Twelve Universities Join Forces To Launch Impact Investment Fund

Impact Investment Fund,

Twelve leading universities have joined forces to create an impact investment fund, Impact 12 (, to support mission-led university ventures.

Impact Investment Fund, Impact 12, SIS

The ten-year, multi-million-pound fund will support social ventures created within the twelve participating universities across the UK. The fund will support ventures motivated by beneficial social or environmental impact, rather than solely by profit.

Impact 12 has been developed by Social Investment Scotland (SIS), an impact investor and responsible finance provider based in Edinburgh, in partnership with the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Northampton, Coventry and eight universities comprising the MICRA Project (Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick). Oxford University Innovation leads the consortium.

Impact 12’s aim is to bring positive change, to people and places, by accelerating the development and success of impact-led social ventures spun out of universities. It will support social ventures with innovative finance tailored to their needs, including equity investment and debt. The fund will also provide access to timely and expert mission-aligned finance and impact support.

Impact 12 will be managed by SIS Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SIS, which provides the tools and investment required to help early-stage mission-driven businesses grow and deliver social impact at scale. SIS Ventures will shortly be recruiting a dedicated Impact 12 Senior Investment Manager whose initial focus will be fundraising.

The fund will launch later this year with an initial fundraising target of £8 million. The capital raised will be deployed to support up to fifteen social ventures from across the partner universities, with both seed and follow-on funding over the next ten years.

Impact 12 will tap into the growing interest in impact investing and the rise of social enterprise strategies within universities. It will fundraise among alumni networks as well as the wider impact investor community. Figures from the annual CASE-Ross Support for Education Survey showed that new philanthropic funds secured by UK and Irish higher education institutions reached £1.3 billion in 2019-20 – the third year running that new funds secured from philanthropic sources have remained higher than £1 billion since the report’s inception in 2000.

With mission-driven companies increasingly out-performing more traditional business models, funding from Impact 12 will help meet a clear need for early-stage finance among university social ventures, which often lack the financial support of traditional university spinouts or start-ups.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford said: “I am delighted to see the growing emphasis on social ventures. Over the past three years, 11 companies targeting six of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals have emerged from the four Divisions of the University. Combining applied research with sustainable economics they address some of the critical issues of the day. Impact 12 will align Oxford’s research and innovation expertise with the community experience of our partner institutions and advance the progress of social ventures far beyond Oxfordshire’s borders.”

Professor Stephen J Toope, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge said: “Cambridge is proud to join forces with sister universities to launch Impact 12, a powerful partnership for social ventures to expand their networks and scale up their work. The social ventures supported by our 12 universities will be at the forefront of creating change and finding solutions to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Professor Nick Petford, Vice-Chancellor, University of Northampton commented: “The University of Northampton is delighted to be part of the Impact 12 partnership, supporting impact driven start-ups, spin-outs and community enterprises through innovative impact investment products. Our mission at the University is focused on ‘Transforming Lives and Inspiring Change’, a mantra that will be further bolstered by our work together on Impact 12. We see this new fund as an innovative initiative that will demonstrate the impact that higher education institutions can deliver in partnership with impact driven organisations like SIS Ventures.”

Alastair Davis, CEO, SIS said: “At a time when global economies are still suffering the impacts of the pandemic, Impact 12 provides a new and exciting vehicle for helping to support and fund some of the very best mission-driven businesses spinning out of universities’ research labs and accelerators. For SIS Ventures, this fund also marks a new opportunity to realise our ambition of entering new markets where we feel able to support impact creation. Through our collaboration with these twelve universities, we believe we can create considerable impact by supporting mission-aligned businesses which have the potential to be the cornerstone of our economy in years to come.”

For more information on Impact12 visit

A Groundbreaking Tech Valuation Tool: Oxvalue.Ai Harnesses The Power Of Data To Determine The Worth Of A Technology With Unparalleled Precision

The launch of the Oxvalue.Ai is taking place via Zoom on 25th June 2021 as part of the International Investment and Innovation Forum in partnership with

accelerator,, business innovation, digital transformation, event, incubator, openbusinesscouncil, university of oxford
A Groundbreaking Tech Valuation Tool: Oxvalue.Ai Harnesses The Power Of Data To Determine The Worth Of A Technology With Unparalleled Precision

OxValue.AI, a big data based company, originated from groundbreaking research from the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD),  in University of Oxford, will offer a novel way of determining the monetary value of a technology (pre or post patent grant) to fill a significant gap in existing methods, and potentially creating a decision-making tool for investors.

A variety of methods are currently used to work out what new technologies are worth, from simple financial formulas to highly complex techniques. However, the existing methods have significant drawbacks: they are either subject to assumptions of future income, or rely on subjective assessments, or based on past investment and do not reflect the value of creativity and novelty, or are purely theoretical and cannot be used in practice. This means they tend to have poor predictive power.

