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Big Data Isn’t Just For Big Businesses Anymore

Izunna Okpala

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As a business owner these Big Data is starting to sound like nothing more than a catch phrase, or worse yet a catch all for the world-gone digital. Begging the question, will ignoring the proliferation of big data make it go away? Unfortunately, no. Ignoring this shift will only cause your company to become more and more obsolete.
So with big data here to stay and your company needing to utilize it, let’s take a moment to try and simplify what big data is and why every company (not just enterprises) should be leveraging it.

In its simplest form big data is defined as the entire pool of digital information available to an organization. Taking this one step further, the data is generally broken down into two buckets commonly referred to as structured data and unstructured data. The way structured vs. unstructured data is determined is by whether or not the data is in a format that is simple for analysis (spreadsheet, application, database) or is just in a raw format like an article, blog or infographic. And this sort of data just keeps on growing.

Ninety percent of the world’s data has been created in just the past 2 years and the amount of new structured and unstructured data will grow in the next year by 60 and 80 percent respectively.
To put into perspective just how much data there is being created these days, here is a snapshot of one minute (not an hour or a day, but a minute)

  • 2,000,000 Google Searches
  • 685,000 Facebook Updates
  • 200 Million Sent Emails
  • 48 Hours’ worth of video uploaded to YouTube

So now that we’ve given the crash course on what big data is, let’s talk a little bit about how organizations can benefit from it and perhaps more importantly afford access to it.
Big data for small business. While every business can benefit from data in some way, most businesses are looking to use data to improve and enhance its decision-making process in:

  • Risk management
  • Understanding when and why customers leave (or buy)
  • Research and development
  • Improve customer targeting
  • Understand customer needs
  • Analyse social behaviour

How small businesses can tap into big data. At this point the question has probably shifted from the what and how of big data to the where — where can I get my hands on useful data to help my business drive better decisions?

The good news is big data is becoming more available by the day. Entrepreneurs can invest in various open-source software solutions, inexpensive analytics tools and startups like Factual looking to help other small companies tap into big data. There are also data brokers like Acxiom or Datalogix that can assist companies.
In Phil Simon’s book Too Big To Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data, the author not only discusses the shift occurring allowing small-business owners access to data but also outlines ways that big data has been tapped into by small organizations using crowdsourcing and open bidding. This tactic has allowed startup access to rich data that answered very specific questions while only costing the company anywhere from a dollar to $5,000.

Pursing big data in your business. The future of big data is bright as more companies are finding not only savvy ways to use it but smart ways to harvest it and make it available to businesses seeking to invest in better decision making. For those looking to tap into big data, here are a few tips:

  • Take the time to understand what your goals are for big data. Are there a few very specific pieces of information you seek such as customer demographics or attrition metrics?
    Making big data goals smaller can make the potential of implementing a big-data program more realistic
  • Look at data-on-demand sources like Kaggle where you can choose the size of the project and the amount of extractable information you seek. Much like a Priceline “name your own price” strategy.
  • Finally, many traditional data brokers have become more reasonable with mounting competition and therefore offer highly useful data at prices that smaller organizations can afford.

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A conference on blockchain and health is scheduled to be held at the Africa Blockchain Developers Call.

Izunna Okpala

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The Africa Blockchain Developers Call (ABDC) Pan-African Bootcamp on blockchain technology has declared its intention to hold a weekend conference on incorporating blockchain technology into Africa’s health sector.

In an attempt to execute comprehensive blockchain training sessions and promote the implementation of specially designed applications for different sectors in Africa, the Bootcamp, officially launched on 5 September, has taken on a host of African developers.

The Bootcamp also features virtual weekend conferences on many use-cases for blockchain. These conferences are aimed at encouraging creative and comprehensive discussions on the implementation of blockchain technology in Africa, including platform presentations by businesses and panel sessions on many Blockchain issues. The first meeting, focusing on Blockchain in Finance, took place on September 5. It featured a keynote speech given by Professor Anicia Peters, University of Namibia Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science, Innovation and Development.

