In South Africa, township SMMEs still struggle to access internet connectivity. This is despite the fact research has proven that technology can positively contribute to the growth of the township economy. By enhancing skills development, and creating more jobs.
Lorna Mlozi sought to change the status quo when she founded Sky Internet, a premium Internet Services Provider that offers a personable service to township households and businesses. The 29-year-old soccer fanatic and entrepreneur was born in Gqeberha and grew up in Cape Town, where she completed her primary and secondary school. She always knew she wanted to work with computers, she explained how she wanted to study Information Technology. However, in her quest for higher education, she was introduced to Information Communication Technology. Although it wasn’t her first choice during her ICT studies, she began to see the future of communication and human connectivity, but most importantly the positive impact it will have in the townships. Upon completing her studies, she landed her first job in Call Centre.
As a results-driven person with an inquisitive mind, the telecommunications industry attracted her. She found herself working for the companies such as Vodacom, Dimension Data, Spark ATM Systems, and Cell C. “We were on a brand activation campaign, trying to get the brand out there. We’d travel on a Cell C bus, going do door-to-door selling sim-cards in the townships of Cape Town,” she recalled vividly.
“As a varsity student, I was exposed to students from different backgrounds. So, I began asking myself: why can’t we have people experience certain things? Then I thought, how can I come and make a difference and help people be in another place while they are still in the township?” she told TransformSA.
In 2016, Lorna decided to start her own internet service provider. At the time, no internet service provider was interested in serving the township market segment. One of the reasons she works so hard is that she’s determined to excel in a predominantly male environment as the first black woman to start an internet business. She said one way to change the country’s economic trajectory, is to make fiber optics accessible to the majority of people living in the township. Internet speed will put township businesses on an even keel with suburb-based businesses.
“Fibre connectivity is the strong foundation that we are currently laying in bolstering our economy. We want to bring it to the townships to improve our people’s lives. Our goal is to make all businesses sustainable using connectivity,” she said.
“We empower large, medium, small, and micro businesses to do more for less. Our wide range of connectivity solutions provides tailored ICT services to help better manage your business,” she added.
Sky Internet has been operational since 2019. Two years later, Sky Internet has gone live in townships such as Nyanga, Langa and Gugulethu. Lorna said they plan to reach out to disadvantaged communities on the continent. However, the roll-out will start in different parts of the country such as the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State.