Social Innovator: Shane Immelman

CEO: Lapdesk International

Why is Shane a Social Innovator?

Faced with the frightening statistic of over 4-million children in South Africa attending school without a desk, Shane took the simple idea of a portable, ergonomically designed lap desk and turned it into a smart business model that can bring companies and communities together in aid of young learners.

The model is simple, yet innovative – each Lapdesk is printed with a design and message that is meaningful to the Lapdesk sponsor, turning the desk into a portable media platform that effectively delivers social messages to the most distant rural communities.

With plans in the pipeline to take the product into South America and beyond, Lapdesk is a smart African innovation that is helping to address a serious global issue.

Fast Facts

  • Over 4-million school children, almost 30% of all students in South Africa, attend school without a school desk.
  • On a global scale, the number of children who attend school without a desk is around 600-million, mostly in Latin America, South-East Asia and the rest of Africa.
  • Without a desk, a person will struggle to write, their handwriting skills will be compromised, and there’s a knock-on effect into every other area of their learning.
  • With a proper writing surface, a person’s concentration levels are improved between 60 and 80%.
  • In the first two years, Lapdesk International provided over 300 000 children with lapdesks.
  • The desk weighs less than 1kg and is completely childproof.
  • Shane was a business and product developer who started Lapdesk as a hobby.
  • Desmond Tutu is the patron of Lapdesk.

In his own words…

“In the early stages of Lapdesk there were 500 reasons why the project would never work, but over 4-million reasons why it had to.”

How can I help?

Does your company want to sponsor a primary or secondary school with desks? Perhaps you already have a school in mind? Find out more by visiting Lapdesk International.

Contact Lapdesk International
Tel: 011 466 911
Fax: 011 466 7980

Story published on SAinfo on 25 April 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa