Developing entrepreneurship in a digital economy

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The digital economy as we know it refers to the economic activities enabled by digital technologies that connect people, businesses, and processes.

With a shift away from physical commerce, consumers are increasingly taking their daily activities online. This shift has resulted in new opportunities for emerging digital entrepreneurs to reap the dividends from digital and grow in the digital economy, Tonny Tugee, SEACOM East Africa MD has said.

Developing entrepreneurship in a digital economy
Tonny Tugee, SEACOM East Africa MD – www.brandspurng.com

The digital economy as we know it refers to the economic activities enabled by digital technologies that connect people, businesses, and processes. It’s the hyper-connectiveness of this economy that allows the ecosystem to grow and redefines how typical businesses are structured. But how exactly? Through the opportunities created by digital tech, including the Internet, the cloud, mobile technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

It’s these emerging technologies that are disrupting traditional business models, leading digital transformation, and redefining how businesses interact with customers and how customers receive and experience services and goods. Being able to thrive in a digital economy will be key to ensuring a competitive edge and business sustainability.

The role of connectivity and cloud solutions in the digital economy
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There’s no denying that customer expectations are changing around the world, and we’ll be seeing this increasingly in Africa too. Whether your customers are businesses or consumers, they are becoming more reliant on Internet connectivity to make purchases, drive business outcomes, and stay connected with the world around them.

At the core of the digital economy is connectivity, and reliable connectivity is a prerequisite for joining the digital economy.

Enabled by connectivity, cloud technologies allow businesses to streamline their processes in cost-effective, reliable ways, and they offer the flexibility required to scale operations and adjust to demand.

For aspiring digital entrepreneurs, in particular, connectivity and cloud solutions are critical as they enable them to collaborate and access resources from any location with a secure network – meaning they can work effectively without having to invest in a physical office space.

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This reduces start-up costs, providing small businesses and start-ups alike the opportunity to compete with larger companies that have bigger budgets, ultimately levelling the playing field. Thus, improving access to connectivity is key to developing the digital economy.

Emerging digital trends and opportunities

The digital economy enables new business models, but it also gives more traditional companies the opportunity to increase productivity and enhance customer experience through various digital solutions. Social media, mobile computing, data analytics, the cloud, IoT, and cyber solutions can lead to new market opportunities, remote service provision, faster time-to-market, higher revenue streams, and streamlined processes.

We know that customers desire engagements with brands that are seamless, omnichannel, direct, contextual, and above all else, personalised. Something as simple as social media, for instance, can help entrepreneurs connect with their audience base on a personalised level, giving them unprecedented access to consumer feedback. When combined with data analytics tools that help companies predict consumer needs from online activity, this gives businesses a unique opportunity to offer consumers exactly what they want, when they want it.

Read Also:  African-born startup launches education platform that encourages entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs can help change the way products and services are managed, optimised, and deployed, as well as how customers perceive their brands, fostering brand loyalty. If we are to develop digital entrepreneurship, it is critical to ensure that more aspiring entrepreneurs are exposed to emerging tools and trends.

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Africa is full of examples of companies that are harnessing the digital economy. Front-runner M-Pesa has made remarkable achievements in the mobile communication industry. Its investment in inclusive infrastructure to help launch a microfinance product and lower consumer barriers to banking entry has been a true win for Kenya, and its people. More recently, Kobo360, a logistics start-up that serves as a marketplace for shippers and transporters, is giving companies access to a flexible fleet of over 17 000 drivers and trucks that operate in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, and Togo. In South Africa, RapidDeploy uses cloud-based software to help public safety officials to reduce emergency response times.

Thriving in the digital economy

There are various ways for entrepreneurs to join the digital economy, starting with moving past traditional business structures and re-aligning value creation. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean rethinking all aspects of your offering, but rather focusing on switching from physical to digital interactions and operations that will enable new business and service models.

What’s needed is an integration strategy that takes existing physical structures and processes into account and integrates them with digital systems. Omnichannel customer engagement, for example, allows entrepreneurs to visualise the actual lifecycle of its customers and helps identify gaps or weaknesses. It gives entrepreneurs a unique chance to identify opportunities, respond quickly, and thrive in this new economy.

It’s this level of agility that will help entrepreneurs create and deliver services and goods more in tune with their customers’ wants and needs, helping to grow the digital economy and Kenya’s wider economy along with it.

In this new, highly competitive digital world, entrepreneurs need to assess whether the services they are offering are truly adding value in the most efficient way possible. As the digital economy grows, we will see more entrants using a myriad of digital tools to bring more services and goods to market faster. Staying competitive in this ecosystem requires a combination of connectivity, innovative thinking, and smart partnerships to help differentiate your business. But as international giants, such as Amazon and Alphabet, have shown, for those companies that do get it right, the digital economy offers unprecedented opportunities.

