Hackathon in Action

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The Hackathon

m2Work Hackathon--putting jobs at the world’s fingertips

Earlier this year, infoDev--an innovation and entrepreneurship program in the World Bank--and Nokia teamed up to launch the m2Work Challenge, which yielded almost 1000 ideas on how to create jobs that people anywhere can do on their mobile phones.

The next phase is to bring those ideas to life. Several challenge winners are already in talks with national governments, angel investors, and other developers on how to distribute their apps. To help the larger m2Work community turn their ideas into mobile microwork businesses, infoDev and its global partners are organizing the first-ever m2Work Hackathon in five countries across five regions in September 15-16, 2012.


  • Shape promising idea submissions into mobile application prototypes;
  • Bolster other prototype mobile microwork applications that qualify for pre-incubation support at infoDev’s Mobile Application Labs (mLabs), and
  • Increase awareness for the job-creating potential of mobile microwork in developing countries.

Mobile Microwork?

Today, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are earning money by completing small digital tasks, like typing in fragments of handwritten text or describing the contents of an image in words. This is called microwork. Microworkers are paid by companies and organizations that have found ways to overcome problems by transforming them into tiny tasks and distributing them over digital networks. By simultaneously tapping into the intelligence of thousands of distributed workers, many problems are solved in the blink of an eye.

Many of today’s microworkers are located in poor countries and benefit significantly from the income provided by microwork. Microtasks typically require very little skills or training, as they rely on the fact that humans are intrinsically better in some tasks than computers. Yet the least well-off people in the world are largely barred from this work, because it requires access to computers, which most people lack.

But even the most underprivileged people in the world increasingly have access to mobile phones. There are over 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions in the world, and over half a billion in India alone. In 2011, mobile phone penetration has reached almost 80 % in the developing world. Microwork offers jobs and second incomes in particular for young people, for women and for those who might be excluded from conventional work opportunities, for instance because of disability, or because they wish to work from home.

Source: http://www.ideasproject.com/docs/DOC-8964#Microwork


m2Work was an online challenge conducted by infoDev and IdeasProject, with funding and support from UKaid and the government of Finland. The aim was to identify problems that could be solved by tapping into microworkers who use mobile phones – enabling the underprivileged people of the world to access the digital economy, and enabling the rest of the world to benefit from their intelligence. Participants of the challenges were asked to come up with ideas for mobile phone applications that can work as the link between problems that can be tackled by microwork and microworkers in the developing world.

Source: http://www.ideasproject.com/docs/DOC-8964#Microwork


East Asia

Saigon Hi-Tech Business Incubator (SHBI),
Lot K1-G3, Road D1, Saigon Hi-Tech Park,
Tan Phu ward, District 9, Ho Chi Minh City

Country: Vietnam
Contact Person
Phan Thi Thuy Ly

P: +84 8 37361086
Fax: +84 8 37361085
E: mlab@shbi.vn

Eastern Africa

Bishop Magua centre, George Padmore Road, Opp Uchumi Hyper, Ng'ong Road, Nairobi

Country: Kenya
Contact Person
Paul Bomett

Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia

123 Hovsep Emin Street, Yerevan 0051

Country: Armenia ECA Region
Contact Person
Mariam Davtyan

T: +374 10 21 97 41, +374 10 21 97 32
F: +374 10 21 97 77
E: info@mlab.am, mlab@eif.am

Southern Africa

The Innovation Hub, Enterprise Building
6 Mark Shuttleworth Street
Persequor x 10
City of Tswane, Pretoria
Country: South Africa
Contact Person
Derrick Kotze

P: +27 833336377

E: Derrick@mlab.co.za

South Asia

Country: Nepal
Contact Person
Prawesh Shrestha


infoDev is a global partnership program within the World Bank Group which works at the intersection of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship to create opportunities for inclusive growth, job creation and poverty reduction.

infoDev assists governments and technology-focused small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to grow jobs, improve capacity and skills, increase access to finance and markets, ensure the appropriate enabling policy and regulatory environment for business to flourish, and test out innovative solutions in developing country markets.

m:lab East Africa

m:lab East Africa is a consortium of four organizations aiming to be a leader in identifying, nurturing and helping to build sustainable enterprises in the knowledge economy.

m:lab East Asia

The SHTP consortium is collaborating to host the mLab East Asia. The consortium partners include Saigon Hi-Tech Park, Vietnam National University, FPT University, Elcom Ltd.

m:lab ECA

First Regional Mobile Application Laboratory for Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, and Central Asia is established in Armenia.

m:lab South Africa

mLab Southern Africa (SA) is a mobile applications laboratory, which incubates innovation and entrepreneurship in mobile apps and content services in the region.

Mobile Social Networking Nepal

Mobile Social Networking Nepal (Mobile Nepal) is a community of like-minded organizations and individuals who are interested in and/ or willing to work around mobile technologies. It wants to foster a community of practice around Mobile Ecosystem in Nepal to encourage and facilitate discussions and discourses around issues, opportunities and challenges around mobile technologies in Nepal. It is an initiative of YoungInnovations Pvt. Ltd. and infoDev, The World Bank.

YoungInnovations Pvt. Ltd.

YoungInnovations Pvt. Ltd., YIPL, is a software company based in Nepal that has been providing services to wide range of clients in different parts of the globe. Since its begining, YIPL has been involved in building and nurturing community practices around technology. Currently, YIPL is implementing mHub in Nepal (www.mobilenepal.net) with support from infoDev, The World Bank.  YIPL is the facilitator of this first ever m2work hackathon.