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Monthly Archives: May 2017

SVOD 2017 Announces The Winning Startups And Reports Advices From Investors To Startups Looking To Raise Venture Funds

Press Release – Mountain View, CA, May 25, 2017. 37 startups in the areas of VR, Enterprise software, SaaS, Consumer Internet, EdTech, FinTech, Machine Learning, BigData, and Social Impact pitched on stage at the Silicon Valley Open Doors Technology Investment Conference (SVOD). These companies came from all over the world to present their businesses in front of over 300 venture capitalists, individual angels and corporate ventures. Country representation included: USA, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Estonia, Latvia, Canada and others.

The winner of the pitch competition is PRSONAS, a holograms project from North Carolina, USA that creates a brand’s personality in the physical world to help attract, automate, and analyze customer engagements. Splacer (Israel), an online platform for people to instantly list, discover, and book short-term spaces for different events, came second. NGCodec (USA), the next generation video compression technology for VR, was honoured with the third place. The Audience Awards went to MELScience (UK), a subscription-based educational package that delivers science experiments in a box right to the door, and SprayPrinter (Estonia), a service that lets you spray paint images from your phone. The portable printer knows where exactly to release paint so that anyone with no art skills can create beautiful art on any surface. The social impact award was given to RegenVillages (Stanford, USA) that is redefining tech-integrated real estate development at the nexus of food, water, energy and waste at the neighborhood scale.

For the 13th year in a row SVOD brought together acclaimed Silicon Valley VCs, early startup founders, entrepreneurs, industry legends such as Andrew Ng, Kevin Hartz, Claudia Fan Munce, Andy Johns, Kira Makagon, Slava Rubin, Jon Callaghan and founders from around the world looking to raise venture funding. Оn the conference stage top Silicon Valley VCs shared their experience to startups looking to raise venture funds.

  • Adopt the Elon’s “we will go to Mars!” sense

Set the mission first, – recommends Keith Rabois, Senior Investment Partner at Khosla Ventures, over a fireside chat. – And only after doing it, measure where, how well and how fast you are going to complete that mission. Keith warns that this laboration shouldn’t be open-ended: “We might do this or we could do this”. Keith doesn’t like the Lean startup approach where founders would “try out some things and see which one will work, and then through some other ideas against some walls and then have a whiteboard session”. This Lean startup approach, thinks Keith, can keep a startup from turning into an impactful company and hiring top talent because the picture of the final destination is what appeals to them, not money.

  • Find a less traveled road  

Oren Zeev, the early investor behind Audible, Houzz and Chegg, shared with the audience that he likes to back founders that he has fun with because “it’s a long ride and it’s hard to get a divorce”. A company should be seeking to rewrite the rules of the industry and do something really new as opposed to the one that has 6 or 10 competitors”, he said. Oren is less inclined to chase self-driving vehicles or other hot buzzwords just because everyone else is chasing them. In fact, the hotness of the market is a negative factor for Oren: chances that the startup in a hot market is going to be a dominant player are very low. “It’s much easier to succeed when you have 2-3 years to build things quietly without huge pressure from competition”, – thinks Oren.

According to Oren, it doesn’t matter whether the founder was born in the US, or came here from some other part of the world, it doesn’t matter if he came out of Stanford or not. What matters is whether the product is really helpful to people and what the team had done with a few resources, that shows to investor how much more they can do with the help of a new investment.

  • Get to know your business partner

At a fireside chat, Kevin Hartz, Partner at Founders Fund and co-founder of Eventbrite, shared that he’s partial towards teams where founders have a lifelong relationship with each other, whether that would be childhood friendship, room-sharing in college, or even marriage. He thinks that when co-founders meet at some networking event and two weeks later decide to make a leap that should be lifelong, this rather raises concerns.

