stint at Amazon, Helland has worked at Microsoft Corporation since 1994 where he was the architect for Microsoft Transaction Server and SQL Service Broker. Until September, 2011, he was working on Cosmos, a distributed computation and storage system that provides back-end support for Bing. Pat recently relocated to San Francisco with his wife to be close to the grandchildren and to explore new opportunities in “Big Data” and/or “Cloud Computing”.

Ben White: VC4Africa takes a look at the progress made in 2011

I think it is fair to say that 2011 was a good year for the VC4Africa community. What originally started as a Linkedin group has now grown into a thriving and productive network. This year we closed the old website and started a new chapter on VC4Africa.biz.

We now have more than 4.300 members who have opened personal profile pages on the new site and over 200 entrepreneurs stepped forward to crunch their venture online ( http://bit.ly/9Yzi7T ). There are promising businesses making progress in over 30 African countries and we have seen members in Cameroon, South Africa, the United States, Kenya, Nigeria, the Netherlands and Somaliland establish partnerships, investments and joint ventures. Increasingly, VC4Africa featured entrepreneurs are being picked up by global media channels like Forbes and BBC World. We have opened a new thread where members are starting to share their successes as their continued progress remains our bottom line – as a community and organization ( http://bit.ly/sWTglN ).

In the past months we have launched a number of new programs and resources VC4A entrepreneurs can tap into for support. For example, entrepreneurs are now calling in on Free Feedback Fridays ( http://bit.ly/s9Xd9j ). These are sessions hosted by business experts and are useful for working through challenges faced in the business development process. We also hosted several Business Modeling Workshops and worked with entrepreneurs to practice and film their elevator pitches ( http://bit.ly/tsItJ9 ). More recently, we launched the ( http://bit.ly/rHbJa9 ) VC4Africa Mentorship Program that connects members for peer-to-peer coaching with some early successes already on the books. We also gave a facelift to the venture profiles and entrepreneurs can now post their video pitches online, one of the reasons ventures like ( http://bit.ly/s2cyCG ) Njorku are top ranked all time. In the year ahead we will be doing even more to support our entrepreneurs as they champion their ventures.

Our team is constantly working to introduce new tools and services that further improve the VC4A networking experience. To foster more effective network building we launched our own ‘dating widget’ that matches members on the basis of complimentary skill sets and forwards recommended connections. How do you tap into a global network spread across 159 countries? This past year saw the release of ( http://bit.ly/w4VuI2 ) Questions & Answers as a tool for crowdsourcing knowledge from across the member base. There are now 68 open threads and 128 responses. We also launched dedicated groups that allow members to come together around a specific country or theme. Some notable groups we look forward to growing in 2012 include ( http://bit.ly/tMHdEC ) Green Entrepreneurship, ( http://bit.ly/vsF8up ) the Social Entrepreneur, ( http://bit.ly/rHbJa9 ) VC4Africa Mentors and ( http://bit.ly/vTS0vG ) VC4A Woman Entrepreneurs.

Far and away, one of the greatest projects we launched this past year was VC4A Badges. Building great companies and an effective network of contacts is a lot of hard work, but it’s also a lot of fun. With great looking badges we look to recognize your milestones and contributions along the way. See an overview of all of the badges and keep your eye out for new ones :) ( http://bit.ly/us5lZs )

Editor: Got me my nifty VC4Africa Officer Badge Rightcheer; woohoo!:

VC4Africa Officer Badger

VC4Africa Officer Badger

We will continue to listen to your feedback and build the tools that enrich your time spent with VC4A ( http://bit.ly/sbph8f ).

These developments aside, VC4Africa had a great year because we have such great members. People who believe in the continent’s potential and want to see its best entrepreneurs succeed. It is remarkable to see more than 30 VC4Africa meetups organized by members from around the world. We already have great events online for 2012 starting with Accra, Oslo and London.

Certainly Africa is a great business opportunity and we all agree the time to make it happen is NOW.

The best part about all of this? We’re just getting started :)

VC4Africa nominated for the Accenture Innovation Award [Please vote and repost]

VC4Africa wants to initiate a shift to business as a key tool in the development of the continent. The VC4Africa social network is aimed at investors and entrepreneurs seeking sustainable businesses in Africa. 1.9 million African persons operate online. 43% of the African population is under 14 years old. This rapidly growing open platform, has members from over 250 countries, and meet ups worldwide.

