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Cyber Café - The bridge to the 21st Century
The world landscape is continuously shaped and reshaped by trends. Trends are like the waves of the ocean. Some of them at their inception and others almost finished with their journey ready to break on the coastline. We see trends in all spheres of life, the economy, technology, recreation, government and many others. The most important trends affecting our lives today are the ones influencing how we communicate, learn and do business. Everybody will agree that this will have a major impact on individuals, businesses and countries. The trends we have just mentioned moved away from communication by hard copies through the post to instant contact and delivery via electronic means. Your e-mail address is more important in business than your residential address.
We can say with confidence that a paradigm shift has happened re learning, communication and business. A paradigm is like a set of rules and the way we create boundaries to understand the world around us. The new paradigm and way of communication, learning and business is through the medium of the Internet. Finding new business partners is by clicking your mouse and not walking the streets. Those people unable to access the information highway will fall by the wayside. Some people already talk about the “digital divide.” People serious about their destinies want to be on the Internet bus and not only see a glimpse of the brake lights of the bus leaving for the future.
The Cyber Café
Your grandfather might think you are intoxicated when you mention the word cyber café. It is not a café in the traditional sense, but a place where you can get access to the Internet and all the peripheral services. For people without computers and line connections the Cyber café is the ideal answer for an on line connection.
Strangely enough the modern Internet is the best vehicle “developing countries” and people can use to gain access to the world and community of the 21st century. The Internet can be used to fast track people who want to acquire knowledge, learn new skills and competencies. It is also a very cost effective medium to use.
Uses of the Internet
The Internet café could be a place providing only the basics re Internet access or an enhanced learning centre. The needs of the community and ability to pay will determine the kind of service.
An Internet Café providing premium services is a place where people can relax, have a coffee, browse magazine or watch TV, a library, quiet rooms for group work and study. A drop-in area that offers instant Net access and a large computer training room used for everything from games, clubs to training in recognised national qualifications. An Internet café can also address some of the other needs of people by:
Giving access to new technology and the Internet.
Providing training and learning opportunities for people, particularly the young unemployed.
Providing research services on a wide range of issues identified by them e.g. finding new markets for business.
Providing people with the opportunities and facilities to develop projects to address local issues using new technology.
Offering information and advice on a range of health related issues, in conjunction with the relevant bodies.
Providing a volunteering information centre for young people.
Business communication is a very important facet of Internet connection. It is the ideal way for submitting proposals, advertise/search for vacancies and track tenders. Billions of dollars are spend annually on development in Africa. The tragedy is that the people needed to be involved in those projects are sidelined through lack of information.
Providing Internet services is a viable and exciting business opportunity today. There is a very high demand for Internet services and in many places you will find that people queue to use the Internet cafe. The business model (way of business) is well developed which means that you don't have to search for the secret recipe. The technology and hardware is readily available. Where landlines are not available or not have the required standard satellite comes to our rescue.
Requirements for success
A good horse needs a competent jockey. Internet business is only as good as the manager or owner running it. Homework is necessary to determine the specific demand for service and to identify the right location for the Internet café. The business plan will outline everything from demand to cash flow forecast, services, marketing, and control measures.
Selecting the right hardware and software for making it work is of utmost importance. You must know who to source from in order to get the required backup and maintenance needed for your business. Your signal provider for ensuring that you have a consistent, reliable and quality connection is the pivot of the business.
He will be facilitating at several Cybercafe Workshops in Nigeria. Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org
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