New Program in India to Support Social Entrepreneurs

Qualcomm Wireless Reach recently showcased, with partners, the results of the Soochnapreneur program in India. In India, approximately 70 per cent of the nation’s 1.3 billion people live in rural areas. Largely due to poverty and illiteracy, many of these citizens are unaware of the government entitlements that exist to help them, in part because they do not have access to the Internet in order to obtain information about these programs. Soochnapreneur is a Wireless Reach inititiative, launched in 2016, that trains rural youth on the use of Qualcomm technology so they can provide their communities with information about, and access to, more than 600 government entitlements available in the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Odisha. "Soochna" means "information" in Hindi; the trainees in the program are called "Soochnapreneurs". Over the last year, 100 Soochnapreneurs from the above five Indian states have been recruited and trained, enabling them to deliver fee-based services to over 7,000 villagers. Participants are currently earning a monthly average income of Rs. 1600 (roughly US $25). Wireless Reach and partner Digital Empowerment Foundation plan to add 100 additional participants - all women - to the program this year, and to work with government departments to add additional services. The Soochnapreneur program has been featured in MINT, a leading English business daily in India.