Ericsson has opened its eHub in Diepsloot, a resource-poor community in Johannesburg, South Africa. The eHub is a media and information communications technology (MICT) center that will offer Diepsloot residents the digital resources they need to pursue their small business or educational goals.

The 244m² eHub was built using converted cargo containers and features a training room, cyber café and reception area on the ground level. Above that is a meeting space, a think tank and a studio for the eHub’s artists in residence, Diepsloot Radio.

The eHub will promote socio-economic development in the Diepsloot community through the provision of digital resources and mentorship for up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Many entrepreneurs from Diepsloot are part of the informal “gig economy” of independent contractors and the eHub will provide them with access to the tools they need to succeed in pursuits such as photography, videography, film production and event management.

The eHub at present services 47 small businesses and 13 organizations. The launch of the eHub in late June was attended by Diepsloot community members, entrepreneurs, business leaders, journalists and representatives from Ericsson, Cisco and South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company MTN.

Mahomed Essof, acting country manager for Ericsson South Africa, described how the eHub reflects Ericsson’s goals of using ICT for socio-economic development.

“Ericsson would like to ensure that all corners and areas of the world have access to ICT and can continually work on improving ICT skills,” he said. “The Diepsloot community is on our doorstep, and presents another opportunity to make a tangible difference and make ICT accessible to as many people as possible within and outside of the community. We hope to see – through the success of the eHub – the experience and skills of the users grow, and hope to expose more and more people to the technology industry.”

During the opening, Ericsson demonstrated its Connect To Learn initiative, which aims to increase access to quality secondary education – in particular for girls – by providing scholarships and bringing ICT to schools in remote, resource-poor parts of the world. Guests could also take a picture in the Sustainable Development Goals photo booth. As a partner to the United Nations, Ericsson supports the Sustainable Development Goals and the eHub reflects goals 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).