Month: January 2018

THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

THE DIGITAL DIVIDE

The Digital Divide refers to the inequalities between people who have access to and the resources to use modern information and communication technology (ICT), such as desktop computers and the Internet, and people who do not. This includes those who have, and those who do not have, the necessary skills, knowledge and abilities to use ICT to advance their knowledge and achieve their desired objectives.

The divide exists between economic classes, between those living in urban and those living in rural areas, and between those who are educated and those who are not; and on a global scale, between industrial and so-called ‘developing’ countries.

“WE HAVE ENTERED THE KNOWLEDGE SOCIETY AND EVERYONE MUST HAVE ACCESS TO PARTICIPATE. THE INTERNET IS THE MOST POWERFUL POTENTIAL SOURCE OF ENLIGHTENMENT EVER CREATED. GOVERNMENTS MUST REGARD IT AS BASIC INFRASTRUCTURE, JUST LIKE ROADS, WASTE AND W A T E R . ”

There are many possible explanations for the divide, for example gender, age, education, income, race, and location, as well as to political, religious or cultural factors (including politicians and technocrats fear of the public having unfettered access to the Internet). These days people can connect to the Internet via a desktop computer, laptop, cell phone, iPod or other MP3 player, Xbox or Play Station, electronic book reader, or tablet such as iPad. Once an individual has access, and can decipher, understand and use                           the information that is available ,that individual is capable of becoming a ‘digital citizen’.

GROWING KNOWLEDGE DIVIDE

With internet cafes popping up in ever more remote towns and villages, and barriers due to gender, age, etc. reducing in many countries, the digital divide appears to be shifting from a gap in access/connectivity to a ‘knowledge divide’. In the Rich World there is the gap between those who have the skills and understanding to interact with the technology and those who are effectively passive consumers of it.

Technologies like Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Blogs enable users to create content online without having to understand much about the technology.

Many users do little more than post photos and status updates on their Facebook page and do not interact to any degree with the technology. And in the Poor World, the gap is with those who lack the education or perhaps the language skills to use ICT.

Why Closing the Digital Divide is Important

Economic equality: access to the Internet is a basic component of civil life that some developed countries aim to guarantee for their citizens (see below). Vital information relevant to people’s careers, lifestyles, safety, etc. are increasingly provided via the Internet. Even social welfare services are sometimes administered and offered electronically.

Social mobility: computers and computer networks are playing an increasingly important role in people’s learning, professional work and career development. Education should therefore cover computing and use of the Internet. Democracy: the use of the Internet can lead to a healthier democracy, increased public participation in elections and decision making processes.

Economic growth: the development and active use of information infrastructure offers a shortcut to economic growth for less developed nations. Information technologies tend to be associated with productivity improvements and may give industries a competitive advantage.

INTERNET ACCESS IN SOUTH AFRICA

The South African Internet user population passed the 20-million mark for the first time last year, reaching 21-million, and is expected to grow to at least 22.5-million in 2018.

This is the main finding of the Internet Access in South Africa 2017 study, conducted by World Wide Worx with the support of Dark Fibre Africa (DFA),

the country’s leading provider of wholesale fibre connectivity.
Based on Stats SA’s estimate that the South African population reached 55.9- million people in June 2016, this means that the country will reach the 40 per cent Internet penetration mark in 2017 year.

Finally reaching the point where we can say every second adult South
African is connected to the Internet is a major landmark, because Internet
access is becoming synonymous with economic access, For this reason, it is critical that the country prioritise the roll-out of infrastructure in underserved areas, especially outside the major metropolitan areas.

The report reveals that the single most common use of the Internet among South African adults is Communication, reported by almost a third (31 percent) of respondents, followed by Social Networking (24.9 per cent) and Information (23.7 per cent), both reported by almost a quarter of respondents.
Only then comes Entertainment, at 22.1 per cent.

A nation that is well equipped to address the digital challenges of the 21st century will be in a position to use technology to their advantage.

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How Much Cash Will You Need To Launch A Startup?

How Much Cash Will You Need To Launch A Startup?

As you consider starting your first business, you should be looking at the costs of running a company. There are some obvious things most people will consider: the cost of rent in their area, the cost of inventory, the manufacturing costs of their products. But there are a number of factors that many first time entrepreneurs forget to factor in.

For example, if you haven’t launched a startup or a new business before, you might forget to calculate benefits costs for employees, for example, or utilities in your office or retail location. These might seem like small costs, and each one individually might not be overwhelming. If more than one or two things get missed, however, companies might find themselves without enough available cash to get off the ground in the first place.

Let’s look at some of the costs that business forget to factor in.

1. Licenses, Dues, and Permits

Every area of the country requires businesses to have certain permits, for buildings to be coded in certain ways, and for some sectors of employees to have licenses before they can practice. All of these items have a cost. Some entrepreneurs might think that they can simply run their business out of their basement or garage, but even that can run you afoul of different homeowner’s insurance regulations.

Since each community is different, there’s no way to give an overall estimate of what the licensing and permit costs might be in a particular area, but speaking to the local Chamber of Commerce is often the best way to get more detailed information.

2. Website Costs

Some businesses are entirely formulated around buying and selling websites; this should tell the average business owner something about how complex the process of setting up a website can be. If your website is strictly informational, then you can probably get it set up quickly, on your own, and without a huge cost. Informational websites tend to be pretty static.

Pages exist about employees, perhaps, or services offered by the company. Landing pages generally direct customers to take an action, such as calling your business for a free quote. Many companies choose to pay a content writer to maintain a blog for their company to keep the page fresh in Google SERP.

But if your website involves inventory, online shopping, or other service bookings, however, creating and maintaining that website can get expensive fast. For some businesses, this is necessary; they may not have a retail storefront at all, and their website may be the public face of their business.

3. Repairs

If your company manufactures a product, the item doing the manufacturing is going to break down eventually. Offices lose computers, copiers, and networking devices to age, misuse, and attack. Companies need to be able to respond quickly to broken items to avoid disruptions in business that can cause further problems.

Making sure that a company has the adequate liquid cash to pay its bills and meet any surprise obligations is a good way to make sure the business is successful over time. Remember, the rule on emergencies isn’t if they will happen, it’s when.

4. Employee Benefits

Some companies budget for the amount that they will pay their employees, but forget about tax contributions and other amounts. For example, if a company offers a 401k plan with a matching benefit, the company needs to be prepared to pay that matching amount in when appropriate.

Some experts suggest that paying employee benefits means that companies should budget for 40 percent over their on-paper salary amount.

5. Business Insurance

Some companies try to save money by not buying business insurance; this is a terrible idea. Much like driving a car without insurance, companies are risking their entire business, and possibly even their personal assets, by being negligent in this area.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the chosen insurance provider and make sure coverage is right-sized; a business without employees doesn’t need to worry about worker’s compensation insurance yet, for example.

Businesses tend to thrive when they have plenty of available assets and a well thought out plan on how to spend them. But to truly understand how funds will be spent, companies need to make sure that they have an accurate budget and a good plan that allows for unexpected costs. If companies are unsure how to get started in this area, reaching out to a business mentor for advice in their industry can be a good start.