M-Learning Ventures in Ghana

Please find my elevator pitch M-Learning Ventures in Ghana. This pitch is intended for development funders such as CIDA, Unicef and Nokia. For some reason when I did my elevator pitch iMovie cut off the top- glad it didn’t do this when I made my pitch!

The full version is available at http://gallery.me.com/bknutsonshaw#100000
* This could be slow to load – please be patient. If it doesn’t load the first time- try again.

This pitch is intended specifically for CIDA- Canadian International Development Association, UNICEF, and Nokia. CIDA will fund projects such as this if it’s focus is on any of the millenium goals- which this one is- up to $500,000. The millenium goals are UNICEF’s thing- They are funding projects that focus on achieving the goals. Finally- Africa is the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world and Nokia is the biggest player there. They have funded many development projects in both health and educational fields. It is in their best interest to be good corporate citizens and of course to develop customer loyalty. There will be no direct return to them funding development projects- but in the long run they should benefit in big ways. As you view this pitch, please think of yourself as EVA’er from one of these organizations.


1 Ian Doktor { 11.30.09 at 6:39 pm }

Hi Bev,

So here is my comment on your pitch. (First, of all, I’m not sure if I had a technical problem or this was intended, but there was no video; only audio. I don’t think it necessarily took away from the pitch but I wasn’t sure if there was supposed to be). As an EVA, the only main concern I would have is whether or not UNESCOs goal is actually realistic. I agree there would be a huge market for expansion, but I’m not sure significant dollars to support that will really materialise. I completely agree that this is a much needed technology but I don’t believe the private sector will really embrace it because of that (although my uncle developes 3G phones in China for basically the same use and he may disagree with me! I’ll have to check and see what he says).

All in all good job! Very interesting.

2 Sharon Hann { 11.30.09 at 7:33 pm }

I was able to see the visual presentation and hear audio. I agree wireless networks are the solution to connectivity and we are rapidly moving toward small handhelds as significant mediums, especially suited to third world applications. If you can get powerhouses like Unicef and Nokia behind this project it can make change, not in a day, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Developing nations need solutions and this seems like a reasonable one. Education is a powerful tool. An educated society can make better decisions about their government, laws, and environments. Good job Bev! Sharon

3 Bev { 11.30.09 at 8:56 pm }

Hi Ian: Thanks for your comments. Yes there is a video- don’t know why you can’t see it. I can’t comment on how feasible UNICEF/ UNESCO’s millenium goal is- I only hope it can happen. In terms of the funding- UNICEF has already put huge dollars into this- New meetings this year continued to support initiative. CIDA will contribute $500,00o to these types of projects as long as they work towards the millenium goals which this one does. Finally, Africa is the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world- bar none. Nokia is a huge player there and has already contributed to many development project in Africa. Countries like Kenya have 200,000 land lines but 50 million cell phone users. It is Nokias best interest to support these types of initiatives. Here is one of many link about Nokias presence in Africa- http://whiteafrican.com/2008/05/02/nokia-and-the-developing-world/

4 Tony D { 11.30.09 at 8:57 pm }

Hi Bev,

I also had trouble viewing the video on the first pitch in my first viewing, after I refreshed the page everything was fine. I appluad the altruistic nature of this venture, your statistics do a good job of explaining the issue Ghana and the need for more properly educated teachers. I may have it missed it in the presentation but how will outsider investment be recovered through the program. I think your venture is not forprofit but outside investors in the private world may be looking for a ROI in the future.

Either way as I mentioned M-SOL does sound like a very worthy idea best of luck!

5 Bev { 11.30.09 at 9:03 pm }

Hi Sharon- Thanks for your comments- I’m not sure if you’ve read Tom Friedman’s new book- Hot, Flat and Croweded- interesting read- one comment he makes ” Wireless connectivity that doesn’t need land lines and telephone poles would do more to cure rural poverty in the developing world than any other innovations. ” Africa seems to be skipping right over computers and moving into mobile technology.

6 Bev { 11.30.09 at 9:10 pm }

Hi Tony- This pitch was intended for CIDA, UNICEF, and Nokia. CIDA (Canadian International Development Association) and UNICEF are not in this to make money. Nokia is the only “outside” investor, and is a huge player in mobile technologies in Africa. It is in their best interest to be good corporate citizens- after all Africa is their fastest growing market. They have already invested a great deal of money in various health and education projects through-out the world. I would guess another reason is the research that goes with these projects adds to their bag of tricks. So their investment will come back in customer loyalty.


7 Ashley Jones { 12.01.09 at 4:32 pm }

Hi bev, I was very moved by your pitch and I think it tackles a very important issue. Your reply above answers some important questions that you obviously considered. Well done!