  • Understand your weaknesses

“The best teams are those that understand themselves”, thinks Spencer Tall, managing director of Allegis Capital. “In the Valley, smart people grow on trees”, he said, – “The question is whether they are smart enough to understand where they are strong and where they are weak and fill in those areas”. Spencer thinks that a really good team is not the one that consists of friends or spouses, but the one that has a person who can fill in the weak areas.

  • Consider a “triple-triple-double-double-double” approach

VC firm Bessemer Venture Partners knows which exact revenue a startup should deliver to be a good candidate for Series A. A startup with current revenue between $0M and $10M should be delivering a hundred million of revenue in 5, 6 or 7 years. That is called a triple-triple-double-double-double approach. Jeff Epstein, operating partner at Bessemer, explained it in the following way: “How does a company with $2M of revenue can get to a hundred million of revenue in a reasonable timeframe? If you triple from 2 to 6, triple again from 6 to 18, and then double to 36, then again to 72, and double again – then you’ll get $144M in revenue. This would mean that in five years you’ve gone from $2M in revenue to over $100M. That’s the “dream” we are trying to find!” When looking at a company, investors ask themselves: is it a company that can triple-triple-double-double-double?

  • Tell your story

According to the angel and impact investor Ben Laufer, the most impactful investor pitch is the one that tells the best story of how the founder discovered the problem, why he is passionate about it and wants to devote a significant amount of his life towards finding the solution. And then investors want to see a visual representation of the founder’s dream: what is the solution, why is his team the best to go for it and execute upon it.

New York Women In Film & Television Honors Extraordinary Women Behind The Scenes Of The Entertainment Industry

Acclaimed Actor And Comedian Sasheer Zamata To Liven Up The Festivities As Host; Several Notable Suprise Participants Also Slated To Be On Hand

Makeup, Hair And Costume Design Teams Of Netflix’s Jessica Jones Will Receive The Variety Ensemble Award

~ 18th Annual Designing Women Awards On Tuesday, June 6th, 2017 ~

Press Release – NEW YORK, NY – MAY 18, 2017New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), which has supported and empowered women in the entertainment industry for nearly 40 years, is thrilled to celebrate the women behind the scenes at this year’s New York Women in Film & Television Designing Women Awards Gala on Tuesday, June 6, 2017. The 18th annual event will honor the renowned makeup artists, hair stylists and costume designers that truly bring characters to life in film, television and digital media.

This unique showcase of remarkable achievements by women in the film, television and digital media industries, co-presented by Variety, is attended by actors, producers, directors, writers, fashion industry leaders and, of course, designers.

Saturday Night Live actor Sasheer Zamata will host the evening’s festivities and actor David Costabile (Billions, Suits, Breaking Bad, Lincoln) will present the award to Costume Designer Melissa Toth. Additional presenters will be added to the program and announced over the coming weeks, including a special surprise celebrity guest.

The 2017 Designing Women honorees include three of the most talented women behind the scenes:

  • Makeup Artist Kyra Panchenko (Snatched, The Girl on the Train, Kill Bill)
  • Hair Stylist Melissa Forney (Hidden Figures, Empire, Selma)
  • Costume Designer Melissa Toth (Manchester by the Sea, The Visitor, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
  • The smash-hit Netflix series Jessica Jones will receive Variety’s Ensemble Award for its makeup, hair and costume design teams.

“Film and television would be nothing without the extraordinary women behind the scenes who bring our favorite characters to life,” says Terry Lawler, Executive Director of New York Women in Film & Television. “It’s essential that we applaud these remarkable artists with an evening to commemorate all of the outstanding women in this area of the industry. Our annual Designing Women event is always a lively celebration and a fantastic way to kick off the summer and support our hugely talented female colleagues.”

Past Designing Women honorees have included designers and artists from much-heralded TV shows, including Mad Men, The Good Wife, The Affair and Orange Is the New Black, and from films such as Midnight Cowboy, Titanic, The Devil Wears Prada, Moonrise Kingdom and Chicago – just to name a few.

