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Artificial Intelligence / Venture Investors Turn To AI To Find Deals
« on: December 27, 2020, 05:36:42 PM »
From medicine to retail to the auto industry, there are few industries in tech that have not been changed or disrupted by artificial intelligence.

Now, some of the people investing in those sectors are using AI to figure out where to put their money next. While that may seem like an obvious use of AI and machine learning, it’s been something most VCs have been slow to adopt.

“VCs love to disrupt other spaces using data and networks—except their own,” said Ilya Kirnos, co-founder, managing director and CTO of San Francisco-based venture firm SignalFire.

Investment firms such as SignalFire and EQT Ventures are not just investing in tech companies, but are in their own way tech companies—housing their own proprietary AI platforms to analyze and vet investment opportunities.

AI directs big money

Alastair Mitchell, partner at EQT Ventures, estimates the firm’s AI platform–called Motherbrain–for sourcing portfolio companies has played a role in more than $100 million of the firm’s approximately $900 million total invested since its first fund opened in 2016.

“We placed a big bet on technology to be better investors,” he said.
Motherbrain digests both public data, such as investor and LinkedIn data, app store rankings and funding information, as well as proprietary information to score companies. Mitchell estimates the platform is helping the firm track more than 15 million companies. Stockholm-based EQT Ventures, which describes itself as a hybrid between a startup and a VC firm, plans to use Motherbrain over the next few years to help it find investment opportunities for its second fund, which launched last year. About 75 percent of that $700 million fund is still available for investment, said Mitchell, adding that three of the firm’s top five investments from its 2016 fund were sourced through Motherbrain. The firm, with investments that include Wolt, Handshake and Netlify, also recently promoted Henrik Landgren, who specifically oversees Motherbrain and previously built Spotify’s global analytics team, to partner. While EQT Ventures is a separate set of funds from the private-equity firm EQT, Mitchell said the more traditional investment firm also has used Motherbrain to analyse growth fund opportunities; illustrating that the use of AI is moving beyond just venture.

AI not just to invest

However, AI uses for firms stretch beyond just investing. SignalFire looks at four stages of successful investing: sourcing, diligence, placing the investment, and adding value to that company once it is in the portfolio, Kirnos said.

SignalFire, which usually invests in seed or early-growth rounds, uses its AI platform in all four phases.

“It has differentiated us,” said Kirnos, who was a software engineer at Google before co-founding SignalFire.

While SignalFire uses AI to help source and do its diligence before investing in companies, the company also uses its proprietary platform to help its portfolio companies grow by analyzing and researching their markets, recruiting talent and creating business strategies. The firm uses its platform to track more than 2 million data sources and half a trillion data to help tell a company everything from how to differentiate itself to how to price its product.

Kirnos said he also looks at his firm as a tech startup, one that has used AI to now invest in nearly 100 companies, including the likes of Grammarly and Ro, formerly Roman Health.

“We have companies in our portfolio that could be public companies,” he said.

COVID and the digital transformation of investing
Nearly every tech executive and investor talks of how the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a “digital transformation” in all sectors and areas of work.

That may apply to investing too, Kirnos said.

“Companies are remote now with COVID,” he said “The stuff you track is more widely dispersed.”

Kirnos said the days of hiring a graduate from Stanford University to go out to talk to people about the next big thing in tech are at least temporarily paused due to the pandemic.

“You have to use data, you have to use systems,” Kirnos said.

With SignalFire having about $1 billion under management and EQT Ventures investing from its second $700 million fund, other investors may eye the returns on that money to see if AI is something they should not just invest in, but also use.

“No doubt as we are successful, there will be imitation,” Kirnos said.


How data analytics helps in making strategic investment decisions across geographies

Silicon Valley based global early-stage venture capital firm, has more than 44 investments across India, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America. Sailesh Ramakrishnan, Partner, shares how the firm is pioneering the use of data in making investment decisions, with smart algorithm tracking companies globally using a series of metrics to indicate the probability that a startup will be successful.

How are you using data and algorithms for making investment decisions ? has a unique approach to investment that sets it apart from its peers. Our team uses machine learning and data science to identify and invest in startups around the world. Our smart algorithm tracks companies globally using a series of metrics to indicate the probability that a startup will be successful. We look at metrics such as proven market demand, scalability, traction, customer success, as well as data from sources like social media and Crunchbase to get a better understanding of where the company fits into the ecosystem. Once our models point us to an opportunity, our team of data scientists will evaluate further and make the call if we will pursue and reach out to the startup.

Please share with us information about your tech startup database. Also, how are you spotting early global trends in this space?

Being the first investor to spot an emerging industry or startup can be hard to do. However, our comprehensive database gives us an advantage to spot trends globally, even where we don’t have a local network. We are also all data scientists by trade so we are comfortable evaluating technology and having a sense for its impact potential from the start. This hybrid approach of utilising both data science and human evaluation allows us to spot early global trends.

Which tech segments in India have seen the maximum investment from you post the Covid crisis?

The pandemic has brought increased focus on two areas in India: Healthcare and Education. We see major opportunities here from online vernacular education to telemedicine, online pharmacies to support and mental health. Indian tech companies play a significant role in molding these trends. Our plan is to continue to focus on how India can overcome some of these challenges as the next generation of global category leading companies are built there.

Has data analysis been a driving factor for these investments?

Yes, we definitely follow our data to find really promising companies and new markets to invest in.

Your perspective of data investment in VC funding. How will this impact fundings for Indian tech startups?

We have had conversations with other VCs and they ask us how is writing checks during a time like this, where it is almost impossible to travel and meet founders face-to-face. Even before the pandemic, we have always made investments by relying on Zoom, Skype and WhatsApp meetings with founders, and it enabled us to continue operating and investing in the present scenario without breaking a stride. We’re proud of our investment model which removes a lot of the bias around gender, race and personal founder networks and instead focuses on the merits of the startup and the problems they solve. We envision that more VCs will follow suit and leverage data to make investment decisions.

In which sectors do you foresee Indian tech startups making many pioneering achievements?

Amid the pandemic the Indian tech ecosystem has made great advancements in pioneering services and products. B2B has been grabbing a lot of our attention. We see a large scope for significant changes in the B2B space as consumer innovations make deep inroads into businesses creating software infrastructure from accounting to logistics to supply chains, that will allow them to reduce costs and become globally competitive.

Your investment plans for this market in the near future.

While we invest in category defining outliers in all verticals, we are currently seeing great companies being built in cloud-based collaboration and B2B tech. Both areas have been spiking and coming on our screen more than other sectors. While we cannot share specific companies yet, those industries are grabbing our attention and are sectors we are excited about.


A Baltimore fashion designer is looking to revive the city's garment industry, and is getting ready to run 200 miles to raise money to support her efforts.

Stacy Stube, the designer behind the Elsa Fitzgerald dress brand, has spearheaded various efforts to create a new thriving hub of fashion-oriented businesses in Baltimore. She has served as the fashion entrepreneur in residence at the University of Baltimore's Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where she launched programming to help provide business training and support for local fashion makers. She is also behind SEW BROMO, an online fashion school that provides educational content and skills trainings for budding business owners.

Now, she is looking to take over space in an abandoned garment factory inside the 1100 Wicomico building in Pigtown, and plotting a pilot to bring entrepreneurs and industry experts together to help grow a new generation of fashion businesses.

The SEW BROMO - Fashion Innovation Hub will support startups by providing education and small-batch production support. Stube hopes the space can serve as a small factory operation, where local and global fashion entrepreneurs can learn about garment manufacturing from the digital space.

The hub will provide fashion entrepreneurs with ample space, tools and support as they navigate everything from learning traditional garment-making skills, to crowdfunding to support production, to online marketing and sales. Stube hopes to get the operation up and running in January. But she will need some funding help to do it.

Stube is turning to crowdfunding to raise the money needed. She has launched a campaign on GoFundMe with a goal of $100,000. In conjunction with the fundraising effort, Stube has committed to run a total of 200 miles around Baltimore's harbor over the course of a week, to help raise awareness and support of her efforts to launch the new factory. She will start her run at Federal Hill on Dec. 31 at 4 a.m.

The $100,000 she hopes to raise will cover about six months worth expenses, including rent and utilities, as well as the costs of buying new machines, cutting tools and more needed to kick off the factory pilot, Stube said.

Local fashion designer Stacy Stube is spearheading an effort to set up a new fashion innovation hub in Pigtown.
Local fashion designer Stacy Stube is spearheading an effort to set up a new fashion innovation hub in Pigtown.

Stube has had a long career working in the luxury fashion sector in the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia. In Baltimore, she previously worked as the head of innovation at Fashions Unlimited, the last remaining garment factory from the original Baltimore industry. She came to recognize the value of increasing awareness about the factory environment, and the need to find new approaches to building successful garment businesses that can keep the industry alive.

"We have to create our own new jobs in fashion. Entrepreneurs have to be the ones to take that first step forward," Stube said. "I think we're ready for this new chapter of industry."

In her work with UB and SEW BROMO, Stube interacted with many entrepreneurs who benefitted from the educational programming about the fashion industry, its history, and the various skills involved. She realized that the students who came out of those programs needed space to develop their own products and businesses, and hopes that's what the new SEW BROMO - Fashion Innovation Hub can provide.

Stube had previously intended to set up a mini-factory operation inside Lexington Market, but said the Wicomico space provided a better fit for the project. Because the fourth floor of the building was previously home to a garment factory, it is already equipped to handle a small batch production and distribution operation. The building is also already home to other startup and manufacturing operations that support local entrepreneurs, such as Harbor Designs and Manufacturing LLC and Early Charm Ventures.


Intellectual property (IP) is a term used to describe the creations of the intellect. Although intangible (in the sense of not being physical), intellectual property is immensely valuable because it gives the owner certain rights — including the exclusive exploitation of the IP for-profit and the right to exclude others from using the IP. These rights are generally known as IP rights. The purpose of IP law is to protect and govern all aspects of IP rights.

More often than not, when the protection of IP comes to mind, people tend to think it relates just to the media — artists, actors, and writers. IP is much more than that. There are various aspects of IP which also apply to large companies as well as startups.

Why startups must protect their IP--

Unfortunately, many startups have a laissez-faire mindset towards the protection of their IP rights. This often stems from their belief in the notion that "ideas are a dime a dozen; only execution matters." The problem with this mindset is that the delay in securing a startup's IP can do severe and sometimes irreversible harm to the startup, both from a legal and business standpoint. IP matters, which is why companies like Google, Apple, and other tech giants spend billions of dollars suing to secure their IP.

The IP of a tech startup is typically its most valuable asset. The products and services it brings to market will help it secure market share and earn revenue, but neither the market share nor revenue will be secure unless the company can prevent other companies from stealing its concepts, brands, and inventions. IP also constitutes a major consideration for investors because they'll want to know that your startup has control over all the ideas, code, and branding you'll need to develop and market your products and services. Clearly, without its IP, a tech startup would have little leverage in the market, thus making it essential to protect these rights as quickly as possible.

As startups scale and begin to share information with more partners, vendors, and other counterparties, the importance of securing their IP rises, especially in sectors such as fintech where API integrations — and the attendant access to each other's systems — are customary.

How to protect your startup's IP rights--

Most products and services can be protected by a combination of IP rights. For example, computer software can be protected by patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. Apple protects certain features of its iPhones and other products with patents, and it uses copyright to protect the actual code of its macOS and iOS operating systems. It uses trademark law to protect the Apple name and logo trademarks that identify its products, and it uses trade secrets law to protect the design and components of its upcoming devices.

The particular steps needed to protect IP rights will be dependent in large part on the type of IP in question, as highlighted above. Generally, startups must use Non-Disclosure Agreements to ensure that they can restrict the appropriation of confidential information regarding their innovations by staff or third-parties. Also, it's important to commence the process of registering trademarks and patents quickly, to prevent others from registering them first and thus getting ownership.

Even after taking the foregoing steps to establish your IP rights, including registration, they may still be infringed upon by other companies. It'll be important, in such instances, to act swiftly to get them to stop and to recover damages for any losses their breach may have caused and for the very act of breaching your rights. This process is referred to as IP defense and can span from a simple demand letter from your lawyers to the infringing party to a lawsuit to enforce your rights, depending on the circumstances.

The importance of the protection of IP rights cannot be overemphasized. A startup is simply unlikely to survive unless its IP is securely under its control. Some of the more common errors startups make, such as failing to get IP assigned to the company, can be incredibly difficult to fix if not resolved early on. Registration is also often tied to timeliness as highlighted above, and failure to register in time might result in another company securing the rights in question. Clearly, the protection of IP must be an integral part of every startup's business strategy, to facilitate growth, prevent infringement, and increase revenue.


We all know the year 2020 presented the world with a number of challenges in the entrepreneurial space. The following are the 15 things to avoid as an entrepreneur in the year 2021.

1. Lose your focus
When you forget why you got into business in the first place, you are well on the path to failure. Examples include not caring about your customers and not being able to address their concerns and needs from a product or service perspective. Always keep your customer's needs at the center of how your products and services are developed. Continuously make sure that you are reaching out to your customers and constantly evaluate if you are on the right track.

2. Lack of leadership
Organizational leadership encompasses numerous concepts and ideals, with sales, marketing, operations and personnel management just the tip of the iceberg. When organizations and leaders start making the wrong decisions, it's typically the start of a bad outcome. In 2021, take the time to focus on leadership and creating value.

3. Not caring about your employees
As an employer and as an organization, if your employees are not happy, motivated or engaged, it is impossible for them to serve your client base diligently on a daily basis. Successful organizations work on their inside game and internal structure before they start going out to generate revenue and tackling larger goals.

4. Not working with partners
Successful organizations always look for opportunities to work with others. Successful leaders understand that winning is about collaboration. Start out by seeking 10 partnership opportunities with potential partners and work on something small to start off with. Consistency is key to winning the game.

5. Build walls

Successful organizations tear down walls. Never build walls with your stakeholders. This includes competition, industry organizations, associations, the media and any other organization. Be the person who tears down the walls and helps others connect and build a better industry. Become the leader that others can look up to and ask for help because they trust that you can help tear down walls.

6. Ignore your clients
Never ignore your customers. Many times, organizations focus too much on internal happenings. One of the companies that I worked with in my career was focused on how good their products were and internal processes that were more complicated than needed. This led to them not paying attention to the voice of the customer and what the customer ultimately wanted. The result? Declining revenue and organizational degradation.

7. Not holding people accountable
Accountability is key to organizational success. Experts suggest that accountability is one of the top reasons why organizations succeed. The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) says that we have a 65% chance of attaining a goal if we commit to it. There are many studies that prove that personal accountability, organizational accountability and using accountability coaches helps increase the possibility and chance of completing a goal. You can elevate your organization's accountability by driving a culture of being held accountable.

8. Not creating a culture of execution
Execution is probably the most important element in successfully reaching a goal. Many of us endlessly plan things, but fall short when it's time to execute. Use the pursuit of consistent execution as a tool to get ahead. Make sure you deliver on the promise that you have made to your customers, employees and other stakeholders by executing on your stated tasks and goals.

9. Not taking any risk

Many industries today are suffering because they refuse to take any risks. Service industries such as legal and accounting, for example, are battling technology and the decline of traditional business models because they refuse to adapt to a new way of conducting business. Business risk is not only a financial risk, but it's also about exploring new areas of opportunity, creating new revenue streams and exploring avenues that have not been explored in the past.

10. Not having standards
Have you ever heard of an automobile company that had zero safety standards? What about an airline that has no operational standards? It's impossible for some industries to not follow standards because a lack of standards can lead to dire consequences. Make sure that you operate with high standards. This means doing the best, expecting the best and creating a mindset of quality and a minimum level of acceptable standards within your organization, across the board.

11. Letting people get their way
Organizational bullies are people who get their way. These could be people at a strong position within your organization who have developed a habit of getting away with actions that undermine organizational standards. Keeping your organization's culture free from organizational bullies is a tough task for leaders. However, it is important that everyone who is part of your organization knows the value you create, the culture you have and respect everyone they come across within the organization. This also goes into respecting organizational policies, the vision of the leadership and what you stand for.

