On a global level, INN aims to work with those institutions, individuals and networks with committing resources, expertise and knowledge to the advancement of youth entrepreneurship in emerging markets. On a local level, INN aims to work with those countries, markets and communities that are best positioned to engage with and benefit from interactions with these globally-oriented actors and networks.
A mobile phone interface will extend the reach of INN beyond the Web to empower and enable entrepreneurs in emerging markets. This converged mobile/web experience will not only enhance INN's accessibility, convenience, and utility for users but also extend the user experience itself by offering contextualized content and services to local users through the mobile phone. The Network will set itself apart from other portals and Web sites by focusing on interactive experiences and high-value services designed expressly for young entrepreneurs and their supporters, rather than solely on static informational content or general social exchange opportunities.
Through this commitment, ImagineNations Network is expanding INN's global reach and entering new markets via a 'portalization' process that is predominantly local partner driven. 'Portalization' is a term INN developed to encapsulate both the technical process of localizing INN in a given market and the other components necessary for the creation of an INN portal in a specific country (i.e. partnership outreach and marketing). Portalization allows INN to be localized in different countries and regions while still offering access to the global INN community. Elements of local portalization include sorting users and content according to local priorities, such as location or language (i.e., users of a Zambia portal would be shown Zambia-specific users and content first), as well as offering unique branding and resource content.
While its global presence provides youth entrepreneurs with access to expertise, networks and support beyond their immediate geographic location, a localized presence ensures the Network's offering aligns with the specific conditions of a given market and more accurately serve the needs and interests of users operating there.
INN intends to pursue its portal expansion in those regions of the world where it is already operating (sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia), as well as regions, such as the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, where INN has strong global or regional partners that can accelerate INN's speed-to-market. Mobile integration of the portal will take place at both the global and local levels. INN has identified Zambia and Indonesia as potential pilot countries in order to design and test the mobile integration and portalization process.
- Over a 12-month period, beginning in October 2010, INN will develop two country portals, including mobile phone integration, mentoring, resources, access to financing and marketplace. INN will also design a regional portal.
- INN staff will gather program performance and intermediate client outcomes data both to measure the Network's progress and to make data-driven decisions on how to improve INN services.
- INN will design its Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system through a participatory process that engages key global and local partners at the beginning of the design process. Central to INN's M&E process is the ability to track key indicators and assess how they relate to desired outcomes. Web-based indicators, such as viewership, usage rates and match rates, should be relatively easy to track and the least geographically dependent. When selecting non web-based indicators, however, INN will take local partner capacities and local environments into account.
- Over 5 years, INN will grow to yield a user base of 750,000 after the successful launch of the local and regional portals.
- As part of the commitment, Yahoo! Inc. will also be providing ,000 of targeted media on its advertising platform. With more than 600M unique visitors per month and a platform that reaches half of the world's online population, Yahoo! will use the power of its science, art and scale to help promote INN's efforts across the globe. Specifically, Yahoo! will work with INN to reach audiences in the Middle East-North Africa region and Southeast Asia. This commitment is consistent with INN's goals and with Yahoo!'s own ongoing efforts to promote entrepreneurship globally. With the ability and desire to reach and promote entrepreneurs across the world, Yahoo! is confident that its best assets--its advertising platform and reach--to help INN reach the goal of 750,000 users over 5 years.
Internet and mobile phone technology can be harnessed to leverage global resources to serve the local needs, interests and preferences of youth as they relate to generating employment opportunities and creating paths to improved livelihoods. In emerging markets, Internet usage is increasingly driven through wireless access technologies, low cost messaging channels and mobile web services.
Over the past 8 years, ImagineNations Group has been working to empower and inspire a new generation of emerging entrepreneurs in the developing world by creating innovative, large-scale investment strategies that promote development opportunities with specific initiatives in South-East Asia, Africa, and across the Middle East and North Africa. New approaches and avenues are needed to address the growing challenge of youth employment. One trend that has developed, as various organizations seek to maximize their reach, impact and relevance in this area, is the creation of virtual communities. Based around a single Internet Web site, these communities are designed to foster relationships, disseminate contextualized information and deliver targeted services.
ImagineNations Network is one such innovative approach, offering a one-stop platform for young people, NGOs, supporters, financing sources, commercial outlets and others to interact virtually to promote youth-led entrepreneurship and economic development. INN allows users at the local and global level to exchange ideas, experiences and learning, as well as to access financial and marketplace services, to support the development and growth of youth-led businesses and enterprises. With the successful launch of the ImagineNations Network (INN) in October of 2009, an opportunity has emerged to interweave communities, experiences and expertise - increasingly via mobile connections - with the express purpose of creating employment and other opportunities for youth.