by Phindile Ndlovu, Founder and Director of Bhekizenzo Foundation
Gone are the days where cellphones were limited to phone-calls and messaging. Gone are the days where communication was slow and restricted by borders. Globalization, a cliché that remains relevant, has changed the way we do things. We talk, brand ourselves and trade differently. Ultimately business has changed.
How does this affect the young entrepreneur? It means starting a business is easier and registering faster. It means marketing is cheaper when one has more social media followers. While this appears beneficial for entrepreneurs, we tend to forget the price of internet connectivity and the quality of the connection.
As we attempt to maximize the opportunities that are brought forth by the 4th industrial revolution, we need to equip all entrepreneurs, bridge the digital divide gap and teach entrepreneurs how to effectively use the internet to improve their ventures. Is social media and 4th industrial revolution benefiting the ruling and middle-class entrepreneurs and the rural working-class entrepreneurs excluded?
We often hear entrepreneurs say they require funding for marketing. With access to the internet and social media, marketing will be less of a challenge. This notion may not be trusted by entrepreneurs who believe things should be done the old traditional way. The fact is, more collaborations occur due to social media presence. Trends are established in social media. People land deals and media coverage from their social media presence. People get famous through social media. So why wouldn’t your business thrive with the efficient use of social media?
The first way to answer this is having extensive stakeholder engagements with different voices in society - from governments, service providers and all the way to the small entrepreneurs from the rural areas. We need to understand the reason behind the access and the lack of access of the internet from all parties involved. Is it too expensive, do they have smart phones? Do they see the need to having the access? Do rural entrepreneurs need social media accounts? If not, what do they need to tap into the 4th industrial revolution?
The second thing which I am so passionate about is teaching entrepreneurs how to brand themselves on social media to be able to maximize the benefits that come with using social media. Entrepreneurs need to know how the internet could help them grow their ventures. Bridging the gap starts with everyone understanding the need and their role in bridging the gap. Social media is one aspect, there are many sites that are beneficial for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Campaigns such as #DataMustFall should go beyond and be more than a hashtag. More educational sites should be zero-sum.
Entrepreneurship should thrive in the city, township and rural areas. More needs to be done for those who are unable to tap and explore the opportunities that come with accessing quality internet connectivity.
Phindile Ndlovu is passionate about Community Development pertaining skills development and education for the youth. She is experienced in driving life changing community development campaigns. Passionate about self-development and leadership, she works and speaks with young people across the Gauteng Province in South Africa, motivating and coordinating her vision and goal setting workshops through her organization, Bhekizenzo Foundation. Her skillset is based on project design, brand awareness and organizational surveys, amongst many others. Phindile has strong, professional media and communications expertise, particularly with event coordination and campaign strategy planning. She has obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Studies and Sociology at the University of Witswatersand Johannesburg. Learn more.
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