Techfortrade was launched in early 2011 as a charity with a mission to alleviate poverty by acting as a catalyst for the development of new technology based solutions that address many of the barriers to trade for poor rural communities. These initiatives build on developments such as the emerging mobile phone based e-banking networks and on other innovations that potentially offer transformational social benefits. Our approach is to collaborate in order to develop sustainable social business models that can be deployed and localised in multiple markets.
With a number of social businesses already active on a small scale in this area, notably in Sub Saharan Africa, the concept is being tested through a targeted social investment programme. This combines the provision of financial capital with valuable capacity building support, the opportunity to share ideas with others working in a similar field, the potential to build a technology community beyond the companies supported, and also (helped by rigorous monitoring and evaluation) open the possibility of much larger investments from major funds.