Please see http://vc4africa.biz/blog/2011/10/10/vc4africa-nominated-for-the-accenture-innovation-award/ and|or http://shar.es/bb0nB


LIVE WEBCAST on Mapping of Data in the Horn of Africa. Oct. 11, 12:30 – 2:00 PM Washington DC time

Citizen Engagement, Aid Coordination, and Transparency: An Experience from Mapping of Data in the Horn of Africa

When: Tuesday, October 11, 2011, from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Washington D.C. time

Live Webcast at: http://streaming7.worldbank.org/vvflash/extlive1

Comments or questions: please use Twitter (#mapdataafrica)

Drought, conflict, and rising food prices have created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa in decades. As areas of famine have grown over the past few months, data about the impact and response are sobering: food prices have increased nearly 200 percent, 750,000 people estimated to be at risk of starvation, and 2.4 billion U.S. dollars are needed to provide relief. There is a great need to understand, disaggregate and communicate this type data to increase citizen engagement and bolster a strong, coordinated international response. Sharing data about the famine’s impact and response can increase citizen engagement, improve coordination among organizations, and increase transparency of those involved in the relief effort.

This seminar, organized by World Bank, will present the recent work of Development Seed in the Horn of Africa. Development Seed is a firm which offers services to government, international development agencies, and the private sector to creatively use data for visualization and mapping in order to help those organizations to explain complex issues and improve their decision-making.

Chair: Johannes Sebastian Kiess, Operations Officer, World Bank Institute

Eric Gunderson, President, Development Seed
Dave Cole, Project Lead, Development Seed

Alexandre Marc, Lead Social Development Specialist, World Bank
Joshua Goldstein, Consultant, ICT Sector Unit, World Bank

Request for Information: Jobs4TN Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development INCITE Initiative


Governor Bill Haslam announced the Jobs4TN plan in April 2011 to accomplish his goal of making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.  As the state’s primary economic development agency, the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) has been charged by the Governor with overseeing the successful implementation of the plan.  Jobs4TN is a comprehensive plan built around four strategies, one of which is investing in innovation. The Department’s primary innovation effort is the INCITE Initiative, which stands for INnovation, Commercialization, Investment, Technology and Entrepreneurship.  INCITE’s goal is to elevate Tennessee’s profile in innovation-based economic development and drive economic growth via the creation of knowledge-based jobs.  As part of INCITE, the Department will be overseeing a competitive grant process to provide funding to an entrepreneurial business accelerator in each of the state’s nine “Jobs Base Camp” regions, as defined in the Jobs4TN plan.  The goal of the business accelerators is to nurture and support entrepreneurs as they develop business plans and launch companies that have the potential to create a large number of high-wage jobs.  Prior to issuing this grant application, the Department is issuing this request for information (RFI) to gather information that will inform the grant process.


The Department of Economic and Community Development requests information on the following questions:

1. How should the success of a business accelerator be measured after one, two, and three years?

2. What are best practices in recruiting, training, and supporting entrepreneurs as they go through a business accelerator program?

3. What partnerships should a successful business accelerator form (e.g., with businesses, investors, governments, educational institutions)?

4. How should a business accelerator be governed?

5. Over what time period and using what strategies should a business accelerator be expected to become financially self-sustaining?

6. How, if at all, do successful business accelerators in rural areas differ from successful business accelerators in urban areas?

7. How should the grant applications for the regional business accelerators be scored?  What individuals should be part of the scoring process?

8. Please provide any additional advice you have that might inform the State’s competitive grant process for regional business accelerators.

Responses must be received on or before July 15, 2011.


Responses must be submitted in written format via mail or email to:

Ryan Gooch, Innovation Director

Tennessee Tower, 11th Floor

312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue Nashville, TN 37243


Office: (615) 741-1294

Twitter: @investtennessee

Responses to this RFI are not considered to be offers and cannot be accepted by the State of Tennessee to form a binding contract or issue a grant.  Information obtained as a result of this RFI may be used by the State toward program planning on a non-attribution basis.  Do not include any information that may be considered proprietary or confidential