OxValue.AI will launch and pioneer a new approach drawing on significant quantities of data. OxValue.AI is designed to commercialise the VEST (Valuation of Early-Stage Technology) Tool, which leverages big data of startup companies and patents, initially in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry. The VEST tool is also an algorithm that can estimate the monetary value of a technology (pre or post patent grant).

VEST was developed in a research project led by Professor Xiaolan Fu – Professor of Technology and International Development, University of Oxford and Chair of OxValue.AI. The researchers created a database that matched all UK start-ups – defined as being less than five years old between 2006 and 2015 – with records of patents granted in the relevant technology fields by the world’s major patent grant offices during the same time period.

The OxValue.AI will provide the service to value technology companies based on how the characteristics of the patents, the characteristics of the companies themselves, and the market into which the technology was introduced explained variability in their ultimate value. The model was able to explain around 85% of the variations in the value of technologies owned by the start-ups in the database and will now be used to support companies in doing their own evaluations. The founding members including Professor Xiaolan Fu, the director of the TMCD, as the Chair of the Board, Professor Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, Head of Oxford Department of International Development, and Board Member of the company, and Professor Yu Xiong, Associate Dean International at University of Surrey, and Managing Director for the company.

‘The model has already proven itself to have a highly accurate predictive power, especially for technologies at an early stage of commercialisation,’ said Professor Fu, Chair of OxValue.AI. ‘It also uses completely objective data, which is a significant improvement on existing methods.’

The International Investment and Innovation Forum

OxValue.AI will be launched during the International Investment and Innovation Forum taking place via Zoom on Friday 25th June 2021 in partnership with The forum and launch will be run in partnership with the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD) at the Department for International Development, University of Oxford (ODID), and the fast-growing open business platform, a Leading Global Digital Business Directory Certification and Marketplace platform. Created by a team of global thought and business leaders with more than 20 years of experience working with governments, business networks, tech ecosystems, universities, we offer a business directory submission and digital blockchain AI certificate for businesses and professionals.

Notable speakers to address this event will include Prof. Xiaolan Fu, Director of TMCD at  Oxford University; Prof Diego Sanchez Ancorchea, Head of ODID at Oxford University; The Pro Vice Chancellor of Oxford University; Lord Tim Clement Jones, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence; Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Head of Economics and Statistics Division, WIPO; Co-Editor, Global Innovation Index; Eugene Qian, Chairman of UBS Securities; Dr. Junmin Kong, CEO of IPRUN; Vernon Sankey, Director Board Of Directors, Atos SE and Chris Fellingham, Oxford University Innovation and Mr Dinis Guarda, the Chairman of Open Business Council. Government representatives like Mr. Shabbir Ali Qureshi – Minister of State for Housing and Works, Pakistan and Ms Dzuleira Abu Bakar – Group CEO at Technology Park Malaysia Corporation, will also attend to the event as speakers.

openbusinesscouncil is pound to co-organize the launch event.

Details of the event can be found below:

Date: 25/06/2021
Time: 11:00 am-1pm (GMT+1, London)

To register for the event, please visit:

For more information about the technology and this event:


About TMCD Technology Management Center For Development

About ODID Oxford Department for International Development

About openbusinesscouncil

Europe’s Top 500 Companies: Brand Finance Reveals Auto Mobile Brands Dominate Europe

auto mobile, brand finance, brexit, European Fashion, Ferrari, Mercedes

Brand Finance has released its list of Europe’s top 500 most valuable and powerful brands. According to the Brand Finance ranking, European retail’s biggest brands are largely consistent with auto mobile brands, with Ferrari and Mercedes being the two largest brands in Europe.  

auto mobile, brand finance, brexit, European Fashion, Ferrari, Mercedes

For the first time, Brand Finance’s list has expanded to cover the continent’s 500 most valuable brands, allowing comparisons to the world’s two other main economies – the United States and China. The United States is in a league of its own, with its top 500 companies having a total brand worth of €3.40 trillion. While Europe comes in second place, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has undermined its standing and China is quickly catching up, with its top 500 brands totaling €1.65 trillion in brand value.

The Coronavirus has decimated Europe and the rest of the world, and the impact on the continent’s leading brands cannot be overstated, with the overall brand value of the top 500 rankings dropping 10% year on year. The epidemic has put Europe’s leading companies to the test; some have genuinely flourished and benefited as customers’ behaviors have radically changed. In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.

Ferrari Impact as Europe’s Strongest Brand

auto mobile, brand finance, brexit, European Fashion, Ferrari, Mercedes According to these criteria, Ferrari is Europe’s strongest brand. The brand responded to the epidemic in a consistent way, initially shutting down production and then restarting with an emphasis on providing a safe working environment. This reduced disturbance whilst still reinforcing the brand’s reputation as a high-quality and responsible company. In line with this, Ferrari ranks high for reputation in our Global Brand Equity Monitor study, particularly in Western Europe (in the top 3 of all brands researched in France, Italy, and the UK). Ferrari remains a highly desired brand, albeit aspirational rather than accessible for many.

Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value. As Ferrari’s brand strength maintained its rating, its brand value dropped only slightly, down 4% to €7.9 billion. For years, Ferrari has utilized merchandise to support brand awareness and diversify revenue streams and is now taking steps to preserve the exclusivity of the brand, planning to reduce current licensing agreements by 50% and eliminate 30% of product categories.

Automobiles speed as Europe’s strongest sector

Automobiles are the most valuable sector across the continent, with the 27 brands that feature in the Brand Finance Europe 500 2021 ranking accounting for 14% of the total brand value (€237.7 billion). German brands still command the auto industry across Europe, with the seven brands represented totaling an impressive €171.5 billion or three-quarters of the sector’s total. Mercedes-Benz once again leads the pack as the most valuable brand in Europe, with a brand value of €49.6 billion. Volkswagen (down 1% to €40.0 billion), BMW (down 6% to €34.4 billion), and Porsche (down 5% to €29.2 billion) all claim places in the top 10 in 3rd, 5th, and 6th respectively.

Despite keeping its position at the top, Mercedes-Benz has seen its brand value fall by 16% this year. Most conventional vehicle manufacturers, including Mercedes, have had a rough year, with sales affected by COVID-19. The legendary German automaker also failed to develop a cohesive electric mobility strategy and express a clear vision for its electric vehicle models.

Volkswagen has yielded better results, with its brand value dropping by only 1%. The brand has maintained its focus on its ‘New Volkswagen’ strategy, which has been regarded as a new era for the brand, as well as its TOGETHER 2025+ vision, with the eventual goal of selling 50 distinct fully-electric cars and another 30 plug-in hybrid choices.

The retail sector posts brand value growth

Bucking the trend across Europe’s largest industries, the retail sector has recorded a 4% uptick in cumulative brand value. It is the third most valuable sector, behind autos and banking, with the 49 brands that feature accounting for 9% of the total brand value.

Unsurprisingly, various types of retailers have been impacted by the pandemic differently, as consumer habits have been forced to change. Notably, delivery apps and e-commerce platforms are among the fastest growers in the ranking this year. Delivery apps have benefited from the displacement of hospitality spend, where demand for quality food and small indulgences cannot be fulfilled by lockdown-hit restaurants and bars, with consumers turning to takeaways.

Germany’s Delivery Hero is the fastest-growing brand in the ranking, following an impressive 148% brand value growth to €3.2 billion. Similarly, Just Eat is the second-fastest-growing brand, up 112% to €2.5 billion.

Nevertheless, brick-and-mortar retailers IKEA (down 13% to €15.3 billion), Aldi, and Lidl still claim the podium for the sector’s most valuable brands. The German supermarket rivals have posted contrasting results, however, with Aldi recording a 2% increase in brand value and Lidl a 14% decrease.

Aldi (brand value €13.2 billion) has embarked on a foray into the online retail space, successfully pivoting its offering in the face of the pandemic. The same strategy has not been undertaken by Lidl (brand value €9.6 billion), with the CEO of the UK arm, Christian Härtnagel, arguing the pandemic has artificially inflated demand for online shopping and that the costs are simply too high.

With the nation’s 65 brands making up 25% of the total brand value in the ranking, Germany is well ahead of the pack. France sits in second, with 91 brands featuring and their brand value equating to 20% of the total. Orange (down 1% to €16.3 billion), Total (down 26% to €15.4 billion), and AXA (up 1% to €14.8 billion) are the top three most valuable French brands, claiming 13th, 15th, and 19th spots, respectively. Orange has continued its focus on the deployment of 5G, which as of the beginning of 2021, is present in 160 cities.

auto mobile, brand finance, brexit, European Fashion, Ferrari, Mercedes  Is Brexit putting the United Kingdom upon on combative?

In spite of having the most brands represented, the United Kingdom is the only major economy to lose companies from the ranking this year, with nine names dropping out. The true impact of Britain’s official withdrawal from the European Union in January 2020 is unknown, especially considering the previous year’s economic insecurity.

A total of 334 brands, or over two-thirds of the top 500, are from the EU, a figure that has decreased significantly since the UK’s departure. There are just 22 brands from Central and Eastern Europe represented in total. The bulk of these brands are from Russia, which accounts for 2% of the overall brand value in the list.

University Of Oxford’s TMCD And openbusinesscouncil To Co-Organize The International Investment and Innovation Forum On June, 25

International Investment Innovation Forum, forum, online event, TMCD, University of Oxford

The International Investment Innovation Forum is a prestigious annual conference, co-organised this year by openbusinesscouncil and the Technology and Management Centre for Development (TMCD) – part of the Oxford Department for International Development (ODID), University of Oxford

International Investment Innovation Forum International Investment Innovation Forum, forum, online event, TMCD, University of Oxfords
University Of Oxford’s TMCD And openbusinesscouncil To Co-Organize The International Investment and Innovation Forum On June, 25

Due to be held online on 25 June, the International Investment Innovation Forum has long played host to such groundbreaking technological advances and provided them with concrete financial support, from guest investors to incubators. Taking place at the end of the month, the Forum will bring together a rich ecosystem of thought leaders, tech innovators and business magnates.

