Some businesses become very large and glamorous. Most business is very humdrum, almost invisible against the backdrop of everyday life. But - as anyone who has visited or lived in a communist dictatorship will attest - it is the normal, the taken-for-granted, that make life rich and rewarding.

In any community, no matter how small, there must always be the equivalent of the butcher, the baker, the candle-stick maker (or, the electrician). Hairdressers, coffee shops, hamburger counters, clothing shops, small farms ... may not be startling or exciting but they are essential for daily living in a modern, aspirational community. None of these businesses is unique. All the information is available scattered around in books and general knowledge. If you learn how to grow maize it isn't going to hurt another small maize farmer in another town, unless everyone decides to farm maize.

The problem of poor, impoverished communities is that war, neglect, political incompetence and the like will have destroyed knowledge. The abilities taken for granted in more developed communities are missing here. What starts to happen is that the few remaining ideas for generating cash get overused. Soon everyone is doing the same thing and economics cannot be ignored. Prices fall and value is lost.

The communities that are left are unable to escape their poverty or to invest in their own lives. They don't know how.

The purpose of the Thousand Rand Challenge resource is to offer a multitude of simple, low-cost ideas that have been proven and have worked. The more ideas, the more choice that people have, the better. And the better the descriptions of how to start these businesses, the better.

The more choice that is available then the more diverse the communities that will develop.

For this to work, every business needs to be carefully and comprehensively described. Explain exactly how to bake bread: from the recipe to how to build a simple clay oven or where to get a cheap alternative. Everything is useful.

Your payment is not to those who have come before and supported your initiatives. It is to those who will come after you and benefit from the things you have developed and found out. For the benefit of all.

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