Adoption of Technology in the U.S., 1900 to Present | Blackrock Blog

This graph from the BlackRock Blog highlights the tech advances/consumer adoption paradigm.  Every day, the runway gets shorter particularly for low capital/upfront costs (to the consumer) technologies.


NRECA explores viability of co-ops achieving 100 percent renewable energy portfolio | NCBA

NCBA CLUSA was pleased to report last year that Washington, D.C. residents living east of the Anacostia River were organizing the region’s first solar cooperative—the co-op business model was appealing to homeowners skeptical of solar company representatives’ promises. In a new study, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) explores the viability of co-ops achieving a 100 percent renewable energy portfolio, focusing primarily on solar power.

Read the feature here:

John McCain: Salute to a Communist | New York Times

From The New York Times, March 24, 2016, by Senator John McCain:

Mr. Berg went to Spain when he was a very young man. He fought in some of the biggest and most consequential battles of the war. He sustained wounds. He watched friends die. He knew he had ransomed his life to a lost cause, for a people who were strangers to him, but to whom he felt an obligation, and he did not quit on them. Then he came home, started a cement and stonemasonry business and fought for the things he believed in for the rest of his long life.

I don’t believe in most of the things that Mr. Berg did, except this. I believe, as Donne wrote, “no man is an island, entire of itself.” He is “part of the main.” And I believe “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”

So was Mr. Berg. He didn’t need to know for whom the bell tolls. He knew it tolled for him. And I salute him. Rest in peace.

Read the full piece: Salute to a Communist.

The Global Risks Interconnections Map 2016

Visit the World Economic Forum site for a look at their interesting “map” of how global risks are interconnected.


At Spain’s Door, a Welcome Mat for Entrepreneurs | The New York Times

The New York Times recently reported on a 2013 Spanish law hoping to boost entrepreneurship:

Ms. Carr, 42, a Californian who has traveled extensively in Europe, long dreamed of living and working there. But as the founder of a start-up company and as an American citizen, she assumed that it would be “next to impossible” to get a work permit at a time when many European economies were struggling to rebound from the financial crisis.

Then she learned of a law that Spain’s government passed in September 2013 to help domestic businesses and to woo foreign talent and investment. It included a visa category for foreign entrepreneurs, requiring them to have little more than a government-vetted business plan, health insurance and enough money to support themselves while living in Spain.

“I thought the entrepreneurship visa was exactly what I needed,” she said.

Read the article, “At Spain’s Door, a Welcome Mat for Entrepreneurs.”

Economic development promotes democracy, but there’s a catch |

From The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage:

“I provide evidence for another. Paradoxically, high economic growth and the high national income it—ultimately—causes have counterposed effects: the first entrenches the dictator, while the second undermines the dictatorship. Vigorous growth—which boosts household incomes and government revenues—enhances the incumbent’s survival odds. Thus, dictators have a personal interest in growth. But over time that same growth changes society and the ruling elite in ways that make it more likely the regime will collapse after the dictator is gone. What’s good for the dictator is not so good for his dynasty.”

Read the post, “Economic development promotes democracy, but there’s a catch.”

The Innovation Economy Must Include Everyone | ID8 Nation

MAPA Group Partner Bill Generett wrote about economic inclusiveness for ID8 Nation:

Today, a disturbing commonality unites our nation’s high-growth regional economies. African Americans, Latinos and many women are not benefitting from the prosperity created in these economies. This economic disconnect and the resulting economic imbalance has created two separate and different societies around race, class and gender.

One society (Society No. 1) is made up of the direct beneficiaries of the economic prosperity created within the regions. It comprises a select class of highly educated white males and a small subset of equally elite minorities. This group owns the vast majority of the high-growth companies and fills the good jobs they create. The successful, high-growth companies in these regions are creating new economic development (expensive housing, high-end retail, good public schools and fine dining) that benefit the members of this society.

