View Thread > Development and the Internet > Entrepreneurship - Question 1 > Bridging divides
Please refer to the BusyInternet case study.
From the standpoint of promoting economic and social development in Ghana, what are the most important aspects of what BusyInternet is doing, and how do they contribute to development?
In my reading, some of the most important aspects of what BusyInternet is doing are the following:
First, and from an economic perspective, BusyInternet provides an excellent example of a successful business model. The business idea as such seems to be great: To combine the basic ICT infrastructure (electricity, computers, high speed internet bandwidth, etc.) with “soft issues” – what we might call the “entrepreneurial spirit” – in order to provide ICT services demanded both by the public and private sector.
Second, BusyInternet fosters – bottom up – an almost “organic” emergence of new entrepreneurial activities by creating an open and inspiring environment where like-minded entrepreneurs, experts, investors, etc. can find and meet each other, where new ideas can be elaborated, and new business initiatives might start up.
Third, and from a socio-economic viewpoint, BusyInternet provides affordable access to the Internet, which connects an incredible variety of users – from school kids to journalists and bankers – not only globally, but also (and probably even more important at this stage of development) locally and regionally. In this light, the project increases connectivity and information efficiency at low costs. This increase, in turn, is likely to have positive effects on both the economic growth as well as on the social and cultural development of Ghana (particularly if similar initiatives will be launched all over the country).
In sum, the present case study teaches impressively that it is, in fact, possible to serve micro- and macro-economic goals at the same time as broader social objectives. By bridging not only the digital divide, but also the divide between pure economic interest on the one hand and socio-cultural goals on the other hand, BusyInternet contributes to the sustainable development of Ghana’s business ecosystem.
Is BusyInternet profitable? If not, then a critical element of success is missing. How much positive entrepreneurship is developing as opposed to negative entrepreneurship such as criminal activity and fraud. How can the government encourage the former and discourage the latter? Should that be BusyInternet's responsibility?
The issue of profitability could do more to increase widespread access than more altruistic motives. I am sure we will continue to see digital divide activist initiatives. But, the entire process will get a huge boost if commercial interests can be served. Many in developed nations have limited access to social awareness and the desire to develop egalitarian solutions for others.
BusyInternet as a profit center would not serve as well as a catalyst for social action. It would however serve as a fine new business opportunity with a secondary moral support. The installation of a similar cybercafe in South Africa would seem to indicate the potential for commercial success.
The nature of entrepreneurship will be nearly impossible to regulate. The legal process supports for a digital ecosystem seem to be in the earliest stages of growth. BusyInternet can at best establish guidelines for activities that may eject the worst offenders
I agree %100 percent.