The opening session will be presided over by Professor Xiaolan Fu, Director of TMCD, and feature high-profile speakers: Professor Chas Bountra, Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation at the University of Oxford; Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Co-Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence; Dr Eugene Quian, Chairman of UBS Securities; and Dr Sacha Wunsch-Vincent, Head of the Economics and Statistics Division at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and Co-Editor of the Global Innovation Index.

The keynote session, chaired by Professor Diego Sanchez Ancorchea, Head of ODID. Keynote speakers include Mr Dinis Guarda, Chairman of Open Business Council; Dr Junmin Kong, CEO of Ciprun; and Sonia Kabir, Founder of SBK Foundation and Ignite Fund. The Forum will end with a talk from Chris Fellingham, Licensing & Ventures Manager at Oxford University Innovation.

Other speakers that will take part in the forum include Vernon Sankey, Director Board Of Directors, Atos SE and top government officials like Mr. Shabbir Ali Qureshi – Minister of State for Housing and Works, Pakistan and Ms Dzuleira Abu Bakar – Group CEO at Technology Park Malaysia Corporation.

The Forum will also host the launch of OxValue.AI, a spin out social enterprise from the University offering a new way to determine the monetary value of a technology pre or post patent grant. OxValue.AI aims to facilitate the transfer of technology to developing countries as well as fund research within TMCD (Oxford). Professor Xiaolon Fu will introduce OxValue.AI while Professor Yu Xiong, Associate Dean International at Surrey University, presides over the launch and MoU signing.

As one of the fastest-growing digital business directory certifications and marketplaces, OBC coordinates global thought and business leaders with over twenty years of experience working with governments, business networks, tech ecosystems and universities, offering a business directory submission and digital blockchain AI certificate for both professionals and corporations. Joining forces with the TMCD centre of University of Oxford will create an unparalleled database of intelligence, knowledge and savoir faire regarding AI and its practical applications in financial scenarios such as funding, accounting and valuation.

Details of the event can be found below

Date: 25/06/2021
Time: 11:00 am-1pm (GMT+1, London)

Register for this event for free

For more information about this event


About TMCD Technology Management Center For Development

About ODID Oxford Department for International Development

About openbusinesscouncil

The Magna Carta Island International Innovation Centre To Support Businesses And Foster Tech & Scientific Innovation

Magna Carta Island, Magna Carta Society 5.0, International Innovation Centre, UKIIC, IIC, International Cooperation Forum

Established in 2018 by Mr Chen Yuanfeng and fellow Chinese entrepreneurs, the Magna Carta Island International Innovation Center (IIC) promotes new knowledge, technologies, products and industries, as well as cultural advancements and system innovations. The IIC held its International Cooperation Forum recently, presided over by Professor Xiong Yu, where it explored deeper Sino-British scientific and technological cooperation in the future, with a keynote speech from Dinis Guarda on ‘Global Europe Innovation outlook and building a Society 5.0 Magna Carta’.

Magna Carta Island, Magna Carta Society 5.0, International Innovation Centre, UKIIC, IIC, International Cooperation Forum
Attendants in International Cooperation Forum held by IIC in Magna Carta Island

An article written by Hernaldo Turrillo and William Hosie.

The Magna Carta Island International Innovation Center (IIC)

The Magna Carta Island International Innovation Center (IIC) is headquartered on Magna Carta Island, which strongly befits its ambitions. Signed on 15 June 1215, on the island to which it gave its name, the Magna Carta is famous for being the first legal document in history to restrict the power of a King. Before the American Declaration of Independence (1776) or the French Declaration of the Rights of the Man and of the Citizen (1789), there was the Magna Carta. For eight centuries, it has borne a profound influence on legal charters and emancipatory movements across the world, and is still considered a symbol of freedom, of change and of progress.

The IIC continues in this vein, gathering the brightest and most innovative minds from the top universities and national institutions, as well as world-class tech-based companies and venture capital firms.

The IIC has four major functions centered on the following pillars overall: scientific research, technological innovation, industry and cultural leadership.

Scientific research and technological innovation functions are two pillars to drive commercialisation and transformation through product, market and management innovation.

The third pillar is industry. The IIC believes that the incubation and commercialisation of new technologies will not only promote new industries, but also promote the transformation and upgrading of traditional industries, especially manufacturing industries, and improve the economic competitiveness of cities and countries. The final pillar is cultural leadership. The IIC takes the view that technological advancement and industrial innovation will lead to new ways of production and lifestyle, and create a new business culture, thus leading cultural development around the world.

