Posts Tagged ‘SOCAP’

We’d like to share another story from our time at this year’s edition of SOCAP. An affordable housing consultant, with clients around the world, said that a solution similar to the one we employed for Notore could also be applied to the construction industry. The consultant specifically referenced cement companies, which are in need of a quicker, more efficient distribution system for housing projects in developing countries.

In addition, while she’d like to use local labor, she’s running into difficulties. Why? Because local labor isn’t as organized in developing countries as it is in States. There are too many variables, too many unknowns, too many obstacles. The bottom line: The consultant needs a better means of communicating with both the workforce and the suppliers. Which is exactly what our MoBiashara service was designed to do.

Do you have a story from SOCAP? If so, share it on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

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During SOCAP 2011, we talked with many people from around the world who saw the universal applicability of our Notore pilot program, which we launched earlier this year in Northern Nigeria. All of these conversations served to validate our mobile platform as an affordable, effective solution to bettering the lives of subsistence farmers and others, regardless of where they live. Here are some of the highlights:

- A woman from Thailand said our efforts to support farmers in Taraba State would work just as well and be just as valuable in her country. Why? Because she’s having similar difficulties reaching remote villages there and convincing farmers to use agricultural inputs. Simply put: As in Taraba State, the farmers in Thailand lack access and information.

- A woman supporting farming in the South American rain forest is attempting to steer farmers away from environmentally destructive agricultural methods, such as slash-and-burn, toward more environmentally sensitive ones. The problem, however, is that crop yields falter when farmers take the latter course; as a result, there’s no incentive to protect the rain forest. What’s needed, then, is a better supply chain which not only includes access to fertilizers and other yield-enhancing products, but also the means by which farmers can sell their products. Once again, it’s a question of creating a network that connects these farmers with the larger world, where they would function as both consumers and sellers. This would benefit the entire supply chain, while improving the lives of the farmers and the environment.

One other note: We also met an affordable housing advocate who felt our mobile platform could be applied to the construction industry. We’ll detail this fascinating conversation in a post next week.

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We’ve had a banner few weeks here at SlimTrader-a heady mixture of excitement, surprise, and profound appreciation. First,  our CEO, Femi Akinde, was selected as a 2011 TEDGlobal Fellow. It’s a major-and yes, humbling-honor for him to have been included among a wealth of first-rate minds at such a prestigious event. To say that he’s excited to bring the SlimTrader message of social progress through entrepreneurial innovation to TED is an understatement.

But although Femi will be flying solo to the Edinburgh, Scotland-based confab, he’s quick to point out that his selection serves as a testament to the overall effort of the entire SlimTrader team. So, congrats to all, and keep up the good work!

In other (very) good news: Venture Beat reporter Ciara Byrne profiled SlimTrader in the June 15th edition of the New York Times. She clearly and concisely laid out the problems our MoBiashara service addresses, as well as the growing importance of our partners in the mobile technology boom such as M-PESA, Aritel, and MTN. Money quote:

Simple transactions from filling a prescription to buying a bus ticket involve long journeys and long waits.” The most precious commodity for the BOP (Bottom of the pyramid) is time[,]” said Akinde. “If you want to purchase a transportation ticket, you’re looking at a day-long ordeal involving multiple trips to various institutions.” That’s a day on which no work can be done and money earned. Time really is money to the BOP.

Despite the recent exposure, we’re of course doing anything but resting on our laurels. Stay tuned here – or join us on Twitter or Facebook – for more news in the weeks and months ahead, including a recap of Femi’s experiences at, and thoughts on, SOCAP Europe.

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