Posted at 8:00 PM
Created on October 30, 2015
How one MBE used government data to launch and grow a successful company.
Since his first full day in office, President Obama has prioritized making government more open and accountable, and has taken substantial steps to increase citizen participation, collaboration, and transparency. As a result, the “open government” initiative has required Federal Government agencies to release more information to the public and to make it easily accessible on digital platforms. That information, available on agency websites and from a dedicated website where you can access data from all agencies, can be a gold mine for entrepreneurs and business owners. Data.gov, the central site for U.S. Government data, is the perfect place to start. You can search for specific information or browse by topic. Kayak, LinkedIn, Realtor.com, Zillow, and Carfax are just a few well-known companies that rely upon the open government initiative and free access to data to provide services we know and use every day.
At our annual Minority Enterprise Development Week conference last week, Dr. James Stalker, president & CEO of Regional Earth System Predictability Research (RESPR) Inc. shared how he used open data to start his company. RESPR is an 11- year old high-tech small business located in Las Cruces, New Mexico; and is the umbrella company for WindForces, SunCloudConfuence, Perpetual Ideation, and Green Based Consulting. Here is a synopsis of what he told attendees:
One of the things that led him to start his own business in 2002 was working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he discovered that only 10% of the data collected for weather forecasting is actually used to forecast things like wind speed, temperature, and moisture. These observations (and data) come from stats, radar, satellites, and many other sources and have been collected by the Federal Government for over 50 years. Dr. Stalker found a way to use 90% of the data and now provides that information to industries that rely heavily upon weather and climate information. “We help them answer questions like, what are the scenarios likely over the next ten years? Is the weather going to be drier or wetter?”
MBDA is working with Dr. Stalker to expand his business and realize his dream of having a have a positive impact on agriculture, aviation, and energy conservation.