Project Isizwe extension Afri-Fi: Free Public WiFi wins funding award of US$75,000

Updated on 5 April 2017

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Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (5 April)

Free Public WiFi has been announced as the “Runner-Up” in Mozilla’s Equal Rating Innovation Challenge with a funding award of US$75,000. With this global competition, Mozilla called for creative and scalable ideas to provide affordable access to the full diversity of the open Internet. Mozilla offered awards, totalling USD 250,000 in funding and expert mentorship to bring these solutions to the market. It received 100 submissions from 27 countries. The final shortlist of the best five entries was chosen by a panel of expert judges from around the world.

Afri-Fi: Free Public WiFi is an extension of the highly awarded and successful Project Isizwe, where 2.9 million users all access 500MB of free daily WiFi data. The key goal of Afri-Fi is to create a sustainable business model by linking together free wifi networks throughout South Africa and engaging users meaningfully with advertisers so they can “earn” free wifi.

“The team has proven how their solution for a free internet is supporting thriving communities in South Africa,” concluded Marlon Parker, founder of Reconstructed Living Labs, on behalf of the jury. “Their approach towards community building, partnerships, developing local community entrepreneurs and inclusivity, to connect some of the most marginalized communities, are all key factors in why they deserve this recognition and are leading the free Internet movement in Southern Africa,” said Parker.

In reaction to the “Runner-Up” award, Tim Genders, COO of Project Isizwe, said: “The divide between rich and poor is being defined as your ability to access the Internet. Free wifi allows everyone to gain access. Free wifi allows the poor to play on the same field as the rich. Free wifi removes the barriers to education, social inclusion, skills development and job applications. In short, free wifi empowers.” Genders added: “Our next steps are to make free wifi scalable and self-sustaining through an advertising model. We want to make free wifi the new medium to get messages out to communities.”

Davies to speak at Caterpillar empowerment programme launch

South African Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies will deliver a keynote address at the launch of an empowerment programme by Caterpillar, which is expected to create about 3,900 jobs, on Friday in Johannesburg.

The Caterpillar Southern Africa broad-based black economic empowerment equity equivalent investment programme (EEIP) is part of a Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) initiative where multinational companies are invited to contribute towards black economic empowerment under the ownership element.

The minister said Caterpillar SA, the South African unit of the American company that manufactures construction and mining equipment, had applied to participate in the EEIP to empower local and black-owned enterprises through enterprise and supplier development.

In January, the company was granted exemption from selling equity and would instead invest R1.3 billion, based on the value of 25 percent of the South African operation.

“The proposed programme is aimed at contributing towards product localisation to increase the South African industrial base,” said Davies. (via African News Agency)

Read Also: Tshwane Free WiFi: Empowering the Community

Engen launches 68th black women-owned service station in SA

Launched on 31 March, Engen Hippo Park in Durban is the 68th 100% black women-owned Engen service station in South Africa. Approximately 46% of Engen’s 1000-strong service station network in South Africa is currently black (African, Coloured, Asian) owned.

Engen Hippo Park owner Ntandokazi Kheswa says she was first afforded the opportunity in 2011 and it has since taken six years to finally come to fruition.

“As a black woman owner, I am delighted to have this opportunity and have dreamt about owning my own business for a long time. I have had extensive experience working in other industries and believe that I have the potential to add a lot of value,” she says.

Seelan Naidoo, Engen’s general manager: of retail, says the decision to build a new service station along Queen Nandi Drive was driven by the need to provide motorists with an accessible and safe thoroughfare off the busy N2. (via Bizcommunity)

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