The World’s Leading Think Tank

By bringing the elite of British business and academia together with Chinese entrepreneurship, the IIC has become the premier of think tanks; its international teamwork radiating outwards into global influence. Its high-quality research findings, along with key strategic advice, have left an indelible mark in the UK and Europe, while playing an important role in promoting Chinese talent overseas. This mission is shared with the Taizhou Bay Sino-British Innovation Centre. With its newly inaugurated London base, the Taizhou Bay Sino-British Innovation is now in a perfect place to promote collaboration between the brightest British and Chinese minds and attract talent and investment to the burgeoning Taizhou Bay New Area.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the IIC has built many partnerships. One of the most interesting is that with Henry Business School at the University of Reading, and Huawei Institute of Information and Network Technology at the University of Reading; this particular partnership was focused on creating elite training programs that combine traditional business education with the latest ICT cutting-edge innovation to train innovative business talents. One of the more recent partnerships is with technology platforms citiesabc, intelligenthq and openbusinesscouncil, all under the auspices of CEO and serial author Dinis Guarda, who was invited as a guest speaker at the IIC’s International Cooperation Forum.

The International Cooperation Forum

The UK International Innovation Centre (IIC) held its International Cooperation Forum at its Magna Carta Island headquarters on Sunday 30 May 2021. The Forum was co-hosted with the Taizhou Bay Sino-British Innovation Centre, with the launching ceremony taking place on Sunday afternoon. Attendants included:

º The Distinguished Professor Josef Kittler, PhD in Pattern Recognition from the University of Cambridge, Founder of the Surrey Centre for Vision, Speech and Signal Processing, and member of the Royal Academy of Engineering.
º Dr Dinis Guarda, Chairman of the British Global Open Chamber of Commerce and Co-Founder of citiesabc, intelligenthq and openbusinesscouncil.
º Mr Wenjing Zeng, Founder and Director of Skyline Group.
Dr Salman Valibeik of Imperial College London, Co-Founder and CEO of Orpiva (an AI technology company).
º Ying Liangzhong, Deputy Secretary of the Party Working Committee of Thaizou Bay New Area.
º Zhang Jinlong, Chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in China.
º Cai Hongbing, Dean and Chair of Economics at Hong Kong University Business School.

Keynote Speeches

Magna Carta Island, Magna Carta Society 5.0, International Innovation Centre, UKIIC, IIC, International Cooperation Forum
A keynote speech from Dinis Guarda on ‘Global Europe Innovation outlook and building a society 5.0 Magna Carta’.

The forum was presided over by Professor Xiong Yu, Chair Professor of the University of Surrey Business School and Director of the Innovation and Industry University Research Centre. The discussion mainly focused on exploring deeper Sino-British scientific and technological cooperation in the future, with a keynote speech from Dinis Guarda on ‘Global Europe Innovation outlook and building a society 5.0 Magna Carta’. Punning on the name of the think tank and its headquarters, Dr Guarda emphasised the importance of developing technology from a human-centric perspective. His Magna Carta on the future of society combines game-changing innovations like the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence and big data, with real, human-centric problem solving, in order to build a harmonious and sustainable world..

Dinis Guarda believes that China is a place where high-tech lends itself to practical application scenarios particularly well, and looks forward to exploring more opportunities for cooperation through the Taizhou Bay Sino-British Innovation Centre. The partnership struck between Guarda’s businesses and the IIC will promote the advancement of technology in areas as diverse as smart city indexes, NFTs and even healthcare – all fields where the benefits are chiefly human. This thought was echoed by Professor Kittler, who was profoundly marked by China’s rapid progress and eye for innovation when he visited in 1986.

The second keynote speech came from Dr. Salman Valibeik, and focused on “Future of Social Innovation”, using actual cases to show the richer application scenarios of high tech. For example, he demonstrated how AI technology can be used by brands. AI can identify which internet celebrities are more suitable for a certain brand’s image; or to create a series of high-exposure copywriting to enhance customers’ awareness of a brand; or to increase product exposure; provide planning activities; create content and data monitoring services; etc.

As demonstrated by the keynote speeches, the forum was a lightning rod for forward-thinking intellect and futurist perspectives on new technologies; a rich ecosystem of thought leaders building the world of tomorrow. Concrete measures were taken to pave the way towards progress: on behalf of Taizhou Bay Sino-British Innovation Center, Professor Xiong Yu signed a talent project cooperation agreement with Academician Josef Kittler; a strategic cooperation agreement with Mr. Zeng Wenjing, the founder of Skyline Group; and a third with Dr. Dinis Guarda.

These partnerships have the power to transform domestic and overseas scientific and technological achievements, and foster an era of Sino-British collaboration to foreground what Guarda refers to as ‘Society 5.0’: an era where intelligence is heightened and embedded in technological objects and utilised for the benefit of mankind.

