Summary of the first Internet Cafe workshop

First Internet Cafe Workshop JohannesburgThank you very much for attending our first workshop on Saturday, 24th March. This e-mail is a summary of what was discussed and some suggestions on the next steps for you to consider.

If you have your deposit and a venue contact Terry to place your order on (011) 8346755 contact Ramon Thomas.

The aim of these workshops is to set the scene for those of you who have considered running and Internet Cafe as a small business. This is not yet a franchise business but we are considering that option. The main points we discussed is as follows:

  1. The infrastructure components of the Internet Cafe
  2. The benefits and advantages of this type of small business
  3. Revenue sources
  4. Background on the Internet industry
  5. Background on Ramon Thomas (NETucation) / Terry Mohlala (Terry Computers)
  6. Basic Costs Breakdown + Income Estimations
  7. Internet Cafe Industry Portal

To download the Powerpoint Presentation click here. If you have problems downloading the presentation please reply to this e-mail and I’ll send it to you. I’ve decided not to attach the presentation to make this e-mail as small as possible.

Get Your Copy of the Workshop DVD

Ramon Thomas explaining Revenue SourcesAs you may know a recording was made of the workshop including the Q&A and this is available on DVD. To purchase this DVD simply call Terry on (011) 8346755.

Business Plan and Financing

The first problem most people face in starting a business is financing the business. The starting point when seeking financing is to have a business plan. So I’m sending you a sample business plan – also attached. This needs some work from your part to rewrite with your own details and work through some of the numbers. Again through the Business Place you can access experts that will help you writing your business plan. Please contact them via their website here: or call them on (011) 836 9000.

Marketing Research

If you have some uncertainties about your market size, your competition and you feel like you need some research to be more sure about setting up an Internet Cafe contact me directly on 082 9407137. I am happy to meet with you at your earliest convenience to take this further…

Some Resources


Shirley, Goodness and Mercy at Market Theatre

Shirley, Goodness and Mercy at Market Theatre JohannesburgOn Saturday, 23 March, I was blessed to attend the stage production of Shirley, Goodness and Mercy by my friend and author Chris van Wyk. Acclaimed director Janice Honeyman adapted and directed the play. There was some tension in the air as most of the people audience was made up of people from Riverlea, a Coloured township south-west of Johannesburg. And since this play is a memoir, set in Riverlea, its very, very personal matter to most people attending.

The play was first screened in Cape Town before coming to Johannesburg where it is actually set. Chris had generously offered me a extra ticket and I didn’t hesitate to accept. I was laughing from beginning to end at the witty dialogue between the characters, the funny moments, the inside jokes, the amazing depth of the story and how it relates to me, also a boy growing up in a world where Apartheid didn’t exist until I well into my teenage years and more so when I completed high school and went to study further at University. Being exposed to people from other races in South Africa brings the legacy of Apartheid in your face. Chris van Wyk strikes a wonderful balance between slapstick and seriousness.

Shirley, Goodness and Mercy has been described as nostalgic by some critics. Without repeating what has already been said before I want to leave with this comparison:

This is a wonderful story of childhood innocence. It is a story that runs deep into the veins of Apartheid, South Africa. Like in the film Life is Beautiful, the childhood innocence overcomes the struggle, the reality, the harshness of oppression. And like most of the best stories ever told, the is also a story of a boy and a girl who fall in love. Here’s some photos I took of Chris van Wyk and Janice Honeyman, and also Chris with some family outside the Market Theatre, Johannesburg.

Janice Honeyman and Chris van Wyk author Chris van Wyk and Family

If you are very, very curious about what has been said before please the following reviews:

Book now for Shirley, Goodness and Mercy at Market Theatre, Johannesburg. Its running from Friday, 23 March to 13 May 2007.


First Internet Cafe SME workshop and industry portal launched

A black empowered joint venture is hosting the first workshop for people who wish to start an Internet Cafe as a small business this weekend. And a new industry portal is being launched at the same time.

22 March 2007 (Johannesburg): The Internet Cafe industry is set for a boom between now and 2010. In part, this is because of growing demand from the general population, tourists, and students who live outside of major metropolitan areas.

According to Ramon Thomas, Managing Director of NETucation, a leading online research organisation, who has conducted original research into the Internet Cafe industry, “This is an important step to the growing demand for advice on setting up an Internet Cafe as a small business since delivering my iWeek 2004 presentation.”

This workshop is a joint venture between NETucation and Terry Computers and, both black empowered businesses founded by a growing class of young black entrepreneurs who are technology savvy and offer ground breaking contributions in the ICT industry.

“We believe there is huge potential for people to start businesses in the Internet Cafe industry because we see the demand in our offices every day,” says Terrence Mohlala, founder of Terry Computers.

At the Internet Cafe SME workshop, a new industry portal which aims to provide support to the growing number of Cafe’s around the country will be launched. The portal currently lists 145 cafes including those listed in Swaziland and Lesotho. The website allows users to review and rate the cafes they have used and at the same time offers advice for owners of Internet Cafe owners.