This year’s event will take place at New York University School of Law, located at 40 Washington Square South, starting at 7:00 PM. Tickets are $75 for NYWIFT members and $150 for non-members. Proceeds benefit the non-profit educational programs NYWIFT throughout the year. To purchase tickets, please visit www.nywift.org/design.

NYU Furman Center Launches FloodzoneData.us, Provides Data on People and Housing in U.S. Floodplains

New analysis from NYU Furman Center also finds that Florida, Texas, and California have highest risk to housing from flooding

Press Release – New York, NY — Today, the NYU Furman Center announced the launch of FloodzoneData.us, an online data tool describing the people and housing located in the nation’s floodplains. The interactive map and data downloads make information available at the state, county, and Census tract levels. As sea levels rise and storms intensify due to climate change, FloodzoneData.us is a resource to help policymakers and communities plan for the effects of flooding.

The NYU Furman Center’s FloodzoneData.us combines housing and population data with FEMA maps of the 100-year floodplain (the term for areas with a one percent probability of flooding each year) and the 500-year floodplain (areas with a 0.2 percent probability of flooding each year).

“Severe climate events are becoming more common, and policymakers in areas across the country are grappling with how to address the risks to residents and communities from flooding,” said Jessica Yager, Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center. “Having access to data is crucial for effective disaster response and resilience planning. By providing detailed information about the population and housing stock in the floodplains, we hope this tool will help policymakers and communities plan for a more resilient future.”

According to a new analysis released in conjunction with FloodzoneData.us, Florida, Texas, and California have the largest numbers of housing units in the 100-year floodplain. In Florida, nearly two million occupied housing units are located in the 100-year floodplain; Texas has about 612,000 housing units and California has about 388,000 units in the 100-year floodplain.

The NYU Furman Center also found that the majority of the housing units in the combined 100- and 500-year U.S. floodplains are single-family homes (64%) and are owner-occupied (62%).

The age of housing units in the U.S. floodplain, and thus how likely they are to be compliant with flood-resistant construction standards, varies widely; 22% of units in the 100-year floodplain were built before 1960 and therefore are less likely to be built to standards created with FEMA’s 1968 National Flood Insurance Program. Units built after 2000, which are more likely to be compliant, account for the smallest share (19%) of housing in the 100-year floodplains.

A large share of all U.S. public housing units (9%) are located in the combined 100- and 500-year floodplains. In addition, 8% of all privately-owned subsidized rental housing units in the U.S. are located in the combined 100- and 500-year floodplains.

“The Kresge Foundation is pleased to support this effort to bring important data to the public, policymakers, and researchers about the people and housing at risk in our nation’s floodplains,” said Jalonne L. White-Newsome, senior program officer at The Kresge Foundation. “We hope this tool can be used to assist in both short-term and long-term planning to address the needs of communities living with the risk of flooding. This is a crucially important objective for a growing number of jurisdictions across the country, especially as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of severe weather events.”

 

Celebrate Cultural Diversity In Africa During Ramadan

Volunteer in Morocco or Senegal during Ramadan for a unique cultural experience

Projects Abroad volunteers and staff members enjoy an evening meal together during Ramadan

Press Release – NEW YORK – May 24, 2017 – Projects Abroad volunteers traveling to Morocco and Senegal during the month of Ramadan have the unique opportunity to broaden their cultural horizons. Ramadan takes place from May 26th to June 24th this year. By visiting either of these two Projects Abroad destinations, volunteers can share in the celebration of diversity and cultural exchange that the company facilitates across the globe.

During Ramadan, practicing Muslims fast every day from sunrise to sunset. Every evening the fast gets broken, often traditionally by eating a date first, and then families and friends share each other’s company over specially prepared meals. City nights turn vibrant, abuzz with open coffee shops, restaurants, and locals out and about roaming the streets. In Morocco, special food dishes like harira – a type of soup – and unique pastries like chebakia, are only prepared during Ramadan, and are a daily treat for all.

