December 9, 2016

4 Things Fishermen from Senegal Can Teach You About Business

This post originally appeared on Inc.

In the small village of Mbour, about an hour outside of Senegal’s capital, Dakar, the people depend on artisanal fishing for their livelihood – and 90% of the protein in their diets. With little or no access to technology and the Internet, the fishermen are faced with problems every day such knowing where the fishing zones are to avoid life changing fines and the potentially deadly weather conditions as they go out with old rickety boats that may leave them stranded in the sea.

Seeing the opportunities that simple technology could solve, Qualcomm Wireless Reach funded the development and deployment of an application called WISE. WISE provides location services to the fisherman helping them know where to fish and signal for help when needed. The program includes the smart phones and cellular data to access the application.

WISE also provides the fishermen and fish processors with current market prices to negotiate better terms for their fish, access to micro financing enabling the entrepreneurs to expand their business, and education on how to improve their fish processing. Given most of these people have never had access to the Internet and only a few years in school, the fish processing techniques had been passed through generations and never really improved. The efficiencies from the new forms of education have created more prosperity for the fish processors, who are generally women.

As the Chinese proverb says “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Qualcomm Wireless Reach knows that providing solutions to enable the fisherman and fish processors to improve their livelihood will raise the social and economic impact of the Senegalese people and help raise all boats.

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