The next conference, scheduled to take place on October 3rd, will focus on the theme: Blockchain in Health. The keynote speech will be given by Arnab Paul, President of the Kolkata Chapter in India. Several organizations and startups will also give platform presentations via their representatives based on medical use cases for blockchain technology.

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Pan-African incubator, MEST Africa to invest $700k in its Class of 2020

Izunna Okpala

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After graduating its 2020 class a month ago, MEST Africa, the Pan-African incubator, revealed that it will invest $100k each in seven start-ups.

In the final pitching event, fifteen teams participated, but only seven were picked, adding $700k to the overall funding round for this class.

In addition to the funding, start-ups can also participate in the ongoing incubation programme at MEST.

Ashwin Ravichandran, managing director of MEST Africa, had this to say, speaking about the range.

This was the first time that our entrepreneurs were educated online and away from our campus for the most part, and I’m proud to say they came out stronger than ever. We are incredibly excited about the 7 companies in which we have chosen to invest and look forward to continuing our support and mentorship as they start their companies across the continent.

The seven startups include:

Shopa, a last-mile ordering and delivery startup for informal retailers in Africa.

Heny, a forum to explore new flavors and perspectives for young professionals by changing the way diners eat.

Boxconn, a network that offers companies and individuals access to a list of confirmed distribution partners nearest to them, instantly delivers packages from one location to another.

KPILens, a start-up that automates the documentation, tracking and assessment process for development organizations and makes it simpler.

Tendo, an online network that ties independent resellers to companies, aims to tackle two of the biggest issues facing Africa: unemployment and gender inequality.

Joovlin, helps fintech platforms and merchants increase their sales by interconnecting mobile wallet users and allowing them to transact with each other.

Eleka, streamlines onboarding procedures for customers that are fraught with lengthy and expensive labor measures.

Move In Rentals, Credia, Uyolo, VendoorPro, Trastea, Cornerstock, Colibri, and JidiTrust are the other startups that didn’t receive funding from MEST.

Last year, MEST invested $100k in eleven startups while celebrating its 11th year in business. The sum, $1.1 million, represented the organization’s largest single cohort investment.

And although the amount this year is $400k smaller, the selected startups will have the opportunity to enter the incubator ‘s portfolio of over 40 startups across Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

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Get Financial assistance through the Bold.org Scholarship for US Universities

Izunna Okpala

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Tuition waivers or scholarships are financial assistance incentives intended to help students pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. A scholarship is only just a one-time test. Other school scholarships are annual and provide money per semester or school year for the students. These grants are special from student loans because they don’t have to be paid back.

Students will earn the money in their name directly as verification. In other instances, the money is donated to the school for the student. The student would then pay the school in those cases for the difference on any money owed for tuition , fees, room , and board. If the scholarships and other forms of financial aid are adequate to cover the direct costs of education, the applicant may be refunded the excess money.

About Bold.org

Bold.org is a Scholarship website established in 2019. The platform’s concept is simple: corporations, charities, and even individuals can build a personalized scholarship, internship, or student grant opportunity. Such programs could be targeted at helping a range of high-potential individuals with a wide array of interests, talents, and backgrounds.

The kind of Scholarship in Bold.org

Bold.org scholarships tend to be very precise, which is a very positive thing for students. There are scholarships for students who love reading, Native American youth scholarships and scholarships for students who want to have a major in philosophy.

Like several other sources of scholarships, the programs aim to help a wide variety of education levels from high school students to medical students! Below are some of the best scholarships we profiled at Bold.org:

  1. Minority Women in STEM Bi-Annual Scholarship
  2. One Move Ahead Chess Scholarship
  3. High School Social Leaders Scholarship
  4. The “Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship
  5. Bold.org No-Essay Community Scholarship
  6. Recent Immigrant Scholarship
  7. Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship

How do I get signed up?

You can get signed up for free on the Bold.org website. Signing up is easy should only take five minutes or so.

My Profile in Bold.org

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