OnQ Blog

We Can Create Business Opportunities and Alleviate Poverty with Mobile

Jul 19, 2013

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Research has shown that 2.5 billion people do not have access to financial services and approximately 900 million people are living on less than $1.25 per day. These are just two of several reasons Qualcomm Wireless Reach™ has been working closely with Grameen Foundation in Indonesia, Hapinoy in the Philippines, and others around the world to develop projects that use mobile tools to increase incomes and alleviate poverty.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking alongside Christopher “Happy” Tan, CEO of Grameen Foundation in Asia, at a conference sponsored by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Indonesian embassy in Washington, DC, and AmCham Indonesia. We shared how we are “capturing the entrepreneurial spirit by empowering human capital” through our Mobile Microfranchising and Application Laboratory (AppLab) programs in Indonesia.

The Mobile Microfranchising project is based on an innovative and business-oriented model where local small-business entrepreneurs, mostly women, use a microfinance loan to purchase a pre-packaged kit that includes a mobile phone with apps and services they can sell. So far, the project has recorded more than 15,000 entrepreneurs who have served more than 1.5 million unique customers. And, showing a significant impact, an estimated 47 percent of the entrepreneurs who stayed in the portfolio for more than four months have moved above the poverty line—defined by the World Bank as US$2.50 per day. To extend the availability of the AppLab suite to more people in Indonesia, we have also worked with local operators to make the apps commercially available through phones sold at their stores.

Looking beyond entrepreneurship, we have also been working with Grameen Foundation to identify other areas that can have a positive impact on those at the base of the pyramid. Without access to banking facilities, people cannot learn to manage their finances, or sustain a business properly, making it difficult to break out of the poverty cycle. However, with mobile broadband becoming a primary method of Internet access, mobile banking is becoming a viable solution to this challenge. Many would be surprised to learn that 80 percent of the world’s mobile money transactions are taking place in the emerging region of East Africa.

In the Philippines, we are also collaborating with Hapinoy, a local social enterprise, to train mothers to become village shop owners and learn how to complete mobile money transactions while meeting compliance and liquidity requirements. By providing this service to the community, these shop owners have the potential to generate additional revenue for themselves and are also helping members of the community save on time and transaction costs by offering competitive rates and a service in their local area.

We see how innovative 3G wireless technologies can facilitate entrepreneurship and empower people to pull themselves out of poverty. Together with other project collaborators, we are combining knowledge, experience and technology to provide those at the base of the pyramid with the products and services needed to manage their finances and grow their businesses—and we look forward to continuing to do so.

Related News


Qualcomm Sustainability Report: Limitless opportunities to create the future [video]

Today I am thrilled to announce the launch of the 2016 Qualcomm Sustainability Report, which details key accomplishments from the past year of our sustainability journey.

In particular, I am excited about our new 2020 sustainability goals – a set of milestones to keep Qualcomm on track to realize our 2030 sustainability vision. Specifically, by 2020, we aspire to accomplish the following objectives.

  • We will have a comprehensive understanding of:
    • The sustainability impacts and opportunities arising from the application of our technology.
    • The sustainability impacts in our supply chain.
    • Our human rights impacts and opportunities.
    • Our carbon and water footprints across our value chain.
  • Our comprehensive programs for recruiting, retaining and promoting an inclusive and diverse workforce will result in increased representation of women and underrepresented minorities across our workforce including technical and business leadership roles.
  • We will enhance and expand the talent pipeline in the technology industry by engaging students and other key stakeholders in our scalable STEM education initiatives.
  • Our ethics and compliance standards will continue to be fully integrated into our global business operations where we have a controlling interest.
  • Key stakeholders will have a thorough understanding of our sustainability programs and priorities.

One of my favorite things about working at Qualcomm is that we aren’t just a company of inventors – we are also global citizens collaborating to make our world a better place. People across our company work tirelessly to inspire the next generation of innovators, demonstrate the impact mobile can have in communities around the world and make technologies like 5G a reality.

Innovating responsibly isn’t new to us. Year after year, we put our sustainability commitment into action. In 2016, some of our key accomplishments included the following:

  • We completed onsite audits of several of our supplier sites using the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Validated Audit Process protocol to assess compliance with the EICC Code of Conduct.
  • We conducted our first formal corporate human rights impact assessment to ensure our programs and efforts are focused on the right priorities.
  • Qualcomm Wireless Reach celebrated its ten-year anniversary: the program has brought connected solutions to nearly 10 million people in 46 countries to strengthen social and economic development.
  • We appointed a new Chief Diversity Officer at Qualcomm, who is responsible for providing the vision, leadership and oversight of inclusion and diversity initiatives across the company.
  • Our Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab in San Diego – and its summer program, QCamp – have hosted more than 10,000 students, educators and parents in hands-on engineering activities since opening in 2014. This year, we opened a new Thinkabit Lab with Virginia Tech in the National Capital Region, which marked the latest milestone in our Company’s longstanding commitment to STEM education.
  • We engaged our employees in two separate campaigns focused on reducing our carbon and water footprints: the CO2 + U QChallenge and Take the Water Pledge.

Through our products and programs, across our value chain and in our communities, the opportunities to empower people, enhance quality of life and protect the planet for future generations are endless. I encourage you to download our report to learn more about our 2020 sustainability goals and our progress thus far in making our 2030 sustainability vision a reality.

Please visit our sustainability website to learn more about our strategy, priorities and reporting, and follow us on Twitter to learn more about our efforts in this space.

Mar 6, 2017


Happy Women’s Entrepreneurship Day!

In honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day today, I’d like to take stock of how crucial women are to economic growth. For example, did you know that women-owned businesses in the formal sector account for about 37 percent of enterprises globally? That women in emerging markets reinvest 90 cents of every extra dollar earned in their families’ education, health and nutrition? And, that lending to women is associated with fewer write-offs and lower risk? And how about this — economies with high rates of women in the workforce experience fewer slowdowns of economic growth and are more resilient than those with low rates.

Nov 18, 2016


How 4G is helping Taiwan achieve its smart city and educational objectives

Video games. Computers. TV. Children today spend so much time indoors using electronic media that they lack the physical fitness, concentration and social skills of previous generations. Some findings conclude that too much time indoors is directly correlated with decreased academic performance.

I love that children embrace digital tools, but I also want all of them to achieve their full potential. This is why I’m excited about the “CloudPlay for Education” (CloudPlay) mobile learning (mLearning) program in Tainan, Taiwan.

Oct 31, 2016