12. Focus too much on competition
Some industries are very focused on what the competition is doing. In a small market with many companies offering the same products and essentially targeting a very small number of customers, competition and getting ahead can be a "do or die" situation. If all your focus is on competition, you start lagging in being an innovative and out-of-the-box thinker. Do not focus strictly on the competition, but work on your inner game, making your product and solutions more valuable for your customers and raising your standards

13. Ignoring your critics

Have you ever had critics who are always on your case? If not, then you have not really made an impact on your industry. This way of thinking is a bit non-traditional. You should always have critics and those who point you in the right direction, helping you identify both areas where you face challenges and areas where opportunities exist. Pay attention to those who point a finger at you and help guide you in the right direction.

14. Being socially awkward
In 2021, you must become a socially engaged organization. This means supporting social causes, meeting other people with similar interests, helping your employees be part of social change, involving your organization in initiatives and ideas that are beyond just what you do professionally as an organization. At a local level, you may find a school basketball team that needs support or a conservation project seeking volunteers. These projects and opportunities are a means to get your employees engaged and work closely with the communities that support you as an organization. Get involved and do not be a socially awkward organization.

15. Stop learning
If you have stopped learning as an individual and as an organization, then there is nothing much that can be done. Look at some of the industries that are dying a slow death today, including the accounting industry. Traditional accounting firms are facing an uphill task in surviving as technology is crushing firms that refuse to change and adapt to a new way of doing business. Always stay hungry as an organization and ensure that everyone within your company is learning something new.

Success as an organization, as a leader or as an individual contributor, is a blend of many different things, but there are plenty of opportunities to you can make headway and succeed in 2021 as an entrepreneur and as a business.


Young Entrepreneur Yasha Golin Revolutionizes Marketing Strategy through The Narrowing Methodology

Brooklyn, NY, Dec. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Yasha Golin, truly come to be known globally as a very young entrepreneur for he is still in his teens, has invented a new business model coined as The Narrowing Methodology.

As far as the domain of international business is concerned, The Narrowing Methodology can emerge as the new mantra due to its strategic values in transforming the operational aspects of the e-commerce platforms that are mushrooming.

A young entrepreneur, business coach, philanthropist, and globe trotter, Yasha Golin has practically redefined the operational mode of business that can organically boost the sales volume of an e-Commerce company.

Yasha Golin is currently coaching the future young entrepreneurs on ways to implement The Narrowing Methodology to help them attain business success.

The Narrowing Methodology, as an operational business module, basically involves starting with a broad idea for business strategy and then narrowing it down to a specific goal. It removes the unnecessary frills to zero down on customers.

Yasha Golin's business venture involved drop shipping to make money. He applied his narrowing methodology theory to the 3 pillars of drop shipping. This proved to be very successful for him. These pillars are as follows:

Product Research: You research various products that will likely be profitable to sell. Then you establish specific criteria for the products that you want to sell and then narrow down the list of products to meet the criteria.

Website Development: You develop an e-Commerce website where you sell lots of different products in multiple niches. Then, as you learn which niches are the most successful, you narrow down your products until they fall under one specific niche only.

Marketing: This is the biggest pillar of drop shipping. Like most businesses, you begin by reaching out to a broad audience. As you start to learn about your target consumer base, you narrow down your audience so that you're only marketing to people who will likely purchase the products that you're selling. Never assume anything when it comes to your audience.

Yasha Golin developed a blueprint of this strategy which he teaches to his entrepreneurial students. It is easy to replicable this strategy if you simply follow the steps he has outlined in his blueprint. The more students who learn about this strategy, the more it will change the nature of dropshipping forever.

So far, Yasha Golin has been teaching students for 2 years and his students have generated more than $1 million combined in total sales. His typical student is someone just like he was; a young person who dreams of making lots of money early on in their life.

The Conclusion

The idea of hustling to make money always appealed to Yasha Golin. He's done everything from developing a clothing brand of his own to establishing a modeling agency out of his house. However, dropshipping was where he made his biggest amount of money. The idea of selling products without needing to store inventory seemed surreal to him. In dropshipping, there is no upfront investment to purchase products.

Yasha Golin simply conducted product research, website development, and marketing. Whenever a product sold on his website, he'd purchase it from a supplier. Then, they would ship the product to their customer. The difference between what he paid the supplier and what he received from the customer was his profit. As an entrepreneur, he succeeded in his venture by applying this revolutionary new business module.


বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচকে ১৩৮টি দেশের মধ্যে বাংলাদেশ খুবই কম নম্বর পেয়ে একেবারে শেষের কাতারে থাকা দেশগুলোর জায়গায় স্থান পাওয়ায় শিক্ষাবিদ এবং গবেষকরা উদ্বেগ প্রকাশ করছেন।

ওই সূচকে দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার ছ'টি দেশের মধ্যেও বাংলাদেশের অবস্থান সবার শেষে।

জাতিসংঘ উন্নয়ন কর্মসূচী এবং মোহাম্মদ বিন রশিদ আল-মাকতুম নলেজ ফাউন্ডেশনের যৌথ উদ্যোগে প্রকাশিত বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচকে বাংলাদেশের অবস্থান ১১২তম। এবার বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচকে বাংলাদেশের প্রাপ্ত নম্বর হলো ৩৫.৯, যা বৈশ্বিক গড় নম্বরের চেয়েও অনেক কম। বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচকে বাংলাদেশ সবচে খারাপ অবস্থা উচ্চশিক্ষার ক্ষেত্রে। এক্ষেত্রে ১৩৮টি দেশের মধ্যে বাংলাদেশের অবস্থান ১২৯তম।

বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচকে দক্ষিণ এশিয়ার দেশগুলোর মধ্যে বাংলাদেশ সবার নিচে
এছাড়া গবেষণা ও উদ্ভাবনেও পিছিয়ে রয়েছে এদেশ, যেখানে ৯৬ তম অবস্থান বাংলাদেশের।

জ্ঞান সূচকে কেন এতটা পিছিয়ে বাংলাদেশ - এমন এক প্রশ্নে শিক্ষাবিদ সিরাজুল ইসলাম চৌধুরী বলেন, জ্ঞানের যে অনুশীলন তার মূল্য পৃথিবীজুড়েই কমে গেছে। এখন আসছে তথ্যের যুগ। তথ্য আর জ্ঞানতো এক না।

তিনি বলেন, তথ্যের অবাধ প্র্রবাহ জ্ঞানের চর্চাকে খর্ব করছে পৃথিবী জুড়েই। জ্ঞান এখন পুরো পৃথিবীতে পণ্যে পরিণত হয়েছে, কেনা যায়। নিজের অনুশীলন বা গবেষণা দরকার হয় না। এটা কেনা যায়। এক্ষেত্রে বাংলাদেশের পরিস্থিতি আরো খারাপ।

"আমরা দেখছি যে জ্ঞানের মূল্য এখন সমাজে নেই, রাষ্ট্রে নেই, শিক্ষা প্রতিষ্ঠানে নেই। শিক্ষা প্রতিষ্ঠানে যেখানে জ্ঞানের চর্চা থাকবে সেখানেও আমরা জ্ঞানের মূল্যটা আমরা দিতে পারছি না। প্রতিষ্ঠানের যিনি প্রধান হন, তিনি জ্ঞানানুশীলনের জন্য সেই জায়গায় যান না।

তার যোগ্যতাটা হচ্ছে তিনি দলের সাথে আছেন, রাজনৈতিক আণুকূল্য পাচ্ছেন, তদবীর করছেন ...কাজেই তিনি কোনো দৃষ্টান্ত স্থাপন করতে পারেন না, অনুপ্রাণিত করতে পারেন না। আবার যারা শিক্ষকতা পেশায় আছেন, এখানে উন্নতি নির্ভর করছে ওই দলীয় আনুগত্যের ওপর। এবং সেজন্য গবেষণাও কমছে, প্রকাশনাও হচ্ছে না।"

এ ব্যাপারে গণসাক্ষরতা অভিযানের নির্বাহী পরিচালক রাশেদা কে. চৌধুরী বলেন, "উচ্চমান অর্জনের ক্ষেত্রে বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের ফ্যাকাল্টি বা শিক্ষকদের গবেষণা, শিক্ষার্থীদের গবেষণাগার, পাঠাগার এগুলো কিন্তু উন্নতমানের থাকতে হয়। এখানেও কিন্তু আমরা অনেক পিছিয়ে পড়েছি"।

