Relief International: ICT Business Sector in Rural Areas

InfoPro was commissioned the study by Relief International who was interested in assessing the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) business sector in rural areas. The study’s main objective was to explore the demand and supply for ICT techniques and services in rural areas and the role of microcredit in supporting and boosting this sector. The study was carried out through a combination of desk research, in-depth interviews and field surveys. The desk research helped identify the vocational training centers which have Information and Communication Technology as a specialization. It also helped identify small businesses and small ICT businesses in the areas under study. InfoPro then conducted a field survey with 352 graduates and senior students selected from 114 IT academies, vocational training centers, Cisco networking academies and Microsoft certification centers. The aim of these interviews was to identify the types of certifications that they have or are currently specializing in, their plans upon completing their educational, whether they are looking to open businesses, financing sources and budgets that they would require, and the types of collateral that they have and that would help them finance their ICT needs. InfoPro then conducted in-depth interviews with the owners of small businesses and small ICT businesses in order to identify their recruitment needs with regards to ICT personnel and skills that are currently lacking but that they require from ICT personnel. The above data helped InfoPro conduct phase II which was to provide RI with guidelines that will help develop microloan products targeting ICT businesses, small businesses and ICT graduates in rural areas.