The CSIR’s Infopreneur® approach is a rural innovation and development model that guides and supports the establishment of primarily youth owned social enterprise networks that help rural communities to overcome the various “divides”. This is done through the provision of data, information, learning and a range of socio-economic development services into, as well as out of, these rural contexts in a “development through enterprise” approach.
The Infopreneur® model utilizes a layered, franchise-like approach to ensure sustainability as well as scalability of the networks. The model has been taking shape in the Limpopo Province and we are now growing the initial network around Makhado municipality to cover the rest of Vhembe District. This network will enable the Vhembe District Municipality to plan and deliver appropriate socio-economic development services into all its constituent rural communities through the services rendered by the young social ‘information entrepreneurs’ in the network.
Infopreneurs have the direct support of a Regional Master Infopreneur and the Meraka Institute and are selected for their commitment to sustainable development of enterprises in their own communities. CSIR is the sole and exclusive owner and distributor of this deployment model.
These local community service entrepreneurs act as “bridge builders” for services not available in the local context. These services frequently have a high “transaction cost” in terms of the money that needs to be spent in order to access them. They also provide the “local intelligence” that should inform and shape the delivery of these services. The Infopreneurs® are therefore positioned to act as local agents of these services.