Until recently, as in 17 days ago access to wifi was on my list of “other peoples problems”. I am sure we all have that list, you know the stuff that’s a real challenge to everyone but you, kinda like how Nkandla is everyone’s problem but Jacob Zuma.
I moved from my apartment of 2 years into a new neighbourhood and have no wifi as I wait for the ADSL provider and fixed line company to finish playing tag and set me up. The show has to go on even in purgatory. I have a business to build, I am trying not to end up as a sad statistic of the 85% of start ups that fail within the first 3 years.
Initially I thought it was very Parisian or New York-ey to work in cafes, sipping lattes while using their wifi. Until I realized that lattes cost money, summer is around the corner so I need to be careful about what I eat and the wait staff come around every hour looking at you like “you better tip!”. Yes I do have a 3g dongle but you have to put money into it to make it work and these data bundles aint cheap.
Then I began to think about all the other entrepreneurs who are facing this same burden of having no fixed line, therefore no fixed abode. How many businesses aren’t “popping” because people cant get online? Fortunately I have been able to do the bare minimum in terms of keeping informed and emails, but I haven’t been able to surf the net and let new ideas come to me. It’s hard to innovate on 50MB/ 30 minutes free per day. I was forced to innovate on how to get beyond that 50MB.
At the Brightest Young Minds Summit for 2015 and I learnt about this thing called crowd funding. Sure, I heard the word before but I wasn’t entirely sure about what it meant. It’s basically raising money for a project from people on the internet. In a similar fashion we can group resources for and from entrepreneurs to get us our own space, sort of like a stockvel for an office- except everyone gets the pay out at the same time!
I want to get in touch with other like minded people, who are looking for an obligation-free space to co-exist in. A place where you pay a very nominal fee ( less than R1000.00 ) for access to unlimited decent wifi, that doesn’t smell like cooking oil, with no dirty looks because you only had water for the past 3 hours, a landline- where you have to use your inside voice, printing/ scanning facilities and some terrible coffee.
Yes I am putting this out and someone may steal the idea- which exists by the way, but I am at a point where I don’t care because something has to be done! It doesn’t have to be done by me, but something has to happen if we are serious about small businesses being the engine drivers of the economy.
If you are interested in joining me and others- a couple of people have shown an interest then please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and lets see how we can create our own Google-esque space. Entrepreneurship is a lonely road, so lets try to remove as many road blocks as possible!