The workshop will give cover the following topics:

  • State of the Internet industry in South Africa
  • Business Models
  • Marketing Support
  • Revenue Models
  • Hardware and Software solutions
  • Financial Support, Business Plans and Loans
  • Skills development and Staff Training

Workshop details

  • Date: Saturday, 24 March 2007
  • Time: 9am-11am
  • Venue: 3rd Floor, The Business Place, 58 Marshall Street, Johannesburg
  • Fee: R10 per person (includes drink)
  • RSVP: Call Tel 082 9407137

Media Contacts:

Ramon Thomas
Managing Director, NETucation
Mobile 082 940 7137
Terrence Mohlala
Owner, Terry Computer Services
Tel. 011 834 6755

How to Increase Your Online Profile with LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a very popular business social networking website. The primary aim of LinkedIn is to help you connect with other professionals directly within our own country and worldwide. It now have over 9 million registered users. South Africa currently has 24800 users and I’ve just entered the top 5. This is up from #8 which I’ve been for the last few months. My goal is to reach number 1 before end of 2007.

View Ramon Thomas's profile on LinkedInLinkedIn in allows you to create a Public Profile with a unique URL. My own LinkedIn URL is currently ranked number 7 on my the Google SERPs for my name. This is one of the ways you can ensure that when people search for you – they find you – and more specifically they find the information about you, that you want them to find. Your LinkedIn profile becomes like a live online resume with endorsements which keeps growing.

LinkedIn recently launched a Q&A service which allows you to post questions to the entire network. My own questions were answered by several different people within days. And this is amazing when you consider the value or how much you would have to pay these experts to gain their insight. Why bother answering other people’s questions you may ask? Well it boosts your profile inside the LinkedIn network and therefore brings more opportunities to you. It really comes down to a different mindset that understands how value is created i.e. By giving more, you receive more. And you need to give first before expecting anything in return. And the less you expect, the more you are surprised by does end up coming your way.

You may be interested in my half-day workshop on online social networking for entrepreneurs, consultants, contractors and anyone who’s freelancing. If you work in recruitment industry LinkedIn is something that you should really pay attention to because its completely changing the way executive search and talent management is taking place.

LinkedIn Resources


Awareness and Education needed to grow cellphone banking

People who are regular users of the Internet often assume others understand why it is significant. So it goes for people who are heavy users of cellphones, they often assume everyone else should by default understand how easy it is, how cheap it is, and how convenient it is to use. Internet banking has been available in South Africa since 1997. Cellphone banking has been around since about 2000 or 2001. I worked for ABSA and used their cellphone banking system in 2001. And it was brilliant – smooth – easy – convenient, etc. The vision of my company has always been to educate people, non-technical people i.e. people who do not work with technology or in the IT industry, about the benefits of using technology.

So it comes as no surprise that a new survey finds that lack of information is blamed for the slow adoption of cellphone banking. In South Africa the powers that be is always talking about the unbanked. And cellphone banking is believed to be the solution to that. Read the full article here.


How to take control of your online profile

Have ever searched your own name on Google? I do it all the time and the results have become very familiar to me. When you search for “Ramon Thomas” on this is what you will see:

My own blog and my profile shows up twice making the 10 results displayed at a time on search engine results page (SERP). Why is this important? It wasn’t always like this. Up until about a year ago there were a few other “Ramon Thomas” characters who shared the first page of results with me.

The first thing I do these days when I engage with a new person is I Google them. I want to see how much they have taken control of their online profile. In most cases its none at all or maybe one page. Now what is the value of controlling your online profile? I will be exploring this in a series of articles on this blog where I delve deeper into each one of the above mentioned services.

What I want to stress at this point it that you must remember that the Internet is a one-to-one communication medium. Yes, thousands or even millions of people can be reading your blog or your website but they are doing it one at a time. In this sense you have to cater for that individual when you are writing. And each time someone is search for your name – that is one person at a time


Touching the tip of this finger with the tip of this finger

Scott Adams God's DebrisThere is something unique about this book but what it is I cannot say. It reminds me of of Zen Koan. And it also reminds me of the philosophy espoused by Osho and Alan Watts to a lesser extent. Really just questioning existence, conciousness and belief. This is the kind of book that really makes your head spin with ideas. I could not stop reading once I started. And I certainly recommend this highly to people who have read widely on religion and science. There is something metaphysical about this and I applaud Scott Adams. This is the work of a genius and that’s always been clear to me when looking deeper into the Dilbert cartoons. And now looking deeper into the soul, the origin, the meaning of life. Scott Adams ranks up there with Douglas Adams in original thinking and wit.

Download God’s Debris free – no strings attached.


Invitation to Internet Cafe workshop

At iWeek 2004 I delivered a ground breaking presentation: “The State of the Internet Cafe industry in South Africa.” Since that time I’ve received numerous queries from people who want to set-up cyber cafes and I’ve not always had my ducks in a row. However, I’ve continued to gather information on this topic and consulted here and there with some clients who set-up cafe’s from scratch.

