infoDev is a global partnership program of the World Bank Group. Its mission is to enable innovative entrepreneurship for sustainable, inclusive growth.
infoDev, a global partnership program within the World Bank Group, facilitates a network of hundreds of business incubators in more than 100 countries. These incubators provide support to early-stage entrepreneurs and firms—offering mentoring, work space, and, often, seed funding. This incubation network has catalyzed over 25,000 firms and almost 250,000 jobs have been created over the last decade.
For many years, information and communications technology (ICTs) was one of the most fruitful areas for development, as development agencies sought to increase access to the internet and mobile networks. But in recent times connectivity in developing countries has boomed, and in many cases overtaken that of developed nations. Going forward, greater attention must now be paid to applications and services—growth will now come from harnessing those networks to solve development problems. infoDev supports a connectivity agenda through a series of widely-used, authoritative handbooks for ICT regulators, such as the Broadband Strategies Handbook and the ICT Regulation Toolkit. infoDev has also begun to support applications and content—for instance by expanding its network of business incubators to include specific networks focused on technology entrepreneurship, including Mobile Applications Laboratories, Climate Innovation Centers, and Mobile Social Networking hubs. These organizations promote—through mentoring, accesses to testing laboratories, and, sometimes, grant funding—the development of technologies that solve local development problems.
mLab East Africa, for example, sponsored the Pivot25 contest in June 2011, where entrepreneurs could pitch their app ideas to an audience of financiers and industry stakeholders. Winners received financial support and international exposure, and have thrived since. The overall winner, MedAfrica (originally MedKenya), has since used its visibility to fuel international expansion for its physician directory and symptom checker mobile app.
This is just one example of the innovation infoDev promotes and facilitates. Three Mobile Applications Labs (mLabs), in Kenya, South Africa, and Armenia, have officially launched, with two more on the way. infoDev has also launched eight Mobile Social Networking hubs—organizations that organize monthly networking events, talks, and tutoring workshops on app development. Several Climate Innovation Centers (CICs) will launch in 2012—in Sub-Saharan Africa and South and East Asia—to support local entrepreneurship providing clean technology solutions to energy and climate-related issues.
For more information, visit our website: http://www.infodev.org/