On an otherwise reasonable evening, more than 1,000 people packed an auditorium in Boulder, Colorado, for the culmination of the 2011 Unreasonable Institute. They came to see 27 ventures  present their solutions to some of the world’s greatest challenges.

Ties Kroezen, Managing Director of NICE International, shares how his venture is providing Africans access to internet – an amenity that is the strongest driver of economic growth.

NICE is an innovative and sustainable concept to overcome some of the barriers to access to energy and Internet in developing countries. NICE-centers provide affordable access to energy, ICT, Internet and development services, such as education. For companies and development organizations NICE-centers offer an efficient communication and distribution channel to the Base of the Pyramid. Customers have to pay for the services, enabling financial sustainability and ensuring that real needs are addressed. Using a franchise model, scaling-up is a powerful thread embedded in the concept. Franchisers are fully trained and are locally backed by a national office for technical, operational and management support. Each centre is located in reach of 20,000 people on average.

Update: NICE International is no longer operating. For lessons from Ties on why his startup failed and what you can learn from it, read his posts here

Unreasonable Institute

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The Unreasonable Institute arms entrepreneurs creating solutions to the world’s biggest social and environmental problems with the mentorship, capital, and networks they need to do so.

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