MotivateCapeTown has set out to improve Capetonians’ skills by offering a system of mutual help that links qualified professionals with people who want to learn. At the same time the system provides those acting as coaches with a means of raising their profile and enhancing their personal brand.

In Cape Town, You Can Improve Your Skills Through Collaboration and Mutual Help

How can you improve links between people, whether local citizens or company employees? By fusing together the principles of mutual help, coaching and gamification, all based on social networking. This is the approach taken by MotivateCapeTown, a South-African platform which aims to draw on the skills of one group of citizens in order to help improve the skills of others. The goal is to raise the skills level of the populace as a whole and empower all Capetonians to fulfil themselves. Profiling itself as a social enterprise, the site encourages Capetonians to improve their skill sets by calling upon the knowhow of the professional people who have signed up to the site - asking them for advice, obtaining information from them and so educating themselves. "These professional people become coaches, advisors and consultants, helping people to fulfil their potential", while in turn taking advantage of the platform to manage their own personal brand, widen their network and increase their job opportunities, Shaun Lindbergh, the founder of MotivateCapeTown, explained to L'Atelier.

A service for companies too

So the site is just as keen to target companies, urging them to get the best out of their employees by motivating them and encouraging them to improve their skills. There is a strong focus on the idea of supporting a worthy social cause here, since the fee paid by the company goes towards developing the platform. The platform not only offers courses in various subjects but also provides company staff with a chance to exchange ideas and information with peers in their own field through closed groups. And, to bring the whole process full-circle, the system offers companies a good opportunity to engage in some talent-spotting among the ‘consultants’ on the site, underlines Shaun Lindbergh. In addition to interchange between individuals, MotivateCapeTown is also working to provide training vehicles such as webinars, virtual classes, videos and blogs. Plus, the site offers a gamified approach to learning. It has for instance created an online game where the player has a sum of money that s/he must manage on a daily basis while performing a number of exercises.

A link to the real world

Shaun Lindbergh stresses however that the whole process can only be truly efficient if it is followed through and linked up to the ‘real world’. He therefore suggests that site members attend face-to-face classes, lectures and workshops as well. Moreover, the system helps people to work on community projects. A member can present an idea – such as for example for improving Capetonians’ Internet access – in order to obtain feedback with solutions or advice which could help to improve his project or even get people to help work up ideas so as to turn them into a real project. While the MotivateCapeTown platform has been personally financed by Shaun Lindbergh, the site also carries paid-for services. Firstly, closed groups, where companies pay for the services provided to their employees. Secondly, the platform offers a "Pay as you want" system which allows anyone to use the site free of charge or to pay however much s/he wishes, according to his/her means.