A future for entrepreneurs in the 4IR

© Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos interview with Jackie Nespral, NBC6, at eMerge Americas 2017

 

Millicom's lead specialists regularly report on important new developments in fixed and mobile communications technology. In an interview with NBC6 news anchor Jackie Nespral, Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos looks at what new technologies can bring to entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

June 2017: I was recently asked at eMerge Americas, a premiere technology conference in Miami, if entrepreneurs in emerging markets can really take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or 4IR?

My answer, of course, was yes. I was glad to be asked the question so I could focus on the many new opportunities and challenges that emerging market entrepreneurs must face and what they can do to leverage technologies to grow their businesses.

Let’s start by clarifying what 4IR really is.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has brought advances that are blurring the lines between man and machine, technology and the physical world. It’s this new buzz about what we can do with the latest technologies and the realm of possibilities in the future.

The fact that we now talk about robots doing routine tasks, cars driving themselves, machines communicating with one another, the ability to 3D-print functional objects, crime-predicting software, and sensors warning a factory of needed repairs, means that it should come as no surprise that we are in a new era.

This revolution is creating opportunities never seen before. As entrepreneurs, the challenge lies in finding a way to thrive in this new sphere.

New revenue streams are emerging as companies find innovative ways to help customers. Take peer-to-peer sharing, the business model used by the likes of Uber and Airbnb.

These two companies have found ways to utilize digital technologies to get into traditional industries and not only make a profit for themselves, but also create business and revenue opportunities for regular people. Now it is possible for all of us to rent out our house for extra income, or work as drivers in our spare time.

In the emerging markets where Tigo operates, we're now seeing and enabling similar traits as in developed markets: high-speed broadband networks, new generation 4G mobile networks, modern IT infrastructure and data centers that enable companies to operate with fewer resources.

This is improving the chances for companies and entrepreneurs of making it big, or at least profitable.

As an entrepreneur in this new age, one first must do what entrepreneurs have always done: work hard, keep learning and be willing to pick oneself up after setbacks and frustrations.

Beyond this, the 4IR requires new skills and a lot of collaboration.

© eMerge Americas 2017

At Millicom, one of our top priorities is to help and work with entrepreneurs. To do, so we’ve established strategic partnerships with house-hold names like Facebook, Google and Microsoft, among other, lesser known, leaders in cutting edge technology.

Through partnerships with our Tigo brand, we’ve developed an ecosystem of value-added business solution providers ranging from content to connectivity, devices, financial expertise and software to help our business clients build processes with world-class standards through a one-stop-shop that also provides customized solutions.

Put simply, we make it possible for people and businesses to take part in the 4IR in smaller markets often overlooked by big telecommunications companies.

In countries like Bolivia, Ghana and Honduras, for instance, we have built high-speed fixed and mobile networks that are the core of this new revolution. Now, everything is at people’s fingertips.

Through our network and services, we offer entrepreneurs a suite of technologies tailored to their needs. These include new website design products, domain registration, and web hosting services that can help put their businesses on the map, plus a mobile platform for payments and cloud computing so they can access email and other services like Google Apps and Office 365.

They can also get advanced services for sending out mass text messages and keeping their place of business safe with video surveillance, as well as help find new clients and services to keep on top of their fleets in real time with wireless sensors and tracking software.

All of these services are enabling both, new businesses to start up and flourish in remote areas, and established international companies to offer products, services and solutions that previously were not available in those areas.

Now, emerging market entrepreneurs can leap frog to the same level as their counterparts in the developed world, because they are no longer a version or more behind in technology.

With these digital highways, people who were previously left out of these developments can take a shot at building their own businesses and contribute, along with Millicom, to transforming the world. It’s up to all of us to make this happen so that emerging market entrepreneurs can thrive at home and beyond their borders.