Youth must lead post COVID-19 ICT

Working remotely opened new opportunities for a youth led ITC business

Ashton Murungweni believes that young people must be involved in the ICT sector.
Ashton Murungweni believes that young people must be involved in the ICT sector.
Image: Supplied.

An information and communication technology (ICT) company is spreading its wings after realising that the coronavirus (COVID-19) will force people to work from home a lot more.

Cape Town-based Uni Networks, owned by Ashton Murungweni and Dyke Kangoma, provides data cabling, voice-over internet protocol solutions, fibre installation, wireless internet installation and the management of ICT services for companies.

Murungweni says that there is a need for greater ICT connection as companies navigate the era of COVID-19. He says: “People need to be connected more than ever, especially those working from home.”

He believes that even companies that are returning to the office need wireless workstations to better adhere to social distancing.

Murungweni says they are helping businesses adapt to the new workplace procedures.

Uni Network was affected at the start of the lockdown because its core function is physical installations. However, it adapted and offered advisory services to clients, which resulted in a few income opportunities, such as creating or updating clients’ databases.

The company, which was started in 2014 by a group of 10 technicians, employs six people who have been with them from the start. An additional four people also work for the company on a part-time basis and when needed, more people are contracted in.

According to Murungweni, the technicians had been working individually on an informal level before deciding to combine their skills and offer a one-stop shop for all ICT-related projects.

He says they helped each other grow as entrepreneurs while maintaining the flexibility needed for them to continue pursuing other business interests.

“Entrepreneurship was the principal reason for starting Uni Networks. After gaining some experience, we felt that there were market gaps that we could tap into as young entrepreneurs. The organisation we were working for was not keen on diversifying their services, hence limiting the growth of individuals,” he says.

Murungweni says that young people should be in charge of the ICT sector because they already possess the basic skills of the industry. “ICT is a broad sector and most youth have basic ICT skills.”

He says that big ICT companies and the government need to deepen their efforts to develop the youth’s skills in emerging technologies like online 3D production, robotics, and e-health.

-This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk'uzenzele.

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