Ramadan is an important and often sacred event in the calendar for Muslims, but this does not deter locals from welcoming outsiders into their communities. “In Morocco we appreciate it when visitors want to learn about and explore our culture,” says Soufiane Mbarki, Project Abroad staff member in Morocco. “You don’t have to participate in fasting if you do not want to, and if you do try, locals will encourage you and help you learn.”

Volunteer work cycles are minimally influenced by Ramadan, and project tasks will continue as per usual. It is up to the volunteer to determine their level of engagement. There are no expectations of volunteer engagement, other than being respectful of those who are fasting, eating their own meals with this in mind.

Projects Abroad offers a number of programs in Morocco and Senegal that provide volunteers with opportunities to contribute to meaningful projects through service work, benefitting communities in need. For example, volunteers can assist with early childhood development at care centers and local schools, teach English to all ages, or gain practical experience in a prospective career such as Medicine and Healthcare, Law & Human Rights, or International Development. Families or friends can tackle a project together on a Group Trip to build houses and school classrooms in Senegal. There are even projects that facilitate full immersion into a unique and rare cultural setting, such as the Nomad Project in Morocco.

For the ultimate cultural experience, it can be organized that a volunteer is placed during and after Ramadan, to witness the celebration of the final breaking of the fast, as well as the transition back to normality.

About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was founded in 1992 by Dr. Peter Slowe, a geography professor, as a program for students to travel and work while on break from full-time study. The program had its genesis in post-USSR Romania, where students were given the chance to teach conversational English. After a few years just sending volunteers to Eastern Europe for teaching, the company expanded to sending volunteers of all ages around the world on a wide range of projects.

Projects Abroad is a global leader in short-term international volunteer programs with projects in 30 countries and recruitment offices in the UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Holland, Hong Kong, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and the United States.

For details on volunteering abroad, visit Projects Abroad’s web site at www.projects-abroad.org.

DRI Fund (“DRI”) Launches A Social Impact Fund Aimed At Providing Innovative Financing To Communities That Are Underserved By Mainstream Banking

DRI is the rare combination of an investment manager that is also certified by the US Department of Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”).

Press Release – As an investment manager specializing in the acquisition and management of non-performing mortgage loans, DRI noticed that many of the communities they invested in were lacking access to loans from banks and other traditional sources of credit.

“We realized that many folks from low and moderate income communities just don’t fit into the standard underwriting box needed to obtain a mortgage,” says Steven Kirsch, Managing Director of DRI. “We set out to develop an investment offering that would address this issue and provide access to financing for people who are creditworthy, but don’t meet all the requirements that most lenders need to originate a loan. DRI Mortgage Opportunity Fund was set up to attract private capital to this opportunity by providing attractive risk-adjusted returns and having a social impact.”

DRI received CDFI certification in 2017. To earn CDFI certification, DRI has provided direct financing for its affordable housing and micro lending initiatives in low and moderate income areas. As part of their services, they provide borrowers with intensive financial education counseling, debt management planning, business plan development, and strategies for reducing monthly homeownership costs. DRI also managed a HUD sponsored NSP program designed to create affordable housing by rehabilitating foreclosed home for eventual lease or resale. DRI’s social impact goals include reducing foreclosures, stabilizing distressed neighborhoods, creating jobs and providing financing to underserved communities.

ABOUT DRI FUND

DRI’s professionals have extensive experience in mortgage loan investing and have generated a strong investment track record, while successfully promoting community development. DRI was formed in 2011 to manage a project sponsored by HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program on behalf of the private equity real estate firm American Residential Equities (“ARE”). ARE was in the business of acquiring, managing, and liquidating pools of distressed mortgages as well as originating non-conforming loans and successfully resolved $2.2 billion worth of mortgage transactions. DRI’s management team consists of former executives from ARE and distinguished community development banking executives, who have significant experience in non-performing and performing mortgage loan acquisitions.

