InfoDev taps job-creation potential of mobile phones

February 3, 2012 | Connected Women | Global | Global | Julia Burchell

InfoDev have launched m2Work, a global online competition aiming to tap the job-creation potential of mobile phones. In addition to a total of US$ 40,000 in cash prizes , the challenge offers business mentorship to entrepreneurs with good ideas for mobile microwork. Microwork refers to small digital tasks people can perform anywhere to supplement their income.

Job creation is a priority of the World Bank and the m2Work challenge shows a novel approach to addressing this challenge. Currently, most microwork requires access to computers. m2Work aims to transfer micro tasks to mobile phones, which could have broad job creating potential given the five billion cellular phones in the developing world. m2Work is hosted by the World Bank’s infoDev and Nokia’s IdeasProject, and supported by UKaid and the government of Finland.

The contest’s jury, which includes the World Bank’s Chief Information Officer, Ms. Shelley Leibowitz, representatives of Nokia, academia and the wider technology investment sector, will award individual prizes based on each idea’s potential development impact, innovativeness and feasibility. Submissions are accepted through April 2.

infoDev, a global partnership program in the World Bank, uses its network of Mobile Applications Labs (mLabs) and business incubators to help tech entrepreneurs at all stages, as part of our strategy to create sustainable jobs. The m2Work challenge aims to showcase the best ideas and spark a global discussion about mobile microwork.

The challenge follows the 2011 publication of “Knowledge Map of the Virtual Economy” (see: http://www.infodev.org/en/Publication.1056.html). This study identified a number of different forms of the virtual economy, and identified mobile microwork as the one with the greatest potential for development interventions.

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