বিশেষজ্ঞদের মতে, বাংলাদেশের পিছিয়ে পড়ার পেছনে রাষ্ট্র ও সমাজে জ্ঞানীদের মূল্যায়ন না থাকার পাশাপাশি জ্ঞান চর্চার অনেক মৌলিক সমস্যারও সমাধান হয়নি।

শিক্ষাবিদ সিরাজুল ইসলাম চৌধুরী বলেন, জ্ঞানচর্চার পরিবেশও বাংলাদেশে স্বাধীন নয়। "জ্ঞানের যে অনুশীলন সেটার সর্বোৎকৃষ্ট পন্থা হলো মাতৃভাষার মাধ্যমে। মাতৃভাষার মাধ্যমে জ্ঞানের চর্চা না করলে সেই চর্চা গভীর হয় না, স্থায়ী হয় না, প্রভাবশালী হয় না। সেটা আমরা করতে পারি নাই।"

তিনি আরও বলেন, "আমরা অনুবাদ করতে পারিনি পৃথিবীর সমস্ত জ্ঞানের বই। আমরা নিজেদের ভাষায় পৃথিবীর সমস্ত জ্ঞানকে নিয়ে এসে সেই গ্রন্থ রচনা করতে পারিনি। আমরা সেটা সকলের কাছে পৌঁছে দিতে পারিনি।

কাজেই জ্ঞান কিন্তু একজন দু'জনের ওপর নির্ভর করে না। জ্ঞান নির্ভর করে গোটা সমাজের ওপর। সমাজের যে কাঠামো আছে সেই কাঠামোর ওপর"।

ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের সাবেক এই শিক্ষক বলেন, "আরেকটা জিনিস আমাদের লক্ষ্য রাখতে হবে সেটা হলো যে জবাবদিহিতা নেই। রাষ্ট্র থেকে শুরু করে রাষ্ট্রের অধীনে যত প্রতিষ্ঠান আছে সমাজে যত প্রতিষ্ঠান আছে, কোথাও এখন জবাবদিহিতা নেই।

জবাবদিহিতা না থাকলে তো কোনো বিকাশ হয় না। প্রশ্ন করতে হবে, জিজ্ঞাসা করতে হবে, জবাব দিতে হবে এবং প্রশ্ন করার অধিকার দিতে হবে। সেইগুলো তো আমরা দিতে পারছি না"।

বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচক তৈরিতে প্রাক বিশ্ববিদ্যালয় শিক্ষা, প্রযুক্তি ও বৃত্তিমূলক শিক্ষা এবং প্রশিক্ষণ, উচ্চশিক্ষা, গবেষণা ও উন্নয়ন, উদ্ধাবনের মতো সাতটি সেক্টরে ১৯৯টি ইন্ডিকেটর বিশ্লেষণ করা হয়েছে।

গণসাক্ষরতা অভিযানের নির্বাহী পরিচালক রাশেদা কে চৌধুরী বাংলাদেশের পিছিয়ে পড়ার কারণ হিসেবে শিক্ষা ব্যবস্থায় কতগুলো সমস্যা সামনে আনেন।

তিনি বলেন, "আমাদের শিক্ষা ব্যবস্থায় বেশকিছু গলদ আছে। ব্যবস্থাপনা আমাদের ভীষণ রকম কেন্দ্রায়িত। সবকিছু সেন্ট্রালাইজড। স্থানীয়ভাবে সিদ্ধান্ত নেবার ক্ষমতা শিক্ষাব্যবস্থার কোন খাতের মধ্যেই নেই।

দ্বিতীয়ত, এতবড় শিক্ষাব্যবস্থায় যে দক্ষ শিক্ষকের প্রয়োজন, সেই দক্ষ শিক্ষকমণ্ডলীর অভাব আছে। প্রাতিষ্ঠানিক দক্ষতার অভাব আছে।"

রাশেদা কে চৌধুরীর মতে, সারা বাংলাদেশে শিক্ষাক্ষেত্রের মধ্যে নানা ধরনের বৈষম্য বিরাজমান। শিক্ষাব্যবস্থায় বহু ধারা উপধারা, মোটাদাগে তিনধারা - মূলধারা, ইংরেজি মাধ্যম এবং ধর্মীয় ধারা এই তিনটির মধ্যে বৈষম্য আছে, বিনিয়োগে বৈষম্য দক্ষতার ক্ষেত্রে বৈষম্য।

"সবকিছু মিলে আমাদের শিক্ষা ব্যবস্থা আসলে তেমনভাবে এগোতে পারছে না গুণগত মানের দিক থেকে"।

বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচকে তালিকাভুক্ত দেশগুলোর মধ্যে কাছাকাছি সময়ে স্বাধীন কোরিয়া এবং ভিয়েতনামে রয়েছে দীর্ঘ যুদ্ধের ইতিহাস। এসব দেশের অগ্রগতির পেছনেও একটা বড় কারণ হলো শিক্ষা এবং গবেষণায় বিপুল পরিমাণ বিনিয়োগ।

বাংলাদেশে শিক্ষায় বিনিয়োগ এখনো কাঙ্খিত নয় বলে মনে করেন বিশ্লেষকরা।

রাশেদা কে চৌধুরী বলেন, "ইতিমধ্যে আমাদের যে সকল দেশ আমাদের প্রায় সমান সমান ছিল, যেমন ভিয়েতনাম, থাইল্যান্ড, এসব দেশের শিক্ষার্থীরা কিন্তু ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ে পড়তে আসতো এক সময়। এখন আমাদের দেশের শিক্ষার্থীরা পড়তে যায় সেসব দেশে।

"কেনিয়ার মতো দেশ মোট বাজেটের ৪৫ শতাংশ শিক্ষার জন্য ব্যয় করে। এই প্রাধিকারের জায়গাটা আমাদের এখন পর্যন্ত আমরা ঠিক করতে পারিনি।"

বাংলাদেশে বর্তমানে সাক্ষরতার হার, শিক্ষার্থীর সংখ্যা, প্রাথমিকে ভর্তির মতো সংখ্যাগত দিক থেকে সাফল্য অর্জিত হলেও শিক্ষার মানের ঘাটতি উঠে আসছে দেশি-বিদেশি বিভিন্ন গবেষণায়।

বৈশ্বিক জ্ঞান সূচকে বাংলাদেশের পিছিয়ে পড়ার যে চিত্র, সেটি শিক্ষা ব্যবস্থার সংকটের আরেকটি দৃষ্টান্ত বলেই মনে করেন সবাই।




Establishing equilibrium between business growth and environmental sustainability is one of the core focuses of green entrepreneurship. However, the scarcity of resources, ecological concerns, business growth, and survival are among the issues that are recognized by entrepreneurs.

In the light of the Natural Resource‐Based View (NRBV) and Dynamic Capability View, this study aims to examine the effects of Green Innovation Performance (GIP) on Green Entrepreneurship Orientation (GEO) and Sustainability Environmental Performance (SEP). As advocated by NRBV, this study emphasizes the importance of pursuing the three types of distinct yet interrelated environmental strategies and its association impact on GEO.

The results indicated that internal green dynamic capabilities, namely, green absorptive capacity, environmental cooperation, and managerial environmental concern to have significant positive effects on GIP, where GIP positively impacted GEO and SEP. Besides, GIP partially mediated the relationship between internal green dynamic capabilities on GEO and SEP. The results also demonstrated that environmental regulations significantly moderated the relationship between GEO and SEP. Furthermore, by linking these three concepts in a single model, this study theoretically pioneering and responding to bridge significant gaps emerged in the NRBV theory. This study provides crucial practical implications for entrepreneurs, policymakers, and academicians. Limitations were also discussed.

To read the full paper pls see the attachment for the Article on Environmental Outcomes of Green Entrepreneurship Harmonization

Managing waste and reusing it in a cost-effective way has turned into a jostling task now. The regime has been seeking practices to entirely use waste and manage increasing landfills. Lack of waste management solutions and increasing waste pose a threat to the surroundings. Disposed wastes on streets and landfills breed bacteria as well as increase proximity of ailments. Today, large oodles of waste are being generated in each and every corner of the world. Recycling this waste is imperative so as to lead a better and safer life.

