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 email@example.com
Mobile Innovation Specialist
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.
Mobile Innovation Associate
After graduating with her MBA in May 2013 from Georgetown University, Zoe joined infoDev as a Mobile Innovation Associate. Her work centers around projects that support the launch and growth of ICT and mobile startups in emerging markets. These projects include acceleration programs, facilitating mentorship, promoting women's entrepreneurship, and analyzing ICT and mobile environments in West and Southern Africa. Prior to receiving her MBA and shifting her career to path to enabling private sector development in emerging and frontier markets, she worked as an Account Executive for a metro-Detroit advertising firm specializing in digital and online marketing. She has an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. Zoe's personal interests include crossfit, running and learning to surf.
Program Analyst, Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC)
Danqing Zhu joined infoDev as Program Analyst for the Entrepreneurship Program for Innovation in the Caribbean (EPIC). She supports the development and implementation of EPIC and provides operational support to other programs under infoDev. Danqing has a long-term commitment to innovation, impact investing, and social entrepreneurship. In her previous roles within the South Asia Sustainable Development Department and the Global Civil Society Team at the World Bank, Danqing contributed to the preparation and implementation of several investment lending projects, as well as Bank-wide stakeholder engagement activities. She also had experience in UNESCO Beijing Office and Deshpande Center for Social Entrepreneurship in Hubli, India. Danqing holds a MA in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a L.L.B in International Studies and Sociology from Peking University.