For more information visit: DRIFUND.COM

Sustain Natural Takes On The Tampon Tax And Tackles That Time Of The Month With Launch Of Innovative Subscription Service

Organic Period Brand Speaks Out Against Gender Bias And Donates to Girls Helping Girls Period. Offering Low Income Women Access to Menstrual Hygiene Products

Press Release – New York, NY — Sustain Natural, the pioneering brand of all-natural vagina-friendly wellness products launches a new line of organic period products via an innovative online subscription service where women can customize their own period kits, conveniently delivered bi-monthly.

To celebrate this important launch, Sustain is joining forces with Period Equity to rally behind the nationwide movement to remove taxes on tampons and pads which have been deemed ‘nonessential’ items. While menstruation is a normal and healthy part of women’s lives, in 37 states across the US, tampons, sanitary napkins and other menstrual hygiene products are subject to sales tax, upwards of 66 cents per box, while shockingly, products such as Rogaine, men’s razors and even Fruit Roll-Ups are frequently sales-tax free.

“It’s about equity and access – there’s no other tax that’s this gender biased,” says Meika Hollender, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Sustain Natural. “Tampons are critical to women’s overall health and wellness. To tax these items and not acknowledge or exempt them as essential products is another example of gender inequality playing out in policy. Overseeing women’s needs, and in turn putting women’s health at risk, is unacceptable.”

Founded in 2014 by Jeffrey Hollender, the co-founder and former CEO of Seventh Generation, and his daughter Meika, Sustain’s expansion into organic menstrual hygiene is a natural next-step for their brand, a product category Jeffrey and his wife Sheila Hollender tackled 15 years ago when they launched organic tampons and pads at Seventh Generation. This debut adds to the brand’s existing line of non-toxic sexual wellness products – because all women deserve to know what they’re putting inside their vaginas. Its new 100% organic cotton tampons, pads and liners are rayon- and fragrance-free, non-chlorine bleached, and grown without pesticides – and can be ordered at sustainnatural.com.

With Sustain’s innovative online subscription model, women will now be able to customize their own period kits based on their personal menstrual needs. Many women use a combination of products during their menstrual cycle — different types of pads, tampons or both — and so Sustain has built an online Mad Lib style ‘Period Flow-Chart’, where women can indicate which combination of products they use and for how many days, to configure personalized boxes delivered every other month.

For the first 30 days of the launch, Sustain will match the dollars it collects in sales tax on these products with a donation to the organization Girls Helping Girls. Period. (GHGP) which helps low-income women in this country access menstrual hygiene products. GHGP is dedicated to educating people about this need, particularly among girls and women who may miss school and work because they can’t afford basic necessities like tampons and pads, compromising their health, productivity and dignity.

Sustain is committed to providing women with access to healthier, non-toxic products and ingredient transparency. The majority of traditional menstrual products are made of conventional (non-organic) cotton, rayon, wood pulp or blends of all three, and can contain harmful ingredients like chlorine dioxide, dyes and synthetic fragrances. Many of the pesticides and herbicides used on cotton crops can leave a chemical residue in non-organic period products. Chlorine, used to bleach these products, creates a dangerous chemical called dioxin which is released into the environment and/or left in the product as a contaminant. Dioxins, a known carcinogen, are among the most dangerous substances on earth, and have been linked to a host of health issues including reproductive and developmental problems, heart disease, and even organ and genetic damage.

The FDA does not require menstrual hygiene product manufacturers to disclose ingredients or conduct testing to determine their products’ long-term effects on women’s bodies. Surprisingly, the FDA believes the products have a dioxin level “so small that any risk of adverse health effects is considered negligible.” This directly contradicts statements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has declared that there is no ‘acceptable’ level of exposure to dioxin given its persistence in the environment and in people. The real dangers of dioxin exposure lie in repeated contact. The average woman will use five tampons a day, for about a week every month, for some 40 years – so the lifetime exposure may be putting women at risk

“With Sustain, we hope to spark a movement towards full ingredient transparency industry-wide and to encourage an open dialogue about these crucial health issues,” says Jeffrey Hollender, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Sustain Natural. “We strive to be a symbol for rising global standards of what is expected of business. We want to change the rules, not just be an exception to them.”

