New Services to Provide Income-generating Opportunities to the “Next 60 Million” Indonesians Living at the Bottom of the Socio-Economic Pyramid
November 5, 2010 - Grameen Foundation, together with Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, and Bakrie Telecom, today announced the launch of the Application Laboratory in Indonesia (AppLab Indonesia). Building on Grameen Foundation’s pioneering AppLab initiative in Uganda, AppLab Indonesia delivers new and innovative products, information services and business opportunities tailored to the needs of the poor and specifically designed to increase their incomes.
AppLab Indonesia builds on work started in 2009 to create a network of micro-entrepreneurs to adopt mobile phone-based business opportunities. AppLab Indonesia will develop avenues for business learning and provide other essential information to help increase their bargaining power and income. To ensure long-term support for this growing network, Grameen Foundation, Qualcomm and Bakrie Telecom, incubated PT RUMA, an Indonesian social enterprise which translates to mean “your micro-business partner.” PT RUMA operates as an implementing partner to help poor micro-entrepreneurs to first become electronic airtime resellers, and then to expand their businesses with new AppLab products and services that will further increase their income.
“Entrepreneurship is essential towards strengthening economies and social development. Through AppLab Indonesia, we are creating specialized wireless products and services that allow micro-entrepreneurs in Indonesia to start new businesses and have access to real-time data, helping them to build a more efficient and profitable business,” said John Stefanac, vice president of Qualcomm and president of Qualcomm Southeast Asia and Pacific. “We are proud to be part of AppLab Indonesia as it is yet another example of how wireless technology can stimulate economic growth and enhance the livelihoods of people in underserved communities in Indonesia.”
An estimated 63 percent of Indonesia’s economy is driven by the informal sector, so efficiency gains in this sector can have a meaningful effect on the macro-economy in Indonesia. At the micro-economic level, connecting hardworking people to better jobs, along with paying micro-entrepreneurs to maintain an active portfolio of these job seekers, can have a transformative effect on their lives and livelihoods.
“As we work with Qualcomm and Bakrie Telecom to empower the poorest people in Indonesia to transform their own lives, an essential tool we can put in their hands is a mobile phone loaded with services that enable access to new business and job opportunities,” said Jennifer Meehan, chief executive officer, Asia Region, Grameen Foundation. “As such, these services can substantially increase the amount and predictability of their income streams, leading to improved health, nutrition and educational opportunities in the household, which are the core elements that can break the generational cycle of poverty.”
“We believe access to telecommunications services is the birthright of every Indonesian,” said Erik Meijer, deputy president director of Bakrie Telecom. “As a leader in providing affordable wireless services to Indonesia, we are proud to be a part of AppLab Indonesia, which will offer our customers embedded value-added services that they can use to earn additional income and work themselves out of poverty.”
To date, more than 300,000 unique customers have been served through PT RUMA’s rapidly growing network of more than 4,500 micro-entrepreneurs. An estimated 47 percent of the micro-entrepreneurs who stay in the portfolio for more than four months have moved above the poverty line, and more than 90 percent of the businesses are owned by women. One example of these services is “Kerjalokal,” or “Day Job Search,” which connects the poor in Indonesia to informal sector job opportunities, increasing the chances of stable income for the household. Through subscription services offered by PT RUMA micro-entrepreneurs in their community, job seekers pay less than thirty cents per week and in return receive a daily SMS with a job listing that meets three criteria: their location, their specified job category and their preferred salary range.
About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world's poorest people lift themselves out of poverty by providing financing, technology support, and management strategies to the local organizations that serve them. It also spearheads technology initiatives that create new microbusiness opportunities for the poor and improve the poor's access to health and agriculture information and other services. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, DC; Seattle; Hong Kong; Ghana; the Philippines; and Uganda. Microfinance pioneer Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, is a founding member of its board of directors, and now serves as director emeritus. For more information, please visit grameenfoundation.org.
About Qualcomm and its Wireless Reach Initiative
Qualcomm believes access to advanced wireless voice and data services improves people's lives. Qualcomm's Wireless Reach initiative supports programs and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to underserved communities globally. By working with partners, Wireless Reach projects create new ways for people to communicate, learn, access health care, sustain the environment and reach global markets. For more information, please visit www.qualcomm.com/wirelessreach.
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in next-generation mobile technologies. For 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of wireless communications, connecting people more closely to information, entertainment and each other. Today, Qualcomm technologies are powering the convergence of mobile communications and consumer electronics, making wireless devices and services more personal, affordable and accessible to people everywhere. For more information, visit Qualcomm around the Web: www.qualcomm.com
About Bakrie Telecom
Bakrie Telecom is a fixed wireless access (FWA) with limited mobility) service provider both using CDMA 2000 1x and EVDO technology as well. BTEL is known for its innovative and exciting products and services that always lead the market through Esia, Wifone, Wimode and SLI Hemat 009 brands. Moreover by its subsidiary, Bakrie Connectivity, BTEL has broadband wireless services with AHA product name. On the first semester 2010, BTEL subscribers had reached 11.1 million, spread across 82 cities. Service to customers is provided through two call centres, 90 Gerai Esia and more than 98,000 sales outlets throughout Indonesia. For furthermore information, please visit www.bakrietelecom.com.