New innovators champing at the bit

He was breathless, but determined.

This Navy veteran had worked an eight-hour shift until Saturday morning and then driven three hours from the Central Valley to participate in Catapult Innovation and Learning in San Jose.  The program was half over, but as soon as he got the attention of 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology selectees Mike Beasley, Arnold Brown and Ed Young, he began his elevator speech.

First, he  pulled out copiies of his resume which included a new bachelors degree in information technology.

While serving in the U.S. Navy, he had served aboard several ships as a LAN administrator a decade, but he had not been able to find work in the field as a civilian for the past four years.

Untapped talent like this veteran of America’s wars is the reason that the Catapult Innovation and Learning initiative announced Saturday a national innovation competition.  The format is to create applications and mental challenges for the new mobile rollout of the Blackbird browser.

Blackbird co-founders Brown and  Young said the browser has attained an audience of 500,000 unique users in its first 13 months, a number they hope to expand through a soon-to-be-announced alliance with the National Urban League to provide Blackbird as the default browser for NUL’s customer base around the country.

More details of the Catapult Innovation Competition will be laid out  during the business plan competition of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership of the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ  on March 31.

‘The reason we have provided this platform is to give expression to the talent of young people like this Navy veteran,” said Brown.

In two previous Catapult programs, technology icon Roy Clay had shared his pacesetting role in the development of Silicon Valley.