Sustain Natural’s Period Products:

  • Organic Cotton Tampons – made with 100% organic cotton with a compact bio-plastic, plant-based and biodegradable applicator (most plastic applicators are not biodegradable and create massive amounts of waste). The absorbent core and protective outer layer is made with organic cotton fibers that are ideal for sensitive skin (like the inside of your vagina). Available in sizes ‘super’ or ‘regular’.
  • Cotton Ultra Thin Pads with Wings – made with 100% cotton with protective wings for a secure fit. Hypoallergenic and breathable, the pads are available in ‘day’ and ‘night’ absorbencies.
  • Cotton Ultra Thin Liners – made with 100% cotton, the liners are hypoallergenic and breathable, and have a full liner adhesive to guarantee no loose edges.

Sustain Natural Personalized Online Subscription Service:

Annual Tourette Awareness Walk Brings Participants From Around The Nation To Queens

Participants Came from Across the Nation to Walk 5k – Raising Awareness and Funds for the Tourette Association of America in the Nonprofit Organization’s Signature Teal Color

Image Credit: Tourette Association of America.

Press Release – Queens, New York – May 23, 2017 – On Sunday, May 21, a sea of teal washed over Flushing Meadows Corona Park as families, children and even dogs gathered for the Tourette Association of America (TAA)’s 6th Annual Awareness Walk. There was laughter from start to finish as participants warmed up with line dances and Zumba and as Chelsea White, comedian and host of MTV’s Girl Code, emceed from a stage surrounded by teal balloons.

TAA President and CEO John Miller initiated the Annual Awareness Walk/5k with a teal ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by an informative scavenger hunt in which walkers gathered facts about Tourette Syndrome (TS) throughout the park for a raffle to win prizes. The finish line promised more line dances for the families and face painting for the kids.

“One out of every one hundred school-aged children in the United States has TS or another Tic Disorder, which is why the Annual Awareness Walk/5k is so important for our Association, which provides resources for families and funds research and Centers for Excellence at major medical centers around the country,” said John Miller during his introductory speech. “By raising money and awareness for Tourette Syndrome, we are helping a community of people who support a better world for all people on the Tourette and Tic Disorder spectrum.”

The Tourette Awareness Walk/5k is the organizations largest fundraising event to support the diverse needs of the Tourette and Tic Disorder community. Their work is powered by volunteers and parents of children with Tourette, generating funds that drive innovative research and make connections to critical lifelong supports and services.

“My experience with the Walk has changed my life,” says Alexandro Herrera, a 15 year-old TAA Youth Ambassador and Brooklyn Resident. “Being at the TAA Walk with other kids and families with Tourette from around the country not only provided me with a sense of comfort but is critical in helping our community find the answers we need for a cure.”

The Tourette Awareness Walk/5k sponsors included Astoria Bank and Investors Foundation Bank.

About the Tourette Association of America

Founded in 1972, the TAA is dedicated to making life better for all individuals affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. The premier nationwide organization serving this community, the Association works to raise awareness, advance research and provide on-going support. The TAA directs a network of 32 Chapters and support groups across the country. For more information on Tourette and Tic Disorders, call 1-888-4-TOURET and visit us at tourette.org, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

DuPont invests R100 million into the Africa Regional Technology Hub

Investment includes multi crop drought research center in Hoogekraal

Press Release – DELMAS, South Africa, May 23, 2017 – DuPont leaders joined together with public, private sector and government leaders to officially open the Africa regional technology center in Delmas, South Africa. This technology center will accelerate new product development across multiple crops for farmers. With construction recently completed, the center comprises a network of strategically placed research facilities and testing locations across the continent.