What Does NFTs Mean For Businesses? The NFTs Business Live Event Provided A Masterclass On NFTs

NFTs Business

The NFTs Business Live event featured worldwide blockchain and industry experts like Eric Ma, Patrick Tan, Prashant Surna and Javed Khattak. The live roundtable, where the experts talked in-depth about NFTs marketplaces, trading opportunities and characteristics and the future of the NFTs market can be watched on Dinis Guarda Youtube Channel.

NFTs are taking the world by storm, especially in digital artwork and collectives, revolutionizing the production and distribution of these. New marketplaces are being created, allowing designers to distribute their digital artwork in a more democratic and fairer way for all parties, thanks mainly to blockchain technology. But what do NFTs mean for businesses and how can businesses jump into this trend and embrace this revolution?

To explore this area in more depth, openbusinesscouncil and citiesabc CEO Dinis Guarda hosted an event featuring leading blockchain and industry experts. The live event focused on this trend and turned out a masterclass that answer key questions arising around NFTs, including:

1.The holistic power of NFTs business

2.NFTs solutions

3.The current state of the NFTs market

4.NFTs trading and where to find NFTs markets

5.Trading properties of NFTs

NFTs Business Live Speakers

Dinis Guarda 

Dinis Guarda is an author, CEO, and founder of the companies ztudium, techabc, and open business council platform. Dinis is a world-renowned thought leader, strategist, futurist and speaker, an International Bestselling Author, and a media personality who covers the present and future of business, technology and society.

Eric Ma

Eric Ma is the CEO of BTCU. In this position he got his project management capacities and foundations of working with teams and strategy. After this experience he worked in human resources and managed a big network of education in a major group out of Taiwan. Between 2018-2019 Eric became Community Manager for CoinMarketCap – the world’s leading platform source for crypto market capitalizations, pricing and information. 

Patrick Tan

Patrick Tan is the CEO of Novum Alpha, an all-weather digital asset trading firm that uses Deep Learning tools to deliver dollar-returns in all market conditions. Patrick is a lawyer and was called to the Singapore Bar in 2005. Specializing in blockchain technology law, he was previously with one of Singapore’s top blockchain technology law firms. He analyzes and manages legal risks related to cryptocurrency trading and his writing is regularly featured in leading publications.

Prashant Surana

Prashat Surana is a serial entrepreneur in AI and Blockchain. He is a Crypto Advisor for the Government of Montenegro and the Co-founder of Snapper Blockchain. “Snapper is India’s Most Promising Blockchain Tech and Innovation Startup” – CIO Review.

Javed Khattak

Javed Khattak is a London based business consultant who advises start-ups, small businesses and large companies worth over £100 billion on strategy, finance, and technology. He is a  qualified actuary (FIA), an award winning C-suite executive, a board member and a successful serial entrepreneur with a breadth of experience, including advising and working with senior management of FTSE100 companies and global household brands like HSBC, Thomson Reuters, GSK, M&S, Aviva, PwC and PA Consulting Group.

Established brands are joining the NFT market, including the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Sotheby’s auction house. For instance, Christie’s sold a digital artwork for $69 million in JPEG form by an artist called Beeple, called “Everydays – The First 5000 Days”, which turned out to be the third most expensive artwork that has ever been sold by a living artist.

If you want to know more about NFTs, watch the roundtable now on Dinis Guarda YouTube Channel.

About Dinis Guarda YouTube Channel

Dinis Guarda is a fast growing Youtube channel that features thought leadership interviews focused on profiling global leading inspiring people, leaders, CEOs, authors, technologists, academics. The channel also features academic-based short videos where Dinis Guarda highlights the ideas, products, inventions, software, books & solutions to the multiple challenges / opportunities faced in our cities with the advent of Society 5.0, Digital Transformation 4IR AI Blockchain Fintech IoT disruptive tech.

Tech lessons learnt from Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Thursday 20th March 2021 marked the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day, created to prompt the discussion about digital access and inclusion across technology, digital tools, assets and software around the world.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Following a day of talks and awareness-raising, inclusive user design experts are encouraging organisations to examine their digital products and services going forwards to identify and fix any accessibility issues and embed inclusion deep into their processes.

Hilary Stephenson, managing director at human-centred design agency, Nexer Digital, said: “With more than one billion people across the globe living with disabilities or impairments and society becoming increasingly reliant on digital, it is crucial to raise awareness of digital inclusion so that everyone has equal access to a positive online experience.

“To mark the tenth Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I would urge all digital designers and developers to review their products and services, work with and employ disabled people and consult with accessibility experts to ensure that they are doing all they can to make their resources inclusive.

“There are some simple, easily rectifiable accessibility failures that are still littering webpages, for example a shocking 86% of homepages use low contrast text, which can cause problems for people with impaired vision. Similarly, evolving technologies such as facial and voice recognition used to authenticate users can cause problems for those with accessibility needs if they are not designed and tested with a neurodiverse audience in mind.

“When reexamining their design, organisations must not be tempted to add accessible features, such as closed captions on videos, on top of an otherwise non-inclusive service as this will perpetuate the notion of accessibility as an afterthought. Designers should regularly audit their content, scrutinise accessibility, seek user feedback and make changes wherever necessary.

