Speaking at the launch, Graham explained that the inspiration behind the creation of the container was the desire to provide educational upliftment to disadvantaged communities in remote areas through internet connectivity, while at the same time aiding sustainable job creation.
“Alexandra alone has 22 schools without any access to the internet. This makes it extremely difficult for the students – both children and adults – to study further,” says Graham.
Some of the additional features and benefits of this social investment project include the creation of monthly recurring revenue generated from the sale of products and services processed through the Easy Pay Kiosk (prepaid airtime, prepaid electricity, EFTs), advertising and from other facilities offered, such as cell phone charging, photocopying, scanning and faxing. As the containers are available through Solar Charge
for franchisors, they are in themselves also potential entrepreneurial ventures, as they can be produced for people who would like to own their own business but have the details taken care of for them.
A great supporter of this initiative is Carol Weaving of Thebe Exhibitions & Projects Group, which has partnered with Solar Charge on this project. “As one of Southern Africa’s most forward thinking and successful exhibition, special project, event and conference organisers, as well as a venue management company, we are thrilled to be a part of this world-first project and to be exhibiting it at the Business Opportunities and Franchise Exhibition
.” The container offers advertising in the form of on-screen advertising on the ten monitors supplied, or on the body of the container, giving companies direct access to their market.
The launch was attended by several South African corporates, many of which have expressed an interest in having containers designed to suit their own particular needs. “Many of these corporates see the container as an ideal vehicle for their CSI projects,” explains Graham. “When it comes to education, for example, the container can provide access to material and content for students and teachers which can be streamed onto the monitors by proprietary electronic software.”
One of the other benefits to corporate South Africa is that the container is completely ‘green’, running as it does off solar power. “Given the electricity shortages the country is facing, there is no doubt that the future of energy in South Africa is solar power, which is why forward-looking corporates realise the many benefits of the connection centre,” says Graham.
According to the executive mayor, Parks Tau, “We anticipate that the container will have a remarkable effect on the lives of Alexandra residents. The fact that the container in its entirety is a local concept using local assembly, makes the project that much more rewarding.”
“Given the phenomenal reaction of both corporates and Alexandra residents to the launch, we anticipate that our second container, which is nearing completion, will receive as enthusiastic a reception,” says Graham. “We believe that the connection centre and it’s numerous other product line extensions have a great future in South Africa, as well as other countries worldwide.”