“The global network of research facilities and testing locations demonstrate DuPont’s ongoing commitment to research and development to accelerate seed product development for African farmers, helping them better manage pests and crop disease, climate volatility and soil fertility,” said Alejandro Munoz, Vice President, Global Commercial Business, DuPont Pioneer.

DuPont invested 100 million Rand in the Africa technology center, which currently employs African scientists and skilled technicians to support local research efforts, across testing locations in South Africa and, for the continent. DuPont’s investment in R&D in Africa includes:

  • The Delmas technology center; which focuses on major Eastern region research activities, with breeding programs in Maize and Sunflowers, that incorporates key Pioneer and PANNAR research and testing locations, combined germplasm, talent and experience to improve cultivar breeding and development for Africa.
  • A multi-crop research center in Hoogekraal that will conduct multi-crop research for DuPont Pioneer and PANNAR with a focus on drought tolerance.
  • Africa’s biggest private Insectary, critical to the development of traits to combat local yield robbing pests, some of which are unique to the continent.
  • Training and education opportunities for staff and academic institutions every year to host a plant breeding symposium to foster research skills development and to work with smallholder farmers to improve the livelihoods of families in rural communities.

DuPont has similar technology centers in the US, Brazil, India and China as part of the company’s global research network. Delmas will serve as the central hub of the Africa regional technology center, which is comprised of a network of existing research facilities and testing locations throughout Africa. The network of research centers will enable collaboration between crop researchers, maximize resources and advance research locally. South African research information adds to the global DuPont knowledge while the facilities in Delmas, Hoogekraal, Greytown, and other locations in Africa also draw on the global DuPont expertise from colleagues in other parts of the world.

“Better-performing seed products will lead to greater yields for farmers, including small holder farmers – and will help enhance farm productivity,” said Prabdeep Bajwa, Regional Director for the DuPont’s agricultural business in Africa and Middle East. “Africa has untapped potential to boost its agricultural output if the continent increases investment in agricultural research and development to adapt global technology to local needs.”

“With nearly 35 million hectares available with grain yields of less than 2 tons per hectare, Africa is a key agricultural growth area for DuPont and with sufficient investment in technology, represents tremendous opportunities for productivity gains,” said Bajwa at the official opening of the Africa technology center in Delmas.

The regional technology center boasts advanced technologies, such as doubled haploids, ear photometry and the proprietary Pioneer Accelerated Yield Technology (AYT), as well as marker-assisted selection. These technologies help shorten crop breeding cycles and improve accuracy toward breeding targets – including improved drought tolerance, insect and disease tolerance, as well as improved yields with limited inputs.

The technology center incorporates key research and testing locations, combined germplasm, talent and experience to improve cultivar breeding and development in Africa.

“Africa will be a major contributor to feeding the world population and the technology center will increase our breeding and testing capacity, as well as enable the continent to leverage the most advanced breeding technologies and germplasm pool to develop a high-performing maize, sunflower and soybean products for farmers,” said Bajwa.

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NGOs, and thought leaders, we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive innovation, please visit www.dupont.com.

Nepalese Government Publicly Burns Huge Illegal Wildlife Stockpile

Destroying over 4,000 seized items from 48 species sends powerful message to traffickers

Credit: ZSL

Press Release – As part of international events to mark World Biodiversity Day 2017, the Government of Nepal yesterday (Monday 22 May) hosted a public burning of its stockpile of confiscated wildlife products, sending a powerful message to those fuelling the illegal trade which is threatening the Himalayan kingdom’s most iconic wildlife.

Putting more than 4,000 seized items from 48 species beyond economic use, including rhino horn and tiger parts, the Nepalese government demonstrated its stance against the black-market industry, much of it driven by foreign demand for traditional medicine.