Other than imbibing cleanliness, initiating waste management startups can also help regulate the waste. One can earn good revenue from waste management business besides creating positive impacts in society. One does not require a large amount of capital to initiate a waste management business. A moderate saving would be sufficed to kick-start the business. However, one should recognize the different types of waste management businesses and accordingly choose one.

1.    Scrap Business

The scrap business is sought-after as well as a lucrative business in the country. Manufacturers vastly use scrap material to reproduce different metal objects and further, it is a cost-effective way. Seeing the huge demand for manufactures, one can initiate an export business of scrap material. One can garner metal from scavengers and other small dealers and later, export the metal to foreign manufacturers. In this way, an entrepreneur can earn a large sum of money with minimal investment.

2.    Electronic Recycling Business

Once the electronic items break down, many people dispose of the electronics. People are not aware that electronics can be repaired and refurbished. Thus, starting a business in electronic recycling can be good. Other than refurbishing electronics on one’s own, selling the large accumulated chunk of broken down electronics is also an option. So, there are two vocations available under the business that is: dealer and manufacturer.       

3.    Plastic Recycling Business

Plastic is a non-biodegradable item and thus, can be recycled. It can be melted down and remoulded into different shapes. At the moment, enormous products come in plastic coverings, which are disposed of later.

For garnering plastics items and melting them into definite shapes, one requires a huge amount of plastic. One needs to build contacts with scavengers who can collect and sell the plastic items at a lesser rate.

4.    Rubber Recycling Business

Similar to plastic accumulation, rubber is also a sought-after product in the market. Rubber is mainly used to make railway equipment, plastic products and lots more. By collecting disposed of rubber articles, one can start the rubber recycling business or else, sell the accumulated chunk of rubber to manufactures at a high price.

5.    Medical Waste Disposal Business

A large amount of waste is generated in the medical industry, throughout the year. This waste needs to be regulated; otherwise, it gives rise to diseases and epidemics. The medical professional disposes of many things namely blood, fetus, dead cells and even, body parts. The medical waste should be disposed of properly and for this, one can start a medical waste disposal business.

6.     Oil Spill Cleanup Business

 In oil extracting areas, oil spillage happens while extracting the oil. The companies, which engage in oil mining areas, require oil spill cleaning services. Primarily, the cleaning services help to remove spillage marks which are caused by offshore oil mining processes.

Entrepreneurs can start the aforementioned waste management startups. These waste management solutions do not require a large amount of financial capital. Further, one does not require a skill set to initiate a waste management business. With little guidance and industry knowledge, one can start the aforementioned waste management businesses.


Everyday life nowadays could be stagnant without technology which is necessary at every step of living. During the ongoing pandemic, the demand for financial technology is increasing as it is bringing a variety of products and benefits to people.

However, the idea of combining financial sector with technology is not new. In 1919, British economist John Maynard Keynes, in his book "The Economic Consequences of the Peace", spoke of connection between the two. The current century has seen advent of virtual or digital currency, digital or e-wallet and more digital payment systems. So this combination has revolutionised the financial sector around the world.

For the past five years, Forbes magazine has been publishing a list of the top 50 financial technology companies under the title "Fintech 50". Nineteen new innovative fintech companies have been placed in the list published this year. Last year there were 20 such companies in the list. It is observed that about 40 per cent of the companies included in the list are new innovative fintech companies.

Investors around the world invested more than 53 billion last year in the new innovative fintech companies. Digital or online banking is not lagging behind, as they do not require traditional branch networking for transactions. This type of banking has been introduced in the developed countries for a long time. Investment in digital banking increased from US$3.00 billion in 2018 to US$7.8 billion in 2019. In 2019, investment in insurance technology and payment technology also increased by 55 per cent and 20 per cent compared to 2018 and it was US$6.8 billion and US$15.1 billion respectively.

Now let's take a look at the new ideas and new uses of technology of these 19 startups that have found a place in the list.

The largest investment was by "Money Leone" in the digital banking category. This startup came on the field with a fund of US$207 million. The startup has so far attracted 6.0 million subscribers due to their new ideas. 'Money Leone' is offering some benefits to its customers free of cost. And one of them is to search all the information of the account, transfer of money, loan-related information and reports, free ATM transactions and 12 per cent cash-back system for ATM purchases.

"Dave" came with US$76 million in funding, which now has US$90 million in revenue including 5.0 million subscribers. The company has come up with more innovative ideas including free transactions at ATMs, up to US$100 in advance and automated budgeting based on monthly expenses. Billionaires like Mark Kuban have invested in this new startup.

Another startup called "Lively" has created a platform styled Digital Health Savings Account and has saved customers US$200 million through these accounts. A startup called "Propel" has come up with the least amount of funds i.e. only US$18 million funds. Renowned tennis star Serena Williams has invested in it. To start this startup, its founder did not hesitate to leave a cushy job as a product manager at Facebook. Propel has introduced Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) facility in its mobile apps. Under Supplement Nutrition Assistance Programme (SNAP) of the US Department of Agriculture, the US government provides additional monthly financial assistance or benefits to purchase nutritious food.

These monthly financial assistance or benefits can be cash or purchase nutritious food through Propel mobile apps.

New concepts have also been introduced in insuretech or insurance technology. Ethos uses predictive technology which can tell life insurance rates in about 10 minutes via its app and verifies applicants' self-reported data with their actual medical and pharmacy records. This quality of being able to predict the future of the Ethos startup has attracted customers. The founder and co-founder of Ethos were roommates at Stanford Business School and Ethos was designed there.

After taking a higher degree from MIT, a couple started a startup called "Insurify". Their apps uses artificial intelligence and AI can say which insurance policy is the best for the customers of house or car insurance. Within two minutes, AI should compare quotes from the 10 best insurance companies. Artificial intelligence adjusts the budget to the customer's personal needs to determine which insurance will be best for the customer. Every customer who uses Insurify can save an average of US$400 a year on their car insurance for the future.

Payment startups have also come up with a number of new ideas. The payment startup called "Fattmerchant" is basically a credit card processing company. It basically makes debit and credit card payments to small business which is 30-40 per cent cheaper and easier than in the traditional processes.

"Plastiq" is another startup for small businesses. With this startup small businesses can pay a variety of monthly expenses through credit card at only 2.5 per cent fee. More than 50,000 small businesses are connected to it and more than US$4.0 billion in transactions are made annually through these apps.

Real estate startups have also come out of the traditional system of home buying and selling and adopted modern and practical systems. There is a startup called "Divvy Homes" who buys their client's selected home and then becomes their landlord. If the tenant wants to buy the house later, s/he can buy it by paying 2.0 per cent advance as fee and a portion of monthly rent can be converted into a down payment.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency startups have introduced new concepts. 'Everledger' has come up with a way to track 2.0 million diamonds in jewelry stores with their blockchain technology.

These were the success stories of the newcomers. However, some of them have gone from failure to success. Jason Brown and Jasper Platz, two classmates from the University of Chicago, created a credit card loan payment apps called "Tally". Their idea has gained wide popularity. The founder and co-founder had earlier set up a solar finance company which was acquired by Solar Universe in 2009.

In this technology-dependent world, ideas have also become technology-dependent. So the founders of startups are combining technology with new ideas to get their products to the human race. In the financial sector, new innovations will come only when technology and new ideas come together. Such innovations require investment as much as new ideas. Neighbouring India has nearly doubled its investment in financial technology to US$3.7 billion last year.

A new entrepreneur can't expect anything but a message of hope when s/he comes to the bank with different types of technology with her/his new ideas. Entrepreneurs interested in these fields can approach venture capital which is becoming popular among new entrepreneurs of the country as well as other countries.

The use of various financial technologies is increasing day by day in Bangladesh. Not only transactions but also shopping, mobile recharge, utility and credit card bill payment, ride sharing payment and many more can be done through mobile financial services such as Nagad, bKash, Rocket, Nexus Pay, Cash, SureCash as well as iPay and Dmoney.

