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Showing posts from July, 2017

Disinformation in the Internet Age (IGF-USA) by Kari Nelson, Impact Investing Intern, University of Virginia

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On Monday July 24, the Internet Governance Forum USA (IGF-USA) was held in Washington D.C. This event featured “panels, keynotes, and plenaries discussing issues vital to the continued growth of the Internet and increasing its benefits for all,” as described in the program for the day. I attended two sessions during IGF-USA, and wanted to share some highlights from each.

The first session I attended was a plenary session titled, “Nationalism, Disinformation and Free Expression in the Age of the Internet.” As it was described in the program, this panel examined:
•“How the internet ecosystem allows nativist content & movements to flourish & increasingly silos people
•“How content is weaponized & disinformation used in politics
•“How to ensure free expression with any proposed solutions.”

Conversations exploring these issues are extremely important, especially in light of the Russian misinformation campaign during the 2016 election. We should continue to have these discussio…

Branchless Banking Roundtable by Zhuoxi (Austin) Wu, Impact Investing Analyst

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On July 24th, I attended a Branchless Banking Roundtable discussion sponsored by the Financial Services Innovation Coalition (FSIC) at the Rayburn House Office Building in D.C. 
Panelists include the Co-Founder of BankMobile, Luvleen Sidhu, Founder of Creative Investment Research, William Michael Cunningham, and the founder of HBCU Wall Street, Torrence Reed. The moderator was the founder of FSIC, Kevin B. Kimble. During the hour-long discussion, they discussed issues related to the inefficiency of bank branches, the problem of bank transaction fees, and how newly developed technologies can change people’s way of banking.
The discussion kicked off with agreement among the panelists that bank branches are no longer a necessary part of people’s banking experience. Based on statistics, bank branches are, on average, only getting one account opened each week per branch, which equals 52 accounts opened a year at each branch. Apparently, the influence of bank branches on people’s banking h…

CIR Interns at the U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum

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An inter-agency forum for executives across the federal government to learn about advances in Blockchain technology, discuss use cases and set an agenda for working together to evaluate and implement it among our diverse missions.
The U.S. Federal Blockchain Forum is a program of GSA’s Emerging Citizen Technology program, organized in partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office of Global Partnerships and GSA’s Office of Information Technology Category.

Yellen at the Senate Banking Committee by Kari Nelson, Impact Investing Intern, University of Virginia

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On July 13, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs met in open session with the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Honorable Janet L. Yellen, for“The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress.” I attended this hearing and this blog post shares my reaction as well as some analysis.
Despite the fact that the hearing was supposed to be about monetary policy, the Senators mostly questioned Yellen about regulatory issues. Republicans have been pushing for widespread rollbacks of Dodd-Frank financial regulations, so this is not surprising. This regulatory theme was apparent from the beginning, with Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), the Chairman of the Committee, asking Yellen to affirm that she believes Congress needs to act on some areas of financial reform and that the Fed would work to make suggestions to the Committee, both of which Yellen readily agreed to. The ranking Democrat, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), quickly responded by pushing …

Seed Spot Demo Day: A Night of Excitement, Passion, and Social Impact

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On July 14th, 2017, Seed Spot hosted their first ever demo day for their Washington, D.C. location. Seed Spot is a nonprofit organization, based in Phoenix, AZ., committed to supporting social entrepreneurs through education and investment.

They did not disappoint.

At core, Seed Spot embraces entrepreneurs seeking to solve social problems, regardless of the entrepreneur's race, gender, age, or socio-economic background.  Seed Spot's dedication to the D.C. area was on full display as well, with the CEO and many board members in attendance.

Their dedication to inclusion and excellence was also on vivid display at the magnificent Warner Theater in downtown Washington on Thursday night, with nine truly remarkable DC-area startups being showcased to a packed crowd. The startups on display completed Seed Spot's 14-week accelerator program.

These businesses are more than just individuals with a dream or good idea.  Each startup had a strong team complete with a board of director…

Black Business Index & Survey

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We are conducting a survey of Black Business Conditions as we prepare for our Texas Talks (see above). Note that you do not have to be either in Texas or a Black-owned Business to fill out this survey. In fact, we prefer to have a range of business owners respond. We are, however, specifically focused on the Black business sector in Texas.

To view and complete the survey, please go to: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NCVQLLL

Thank you!

Senate Banking Committee Hearing on Fostering Economic Growth by Kari Nelson, Impact Investing Intern, University of Virginia

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Soon, it may be easier to be a Wall Street Bank. We knew that one of President Trump’s central campaign promises was to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (LA Times)— passed after the 2007-2009 financial crisis to prevent similar crises from occurring—but that didn’t necessarily mean anything major was going to happen. Campaign promises go unfulfilled all the time (*cough* the Wall *cough*). Now, the Trump administration seems to be moving to follow through on dismantling Dodd-Frank. With that in mind, we take a look at developments in this area over the past few weeks to see what changes are likely in the near future.

On June 8, there was a surge of excitement (either out of fear or joy, depending on your perspective) when the House passed the Financial Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs Act, which would repeal many of Dodd-Frank’s banking reforms (CNBC). Then, everyone calmed down a bit and realized …