Grab aims to empower people in Southeast Asia to access technology

Monday, Dec 30, 2019 09:00

Anthony Tan, co-founder and CEO of Grab. — Photo courtesy of Grab

By leveraging its technology, platform and partnerships, Southeast Asias leading everyday super app Grab has set an ambitious goal by 2025 to empower people in the region to gain critical access to technology, upskilling and digital services.

CEO and Co-founder of Grab, Anthony Tan, said: “Southeast Asia is poised to become the worlds fourth-largest economy by 2030, yet not everyone has equal access to opportunity or chance to succeed with the regions growth.

“If the private sector actively creates programmes for local communities, technology can be within their reach.

“Digital technology plays a key role in the economy in contrast to the prediction that digital technology will disrupt peoples live and destroy jobs. But it actually can create a lot of new job opportunities.”

With its business model, Grab wants to create new opportunities for those who had no access before, he said.

“The digital economy brought by Grab diminishes the concept of economy of scale, so technology can play an important role even for the smallest economic players, give them opportunity to achieve progress and prosperity.”

Grab for good

Grab recently announced a social impact programme called Grab for Good to empower people in Southeast Asia, allowing them to be part of the fast-growing digital economy and to have more opportunities to improve their livelihoods.

“The programme is about building an inclusive platform, and our commitment is to deliver a positive, sustainable impact in every country in which Grab operates,” Tan said.

To ensure that everyone benefits from the digital economy, Grab aims to bring digital literacy to three million people in Southeast Asia by 2025 through partnerships with governments, private companies and non-profit organisations.

To enable micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses to tap the cost-savings and increased productivity brought on by technology, Grab aims to help over five million more traditional businesses and small merchants digitise their workflows and processes.

To build future-ready workforces, Grab aims to train 20,000 students through its tech talent initiatives in partnership with educational institutions, non-profits and leading technology companies.

The initiatives includes a partnership with Microsoft to bridge the tech skills gap in Southeast Asia, with dedicated programmes for Grabs driver-partners and their families, as well as an initiative called Break the Silence to create more opportunities for hearing-impaired people across the region.

The two initiatives are the start of a multi-year plan to equip individuals and small businesses with the necessary technology skills and tools to thrive in the new digital economy.

Andrea Della Mattea, president of Microsoft Asia Pacific, said: “We believe education should be accessible to everyone, specifically tech and digital literacy. This encourages ingenuity, computational thinking and problem-solving skills, all of which are key to the future.

“We want to build a skilled workforce that will transform families, communities and countries to create the world of tomorrow.”

More than nine million micro-entrepreneurs, or approximately one in 70 people in Southeast Asia, have earned an income through the Grab platform, whether as a driver-partner, delivery-partner, merchant, or agent-partner, according to a report by KPMG, a multinational professional services network.

The report also outlines how Grab has helped improve access to financial services and digital payments.

In addition, Grab also targets reaching a cashless future. Non-cash use is currently nine times more on Grab than the overall country rate.

Valued at US$14 billion and backed by Japanese tech investor SoftBank Group, Grab began in 2012 as a taxi-booking app, gradually diversifying into e-payments, microlending and insurance.

Since founding, Grab has helped over 1.7 million micro-entrepreneurs open their first bank accounts. It currently operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia. — VNS

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