The two cafés serve approximately 2,000 customers each month and 10,000 across the year which is a fantastically rich and diverse benefit to the community, given the need to accelerate the use of digital products in order to increase capacity in the population and catch up with other countries.
The fast and reliable internet connection has enabled several businesses to start up using the cafes as an office and local business people are frequent customers. University teachers come to prepare courses and students use the cafes to study.
The revenues from internet use, admin services and training are in excess of $100,000 per year, which is sufficient to run operations, employ people whose families are able to survive on monthly salaries and repay the loans each month.
Innocent has plans to open Café-3 in Bagira but the options to offer professional computer training are currently limited by the economic recession in Congo. Instead, he is working with Ensemble to develop a capacity in technology development and consultancy that will bring in additional revenues from local businesses and NGOs.
The potential for further businesses to be created, employment rates to increase and subsequent contribution to economic growth is dramatic. It’s a richly empowering business in a city that has the potential to help lead Kivu to a much better future.