Valerie D'Costa is infoDev's Program Manager. She has led infoDev’s evolution from its original founding focus on information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) to current its role as a “learning lab” and convener for donors, client countries, and public and private sector actors around the innovation, technology and entrepreneurship agendas. The vision Ms D’Costa promotes for infoDev’s role today is to derive and test new approaches to support the growth of innovative, technology enabled new ventures; provide cutting-edge knowledge, networks and tools to developing countries to navigate these dynamic market and technology evolutions; collate lessons from success and ‘failure’ in the field; and promote the adoption and scaling of interesting and innovative new approaches that work by the World Bank, donors and other development partners.
Ms D’Costa believes strongly in the promise and potential of innovative new ventures to create transformative, profitable and locally relevant solutions in their markets. She advocates infoDev’s grassroots approach to support these actors via start-up support facilities that give them access to mentoring, equipment, technical assistance, potential partners, and early-stage financing. She believes that by staying true to this ‘bottom-up’ approach, infoDev makes a unique difference and a significant contribution to the World Bank’s goals of alleviating poverty, growing jobs and livelihoods, supporting the growth of a strong private sector, and enhancing inclusive, sustainable development.
Before joining infoDev, Ms. D’Costa served as the Director of the International Division at the Info-Communication Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), where she formulated the Singapore Government's policies on international ICT issues and oversaw Singapore’s bilateral relations with other countries on these issues. She received a Public Administration Medal from the Singapore Government for her work in building Singapore’s international ICT trade and diplomatic ties. Ms. D’Costa had a distinguished career in private legal practice before joining her country’s nation-building efforts in government service at IDA.
Ms. D’Costa holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the National University of Singapore and a Master of Laws degree from University College, University of London.
Mobile Innovation Specialist
Maja is interested in the potential of entrepreneurship and human ingenuity to contribute to economic, environmental and social development. She has spent over 12 years connecting these fields, including as product manager in a web-technology startup, lead researcher at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and counselor for Canada for the World Bank Group. Since 2009, she has worked to expand infoDev’s mobile innovation program, including by extending our offering to better serve women founders of tech startups in emerging and frontier markets. Maja is pursuing a doctorate at the University of Oxford under Professor Bill Dutton, with a focus on innovation ecosystems and with support from Oxford University Press. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura joined infoDev’s Access to Finance team in February 2013. She is currently researching ways to cultivate angel investor networks with the aim of unlocking financing opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs. Laura has also supported infoDev’s training program on entrepreneurial ecosystem development which engages a cross section of stakeholders--including policy makers, academics, incubator managers and entrepreneurs-- for the development of practical local, regional and national policies that stimulate innovation.
In previous consulting work, she applied her knowledge of entrepreneurial ecosystems to assess support networks for start-ups in Medellin, Colombia, and to identify opportunities for bolstering the success rates of young companies. Prior to joining infoDev, she led the implementation of democracy and good governance programs across Africa and Latin America at a non-profit organization, the International Republican Institute. Laura holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a BA in Spanish and Latin American studies from the University of Virginia.
Senior Communications Officer
Angela Bekkers is infoDev's Senior Communications Officer and focuses on infoDev's communications, branding, outreach, media, and overall external relations. Before infoDev, Angela worked as a communications specialist with the Education for All - Fast Track Initiative (EFA FTI), a global partnership program dedicated to ensuring quality education for children, hosted by the World Bank. Before that, Angela worked in the World Bank's Brussels office in charge of media and as a donor liaison with the European Commission and with her native Netherlands.
In an earlier stage of her career, Angela reported on international economics and finance for a Dutch newspaper. She holds masters degrees in Business Administration and Sustainable Management & Ecology, and she did a one-year postdoctoral in Journalism. Earlier work and study experience brought Angela to Ukraine, Argentina, China, and the Philippines
Agribusiness Innovation Analyst
Julia assists our team in the implementation of our program of collaboration with the government of Finland and Nokia. She was previously a Project Manager at the European Business and Innovation Centre Network, where she managed international projects on business incubation. Before that, she worked for the Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union where she worked on EU policies related to competitiveness, research and innovation. She holds a MSc in European Communities and Union Law and a MSc in European Political and Public Affairs.
Program Coordinator-Climate Technology Program
Jonathan works as Coordinator of infoDev’s Climate Technology Program to establish a global network of Climate Innovation Centers in developing countries. Jonathan comes most recently from ESMAP where, among other activities, he led efforts to formulate World Bank Group strategies on accelerating advanced energy technologies for partner countries, and supported two successful Investment Plans for the CTF. He was also team leader of the China Technology Needs Assessment (TNA), a role he will continue while at infoDev. Before joining the Bank, Jonathan worked for five years at the International Energy Agency (IEA) and, previously, structured project finance for IPPs and helped launch a technology start-up where he authored two patents on ocean energy. Jonathan holds BS and MS degrees in Mechnical Engineering from Brown University and an MBA degree from INSEAD.
Diletta joined infoDev in November 2012 as the program Operations Officer, focusing on strenghtening the operational workflow. Prior to joining, Diletta was working with the Development Marketplace program at WBI's Innovation Labs, on supporting social entrepreneurs in India and Egypt. Previously, Diletta was designing and delivering training programs on Base of the Pyramid (BoP), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and private sector development issues at the World Bank Institute. Diletta holds a MA in International Relations and Economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS.
Business Incubation Specialist
Mike is a Business Incubation Specialist with infoDev and joined the team after working with infoDev's Climate Technology Program, focusing on launching the Kenya Climate Innovation Center. Before joining infoDev, Mike worked for the Africa region of the World Bank focused on lending and research related to innovation policy. Previously Mike held positions with the science committee of the U.S. Congress and the U.S. National Academies of Science and worked on technology policy issues for the Japanese government. Before his work in public policy, Michael was an entrepreneur, running startup internet and software businesses. Mike received a BS in Business from the University of Colorado and an MA in international science and technology policy from the George Washington University.
Mobile Innovation Specialist
Toni Eliasz is working as a Task Manager and deals with activities that accelerate the commercialization of mobile innovations in developing countries, particularly the establishment of mobile applications laboratories (mLabs). Toni has gained several years of experience in business modelling and feasibility analysis for innovative and relevant high technology concepts and solutions, specifically targeting the Base of the Pyramid markets and under-served communities. He has also written and edited publications related to appropriate mobile applications within the emerging markets context. Before joining the World Bank, Toni co-founded and headed two successful organisations in South Africa, an ICT enterprise and business model catalyst Ungana-Afrika, as well as MoMoJoburg, the first African chapter of Mobile Monday, which is a global networking platform for key mobile industry visionaries and professionals. Before his years in Africa, he held various management positions with Finnish software industry and holds an M.Sc. from the University of Helsinki.
ICT4D & Mobile Innovation Associate
Nicolas is a consultant for infoDev's Mobile Innovation for Development and ICT Policy & Regulation programs. He helps to coordinate and analyze infoDev's global mobile incubation and entrepreneurship network of mLabs and mHubs. He has supported activities for innovation and talent sourcing, such as an online competition for mobile application developers. Nicolas is also involved with infoDev's research agenda on mobiles for development and ICTs for post-conflict reconstruction, as well as its ICT Regulation and Broadband Strategies Toolkit.
Nicolas continues to be active as an ICT researcher. He has authored academic publications in the fields of broadband economics and policy, social online behavior, and knowledge management. He was a Fulbright scholar at Michigan State University, where he received a Master’s degree in Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media. He also holds a Diplom (equivalent to Master's) in Media Studies and Media Management from the University of Cologne.