Liquid Telecom: driving innovation in Africa
In partnership with the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, Liquid Telecom is set to open innovation centre to improve education.
With the launch of its new innovation centre in Mthatha, South Africa and East London, England, Liquid Telecom and Eastern Cape Provincial Government share their ambitions to drive innovation and build digital skills among youth across the country - even in the most remote parts!
How will this impact the region?
As a result, the innovation centre will foster positive development within the region by creating local learning and business opportunities that will extend out past Mithatha.
The centre will provide the vital state-of-the-art technology including:
High speed connectivity
Internet of Things (IoT)
In addition, African learners will have access to a tailor made learning platform known as 21C Skills, playing an important role in providing communities with digital opportunities they have never had before.
- Could animation make education more accessible?
“By supporting Eastern Cape communities with access to high-speed internet, training in technology skills and platforms we are helping them prepare for the jobs of the future. The launch of the Innovation and Digital Skills Centres is key to entrepreneur empowerment which is fully aligned to Liquid Telecom’s vision of Building Africa’s digital future.” commented Reshaad Sha, CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa.
“The Eastern Cape is encouraged by organisations such as Liquid Telecom’s commitment to providing innovative solutions to develop the Youth of our province, for 4IR readiness. This is a crucial milestone for the Digital Inclusivity agenda of the Province. We recognise the Innovation and Digital Centres as an important lever for development and ICT transformation in giving our people access to hi-tech ICT skills, whether they are in the rural hinterland or in the ever-growing urban areas. We strongly believe that with true ICT skills and capacitation, new opportunities for economic participation will arise for our people,” said Mr Oscar Mabuyane, Premier of the Eastern Cape.
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.