The government took an initiative to set up a venture capital company called "Startup Bangladesh Limited" in 2019 under the Information and Communication Technology Department. New ideas and new innovations can come from students. And that's why last year, for the second time, Startup Bangladesh organised a national level competition for students - 'Student to Startup'. A total grant of Tk 10 million has been provided for 10 startups. Apart from training on various financial technologies, Startup Bangladesh provides funds to startups. 'Truck Lagbe', a popular transportation platform, was funded by Startup Bangladesh. There are also healthcare platforms such as '', and 'Moner Bondhu' that have been supported with funds.

New ideas and new innovations will not only help development of the country but also create employment opportunities for the youth. It is expected that one day Bangladesh will be able to move out of the 116th position in the Global Innovation Index and be a top performer. The government will hopefully go one step further in realising its dream of building a digital Bangladesh.

Source: Forbes, Wikipedia, Start-up Bangladesh
Rafiqul Islam is Deputy Managing Director at Shimanto Bank and ASM Ahsan Habib, Principal Officer at Uttara Bank Ltd.

10 fields that will see significant innovation in the new year.

Let's imagine customer experience in a post-Covid world. We should anticipate that the changes in consumer preferences and business models will outlast the immediate crisis. Once consumers acclimate to new digital or remote models, I expect some of them to change people's expectations permanently -- accelerating shifts already under way before the crisis.

Digital nomadism, philanthropy, and sustainable development goals (SDG) will be popular keywords in 2021, and we will also see rapid changes in top technological and business innovation -- all based on people's experience during the pandemic. Here are a few technology and business trends we will see in 2021.

Trend 1: Drug development revolution with advanced Covid-19 testing and vaccine development

Covid caused a major shakeup in the drug industry, making it quicker and easier to trial drugs. Researchers have put many traditional clinical trials on hold, or they have shifted to a virtual structure by performing consultations online and collecting data remotely. Remote clinical trials and other changes may permanently alter pharmaceutical development.

We've seen speedy Covid-19 test kit developments all over the world, as well as remarkably fast development of vaccines by U.S. and U.K.-based pharmaceutical companies: Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have developed mRNA vaccines, the first in human history and huge technological innovations. We will see more innovations throughout 2021 in both Covid-19 test kits and new vaccine candidates.

Trend 2: Continued expansion of remote working and videoconferencing

This area has seen rapid growth during the pandemic, and it will likely continue growing in 2021.

Zoom, which grew from a startup in 2011 to going public in 2019, became a household name during the pandemic. Other existing large corporate tools such as Cisco's Webex, Microsoft's Teams, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, and Verizon's BlueJeans are also providing state-of-the-art videoconferencing systems, facilitating remote work across the globe.

Many new ventures are emerging in the remote working sector. Startups Bluescape, Eloops, Figma, Slab, and Tandem have all provided visual collaboration platforms enabling teams to create and share content, interact, track projects, train employees, run virtual team-building activities, and more.

These tools also help distributed teams keep track of shared learning and documentation. Users can create a virtual office that replicates working together in person by letting colleagues communicate and collaborate with one another easily.

Trend 3: Contactless delivery and shipping remain as the new normal

The U.S. has seen a 20 percent increase in preference for contactless operations, with various industries implementing alternative processes.

No-contact delivery is the new normal. DoorDash, Postmates, and Instacart all offer drop-off delivery options, reportedly borne from customer desires to minimize physical contact. Grubhub and Uber Eats also grew their contactless delivery options and will continue to do so in 2021.

China-based delivery apps like Meituan Dianping, which was the first company in China to implement contactless delivery in Wuhan, began using autonomous vehicles to help fulfill grocery orders to customers. While Meituan tested this technology last year, the company recently launched this service publicly.

China is not the only country looking to push robotic deliveries into its next phase. U.S.-based startups Manna, Starship Technologies, and Nuro are tackling this problem using robotics and artificial intelligence-based applications.

Trend 4: Telehealth and telemedicine flourish

Institutions, especially in health care, are working to lower the exposure of Covid-19 to patients and workers. Many private and public practices have started implementing more telehealth offerings such as doctor-patient video chats, A.I. avatar-based diagnostics, and no-contact-based medication delivery.

Telehealth visits have surged by 50 percent compared with pre-pandemic levels. IHS Technology predicted that 70 million Americans would use telehealth by 2020. Since then, Forrester Research predicted the number of U.S. virtual care visits will reach almost a billion early in 2021.

Teladoc Health, Amwell, Livongo Health, One Medical, and Humana are some of the public companies offering telehealth services to meet the current needs.

Startups are not far behind. Startups like MDLive, MeMD, iCliniq, K Health, 98point6,, and Eden Health have also contributed toward meeting the growing needs in 2020, and will continue offering creative solutions in 2021. Beyond telehealth, in 2021 we can expect to see health care advancements in biotech and A.I., as well as machine learning opportunities (example: Suki AI) to support diagnosis, admin work, and robotic health care.

Trend 5: Online education and e-learning as part of the educational system

Covid-19 fast-tracked the e-learning and online education industry. During this pandemic, 190 countries have enforced nationwide school closures at some point, affecting almost 1.6 billion people globally.

There is a major opportunity with schools, colleges, and even coaching centers conducting classes via videoconferencing. Many institutions have actually been recommended to pursue a portion of their curriculum online even after everything returns to normal.

17zuoye, Yuanfudao, iTutorGroup, and Hujiang in China, Udacity, Coursera, Age of Learning, and Outschool in the U.S., and Byju's in India are some of the top online learning platforms that have served the global community during the pandemic and will continue to do so in 2021 and beyond.

Trend 6: Increased development of 5G infrastructure, new applications, and utilities

There is no doubt that demand for higher-speed internet and a shift toward well-connected homes, smart cities, and autonomous mobility have pushed the advancement of 5G-6G internet technology. In 2021, we will see new infrastructure and utility or application development updates both from the large corporations and startups.

Many telcos are on track to deliver 5G, with Australia having rolled it out before Covid-19. Verizon announced a huge expansion of its 5G network in October 2020, which will reach more than 200 million people. In China, 5G deployment has been happening rapidly. But Ericsson is leading the charge globally. There are more than 380 operators currently investing in 5G. More than 35 countries have already launched commercial 5G services.

Startups like Movandi are working to help 5G transfer data at greater distances; startups including Novalume help municipalities manage their public lighting network and smart-city data through sensors. Nido Robotics is using drones to explore the sea floor.

Through 5G networks, these drones help navigate better and use IoT to help communicate with devices on board. Startups like Seadronix from South Korea use 5G to help power autonomous ships. The 5G networks enable devices to work together in real time and help enable vessels to travel unmanned.

Development of 5G and 6G technology will drive smart-city projects globally and will support the autonomous mobility sector in 2021.

Trend 7: A.I., robotics, internet of things, and industrial automation grow rapidly

In 2021, we expect to see huge demand and rapid growth of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and industrial automation technology. As manufacturing and supply chains are returning to full operation, manpower shortages will become a serious issue. Automation, with the help of A.I., robotics, and the internet of things, will be a key alternative solution to operate manufacturing.

Some of the top technology-providing companies enabling industry automation with A.I. and robotics integration include:

UBTech Robotics (China), CloudMinds (U.S.), Bright Machines (U.S.), Roobo (China), Vicarious (U.S.), Preferred Networks (Japan), Fetch Robotics (U.S.), Covariant (U.S.), Locus Robotics (U.S.), Built Robotics (U.S.), Kindred Systems (Canada), and XYZ Robotics (China).

Trend 8: Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies usage rises

Augmented reality and virtual reality have grown significantly in 2020. These immersive technologies are now part of everyday life, from entertainment to business. The arrival of Covid-19 has prompted this technology adoption as businesses turned to the remote work model, with communication and collaboration extending over to AR and VR.

The immersive technologies from AR and VR innovations enable an incredible source of transformation across all sectors. AR avatars, AR indoor navigation, remote assistance, integration of A.I. with AR and VR, mobility AR, AR cloud, virtual sports events, eye tracking, and facial expression recognition will see major traction in 2021. Adoption of AR and VR will accelerate with the growth of the 5G network and expanding internet bandwidth.

Companies like Microsoft, Consagous, Quytech, RealWorld One, Chetu, Gramercy Tech, Scanta, IndiaNIC, Groove Jones, etc. will play a significant role in shaping our world in the near future, not only because of AR's and VR's various applications but also as the flag carrier of all virtualized technologies.