8 Jay Dixon { 12.02.09 at 6:51 pm }

Hi Bev. Well done.
I am embarrassed to say that I have been so wrapped up in my course work and life in general to know about the depth of issues in Ghanna. I did some of my own Google research after. As Ashley said, this does attempt to tackle an serious and important issue. The concept of countries like Africa skipping straight ahead and almost bypassing to mobile networking a thought provoking concept. I enjoyed you pitch. Outlining your audience helped put things in context. Thanks.

9 Amy Frank { 12.02.09 at 9:06 pm }

Hi Bev,
I think this is a great idea, and I like how you specified who the pitch was for. I think that knowing who you are pitching the idea to makes it easier to understand and embrace. The concept of mobile learning is excellent. I have spent quite a bit of time in other MET courses discussing Africa and their challenges with computer technology. By passing their weakness and heading straight for their strengths is great. It seems that you have done quite a lot of research and have a thorough proposal. I really appreciated you strong elevator pitch with the images, facts, quotes, and proposal. You were able to provide a lot of information into a short video that was very effective.

10 Cathy Jung { 12.03.09 at 6:09 pm }

Hi Bev,

I too had some difficulty loading your pitch, but was successful after a few attempts. Your pitch and focus was very different from some of the others I’ve seen so far. It was interesting to learn that Africa is the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world. I also appreciate your comments above answering the questions of others in the class, this helped me further understand your elevator pitch without viewing the full pitch.


11 Colin Cheng { 12.04.09 at 3:22 pm }


It was a hard decision picking out a third venture to invest in. In the end, it was a toss up between yours and another. However, after reviewing both elevator pitches over and over, I am formally notifying you that Cheng Incorporated is interested in pursuing your proposal further. A detailed report of our findings will be emailed to you shortly.

What caught my eye in your elevator pitch were the following points:

* although your video was heavily laden with information and exceeded the time that is typical of an elevator pitch, I found your proposal to be sound and compelling
* your video was very credible and it was apparent that you had done much research to justify your claims
* the last part of your video was more technical and it almost lost me – I had to review it a second time to catch your proposal
* despite the fact that your venture is not designed to bring a sound return on my investment, you preface your pitch by stating that it would be designed for a development funder. I believe that humanitarian organizations would indeed find your proposal interesting and one they would be interested in funding.
* your video has a subtle calling for urgency and as such appeals to a large audience

12 Bev { 12.04.09 at 5:21 pm }

Thanks Colin- I appreciate your comments- as for your comment on my elevator pitch- It isn’t actually too long- at least that’s what I thought. I made the one you saw and then I re-did it. I had it down to 37 seconds- and I posted it- or so I thought- I didn’t actually go back and check until yesterday only to realize that the wrong one was there and the redone one had gone off to cyber-heaven!

I will go back and look at the end of my venture pitch- and look at the “technical’ part. That is really helpful feedback- which I really appreciate. Thanks for your support.

13 Liz Hood { 12.05.09 at 7:19 am }

I found your business venture to be quite enthralling. You not only appealed to my humanitarian side, but also my practical business acumen with your clear and quite comprehensive explanation. I particularly liked the fact that your proposal is tied to achievable goals adopted by Ghana. The partnership with the College of Education as well as the credentials of the team give this venture credibility. You very clearly explained the need (based on a deficiency in the current system). The development of multimedia distance learning materials appears to address this deficiency. As well, your explanation of the existing infrastructure and its ability to currently support the proposal is quite comprehensive—you certainly have your research done! In your conclusion, you summarize the impact of the program, so that as an investor I have a clear idea of how to measure the success of the pilot program. As a humanitarian oriented EVA, I would invest in your pilot program.

Outstanding pitch.

14 Colin Cheng { 12.05.09 at 2:10 pm }

Bev, further to my original memo to you regarding our interest in your venture, here is a more formal assessment of your proposal.

You have done a fantastic job of presenting all aspects of this venture. There is very little that I can think of that was not elaborated on. The short length of this assessment is testament to the thoroughness of your proposal. The benefits of this venture are clear and sound. Not only is it a worthy humanitarian effort, it seeks to revolutionize education in a way that even developed countries have yet to pursue.

My only concern is a simple yet important one. In your presentation, you state that while there is an extensive 3G network throughout the country, there is often a lack of electricity in certain parts of the country. As such, how would participants in those regions charge their phones?

15 Bev { 12.05.09 at 3:22 pm }

Great question Colin and one that I should have mentioned- These phones are chargeable with a 12 volt battery which are in ready supply. Even very remote villages have access to 12 volt batteries. A small generator will also work to recharge these phones . The fact that mobile phones can go along time without needed to be recharged in comparison to lap-tops makes them more suitable for inconsistent power. The simple fact that they have become so popular I think indicates that they are finding ways to recharge them.
Just an aside when we lived in Nigeria, my husband worked on an agricultural project where they had 4 vehicles and 1 battery which they used to get all 4 going. They were incredibly resourceful.

Thanks again for your support.

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