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Monday, February 9, 2015

DUTCH FUND INVESTS EURO 1 MILLION IN UGANDA MOBILE TECH COMPANY

Press Release
January 29th, 2015
A Uganda-Dutch company that uses mobile technology, to rapidly exchange information with specific target audiences has received an impact investment of Euros 1million from the Netherlands - ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund.

The ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund invests via direct participation in social enterprises that aim to achieve both social/sustainable and financial results. The fund is particularly interested in enterprises whose innovative business model can help revolutionise the market. Development of the fund fits in with the bank’s aim to strengthen its position as a leading socially responsible company

The TTC Mobile CEO and co-founder, Bas Hoefman says ; “The funds will be used to expand the company's activities, hire more local and international staff and spread our projects all over the world, effectively turning the company into a leading global social enterprise.”

Eunice Namirembe, the TTC Mobile Uganda country director, has said that this investment will facilitate more social projects and possible expansion of some of the existing ones.

This funding comes at a time when according to research statistics; Africa is experiencing the highest growth rates in mobile phones uptake. Hoefman further says, “For the predominant part of our projects in the developing world we use SMS because internet connectivity is still low.

However this is improving and has resulted in a massive increase of broadband subscriptions and according to TTC Mobile founder Bas Hoefman it is expected that by 2017, 40% of people in Africa will own a smart phone. This opens an opportunity to a whole range of new business models customized to Africa.

TTC Mobile currently reaches millions of people across Africa, Asia and Latin America through several projects in the areas of healthcare, agriculture and education. The company is now active in 23 countries of which 18 are from Africa, partnering with organizations such as UNICEF, The World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO) in addition to government institutions, NGOs and businesses.

TTC Mobile was registered in 2007 in Uganda and in the Netherlands originally as Text to Change (TTC) and according to Hoefman it all began in Uganda when TTC launched an interactive Short Messaging (SMS) large-scale mHealth campaign that reached 15,000 people aimed at creating awareness around HIV/AIDS and to stimulate people to get tested for the deadly disease. We owe a lot to this country. This program was the first large scale interactive mHealth campaign in Africa.

With the success of its original mHealth campaign in Uganda, TTC Mobile has now expanded its projects to include a global mobile messaging platform with a private sector focus in emerging
markets, market research and social marketing.

According to Eric Buckens, the Manager of ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund, “TTC mobile reaches diverse groups of people at a large scale in developing countries. The goal is to support them in their daily lives and truly bring about improvements in matters that directly concern them, such as healthcare. The enterprise fits the aims of the ABN AMRO Social Impact Fund completely.”

Among the most successful projects currently being run by the company is one in Tanzania where TTC Mobile's unique partnerships have enabled them to use their mobile services to reach over 500,000 pregnant women, mothers and communities with valuable information on healthy pregnancy and safe motherhood, in addition to reminders to regularly seek care at a clinic.

TTC is also actively involved in the fight against Ebola in western Africa. "We have managed to reach people in hard-to-reach places with vital messages. And this has later impacted behavioral change. It is TTC’s mission to enable organizations engage and interact with people that are in emerging markets. The fastest and most efficient way to do this is through mobile “Bas Hoefman notes.

TTC Mobile's social marketing business is conducted by the use of mobile technology tools through the use of text messaging (SMS), Interactive Voice Response (IVR), a Call centre, and face-to-face surveys using tablets and smart phones and online surveys.
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