The other, much larger society (Society No. 2) is mostly comprised of women, Latinos, African Americans and disconnected white people. Their connection to the good jobs and high-growth entrepreneurial opportunities in Society No. 1 is insignificant. The largest job growth for Society No. 2 members is in low-wage service sector industries. Very little economic development has occurred in most of these communities. In a few instances, economic development in Society No. 1 does spread to Society No. 2, but when it does, it is often inequitable and provides few tangible benefits for the members of the latter.

Our nation’s inability to connect and expand the impact of Society No. 1 to its disconnected counterpart must be addressed. Regional economies can’t be strong or sustainable if large segments of their populations are not fully integrated into these economies. Stakeholders in high-growth regions must create clusters of high- growth entrepreneurial companies that create an economic impact that is broad, inclusive and transformational.

The year 2045, when the United States will be majority Latino and African American, is fast approaching and high-growth regions are not prepared. The regions that are successfully transforming their economies have every right to pause and celebrate wins. However, celebrations should be proportional to the size of the victory and the self-congratulation in many high-growth regions seems unnecessarily large. Confetti can obscure a region’s ability to see opportunities and threats. The demographic challenges that all regions face dictate that we move forward with a clear mind.

Read the entire article, The Innovation Economy Must Include Everyone.

Public-Private Partnerships | Center for American Progress

Understanding the Difference Between Procurement and Finance

A public-private partnership, or P3, is an alternative approach to infrastructure procurement for large-scale, complex projects that allows a private entity to exercise greater control and decision-making authority than it would be able to under a traditional procurement arrangement. A P3 approach allows the public sector to transfer some or all of the project development, design, construction, operational, and revenue risk to a private entity. When structured properly, a P3 agreement can leverage contractual penalties and rewards to increase the likelihood that the private entity will complete the project on time and on budget. Additionally, a long-term P3 deal may result in higher maintenance standards, since the contract obligates the state and concessionaire to uphold their responsibilities to the facility even when adverse economic or political conditions would otherwise lead to deferred maintenance and neglect.

Public-private partnerships exist on a spectrum with more or less private control depending on how the government structures the agreement. On the low end, a P3 approach may simply combine project design and construction into one contract. On the high end, the government may choose to grant additional responsibilities beyond design and construction to the private firm, such as operations, maintenance, and rehabilitation over 30 years or more.

A public-private partnership may or may not involve private financing. The most common forms of private financing are proceeds from a private-activity bond issuance and equity capital. Typically, private-activity bond proceeds cover a significant share of total project costs, while equity capital—the most expensive source of financing available—covers much less of the total cost.

Find more, including a link to the Public-Private Partnerships report, from the Center for American Progress.

Integrated Capital for Social Enterprises | Stanford Social Innovation Blog

Don Shaffer of RSF Social Finance writes on the Stanford Social Innovation Review Blog:

To build a thriving social enterprise sector, we need to rethink the purpose of capital and employ an integrated capital strategy. Integrated capital is the coordinated and collaborative use of different forms of capital (equity investments, loans, gifts, loan guarantees, and so on), often from different funders, to support a developing enterprise that’s working to solve complex social and environmental problems.

Integrated capital addresses the funding challenges social enterprises face in a number of ways: It allows for longer development times by including some types of investment that don’t need to make a return, such as grants. It gets enterprises through the “valley of death,” where they have a promising business model, technology, product, or service, but need more capital to realize its potential and don’t qualify for traditional financing. And when community foundations and local investors participate, integrated capital creates a community commitment to the enterprise’s success.

Read the entire post, Integrated Capital for Social Enterprises.

Worker Co-ops Need to Get to Scale? | Rooflines

Article by Steve Dubb on Mondragon, the growing worker coop movement in the U.S. and what’s needed to bring worker cooperatives to scale:

“Negotiating the balance between providing outside support and empowering worker-owners to be lead agents in their own success also requires clear communication. ‘The relationships between the developer, the co-op, and any other local partners must be carefully designed (usually by the developer) and understood and agreed to by all,’ Abell writes [in her recent report for The Democracy Collaborative, Worker Cooperatives: Pathways to Scale]. Five years is a common incubation period, with continuing supports (outside board members, ongoing training) even after the co-op is on its own.”

Read the article from Rooflines and find links to additional related resources.

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