Empower Through Mobile


The AppBridge mission is to empower “The Bottom Billion” youth through universally accessible, demand-driven and market-oriented educational mobile applications by synergizing an open source technology platform with a cooperative ecosystem of education and health content providers, academic institutions, developers, telecom operators, sponsors and end-users.


Through collaboration and in partnership with others, we are developing an open source, cloud-based digital platform designed to connect talented mobile application developers with formal and informal education and health content providers, and co-create a powerful distribution channel to bridge the digital divide and educate young people in the bottom billion through their cellular phones.  

Each educational app will be submitted to The AppBridge platform, vetted, distributed to partner Telecom Operators and promoted in “The AppBridge Zone”, where it will be available to end-users.  The AppBridge platform will track the download activity and usage of each distributed App, enabling “real time” feedback and allowing for a dynamic, evolving virtual educational experience for users.

AppBridge is building an online collection, creation, and distribution platform to bring free or low-cost mobile applications to those at risk or in poverty, enabling education, employment and economic opportunity. As a Collection Platform: Local partners identify specific community needs or submit local content.  As a Creation Platform: Through the AppBridge Forum, organizations work directly with partner mobile app developers to create apps addressing these specific needs. As a Distribution Platform: Partner telecommunications companies distribute the apps to the target communities.

With an estimated 3.8 billion mobile subscribers in the developing world, there is enormous opportunity to provide formal and informal educational tools to individuals who do not otherwise have access to basic math, literacy, and health information. The AppBridge is committed to co-creating an important “blueprint” for how digital and information based solutions can be launched in a frictionless way in critical environments. This is a non-profit social enterprise.


The AppBridge concept grew out of collaboration between Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan, YGL and Professor Umar Saif, his students and YGL Margo Drakos in the fall of 2010.  Umar and Margo oversaw the development of two interactive Mathematics SMS App Games by two teams of engineering students at LUMS. The games emulate the experience of a student sitting through a math quiz in a classroom and enable a group of people to compete with each other using their cell phones. We asked the LUMS students to document their app development and testing on their own blogs:

After the Apps were developed, Margo found the challenge was promoting and distributing the Apps to the target end-users. While in Davos this January at the annual World Economic Forum Summit, Margo discussed the concept in a number of meetings with academic institutions, corporate leaders, education content providers and telecom partners.  She discovered there was overwhelming commitment to create, sponsor, and distribute educational Apps for young adults with limited access to education and a number of fellow Young Global Leaders who shared her passion.  The AppBridge was conceived.

In June 2012, AppBridge launched the first Ideas & Apps Challenge Competition in the Philippines to accelerate building the community. The goal of the Challenge is to engage local citizens (by country) to identify local problems in the education, health, job-skill training or financial literacy space – and propose ideas for or build mobile applications to address these local challenges.   The Challenge was launched in the Philippines at a Start-Up Weekend, Globe Telecom is sponsoring the prizes and promoting the submitted applications to its community, and Exist Global has provided the web development.  A distinguished judging panel including YGLs and Senior Forum members, has awarded cash prizes, mentorship and incubation. Over 5,000 people in the Philippines voted online for the People’s Choice Award.

Due to natural disasters in the Philippines in late 2012, the Apps Competition phase has been delayed and will launch in 2013.

The Ideas & Apps Challenge India is launching this Spring, as part of the Global Education and Leadership Initiative in partnership with major internet corporations, technical schools and universities and a telco in India.  There will be a top prize of $15,000 for the winning mobile application, in addition to mentorship and incubation.

Next Steps

  • We are currently establishing a 501(c)(3).
  • We are working to develop the open source, cloud based platform to receive and distribute the mobile apps.
  • In the next year, our objective is to launch two pilot programs in India and the Middle East focusing on English Language Training. Each pilot program will include the following work-flow and testing:
  • Create our first cooperative ecosystem of education and health content providers, academic institutions, developers, telecom operators, sponsors and end-users.
  • Build the open source cloud-based platform.
  • Enable student developers to “adopt-an-app” through the platform and go through the content request process with our educational content providers to build an effective app for the target population in India.
  • Receive the apps, test the apps and distribute to the appropriate App Stores.
  • Work with our partners in India to effectively promote the “AppBridge Zone” Apps to the target end-users.
  • Track the download activity and usage of each distributed App to our ecosystem.
  • Engage with and garner feedback from our ecosystem.
  • Refine our ecosystem accordingly and scale our platform to other regions.


We are a 2011 Member of the Clinton Global Initiative

We are currently working with the following Partners:

  • Accel Partners
  • InfoSys
  • Lahore University of Management and Sciences
  • McGraw-Hill
  • Mobile Movements
  • MorphLabs
  • Openwave
  • SwitchCase Group
  • World Economic Forum and Forum of Young Global Leader

More Information

Please visit, or contact Margo Drakos at


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