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Latest News

DHL donated IDR2.4 billion to SOS Children’s Villages in six years of partnership in Indonesia

  • With DPDHL Group's support and contribution of €140,000 (IDR2.4 billion) since inception, program has benefitted more than 2,500 young people in Indonesia
  • GoTeach program aims to improve youth employability, especially now with challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic
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JAKARTA, INDONESIA - Media OutReach - 8 March 2021 - DHL Global Forwarding, the leading international freight specialist arm of Deutsche Post DHL Group (or DPDHL Group), today commemorates six years of partnership with SOS Children's Villages (SOSCV) at a DHL GoTeach Donation Ceremony. Working together with the non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on supporting children without parental care and families at risk, DPDHL Group has reached out to more than 2,500 beneficiaries in Indonesia through mentorship and educational activities and a contribution of €140,000 (IDR2.4 billion) since 2014.


Developing entrepreneurship in a digital economy - Brand Spur

"As one of the largest employers in the world, the Group is supportive of programs that prepare job seekers for the working world, especially during such challenging times. Today, we are proud to commemorate our six years of partnership with SOS Children's Villages at the DHL GoTeach Donation Ceremony," said Thomas Grunau, Global Head of Business Strategy & Digitalization, DHL Global Forwarding.

During the ceremony, Grunau presented a donation of €5,000 to SOSCV Indonesia in support of the Pandemic GoTeach project, which offered an online employability training to more than 1,000 young people all over Indonesia in 2020. With the support of 12 volunteers, the online training sessions, covering employability related topics such as job interview and resume writing skills, will continue in 2021 until social distancing measures ease up. The program is the brainchild of Elok Vinindya Wardhani, Marketing and Corporate Communications, DHL Global Forwarding Indonesia, who was recognized for her initiative and effort with the organization's CEO award in the category sustainability.

DHL Global Forwarding Indonesia President Director, Vincent Yong said, "In today's rapidly changing world, education paves the way to a stable, sustainable and prosperous tomorrow. Through the GoTeach program, DHL hopes to help the youth in Indonesia to develop the skills and confidence to enter the professional world. With 509 employees across all business divisions volunteering for more than 3,000 hours in the past six years, GoTeach also delivers opportunities for our employees to actively contribute and play a role in the community."

GoTeach is a group-wide corporate responsibility program aimed at improving youth employability for those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Educational and mentorship activities are regularly organized to better prepare them to enter the working world.

"The sustainability and power of an economy and the society depend on a strong educational system and targeted efforts to develop the next generation of working professionals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, jobs and livelihoods have been impacted, deepening the need for training and mentoring programs, such as GoTeach, for our youth to continue to develop their competencies and capabilities to reach their dreams. SOS Children's Villages is happy and proud to join hands with DHL Indonesia to deliver on this commitment," said Gregor Hadiyanto Nitihardjo, National Director SOS Children's Villages Indonesia.

According to UNICEF, there are approximately 24 million students who have dropped out of school as a result of the pandemic, adding to the 870 million students or half of the world's student population in 51 countries who have yet to return to school.

In Indonesia, DHL Global Forwarding together with DHL Express and DHL Supply Chain have continuously focused on developing youth's potential since 2014, sharing knowledge on soft and hard skills as well as supporting career development and employability for young people. The GoTeach program has been conducted in several locations across Indonesia such as Meulaboh, Banda Aceh, Medan, Jakarta, Lembang, Semarang, Bali and Flores. For the past six years, DHL employees have actively become mentors in several GoTeach activities such as skill preparation, job shadowing, DHL facility tours, internships and dream camp activities at SOS Children's Villages to improve employability. The initiative is also part of DPDHL Group's effort to contribute to local communities where they operate.


DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfillment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 380,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global sustainable trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, engineering, manufacturing & energy, auto-mobility and retail, DHL is decisively positioned as "The logistics company for the world".

About SOS Children’s Villages

SOS Children's Villages is a non-profit organization that provides alternative care for children who lost or at risk of losing their parental care. Founded in 1949 in Innsbruck, Austria, SOS Children's Villages now are in 136 countries, including Indonesia. Today, Indonesia SOS Children's Villages have nurtured and assisted more than 5.500 children in 11 cities in Indonesia: Lembang, Jakarta, Bogor, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Tabanan, Maumere, Banda Aceh, Meulaboh, Medan, and Palu. For further information, visit: www.sos.or.id | @desaanaksos


*Special Notes

SOS Children's Villages prioritizes family-based care and we form substitute families for children who lost or at risk of losing their parental care. The Mothers and Children establish a family relationship with each other just like any family out there (family-care), so we avoid terms such as an orphanage, foster child, foster mother, and orphans that is replaced with the term a child who lost or at risk of losing their parental care. In SOS Children's Villages, we also pay close attention to children's interests and we also protect their privacy, so any information that is related to their background and personal matter will only be shared with particular parties and will not be published to the public.

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