Trend 9: Continued growth in micromobility

While the micromobility market had seen a natural slowdown at the beginning of Covid-19 spread, this sector has already recovered to the pre-Covid growth level. E-bikes and e-scooters usage is soaring, since they are viewed as convenient transportation alternatives that also meet social distancing norms. Compared to the pre-Covid days, the micromobility market is expected to grow by 9 percent for private micromobility and by 12 percent for shared micromobility.

There are hundreds of miles of new bike lanes created in anticipation. Milan, Brussels, Seattle, Montreal, New York, and San Francisco have each introduced 20-plus miles of dedicated cycle paths. The U.K. government announced that diesel and petrol-fueled car sales will be banned after 2030, which has also driven interest in micromobility as one of the alternative options.

Startups are leading the innovation in micromobility. Bird, Lime, Dott, Skip, Tier, and Voi are key startups leading the global micromobility industry. 

China has already seen several micromobility startups reach unicorn status, including Ofo, Mobike, and Hellobike.

Trend 10: Ongoing autonomous driving innovation

We will see major progress in autonomous driving technology during 2021. Honda recently announced that it will mass-produce autonomous vehicles, which under certain conditions will not require any driver intervention. Tesla's Autopilot not only offers lane centering and automatic lane changes, but, from this year, can also recognize speed signs and detect green lights.

Ford is also joining the race, anticipating an autonomous driving cars ridesharing service launch in 2021. The company could also make such vehicles available to certain buyers as early as 2026. Other automakers, including Mercedes-Benz, are also trying to integrate some degree of autonomous driving technology in their new models from 2021. GM intends to roll out its hands-free-driving Super Cruise feature to 22 vehicles by 2023.

The fierce market competition is also accelerating self-driving technology growth in other companies, including Lyft and Waymo. Billions of dollars have been spent in acquiring startups in this domain: GM acquired Cruise for $1 billion; Uber acquired Otto for $680 million; Ford acquired Argo AI for $1 billion; and Intel acquired Mobileye for $15.3 billion.

Looking ahead

Technology development in 2021 will be somewhat of a continuation of 2020, but the influence of Covid-19 will evolve during the year. Many of our new behaviors will become part of the new normal in 2021, helping drive major technological and business innovations.


Artificial Intelligence / Bridging the Gap Between Data Science & Big Data
« on: December 14, 2020, 05:50:48 PM »
The fundamental problem is that many open-source analysis tools haven’t kept pace with hardware advances. The computer industry has built incredibly powerful systems but many data analysts lack the tools to use them.

For anyone not a data scientist or programmer, this would not seem an obvious problem. But among data scientists, the widening gulf between the data science world and big data systems is a major anxiety.

“Open source data science software has already become incredibly important to how the world analyzes data and builds production machine learning and AI models,” McKinney noted, but many open-source tools aren’t funded sufficiently to keep up with advances on the compute side, he added.

This could have dire consequences, including significantly lowered productivity among data scientists. If they can’t find an efficient way to extract useful data from big data repositories, which keep getting bigger, a chokepoint is inevitable. If algorithms can’t be shared among different programming environments, another problem looms. If data sets can’t travel over a network to be read by data scientists working in another environment, everything—including the scientists—will tread water.

Computer costs, most likely, would remain high if data scientists had to keep using less efficient computing tools. An even bigger threat, McKinney predicted, is that inefficiency might push organizations to forsake open source software and fall back on less flexible, more expensive proprietary soft(Source: Wes McKinney)

To illustrate the gap between data science and big data, let’s take an AI model.

We hear about the development of new machine learning technologies all the time. And yet, “to use machine learning models, data scientists still need to load and access data, clean and manipulate it, explore it, find features, and then they must do it all in a reproducible way so that whenever new data comes in, they can update their model,” McKinney explained in a lecture entitled “Data science without borders” three years ago.

The emergence of more sophisticated AI algorithms wouldn’t make them immediately available to data scientists, because they’d still need all these tools to shape data that fit their models.

Genesis of Apache Arrow
McKinney believes that huge advancements in hardware made it inevitable for open-source software (OSS) community to recognize that OSS tools must change substantially.

1.   Computing power

First, “the data science tools themselves in languages like Python and R lagged significantly behind advances in computing hardware,” McKinney observed. Most such tools are not designed to run on multi-cores, GPUs, or systems with lots of RAM “because they were designed a decade ago when you didn’t have things like a CPU with 16 cores.”
Further, they were all developed well before the birth of Cuda, a parallel computing platform and application programming interface model created by Nvidia.

2.Memory acceleration

Similarly, a massive acceleration of memory has occurred. McKinney noted, “Disk drives are getting a lot faster. You also have solid-state drives. It’s not just about memory speeds, but your ability to get access to data is getting faster.” But not open-source data science tools; again, they became a bottleneck.

3.Need for efficient bulk data movement

Other factors that triggered the movement is “the need to do efficient bulk data movement,” noted McKinney.
In a traditional model, you ingest all data into your Oracle database, or your database system. Then, you send SQL queries. So, all the data is owned by the database.
Under new models like data lakes, which can reside in data systems on the premises or in the cloud, it’s common that you need to extract data, a process that can be very slow, partly due to issues such as the required protocols for database connectivity standards. McKinney said the solution is a technology like Arrow, designed for very efficient bulk transfers.(Source: Wes McKinney)

4. Language independence

Then, there’s the issue of incompatible programming languages. In Google, Facebook, and other industry research labs, Python is now the primary machine learning user interface. But in addition to Python, other programming languages such as R, JVM, Julia, have not bowed out and gone away. Different people us different programming languages because they regard them as keys to their own productivity, said McKinney.

The desire to unplug the bottleneck associated with data access and interchanging data between systems initially drove McKinney to launch the Apache Arrow Project — marking the birth of a massive endeavor by the open-source community to develop a programming language-independent software framework.

Under such a framework, McKinney explained, “You arrange the data so that it can be analyzed in situ. You run your code directly on the data, rather than moving the data around.”

Hence, a new software framework must be designed for an ecosystem with multiple programming languages. But “we want to deal with the data to not be contaminated with programming language-specific details,” noted McKinney. The goal [of Apache Arrow] is to offer “seamless programming language interoperability at the data level, not necessarily at the code level.”
Big endeavor

The development of Apache Arrow has been in the works for five years. McKinney acknowledged that assembling a team of open source developers shooting for a universal data standard has been “just an extraordinarily big endeavor.” The community bootstrapped the core to create a development platform on which they can begin to use for building either Arrow into their systems or building new systems based on Arrow.

Acknowledging the process has been “a grind,” McKinney said he is happy to report that things have gone well so far.
The next challenge is to build “a path to invest even more in the open-source community,” McKinney stressed. Rather than folding Ursa Labs, Ursa Computing will maintain a “Labs” team, and continue its leadership of the Apache project. Still a transition from a non-profit to a commercial operation is a big change.

McKinney defended the move, explaining, “Working more closely with enterprises to enhance their data platforms will allow us to learn more about how the Arrow project needs to evolve to meet current and future needs.” One example is working with managed cloud services. “It would be challenging to pursue as an open source project,” he added. Investment management fund to open source community.

McKinney became well known as “the man behind the most important tool in data science,” since he developed pandas, a software library written for the Python programming language for data manipulation and analysis. McKinney started with pandas as a closed source project in 2008 at AQR Capital, a Connecticut-based investment management firm.

The firm hired him after he earned his mathematics degree from MIT. A year later, McKinney had finished pandas and made it into a free open-source software. Looking back, McKinney said, “I thought I would try my hand at quant finance,” when he joined the hedge fund. But he ended up realizing that “working on data tools and data infrastructure was more my cup of tea than finance.”
He emphasized, “I really care a lot about empowerment and enabling people to be more efficient and more productive.” With Ursa Computing, his aspiration is to orchestrate the whole Apache Arrow ecosystem.


The Best Children’s Books About Entrepreneurship For Kids

By Stephanie Burns

A lot of parents (myself included) are always looking for ways to expand our children’s mind - especially when it comes to entrepreneurship. If you are eager to teach your kids about being a business owner, there are a few books that stand out. I sat down with Eevi Jones, an award winning & bestselling children’s book author, and the founder of Children’s Book University™, to get her take on what makes a children’s book great for budding entrepreneurs. She has extensive experience turning complex business concepts into lessons even a 5-year-old can grasp. 

