Sibesonke - life empowering mobile services for all

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Sibesonke - life empowering mobile services for all

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

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

Our company Sibesonke provides life empowering mobile phone services over even simple phones for people without Internet. Economic empowerment through job market and buy&sell services, knowledge through e.g. HIV prevention and education quizzes, social empowerment through finding peer groups (e.g. anonymous HIV+ group).

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Lack of awareness, lack of locally relevant information, no tools for searching conveniently information e.g. during night time when life on the street is too dangerous - all that prevents entrepreneurship, fair prices, daily life efficiency. People with simple mobile phones cannot find such information although the phone capabilities are not the issue.

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

Sibesonke's mobile service works on all phones thus namely also the simple phones of lower-income people in emerging countries. The service is built in an Internet-way although the phone does not require Internet capability. The innovative services are based on user generated content - a key success factor for major Internet services. We leverage soccer and now especially in South Africa the WorldCup2010 enthusiasm to attract and keep users visiting Sibesonke life-empowering mobile services. E.g. around half of our new users every day go through the HIV information and education quiz out of curiosity. Our anonymous chat provides a safe platform for the stigmatized AIDS infection.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Our mobile service has passed the 10.000 user mark in the beginning of 2010. Because there is no entry barrier to use Sibesonke, our user base grows daily at exponential pace. All mobile phones in South Africa can start using Sibesonke today by dialing *120*686#. Our users have found new customers for their business, new jobs, friends and social support groups, and more information about health (e.g. HIV prevention).
About You
Sibesonke Ltd
Section 1: About You
First Name


Last Name


Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Sibesonke Ltd

Organization Phone


Organization Address
Organization Country

, GT

Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Do you have a patent for this idea?



Sibesonke's mobile services are live in South Africa since May 2009 with a daily growing number of users. We cooperate with local health experts for our health services. Our roll-out to other African and Middle East countries starts with strategic win-win with pan-African operators (NDA).


Very encouraging user feedback (literally "wow", "gift of God") and daily growing number of users. Our roll-out to other countries works in cooperation with pan-African operators.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

2010: grow user base in South Africa and roll-out to other African countries
2011: grow user base in new countries and cooperation with global health organisations
2012: roll-out to additional countries and provision of public/governmental services

What would prevent your project from being a success?

* new competition
* patent claims of other companies
* operators cooperation terms too tough for Sibesonke

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Less than $50

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

Sibesonke Ltd

How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?


Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?


Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Bateleur Khanya, South Africa is a market research firm supporting our services with consumer insight and language translation mostly non-monetarily. Bateleur Khanya help us to monetize consumer insight and user surveys for brands
Various South African NGOs like Praekelt Foundation, Cell-Life (Katherine de Tolly) and LoveLife (Duncan Harling) provide us with HIV content and expertise.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

* grow company revenue from market research / user surveys to allow recruiting more people
* sign cooperation with operators for roll-out in other African countries
* develop further the "always beta" Sibesonke mobile services

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

working for Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks on business innovation for emerging markets and reading the book of C.H. Prahalad

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.


How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

SANGONET, South Africa