“In the modern-day with technology advancing at such a rapid pace, it is critical that those with disabilities are considered throughout every step of the digital products and services creation process so that no one gets left behind. This includes everything from the systems used to host digital services, the content within and the overall design. With all our modern innovations, there is no excuse for poor, exclusive, inaccessible digital design.”

Chainlink Becomes First Blockchain Company to Join Hedera Governing Council

Chainlink, Chainlink joins Hedera, Hedera, LINK

Chainlink Furthers Enterprise Focus, Joins Hedera Governing Council. Companies To Explore Enterprise Use Cases, Including Bridging Traditional Finance to DeFi.

Chainlink, Chainlink joins Hedera, Hedera, LINK

Chainlink, the industry-leading oracle solution, has joined the Hedera Governing Council, which oversees distributed governance of the Hedera network. Chainlink and Hedera will implement a series of initiatives aimed at helping traditional, centralized financial services and other organizations harness the distributed computational trust, visibility, and control that decentralized applications offer.

Chainlink, which serves as a secure blockchain middleware for powering a wide variety of enterprise users, will be the preferred oracle partner for the Hedera network and will collaborate to provide Chainlink integration with the Hedera Token Service (HTS).

David Post, Managing Director of Business Development and Strategy for Chainlink Labs, said, “As enterprise adoption of distributed ledger technology continues to advance, decentralized oracle solutions become critical for every vertical – from DeFi and insurance, to gaming and NFTs, and more. We’re continuing to expand our suite of smart contract-related services to power a vast array of secure, feature-rich applications, so it is a very natural progression for us to join the Hedera Governing Council and work with the leading enterprise-grade public network and their other Council members to make Chainlink the default oracle provider for enterprise applications.

Mance Harmon, CEO and Co-founder of Hedera Hashgraph, said, “As the most widely adopted decentralized oracle solution in the market today, Chainlink is already used to secure billions of dollars in assets for applications around the globe. Their potential on the Hedera network, which is already the most used enterprise-grade public network, is limitless. We are excited to be expanding our relationship with Chainlink, which will be the first Web 3.0 company on the Hedera Governing Council, to enable the most robust applications of the decentralized future.”

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Uphold Challenge Tesla To Adopt Carbon-Neutral BTC, BitcoinZero

Uphold, Tesla, Elon Musk, Bitcoin, Carbon, BitcoinZero
  • BitcoinZero (BTC0) is an ERC-20 token delivering Bitcoin with net zero emissions; real Bitcoin, net-zero emissions
  • There is no other way to do Bitcoin more sustainably, today, than through BitcoinZero

Uphold, Tesla, Elon Musk, Bitcoin, Carbon, BitcoinZero

Addressing Elon Musk’s concerns over the environmental impact of Bitcoin, multi-currency investment platform Uphold and the Universal Protocol Alliance have offered up their carbon-net-neutral version of Bitcoin, BitcoinZero as an alternative. And Uphold is willing to give away 5 brand-new Teslas to those who get the message to Elon Musk.

Uphold’s carbon-neutral take on BTC, aptly known as BitcoinZero (BTC0), employs carbon credits to mitigate the amount of carbon produced by a single Bitcoin. It does so by combining real Bitcoin with the retiring of 10 carbon credits — equal to retiring 10 tonnes of CO2 from REDD+ rainforest projects.

BitcoinZero was launched by the Universal Protocol Alliance (UPA), a coalition of leading blockchain companies including Bittrex Global, CertiK, Fifth Era, Hard Yaka, Trovio, Ledger, and Uphold.

Uphold is so convinced that BTC0 can alleviate concerns around Bitcoin’s sweeping environmental impact that they’re taking the challenge to Musk himself.

Uphold CEO JP Thieriot said: “We have the solution. If you come to Uphold and buy some BTC0 and allow Tesla to take payment in the form of this carbon-neutral, rainforest preserving bitcoin, Uphold will buy 5 new Teslas and give them away to those Uphold users who do the most to get this message out there.”

Estimates from the University of Cambridge suggest that Bitcoin mining consumes over 149 Terawatt Hours (Twh) annually — consuming more electricity annually than the whole of Argentina.

While hopes remain that Bitcoin miners will switch to sustainable and renewable energy sources, it’s a solution unlikely to tackle the issue any time soon, or in its entirety.

“Rather than waiting for Bitcoin to draw from more sustainable sources for electricity, we’ve gone out and done something we believe is much better,” said Thieriot. “We’ve put the highest-quality rainforest preservation derived credits there to mitigate emissions completely. BitcoinZero is absolutely the only immediately available solution.”

