The time to empower the world's poorest tech founders is now. Here are four reasons why.
Leapfrogging The Digital Divide
Not so long ago, One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) dropped tablets into rural villages in Ethiopia, hoping to teach a little English to kids who had never seen printed material before. In 4 months, not only did they teach themselves English, they taught themselves to hack the tablets!
Smartphones For The World's Poorest
Lightweight phone platforms, like Firefox OS, are making sub-$50 smartphones available in poor communities globally. Many villages already share low-end feature phones - now, they'll have internet access.
Making an app has never been so easy.
With modern platforms, and new approaches to teaching, it's possible to go from internet surfer to app builder in days. These new, peer-to-peer educational models are starting to take hold in poor, urban areas around the world.
The poorest countries offer the highest-growth economies, and Disruptive Innovation potental
IBM once dominated the computer market, but ignored the personal use market. Microsoft didn’t. The radio manufacturers of the 1950's ignored teenagers. Sony didn’t. Kodak ignored cameras in mobile phones. It’s gone.
In each case, caring about the “low-end” is what mattered.
Addressing needs in today's "low-end" communities have already proven to be top-performing tech investments, from agriculture reform to mobile payment networks.
WHAT WE DO
We have a background in designing and support startup accelerators, and in entrepreneurship education. This is currently an exploration - how can the accelerator model help aspiring tech entrpreneurs from the poorest communities in the world, on their own terms?
How you can help
We need immediate help with: - Computers for a local lab - Teaching tech and startups in Sofia and Harare
Email Sal at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think you can help later, please join the mailing list, and you'll know when to step in!
Salim is a 5-time startup founder, and the founder of Leancamp, a global community that brings practitioners and founders together to address practical problems with getting market traction.
He also started Founder-Centric, which helps designs and delivers startup education for accelerators and universities.
Executive Lean Coach, Pearson
Dr Tendayi Viki wears many hats as an academic, author, entrepreneur and consultant. He holds a PhD in Psychology and an MBA. He teaches Organizational Psychology, Entrepreneurship and Research Methods at the University of Kent (UK).
He is currently Entrepreneur in Residence at publishing house Pearson - where he splits his time between the US, UK and Zimbabwe.
Boyana's a former Coca-Cola HR manager, now a user-experience designer and startup community leader. She runs UX Meetup Sofia, curates Startup Digest Sofia, and is undertaking an MSc. in Cognitive Science at NBU.