Green Africa Online Networking Platform

This Entry has been submitted.

Green Africa Online Networking Platform

South Africa
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

It's an online environmental sustainability network of organisation in Africa and is the first of it's kind.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

I aim to create an online directory of environmental organisations in Africa, highlighting their products and services and the nature of their business. There is a growing need for such an online platform, as Africa's internet usage is the fastest growing world-wide and it's environmental sustainability activities are increasingly important to build a sustainable future for Africa - in terms of economic, social and environmental sustainability. Importantly, there is no comprehensive online platform that compares to what I am planning and as such there is an urgent and overwhelming need for it. Through this online platform, the organisation will aim to target internet users in Africa and elsewhere who are interested in finding green/eco solutions, products or services and for businesses and organisations want to collaborate and partner with other like-minded organisations.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The online green African directory of environmental organisations, products, projects and businesses operating in Africa will provide an easily accessible online networking platform whereby the public (internet users worldwide and in Africa) can access information about organisations in the various sustainability sectors - making networking and sharing information in the green sector of Africa easier. It will also be a platform which will provide news, information about African sustainability events and job posting and will provide resources for people interested in learning more. This initiative is innovative because there is nothing that quite compares and there is a strong need for such a platform based on the growing internet statistics in Africa and on the need to ensure environmental sustainability for Africa. The online directory will be used by people wanting to find specific environmental organisations or products in their areas/countries or for organisations they may wish to collaborate with or learn from. Organisations that will be listed on the website will be able to display information about themselves, their products, services and how they can be contacted - making it easier to network in the green sector in Africa.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

This model uses an online media and marketing approach in that environmental orgnsaitions operating in Africa will be profiled and marketed on the website . Through the generation of new content in terms of orgnisations listed on the site, the blog, new event and job listings, the website uses IT and media to convey it's message and reach its audience. Through using online media, this model has the potential to reach a large audience of people who have access to internet via computers or phones. As internet use is growing exponentially in Africa, the model is well places to target a growing environmentally conscious sector of Africa's population, as well as numerous people and organisations living outside Africa.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are a couple of online environmental directories that operate in South Africa, one that operates in the MENA region, and one that operates in Uganda. Their focus is not on Africa as a region, and although there may be some overlap in terms of listing organisations in South Africa on respective directory websites, there are no major challenges to success or growth. In terms of peers - I imagine that a large majority of environmental organisations in Africa would welcome added online exposure and that people wanting green solutions would welcome the creation of an online network of organisations in Africa they could read about and contact. There is also business to business potential. Thus, I feel that my peers would welcome this initiative and would assist in making it a success.
About You
Organization:
Green Africa Directory
About You
First Name

Kate

Last Name

Berrisford

Twitter URL
Facebook URL
About Your Organization
Organization Name

Green Africa Directory

Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, WC

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Innovation
Select the stage that best applies to your solution

Start-Up (a pilot that has just begun operating)

How long have you been in operation?

Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon

Social Impact
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.

This is something that I have actually been thinking about for a few years. The idea came to me after trying to research environmental organisations in Africa which the company I worked for could partner with on projects or involve in regional environmental workshops. I really struggled to find online information on environmental organisations in Africa and up-to-date contact details for people working there. It made me realise that there is so much potential and probably so many missed opportunities in Africa due to a lack of information.

It then suddenly struck me that an online directory of organisations in Africa would be a meaningful contribution towards furthering the environmental sustainability agenda and could enhance and expand the reach of green products, services, information, knowledge-sharing, networking and collaboration in Africa.

Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date

The website is still in the initial design phase and as such has not been launched and so hasn't had the chance to have a social impact.

What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?

I aim to build this idea into the largest online environmental directory in Africa. It will aim to reach an ever increasing number of online users, to increase listings of organisation on the site by a significant amount each year, to be price competitive in areas of overlap with competitors and there are various areas that could be expanded upon in future.

The idea is replicable, in that it could be done in other regions or continents, but there is much more competition in those areas than in Africa which would have to be carefully considered before deciding on replication.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Six-Month Tasks
Task 1

Complete graphic design and logo elements

Task 2

Complete the website design and functionality testing, as well as basic SEO

Task 3

Get trained in the content management system and load all content onto the webiste

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
12-Month Tasks
Task 1

Recruit organisations to get listed on the website

Task 2

Market the website, perform SEO, write and add new content regularly

Task 3

Research and add regular content for the events, blog, jobs and other dynamic content pages

How many people have been impacted by your project?

Fewer than 100

How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?

More than 10,000

Sustainability
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured

Business

What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?

Limited finances have meant a slow development phase of the project. I am using my personal savings to fund the start-up. The development phase is almost complete and I should be able to launch the website and business in the next 2-3 months where it can then start generating an income. Even though the start-up and overhead costs have been relatively low, I done a budget plan and assume that the first year of business will be the most financially difficult as the website will need to gain momentum to become popular. However, I have taken that into account and set sales targets of rth first year which will cover all expenses, making it financially sound.

How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?

In Africa specifically, I foresee a massive growth in internet users. In terms of IT and media, I think that the next 10 years will see a huge increase in the number of people using the internet for business, commerce and transacting. I aim to be flexible and adaptive in my online business to move with the trends over the next 10 years to remain competitive and responsive to consumer needs.

Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?

Although I do think that my idea will achieve success over the next 2 years, I think that I will need to remain responsive and adaptable in my approach and to really listen to what the users of the website want and need to tailor it in ways that make it more successful and relevant for users. In that way, I think that a "failure" can actually be turned into a success.

Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding

I am self-funding the project based on my savings. The initial start-up capital needed is low but to enhance the project long-term, sufficient capital will be important. The first year will be the toughest financially where I will be relying on sales (in terms of selling listing on the directory and some advertising) to cover all expenses. I will also seek sponsorship, but that is not likely in the first year or two until the project is well-established.

Tell us about your partnerships

I currently have not partnered with anyone or any other organisation, and have developed the project alone but with input from others. In future, once the website has been launched I will seek partnerships.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?

Ideally I would need a sales person to actively recruit new listings for the website, a fundraising person to deal with online advertising sales and to apply for funding and sponsorship. In addition, a volunteer or intern could assist with sourcing information on upcoming events and job vacancies which will be advertised on the website, and to create content for the blog. An IT administrator who could work on edits to the website and any technical problems as well as developing new aspects of the site would be ideal in the long-term.

Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply

Investment, Marketing or media, Collaboration or networking, Pro-bono help (legal, financial, etc.), Innovation or ideas, Mentorship.

Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply

Marketing or media, Research or information, Collaboration or networking.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list

I would be very keen to receive financial support, but also to meet and discuss potential growth areas for the website such as a linked online green buying forum like ebay where organisations listed on my website could also sell products and services online through the website. I think this would give an additional competitive edge and would help to actively promote and enhance green growth.

Summary
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences

It's an online green/environmental sustainability directory and networking platform for Africa.