Wellness: A Strict Bedtime Routine Following The Pandemic Is Crucial

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Experts have identified excessive screen time caused by the pandemic as a major issue for a poor sleep, based on findings from a brand-new study on national sleep quality.

wellness, strict bed time, bed time

  • A national 76% increase in screen time during the pandemic is having a significant impact on sleep quality and routine, experts warn.
  • Sleep scientists and psychologists urge Brits to combat disruptive light levels from technology, switch off from work and establish a healthy sleep routine.
  • This follows findings that light exposure is one of the key factors behind poor sleep, with all parts of the UK vulnerable to disruptive artificial light pollution.
  • Increased screen time stems from multi-screening, as remote workers now sit in front of the TV while working on laptops – doubling blue light exposure – alongside higher usage of mobiles and PCs for Facetime and Zoom calls with friends and family

Alert on excessive screen time

Increased use of mobiles and laptops to work and socialise could greatly impact restless Brits’ long-term productivity and restfulness. Studies show it takes around 23 minutes and 15 seconds to focus back on a task once you’ve been distracted by tech – including winding down for bed.

Brits are spending more time in front of multiple screens now than ever before – deemed multi-screening – as remote workers and students are now able to sit in front of TVs while simultaneously using a smartphone, laptop or tablet for work. Furthermore, with bars, restaurants and cinemas opening slowly and many closing early in the evening, many of us are still socialising digitally via Facetime, Zoom or Discord while playing games.

Artificial light – one of the reasons for a poor sleep

In fact, artificial light was found to be the most disruptive factor when trying to sleep, as high levels of light pollution disrupt essential sleep-wake cycles. According to the NHS, this can result in poor focus, impaired decision-making and an increased injury risk

This artificial light exposure is exacerbated by the increased screen time seen during the pandemic, and the associated higher blue light disruption. Latest figures showing that the average person picks up their phone 58 times per day – 48% of which take place outside of working hours.

This is a particular concern for young professionals and students, as excessive screen time is also linked to strained eyesight, reduced fitness levels, and increased anxiety.

The WakeUpWell study, conducted by Blinds Direct, analysed light pollution levels, sun hours and mean temperatures in key locations to establish which parts of England experience the lowest quality of sleep, and advises Brits on how they can combat it.

How to get back to a good night’s sleep

Experts warn that it’s crucial for Brits to prioritise a strict sleep schedule when returning to the office, to avoid commuter fatigue and subsequent drops in productivity.

So, how can Brits increase their chances of getting a good night’s rest following this change in routine? Sleep scientists, coaches and psychologists weighed in, with their advice including that we:

  1. Establish and stick to a good sleep routine
  2. Reduce light exposure and limit screen time before bed3
  3. Prioritise switching off from work, and keeping professional and personal spaces separate where possible

Allana Wass, Certified Sleep Science Coach, says that establishing and sticking to a routine is paramount. She says: “Although it might be hard to go to bed and wake up at the same time, this is only at first. Once your body adjusts to a specific schedule, you won’t even have to catch up on sleep during the weekends.

“The thing is, sticking to a sleep schedule will allow your body to regulate its natural sleep and wake cycles easier. And with time, you will find it easier to fall asleep and wake up naturally.”

A strict bedtime routine 

Katherine Hall, Sleep Psychologist, says that a strict work-from-home routine is crucial – particularly as Brits start returning to the office. She adds: “If you have been routinely waking up slightly later since working from home, you may find waking up slightly earlier more difficult.

“With more and more people working from home during the pandemic, the line between ‘work’ and ‘home’ has become a lot blurrier. This may have led to excessive time spent in front of your phone, delaying sleep and impacting sleep quality.”

For Alex Savy, Certified Sleep Science Coach, light levels are the most impactful factor on sleep, as he says: “To improve one’s sleep quality, you need to control light exposure. Try to get enough daylight by sitting near the window during work or taking walks whenever you can (even on a foggy day, it still might do you some good).

“Additionally, you might want to limit your screen time and, ideally, avoid taking devices to bed. You can use a blue light filter in the evening for extra protection and dim the lights around the house a couple of hours before bedtime.”

Solutions for avoiding light pollution

Following the findings that Central London was named the least well-rested area in England based on light exposure, as it reported an average brightness value of 70 – 65% higher light pollution levels than seen in the most rested city, Newcastle – experts weighed in.

Thomas Croft, HR Manager at Blinds Direct adds: “The study has made it evident that it’s not easy to get a good night’s sleep regardless of where you live or what you do for a living, as all cities and regions are exposed to high levels of light pollution.

“With an imminent return to pre-pandemic life, and people returning to work after a long period of working from home, it’s crucial that we prioritise our sleep schedule and ensure our homes are conducive to a high quality of sleep. Whether it’s by investing in blackout blinds, or a new mattress; or limiting screen time.”

#WakeUpWell challenge

Alongside the study, Blinds Direct has launched #WakeUpWell, a social media competition that will see one lucky winner receive a brand new set of blinds worth £400. Head over to their Facebook or Twitter page for more details.

To see the full results of the analysis, please visit the #WakeUpWell study here: