1. Effective education
VideoLive is a web-based video streaming company that supplies adult education focusing on health care in developing countries. It takes into account bandwidth restrictions and allows web streaming without buffering. Ravenhill started the company in 2009 to ensure that Africa’s medical industry does not get left behind because of limited access to information. “We distribute information in the most successful manner – visually. People feel that they are learning face-to-face in a ‘live’ environment.”
2. Achieving recognition
When asked about the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, Linda Ravenhill admits that she’s not usually a competition enterer. “But I was listening to a discussion on radio in which Wendy Luhabe, the awards’ jury president for Africa, was urging women to get involved,” she says.
“I thought okay, let me do it.”
3. Tough questions
This is no ordinary competition. It starts with a gruelling online application process which asks probing questions on the business. The jury selects the top three projects from each of six regions. They receive coaching from experienced businesspeople to move to the next round.
4. The last stretch
The final is held in France. They have to submit a detailed business plan and present their projects to the jury. Based on the quality and persuasiveness, one laureate for each of the regions is selected and receives a support package: $20 000 of funding, and one year of coaching, networking opportunities and media exposure.
5. An invaluable experience
“The process of entering the competition makes you think differently about your business,” Ravenhill says. “Entrepreneurs are often nose to the ground. I had to look up. I had to think about the business from an investor’s point of view. It’s been invaluable. Before, I never would have had the courage to think about going global. Now I know that this is a viable business in any region where bandwidth is limited. We’ve had queries from countries like Greece, Russia and Poland.”
6. And the winners are…
The winners have yet to be announced, but Ravenhill says being named as a finalist has had interesting repercussions. “I’m treated differently. People think I must be really good at what I do. I have to smile and say it’s still the same me.”
Business plan pro
IT entrepreneur, Linda Ravenhill, knows how to get online video to run smoothly on minimal bandwidth. She won’t give away too much, but says it’s about how you film, edit and put content online. It’s an achievement that’s led to her being selected as one of 18 global finalists in the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, an international business plan competition that identifies and supports projects by women entrepreneurs.