"Who is my neighbour? In the old days
- David Erasmus
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Born in South Africa and raised in the UK, David Erasmus appears to live on the web, with a welter of successful internet enterprises, services and enthusiasms, as well as stream of ideas, exhortations and reflections on his blog and Twitter entries.
Still in his twenties, Erasmus bypassed university to enter the advertising industry, built and sold his own online ad agency, and transformed himself into a social entrepreneur by the age of 22, with projects in education, employment, philanthropy and technology stretching from London to Cape Town and beyond.
Inspired by his Christian faith, Erasmus puts his work into its global context: “I love helping people get excited about things (that’s pretty much all I can do), but the only thing I feel that I can commit to wholeheartedly is a cause that is unquestionable in its value. That, for me, is trying to address the issues that face my generation. In a global village I can’t see any problem that does not involve my neighbour; therefore it is my problem, too.”
Having co-founded clickego.com, an online marketing business to foster entrepreneurial and employment opportunities among young South Africans, Erasmus has also been an advocate since its inception for NoPC, a sustainable solution for rural education powered by solar panels and a 3G internet connection, which is being pioneered in Tanzania. David is responsible for initially instigating NoPc in Brazil, India and South Africa for 2010.
In the UK, where Erasmus has been an ambassador for the government's Enterprise UK initiative, he is working with others to offer alternatives to gang culture for those with chequered pasts and limited horizons. Mustard, a community-based enterprise that partners with local companies and councils, helps young people set up their own businesses. It is being piloted in 2010.
Meanwhile, alongside interests as diverse as home tutoring and Brazilian online advertising, Erasmus works through a business start-up incubator, Cubate.com, to facilitate web and mobile enterprises that offer a positive impact on society, such as micro-donations-by-mobile application GetGiving and smartphone development firm xinspired.
In all he does, Erasmus decries accepting the status quo, declaring on his blog: "I love challenging whether things really need to be the way they are..."