In developing countries, one of the few immediately viable micro-business start-up options is a village phone operation – a cheap payphone owned and run for profit, which also has the benefit of providing as key service for the village.
According to Informationweek, a group called the Grameen Foundation has now launched the Village Phone Direct Manual, what they describe as a “business in a box” to help micro-finance and local aid institutions help people who want set up their own village phone business.
These businesses face two common obstacles: persuading a bank to lend the money to buy the phone, and persuading a phone company to provide the landline or mobile connection.
The Village Phone Direct Manual provides advice for these institutions on how village phone operations can be profitable for all concerned.
The Grameen Foundation plans to translate the guide into Spanish, French, Arabic, and other languages. It is a non-profit organisation connected to the Grameen Bank, a microfinance institution founded by the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus.