Presented a short presentation at an ICT incubator networking event in Port Elizabeth, South Africa talking about startups and lessons we can learn from Bruce Lee. Below is the presentation and the talk was inspired by another legend Sheraan Amod’s post “When Effectiveness trumps Efficiency”.
Only weeks away from our team traveling to Nigeria to join our partners and hosts Youth for Technology . RLabs Nigeria will focus on developing and empowering youth in using technologies such as Mxit, JamiiX and Social Media tools to distribute health information and provide peer to peer counselling services.
It will also work on programmes to develop new innovations that can be used to address the social problems experienced in the local context. The RLabs partnership with Youth for Technology is made possible through the support of The Indigo Trust and the official launch will be later this month. Watch this space as we keep you updated with developments in Nigeria.
South Africa is continuing to grow as a mobile hungry nation as a recent study revealed that South Africans spend more time on their mobile phones than any other media channel.
As part of our research to understand youth reactions towards advertising RLabs conducted a mobile survey to 6,812 respondents which generated some interesting findings:
The age groups predominately featured are those between the ages of 18 – 35 (86% of respondents). More females responded to the survey (54%) than their make counter-parts (46%).
The most popular handset manufacturer was Nokia with (41%), followed by Samsung and Blackberry. The top 3 network operators were MTN (37%), Vodacom (25%) and Cell C (24%).
The study also indicated that 77% of the respondents spend 4 hours and more on the mobile internet daily. The most popular mobile phone transactions by the respondents were Buying Airtime/Electricity (35%) and Virtual Goods (31%). Mobile Banking only made up 6% of the responses.
Our study also confirmed the study by Inmobi that South African mobile phone users are comfortable with ads via mobile phone. We asked 3 questions related to mobile advertising and the respondents gave some unexpected answers:
How is your attitude towards mobile ads?
I am happy because I learn things I did not know before (36%)
I am ok with it because sometimes it could be useful (54%)
Don’t bother me because I ignore it anyways (4%)
Irritates me because I don’t like being bothered (3%)
What is your reaction towards mobile ads?
Click if it interests me (51%)
Read if interested but don’t click (11%)
Read even if not interested (17%)
Click on as even if it does not interest me (9%)
Ignore ads or look for skip option (8%)
Which ads do you prefer to see when it is shown?
Services (Education, Health, Social, informative etc.) (66%)
Lifestyle (Dating, Sports etc.) (9%)
Money or Finances (6%)
RLabs have a goal to innovate, break new grounds and make a positive difference in the lives of others. One of the RLabs initiatives is the Innovation Incubator and Accelerator where we grow and nurture social enterprises. One of the social enterprises, Uusi, have confirmed a partnership with Nigeria’s largest jobs portal Jobberman and one of the Forbes Africa top technology start-ups for 2012, for its launch on the Mxit platform (Africa’s largest mobile social network) to the Nigerian market. This exciting prospect of expanding beyond South Africa has always been part of the fundamental requirements for the RLabs incubated Social Enterprises.
Along with this wonderful growth opportunity, Uusi also reached some important milestones today and introduced new features after “soft-launching” less than 3 months ago:
- More than 1,000 mobile CVs and profiles are created per day (50,000+ registered job seekers)
- Uusi have passed 10 Million job views since going live
- The new interface allows for community members to place and seek for job opportunities.
- All seeker and placer engagement can now be managed via Uusi.
- Uusi users can build connections and grow their own network.
We will continue keeping you updated about Uusi and its growth into the rest of Africa.
It has been 4 weeks since the kick-off of the RLabs Innovation Incubator and Accelerator (InnovIA). The social enterprises being incubated this year is a wide variety and we will be featuring them on our website over the coming weeks. Some of them has already had a great start to the year although it has only been 4 weeks. Some of the highlights:
- She’s the Geek launches DigiWomen programme for vulnerable women and empowering them with digital and entrepreneurial skills.
- Urahisi, mobile ordering platform, have secured their first client and already attracted hundreds of users.
- LetzGo, public transport booking platform via mobi-web, making progress with their go to market plan and focus on the Southern Africa markets. Also in the process of securing a technology partner for their payment gateway.
-Chisana and Social Media Factory growing concepts who will be going into prototyping phase over the next few weeks.Social Media Factory has also secured clients and growing its micro-work team through the RLabs community.
- MiGoX (website coming soon), community government social platform, have started development and curating of content.
- Uusi, jobs social network, have passed 6.5 million job searches since its soft launch early December 2011. Currently more than 40,000 registered users have uploaded their Mobile CVs.
The above highlights after 4 weeks are proof that lots more exciting things are lying ahead for the social enterprises at RLabs and we will keep you updated on the progress as the teams work towards their October 2012 launch day.
Since its inception RLabs have always had a focus of using innovation to facilitate change and entrepreneurship as a model of sustainability. One of the key partners of RLabs over the last few years has been Mxit (Africa’s largest mobile Social network and Forbes top start up of Africa) who through providing RLabs access to its technology and using it as a tool for change.
This partnership enables the 50 million registered Mxit users to access professional counselling on various issues such as HIV, substance abuse and depression via mobile chat. Not only have this partnership made an impact in Southern Africa it also provided support to WHO with a safer hospital campaign in Indonesia last year. This partnership has reached more than 2.5 million people in need over the last 3 years via mobile chat, portals and feedback services.
Launchpad for RLabs Start-ups
Another aspect of the partnership which has proven to be successful is that a few of the social enterprises currently being incubated through RLabs have used Mxit as a launch pad and technology partner. The most well-known start-up is JamiiX which was our first product to be incubated and the partnership with Mxit has always brought lots of value to the growth of JamiiX. JamiiX is the platform currently being used in 17 countries world-wide with more than 500,000+ users being served via its FREE option and an additional 300,000+ users via its customized version.
Other start-ups who leveraged the RLabs and Mxit partnership are uusi (mobile jobs network with already more than 6,000,000 job searches in under 3 months, just under 40,000 mobile CVs uploaded and more than 50,000 users), MiGoX (open governance social platform), Urahisi (a mobile ordering service via Mxit) and others.
Global RLabs Support Partner
What really excites us of this new partnership is that Mxit and RLabs will work together in the countries where RLabs have a presence and where Mxit can be leveraged to be a key catalyst as the technology for social change in those countries. It will also allow the other RLabs hubs to innovate and come up with new products on the Mxit platform.
For us at RLabs having Mxit as a partner brings so much value as it not only allows us to grow the number of people we are impacting with social services, but it is also a valuable launch pad for new and creative social innovative products being developed by RLabs not only in South Africa but also soon via our other labs.