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Nokia offers $1m for tech to boost developing world

The handset giant has launched a competition to find a mobile product or service that will help raise the standard of living in emerging economies
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Nokia is offering $1m to the organisation that comes up with the best mobile product or service for raising the standard of living in emerging economies, it announced on Friday.

In a speech at CES in Las Vegas, Nokia chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said the Growth Economy Venture Challenge aims to encourage technology innovators to do good while making a profit.

"We've seen what the tech community can do when it focuses on problems that are also opportunities," Kallasvuo said. "We want to channel that energy toward improving lives in the developing world."

"For the majority of the world's people, their first and only access to the internet will be through a mobile device — not a PC", he said, adding that in countries such as China, the mobile device had become a "necessity for upward mobility".

The Venture Challenge is not just for those proposing new mobile hardware and software, Nokia said in a statement on Friday — the company pointed out that "submissions can also expand beyond the mobile phone".

Judges will include representatives from Nokia Growth Partners, the company's venture capital division, and from Forum Nokia, the company's developer portal. The money is not a prize, grant or award, the company said on its website, but a venture-capital investment.

Ten finalists will also get to present their proposals to "a panel of Nokia business people and private venture capitalists", the statement said.

Entries for the Venture Challenge should be submitted by 18 April. Finalists will be announced in mid-May, and the winner will be announced in June.

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