Coordinated by international conservation charity ZSL (Zoological Society of London), alongside a number of non-governmental organisation partners, the burn was hosted by Nepal’s Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, and Department of Forest, and took place in front of an audience of nearly 300 people in Chitwan National Park.

The inventory of illegally-trafficked wildlife products destroyed in the burn included 67 tiger skins, 357 rhino horns and two sacks of pangolin scales, as well as hides from species including red panda (Ailurus fulgens), clouded leopard (Neofilis nebulosa) and snow leopard (Panthera uncia). Other items included 418 skins from the common leopard (Panthera pardus), 354 elephant tails and 15 bear gallbladders.

With support from the British Embassy in Kathmandu, ZSL worked with local government partners to ensure all items were securely transported and catalogued prior to destruction, in line with international protocols from CITES (Convention on Illegal Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna).

ZSL’s Nepal Country Manager Dr Hem Sagar-Baral, commented: “Illegal trade is devastating populations of iconic wildlife in many countries worldwide and sadly Nepal is no exception. ZSL is proud to be working with Nepal’s government and other NGO partners to tackle this issue and applaud this bold demonstration of the country’s commitment to the cause.”

ZSL is working in Nepal to protect threatened species such as the greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) and Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) – which are on the verge of extinction due to the impacts of a growing human population and poaching – as well as the country’s two indigenous species of pangolin, the world’s most heavily-trafficked wild mammal.

To find out more about ZSL’s efforts to fight illegal wildlife trade in Nepal and beyond, please visit: https://www.zsl.org/conservation/threats/illegal-wildlife-trade-crisis

BEPI and myclimate Foundation Partner to Fight CO2 Emissions in Supply Chains

Press Release – Brussels, 23 May 2017. The Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI), a business-driven initiative supporting supply chain environmental performance improvements globally, announces today a new partnership with myclimate Foundation -a Swiss initiative working for effective climate protection- aimed to further support its participating companies in their efforts to measure and mitigate carbon emissions in their supply chain.

This collaboration, built on a common understanding of the importance of addressing climate change in global supply chains and the essential role of businesses in this endeavour, will bring both organisations to work together on several areas:

  • Development of practical tools – myclimate Foundation will support the development of a Carbon Calculator. This tool will be integrated in the BEPI platform to enable companies participating in BEPI to measure in an effective and easy way the carbon emissions of their supply chain.
  • Capacity building – both initiatives will identify opportunities to develop joint capacity building activities for BEPI participants and producers to raise awareness around climate change and CO2 management.
  • Offsetting emissions – myclimate will help to offset the carbon footprint of the Unleash Opportunity conference, the annual trade and sustainability event hosted on 15 June in Brussels by BEPI’s founding organisation, the Foreign Trade Association.
  • Mutual support – working with the shared objective of supporting supply chains to mitigate adverse environmental impacts, both organisations will support each other in the important goal of promoting climate protection and environmental improvement.

“By capitalising on the expertise and common objectives of both initiatives, this collaboration will empower BEPI companies to efficiently manage and address scope 3 emissions, which are by far the largest component of a business’ carbon footprint, and therefore one of the biggest challenges. Pressure on businesses to contribute to achieving global commitments such as the Paris Agreement is high and this partnership will provide companies with the appropriate tools to lead change”, stated Darrell Doren, FTA Senior Director Sustainability.

As part of this partnership, myclimate Foundation will also become a BEPI recognised carbon & climate change consultant and both initiatives will keep exploring further opportunities to continue this collaboration in the future.

“Smart supply chain management is undisputedly a key success factor for businesses. It can become also a powerful amplifier for global climate protection efforts. myclimate has a long track record in consulting, creation of tools for measurement and analysis and capacity building. Partnering with BEPI connects us with leaders of today and tomorrow giving us the opportunity to support them and leverage their impact on climate protection. We are curious to explore together existing, “low-hanging” as well as future opportunities with huge impact for climate and economy”, said myclimate CEO, René Estermann.

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