One of the outcomes is which is still in beta – so your feedback is welcome.

Recently I met an amazing young black guy, Terrence Mohlala, who has a Internet cafe business offering and I’m helping him to develop this further into a more complete solution. Hey mainly sells computer hardware and does some basic end-user training from his own Internet cafe in Joburg.

Today we had agreed on a joint venture where I will offer research and marketing to his clients and I will refer all the queries to him from the iWeek presentation mentioned above. Our aim here is to bring this to the widest possible audience i.e. the Internet cafe as a viable small business.

I’ve always believed the more Internet cafes means more Internet users, which leads to more economic growth over the medium term. Professor Hans Rosling produces evidence for a direct link between Internet access and economic success in his 2006 presentation at TED.

So on Saturday, 24 March @9am we’re hosting an open workshop for people interested in starting Internet Cafe’s at the following venue: 2nd Floor, 58 Marshall Street, 3rd Floor, Johannesburg

Its easy to book your seat for these workshops by calling 082 9407137.


Teens Fighting Back Online against Predators and Scams

Over 20,000 Teens Fight Back Against Cyber-Attacks as Part of Online Community Habbo’s Safety Awareness Month

86% of Teens Say They Have Discussed Online Safety With Their Parents, while over 51% Say They Visit Chat Rooms at Least Once Every Day

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–, one of the world’s largest and most popular online communities for teens, has just completed Teen Online Safety Awareness Month, an effort that resulted in over 20,000 teens taking part in safety related activities and educational programs, including many that involved discussion time between the teens and their parents. Nearly 21,000 teens received limited edition virtual safety badges to show that they had their parents read Habbo’s online safety guide. Nearly 10,000 teens visited a virtual lounge within the community with a safety theme. The lounge also featured the “Infobus”, which teens could board to take part in additional activities to learn how to protect themselves from online scams and predators. The motto for Habbo’s safety month was, “Cyber Attack? Teens Fight Back!”

As part of the safety month efforts, Habbo took a poll of over 3500 teens about their online practices and safety awareness.

* 86.4% of teens say their parents have discussed online safety with them
* 51.7% say they visit chat rooms at least once every day
* 18.5% say they have experienced chatting online with someone they found out was an adult pretending to be much younger
* 57.2% say they have chatted, IM’d or emailed with someone online that they have never met face to face
* 26.6% say they have been asked questions about their sexuality or sexual experiences while chatting online that made them feel uncomfortable
* 31.7% say they have posted personal information online before
* 72.5% are aware that anyone can view personal information they post online, not just their friends

In addition to its regularly featured safety help pages and parent information pages, HABBO saturated its site in February with interactive activities for teens such as the “Infobus”, and activities which offered teens the opportunity to win prizes and “Habbo Coins,” which they can use to purchase custom decor for their online rooms and personal HABBO pages within the network.

Teens who wish to take part in the Habbo community should visit and click on the key to enter.

About HABBO and Sulake

HABBO is a richly colorful, multi-dimensional virtual community and game environment for teens. Users join by creating a fully-customized online character called a Habbo. From there, they can explore many public hang-outs, play a variety of games, connect with friends, decorate their own rooms, and have fun through creativity and self expression. Since its launch in 2000 by Sulake Corporation, an interactive entertainment company that specializes in developing, publishing and distributing multiplayer social networking communities and games, HABBO sites have been introduced in 29 countries on five continents, with more than 70 million Habbo characters created and more than 7.5 million unique users each month. The highly-trafficked North American sites, and, are visited by over 2 million unique users per month who spend, on average, more than three hours a week on the site (Nielsen Net Ratings).

Sulake has headquarters in Finland and offices in 18 countries. Currently the company has over 290 employees worldwide. Sulake is extending the Habbo brand to include mobile applications, and merchandising and licensing products.


aLine media
Kristi Blicharski, 310-371-8795


Rich spend more time online

Being rich not only gets you the best cars, houses, luxuries, clothes, health care, insurance, entertainment, you also get more out of using the Internet. To put it bluntly when you are wealthier you tend to be more educated and therefore have a more specific reason for using the Internet. And some new research by Jupiter Research shows that rich Americans tend to search the Internet where the rest tend to surf. The simple definition here is that surfing is mindless reading of websites, random or not, to relieve boredom whereas search the Internet is to solve problems. So a good chuck of their time is focussed on business rather then pleasure.

Here’s a quote from the article, “ Speaking of social networking, it’s in with the upscale crowd. The Jupiter study found 43% of affluents use instant messaging, compared with 36% of people with lesser incomes. A full 26% of affluents read blogs and 11% are blog-authors. Among non-affluent people, those figures are 22% and 6%, respectively.”

This would certainly hold true in South Africa where the rich have been able to afford Internet access for much longer – and therefore has more experience online. When you have more experience on the Internet you get more out of it. In my online dating research I found that user experience improves dramatically after first 12 months.

Read the full article @ MediaPost here…