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Is Crowdfunding The Future of Urban Economic Development?

BY Sam Roudman | Wednesday, May 29 2013

Sunset for Oakland's redevelopment cash. Is it a sunrise for microfinance? Photo: damianpenney

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: In Oakland, Calif., officials think they've found a way to stimulate business after state lawmakers drastically slashed economic development funding. A microfinancing initiative in partnership with the nonprofit Kiva is expected to start generating loans of up to $5,000 for Oakland entrepreneurs, bringing the East Bay an economic strategy better known in the developing world. Read More

In the Slums of Nairobi, a Mobile Phone is More Valuable than Clean Drinking Water

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, July 30 2012

Ethan Zuckerman, the director of MIT's Center for Civic Media, traveled recently to the Nairobi slum of Baba Dogo to see if there was demand for some simple hardware that could enable people with their own generators to supply energy to multiple customers for low fees paid via mobile payments. He thought Kenya would be an ideal market because it had a very successful mobile payments system,Safaricom, that was used by more than 70 percent of Kenyan adults. Given the poor infrastructure in the slums, he thought it was fair to assume that few people had access to electricity. It turned out he was wrong about that — and about a few other things, as well. Read More

@Jack and @MikeBloomberg Open Twitter's New York Digs

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, October 6 2011

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was there for the launch of Twitter's New York headquarters, Cotton Delo reports for AdAge: Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on site this morning for the grand opening of Twitter's new East ... Read More

Egyptian Economic Development Exec Says Internet Shutdown Was One-Time Thing

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 29 2011

The chief executive officer of Egypt's Information Technology Industry Development Agency, Yasser Elkady, promises that the whole Internet blackout thing "will never happen again," Computerworld reports: Elkady says the ... Read More