Changing Up The Tech Space
Start-up tech company, Beyond VR (BVR) was founded in 2020 by Katlego Mokonyama, Themba Mtanase and Lebogang Mokonyama. Themba Mtanase shares the business’ objectives and why its important for black techies to gain momentum with the industry.
What does Beyond VR offer?
We aim to be a pioneer of a new wave of black tech entrepreneurs. We want to inspire not only black people, but also all marginalised groups. And, we want to educate the masses on the many practical uses experiential tech has in both the home and business, ultimately improving the way we operate as a country.
How did you utilise your resources without funding?
We pooled our skills and resources to set up a basic platform from which we could operate and generate revenue while keeping monthly overheads low. We work from a home office using our own laptops and phones and we use tools that are not too cost-intensive, but still enable us to reach the desired outcome, for example, social media marketing for brand promotion.
Has COVID-19 been a blessing or a curse for your business?
The pandemic is a blessing in that it places greater emphasis on the need for immersive technology. For example, the education system is currently in crisis as learners cannot be taught by teachers because of the need for social distance. Our solution allows lessons to continue while still social distancing. But, it also a curse as there is a fair amount of reluctance to embrace new ideas. People are worrying about the short-term. They don’t realise that the mechanisms we can put in place today will ensure that should a pandemic like this occur again we will be better placed to offset the economic and socioeconomic impact on the country.
How does BVR plan to attract more black youth into the tech industry?
We have placed great emphasis on locating existing black talent – both young and old – in the industry. We are also reaching out to academic institutions to form partnerships so that we can get more marginalised individuals interested in tech as a career. Times have changed, and it’s no longer doctors and lawyers who are assured financial prosperity as previous generations led us to believe. There are more millionaires being created now through tech and innovation.
What inspired BVR to reach its current peak in South Africa’s badly-stricken economy?
We pride ourselves on our visionary mindset. We see potential where most might see tragedy or disaster. Things are bad now, but this is the time where innovation and creativity can be called upon to break us out of the hole we’re in. This takes courage and leadership, and BVR hopes to play a role in shifting the mindset of the public. I once read that the difference between a developed and a developing country is its people and their attitudes.