India’s Aadhar Bhalinge has won “m2Work”, a World Bank-sponsored online challenge seeking the best ideas for spurring the job-creation potential of mobile phones.
Bhalinge convinced the high-level jury of World Bank, Nokia, UKaid, and other private sector representatives of the development impact, novelty, and feasibility of his “Smart Rickshaw Network” to take home the $ 20,000 grand prize.
His tool would crowdsource maps at a very low cost in developing nations by employing fleets of rickshaw drivers to feed live traffic updates into a subscription service, according to a World Bank media release.
Bhalinge and the five other finalists all received business coaching during the finals. The other finalists’ ideas touched on environmental conservation, access to health care and education, and social publishing.
The competition organized by Nokia and infoDev, a World Bank innovation and technology entrepreneurship programme, drew a total of 939 ideas, 96 percent of which came from developing and emerging economies.
“m2Work”, which stands for mobile microwork, aims to expand microwork to the five billion mobile phones in the developing world. Currently, millions of people supplement their income through microwork-small digital tasks they can perform online.
“The diversity of ideas submitted demonstrates that we are beginning to tap into the potential of combining access to technology in the developing world with innovative ideas to help solve critical development issues,” said Stephanie von Friedeburg, the World Bank Group’s Chief Information Officer and chair of the jury.
InfoDev, as part of the World Bank Group, will use its vast network of Mobile Applications Labs (mLabs) and business incubators to help the finalists develop their seed-stage ideas into viable start-ups that can create sustainable jobs, the Bank release said.