Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Reinventing extension services based on mobile phone and database monitoring

Producers and Businesses in the agricultural sector need a lot more than just prices. They need to know who’s buying, who’s transporting, where to access credit, where to store, what the weather will be like, what the trends suggest... Tradenet provides such type of information service.

TradeNet has 3 Core Characteristics:

  • Market Intelligence
  • Business Monitoring
  • Profiles & Advertising
TradeNet is a media channel that allows anyone anywhere to affordably share market information via mobiles. By tracking activities and profiles, the service becomes a crucial profiling and business monitoring tool, as well as an advertising medium. By focussing on profiling, TradeNet is able to offer a unique service that can minimize risk in transactions, offer some brokerage services, and provide a revenue stream by permitting advertising and data‐mining.

TradeNet has a unique network of enumerators who collect data from the field and make it instantly available... And because businesses use TradeNet as a tool, there is plenty of content submitted by the ‘users’ themselves.

Country Operators run TradeNet as a franchisebusiness. They get business models, deployment strategies, marketing documents, contracts, annual workshops etc. (In return for a 10% payment to TradeNet intl.). In Africa the targetted countries are: Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar. Projected countries in the near future are Kenya and Sudan.

Business Model: Countries can customize TradeNet to deploy how they want. A budget of $3m is anticipated per country. With 50% in grant funding, a country can be profitable in year 4, and make a return of 53%, attracting the private sector to run and operate the business, and remain profitable.

Roll-out strategy: 200.000 subscribers per country after 5 or 6 years

Video clip about Tradenet on CNN’s Inside Africa (broadcasted a few months ago).

TradeNet began development in 2005, but officially launched in 2007. TradeNet’s BusyLab has spent three years building an openAPIstructure which allows any entrepreneur to leverage their network of users and mobile operators and get a service launched quickly. To date, most licensees have been donor projects. TradeNet projects 25 countries by 2011.