In the last couple of years the focus of our work as ICT4Dev researchers and developers have shifted extensively from: (1) researching, developing and deploying technology “tools” and applications to: (2) establishing an ICT-enabled, sustainable “community of enterprises” that delivers on the development and trade outcomes required in the South African context, i.e. a network of people we call Infopreneurs®. This adaptation in our approach resulted partly from some of our own failures at ICT4Dev implementations, as well as our observation of many other failures around us.
It needs to be stated that we still continue with the development and enhancement of a ‘software toolbox’ (inTouch Africa®) to support the business and development processes of institutions involved in Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) development. This system is also used by the Infopreneurs® ‘community’ to enable them to render a wide range of services in the communities in which they operate.
We have also lately started to explore the MicroFranchise concept as an appropriate model for the deployment of our Infopreneurs® network. This model is “a social movement that seeks to adapt the powerful franchise business model to the stark reality on the ground in developing countries in order to establish successful, locally owned micro enterprises helping to develop low income communities” (Kirk Magleby: “MicroFranchising as a Solution to Global Poverty”, Dec 2005).