Praekelt Foundation, an African nonprofit using mobile technology to improve the lives of people living in poverty, has selected 100 social startups across the world for the Praekelt.org Incubator for Free Basics launched in partnership with Facebook.
First announced in 2015, the incubator seeks to accelerate the impact of the Free Basics by Facebook platform, an initiative to connect the two thirds of the world that don’t have Internet access.
The incubator will support developers and social change organizations in their efforts to build accessible online services designed by and for people living in the developing world.
After the applications period and a rather lengthy assessment phase, an independent panel of experts has selected 100 social startups for the program with Nigeria’s Andela, South Africa’s Sweep South and about 60 other startups from Africa making the cut.
All the incubatees will receive training, support and free access to Praekelt.org’s Molo platform, which will be used to create, adapt and publish content to mobile-optimised sites that meet Facebook’s strict technical requirements for services submitted to the Free Basics platform.
The content will be easily accessed by millions, especially those living in low-bandwidth, resource-poor environments where high data costs is the order of the day, preventing many from coming online and enjoying the benefits thereof.
“Our hope is that the 100 organizations who have now joined the Incubator constitute the first wave of hundreds more NGOs and social enterprises who take advantage of Free Basics and similar platforms to reach those who have never been online before - more than half of the globe’s population - and those for whom costs present an insurmountable barrier,” said Jonathan McKay, Head of Global Partnerships, Praekelt.org.