NEW YORK, April 20, 2012 – Last night, Grameen Foundation bestowed its Humanitarian Award on Qualcomm Incorporated’s Wireless Reach™ initiative for the company’s dedication to creating business opportunities based on mobile phones for underserved communities globally. The award was given in New York City during Grameen Foundation’s annual benefit event celebrating the ingenuity and spirit of entrepreneurs on three continents. The event also recognized the foundation’s 15th anniversary of empowering the world’s poorest people through financial and technology solutions.
In accepting the award, Dr. Paul Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm, said, “I believe that, when it comes to building connections and providing opportunities, there has never been a technology that offers more promise than the mobile phone. We sometimes take it for granted but, in so many places around the world, it’s a link to the chance for a better life. All of us at Qualcomm are extremely proud of our long collaboration with Grameen Foundation, and I am honored to accept the 2012 Grameen Foundation Humanitarian Award on behalf of Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative.”
Grameen Foundation’s Humanitarian Award recognizes people and organizations that have contributed in extraordinary ways to solving the most important problems facing humanity. Past recipients include Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, and former South African first lady Graça Machel.
Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative brings wireless technology to underserved communities globally and currently supports 73 projects in various stages of development in 31 countries. By working with partners, Wireless Reach invests in projects that foster entrepreneurship, aid in public safety, enhance the delivery of health care, enrich teaching and learning and improve environmental sustainability.
For the past five years, Qualcomm has been working with Grameen Foundation on a mobile microfranchise initiative that empowers poor people in Indonesia to launch and grow their own businesses using pre-packaged kits that include a mobile phone. Together, the organizations also incubated Ruma, an Indonesian social enterprise that manages the growing network of mobile microfranchisees. The entrepreneurs, 82 percent of whom are women, re-sell airtime and provide other mobile phone-based services to people in their communities, while learning the skills they need to improve their families’ lives.
As of March 2012, there are over 12,000 Ruma Entrepreneurs – all profitable businesses –serving more than 1.2 million customers.
About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world’s poorest people – especially women – lift themselves out of poverty by providing access to small loans and other financial services, life-changing information and unique business opportunities. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; Colombia; Ghana; Hong Kong; Kenya; 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.