Friday, December 25, 2009

Simple Mobile Services - Big Impact!

We all know how popular and widespread mobile phones have become in Africa, Tanzania in particular. However innovative mobile services have yet to catch on. This Fast Company article describes one of the many ways NGOs in Tanzania and across Africa are leveraging mobile services to solve day to day challenges with direct positive impact.

Note however, that these are foreign companies bringing in solutions from outside. I don't see how the NGOs can't employ Tanzanian developers and even more surprising is that local firms aren't capturing this market.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Memes and Social Media

On this TED Talk, Alexis Ohanian (filmed November 2009) shows how Internet trends can essentially affect consumer demand. His presentation also hints at how demand can be measured using social networks.

Read more:
About this video
TED Talks homepage

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Web Hosting for the Masses - TZ Style

I recently discovered by mistake through a random google search. On the surface, it just seems like one more web hosting company sprouting in Tanzania. But look more closely and you'll see an innovative model and some creative services.

First, they're mission is very clear and their services are geared around this mission. Second, they have lowered the barrier to entry so that anyone can now have a site to promote themselves or their business for potentially zero initial cost. They are also using mobile payments to collect payments, which I personally haven't seen much of.

What I'm really glad to see is that local technology entrepreneurs in Tanzania are thinking beyond just making money and getting creative in how they do business. This they will need to continue to do if they are to survive in the increasingly competitive East African market.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Youth Development Network in S. Africa

South Africa's Youth Development Network (YDN) provides a free flow of information between the public, the youth, and six partner organizations that presently do worth with the youth.

The six organizations that are working together are:
- Establishment for Comprehensive Youth Development
- Junior Achievement South Africa
- Joint Enrichment Project
- Resource Action Group
- Southern African Association of Youth Clubs
- School Leavers Opportunity Training

The YDN website provides comprehensive African country reports that would prove to be useful starting points for young adults looking to do business across Africa. The information presented is also useful for seeing major trends in education or health related issues experienced by the youth that may present opportunities for social and scalable enterprise.

Read more:
Youth Development Network homepage
About YDN
Country reports index
Partner organization contact info

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Youth Business International

Youth Business International (YBI) - founded in 2000 and one of 20 not-for-profit organizations whose president is the Prince of Wales - is focused on supporting young entrepreneurs.

By leveraging funding, volunteer business mentors and their network of corporations looking to invest in enterprise run by youth, YBI entrepreneurs are "helping to grow local communities, stimulate job creation and provide essential products and services".

Read more:
YBI homepage
YBI Entrepreneur of the Year competition
Map of YBI projects

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

iA: Information Architecture

Web design firm iA (or Information Architecture) is using some innovative ways to map out internet activity.

iA's Web Trend Map for 2008 could be used as an important tool to assess the diversity of activities that take place when we go online, sometimes without us realizing.

An excerpt from the iA website:

"The Web Trend Map is a yearly publication by Information Architects, plotting the Internet’s leading names and domains onto the Tokyo Metro map. It organises closely associated websites and names, ensuring that every domain is on an appropriate line. As a result, the map produces a web of associations: some provocative, some curious, others ironically accurate."

Such a trend map could be utilized to investigate where opportunities for collaborative entrepreneurship may lie in the future.

Read more:
iA homepage
About iA
About the iA Web Trend Map project

Green VC

Green VC provides information that supports environmentally-friendly and social ventures run by students.

It partners with funders, conferences and media outlets to provide more access to entrepreneurial resources that would be of use to young innovators, especially students in the United States.

Read more:
Green VC homepage
About Green VC
Funding resources

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another youth-media platform

A recent article discussed the opening of a Ghana Chapter of Speak Africa, a Pan African multi-media and communication platform for youth.

Speak Africa hosts audio, video and written content authored by youth. According to their website, Speak Africa seeks to is "
designed to work in partnership with young people to improve opportunities for their expression, exchange and meaningful participation in advocacy, decision-making and development using multi-media tools and channels (ie. TV, Radio and Print) as well as visual and performing arts and culture".

Read more:
Article: "African youth are agents of change - Prof Okine"

Speak Africa homepage

SkollEMERGE 2009: Reflections

Last Sunday we had the opportunity to be at SkollEMERGE, a one-day conference on topics in social entrepreneurship. Inspired by the Skoll World Forum, this conference acknowledges students as entrepreneurial social change makers in a multiplicity of academic fields, from environmental scientists to linguists.

In discussions between a host of professions, Two themes remained consistent throughout the day: Unreasonableness, and value creation.

Caroline Casey summed it up best, saying there are five rules to being a social entreneur:
(1) Be a duck, ie: learn to look calm outside and paddle for your life underneath;
(2) Love failure, ie: learn to be used to, acknowledge and improve on mistakes;
(3) Never give up;
(4) Know your friends; and
(5) Be self-aware
, ie: don't lie to yourself.

To keep up with everything that was going on, we tweeted along with many others throughout the day. Browse what everyone is saying by following the list #emerge09.

Here are a few tweets from others:

@santalvarez: The main messages from EMERGE: "be dangerous", dream, don't settle, challenge the traditional and never give up #emerge09

@brendanbaker: Intrapreneurs must be comfortable working in shades of gray, speaking various languages to different audiences. #intrapreneur #emerge09

@rodneyschwartz: Most important thing i had to say at skoll #emerge09 was that people should not waste their life engaged in roles w/o meaning go4 #socent

Follow @vijanafm here.

Read more:
SkollEMERGE website

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What's cooking

With the new year approaching, Vijana FM's been busy working on a protocol for people to contribue to this blog. We're currently recruiting volunteer content authors who can produce audio, visual or written content on topics that relate to social entrepreneurship for youth.

We've also been trying to figure out the best way to lay out our content and how we can best reach media outlets globally, especially in developing countries.

If you'd like to help us with anything, feel free to drop us a line: admin (at) vijanafm (dot) com

Stay tuned!