“People often assume entrepreneurial books for kids have to be about making money,” says Jones. “But a fun and creative entrepreneurial children’s story focuses on the values that help kids become good entrepreneurs. For younger kids, fiction books—where the lessons are nicely tucked into the story—are more memorable and these are the ones they’ll ask to read over and over again.”

Planting entrepreneurial seeds early can be highly rewarding for kids. Being exposed to these concepts and ideas during their most formative years means the deeply ingrained knowledge will be theirs for life. Empowering our little ones with nuggets of wisdom found in these children’s books is one of the best ways to help them become brave and strong to venture out into the world following their own dreams.

Here are Jones’s top five picks for entrepreneurial children’s books.

The Best Children’s Books About Entrepreneurship for Kids | Stephanie Burns
The Best Children’s Books About Entrepreneurship for Kids | Stephanie Burns EEVI JONES

1. The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein

“Making mistakes (and being okay with it) is such an important part of being an entrepreneur,” says Jones. “It’s through errors that we grow and learn. This little book reminds readers that it's more important to enjoy the things we do rather than worrying about doing them perfectly all the time. Letting go, moving on, and trying again are all mantras of successful entrepreneurs.”

2. The Unicorn Who Sold Zero Cupcakes by Brenda Li

“What entrepreneur hasn’t struggled with sales? This cute read shares what it takes to finally sell those yummy cupcakes, while emphasizing the importance of problem-solving and persistence. Unicorn and his friend set a great example of how to handle early rejection and how to use creativity to propel yourself forward,” notes Jones.

3. My Auntie is a Writer by Eevi Jones

“All entrepreneurs are writers. We’re busy building our businesses by sharing our stories through blogs, Instagram posts, sales copy and weekly newsletter to our subscribers,” explains Jones. “This rhyming story shares the craft with little readers through the eyes of a little girl curious about her aunt’s profession. It will spark children’s imagination and creativity—and help them understand early on how powerful the written word truly can be.”

4. Whoever Heard of a Flying Bird? by David Cunliffe

“Doing things no one has ever thought of before - sound familiar? A little bird is determined to overcome failure and self-doubt to reach the much desired fruit high up on the trees. Mirroring an entrepreneur's stoney path that’s filled with trials and errors, this book emphasizes the importance of believing in oneself—even if others do not,” says Jones.

5. The Treehouse Trio by Lauren Eresman

“A little trio of friends foster and share an entrepreneurial spirit in young readers. Their story shows that, sometimes, it isn’t necessarily the first or even second business idea that will lead to success. When it comes to finding that right business idea, it’s all about our imagination and persistence, no matter how hard times get,” notes Jones.

So grab one of these books, curl up with your kiddo and get their little minds spinning!

Source- (collected)



Become a Junior Entrepreneur by Vrunda Bansode is a very different kind of entrepreneurship book – written for school students!

How entrepreneurship can be taught to school students – 12 tips from entrepreneur-author Vrunda Bansode

1. Begin with what-
Students are often asked what they want to be when they grow up – a doctor, engineer, or artist, for example. It may help instead to ask what they want to invent, build or sell. As product builders and job creators, students should be shown how entrepreneurs play a key role in the economy, the author explains. Since knowledge, skills and aspirations evolve over time, students need to learn self-reflection and map out what they like, what they are good at, how they can impact others, and how much others value their contribution. ALSO READ These Mumbai students sold 750 DIY cake kits and clocked Rs 3 lakh revenue in 9 months Sign up for our exclusive newsletters. Subscribe to check out our popular newsletters.

2. Start with simple examples-
The author shows how the quintessential example of making and selling lemonade can be used to teach concepts of market assessment, product packaging, samples, price estimation, customer research, differentiation, branding, stall positioning, and even environmental friendliness. Targeting the humble tea and fruit juice market led to the rise of Chai Point, Chaayos, Paper Boat, Raw Pressery, and Cane Crush. The examples should span the services sector also, such as designing the space for a weekend reading club at a library for kids. Local vegetable sellers offer useful lessons as well, on how to pitch fresh products, seasonal deals, and preferences of family members, the author shows. The broader focus should be not just on product or service, but the entire customer experience. Approaches like design thinking should be presented here, with visualised workflow. To explain what happens to startups at the scale stage, the author uses analogies like cricket team captains, managers and coaches.

3. Use local and global examples-
Tech-savvy youth today are quite familiar with digital media, so the stories behind the creation of Apple, Instagram and WhatsApp for global markets resonate easily with them. They will also be familiar with local brands in India – such as Swiggy, Flipkart, BookMyShow, Naturals Ice Cream, Wildcraft, and Biocon.

4. Show that many entrepreneurs started young-
The author shows that students get particularly inspired when they see that other successful companies had young founders. Examples include Google and Microsoft, founded by college students. The founder of iD Fresh Food ran a small sweets shop as a student. He later entered the market for products like batter, and now has a massive international business. “There are inspiring stories of real entrepreneurs all around you,” the author enthuses. ALSO READ This 13-year-old has designed a unique hydrating water bottle for pets

5. Emphasis problem spotting-
Through a range of examples, the author shows students that entrepreneurship begins by spotting problems. For example, Wildcraft spotted the gap in affordable, high-quality outdoor gear in India. BookMyShow spotted a problem in the queue-based model of buying movie tickets, and offered an online option.

6. Grasp the importance of money-
Since financial sustainability can be a key challenge for most entrepreneurs, the author shows how concepts like expenditure, investment, direct costs, indirect costs, sales, revenue, operating profit, and net profit can be taught to students using lemonade sales as a simple example. For the service sector, Vrunda explains project-based pricing, on-demand models, and markups for skills-based businesses like website design. Topics like break-even point, sales volume and subsidisation at launch stages can be explained later through examples like Amazon and Flipkart.

7. Leverage media-
Tech-savvy youth may already be conversant with creating digital content on the web and social media, the author shows. This can be used to showcase web and email strategies for marketing, though help from others may be needed to create payment gateways at this stage. The author advises aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on digital conversion to sales, and not just on “instant gratification” of social media popularity. For the offline world, she suggests activities like comparing posters and pamphlets of other companies to pick up design tips, eg Amul’s ads. ALSO READ Hear stories of empowerment from extraordinary women on this youth-led mentoring platform

8. Encourage self-paced discovery-
Instead of spoon feeding or hastening the journey, it helps to be a mentor or guide from the side, the author emphasises. A nudge towards business decisions by conducting surveys helps more than giving answers outright. A year-long programme may be better than a weekend crash-course. Choosing teams in such a way that the students work with others beyond their usual circles of friends helps them learn how to cement new friendships and build respect for teammates.

9. Recast failure as a learning-
Failures should be cast as features or products that did not work out. “Failing does not make one a failure, being afraid of failing does,” the author explains. A mistake or invalid assumption should be seen as a pointer to a change in the right direction.

10. Give guidelines, not a roadmap-
The journey of every entrepreneur is different, so it’s impossible to give an exact roadmap for the path ahead, the author cautions. Instead, guidelines, principles and tools help in the journey. Entrepreneurs often tackle problems for which there are no clear rules or formulas in the books. Many answers will come only from asking other people or doing experiments. For example, the author asks students: How much paint (and money) will it take to paint your house?

11. Share advice from successful entrepreneurs -
In addition to the author’s own advice, the book shares tips from the founders of The Better India. The entrepreneurs, a couple who were engineers, spotted an opportunity for a website providing positive stories of change, instead of the negative news dominating mainstream media. Anuradha Kedia and Dhimant Parekh show that a successful venture can begin as a side project, but requires fulltime commitment later on. Their singular focus led to a growth opportunity and success, even in the face of critics and naysayers.

12. Measure outcomes-
Based on her workshops, the author identifies a number of benefits that students reported. These include decision-making, taking responsibility and ownership, skills in listening and collaboration, ability to experiment and take risks, and appreciate the role of money in business. The book ends with a glossary of terms, and links to resources and organisations such as National Entrepreneurship Network, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Atal Innovation Mission, and Startup India.


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