Talita Boodhram

MiDesk Global

What does your company do?

The MiDesk (which began as my school science project when I was 16 years old) is a revolutionary and patented wheelie schoolbag that converts into a desk and chair with a solar light and USB charging portal that can be used at school and at home while addressing 6 of the Sustainable Development Goals in accordance with the 2030 agenda. According to UNESCO, there are over 3 million children in South Africa alone, 95 million children in Africa and just over 400 million children globally that do not have a desk at school. Not having a basic necessity such as a desk to write on affects a child’s handwriting, homework delivery, concentration and overall academic performance. MiDesk Global approaches large corporates, individuals and NGO's to sponsor the MiDesks to school-going children in the rural areas as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility/Corporate Social Impact/Marketing/Sustainable Development Goal spend. The MiDesk is branded in the sponsor company/individuals/NGO's corporate colours and logo. We have worked with corporates/individuals/NGO's such as Cell C, Kelloggs, Save The Children, For Afrika, Old Mutual Insure, AECI, Hollywood Foundation, Avanti Communications, The Akani Simbine Foundation (Olympian Akani Simbine is MiDesk Global's Ambassador), Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, The Empire Partner Foundation and we are endorsed by The Department of Science and Innovation and the Technology Innovation Agency. MiDesk Global is currently in positive conversation with UNESCO, Macdonalds, Pick n Pay, Lactalis Group, South 32 (amongst others) to take the MiDesk to other countries in need. There are over 2500 MiDesks that have been deployed across South Africa and most recently Namibia which are being used by children who need it most.

What is your biggest success?

My biggest success has been the MiDesk as I have been involved from the very beginning of conceptualisation when I was 16 years old and won first place at the science fair. Through both my degrees at The University of Cape Town (Bachelor of Commerce in Management Studies and a Postgrad in Entrepreneurship) I have interned at MiDesk and ran the social media and marketing part of the company. As of 2023, I began my full-time position as the Head of Marketing and Sales at MiDesk Global and have seen first-hand the impact and clients that have come through my marketing plan. I have witnessed this company grow tremendously in the time that I have been fully involved and make the impact that the MiDesk was intended to make on a child. I plan to foster global education, one desk at a time.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Taking the MiDesk to market and obtaining clients. As MiDesk Global targets large corporates, individuals and NGO's, it has been very difficult to get into contact in the Corporate Social Responsibility/Corporate Social Impact space. Being a startup, MiDesk Global does not have the funds to pay marketing expenses or for brand awareness and therefore I have needed to utilise what I can to obtain clients through cold calling, our ambassador Akani Simbine's following and network, social media and the website. It also helps that I have a great team!