Sir Richard Branson’s Move Will Help 4 Billion People Out of Poverty

Sixty percent of the world’s population, that’s over four billion people, have yet to access the Internet. These other four billion live on $10 a day or less, and for many unfortunately, dramatically less.

Without access to the Internet, the majority of the developing world will struggle to go beyond living on $10 a day and creating a more sustainable and better life for them and their families. In turn, communities continue to struggle and this has wide reaching effect on GDP in the countries where they are.

A number of initiatives like and Google’s Loon project already started the push to get more people connected but, in a typically bold move, Richard Branson and OneWeb have to get this happening more quickly. Branson shared the plans on his blog:

“Delighted to share news of an incredibly exciting project that could transform the world: we are creating a new constellation of satellites to make high speed internet and telephony available to billions of people who don’t currently have access.”

OneWeb will build, launch and operate the world’s largest ever satellite network. Their lifelong mission is to bring Internet access to the entire world and it is aiming to deliver fast Internet service in rural and emerging markets, as well as on airlines, in partnership with mobile operators, and this new partnership with Virgin Galactic’s LauncherOne programme will help make it possible to have more frequent satellite launches at a much lower cost and with greater reliability.

This is great but what will people do when they finally get access to the Internet? The first thing will be to work out how to best make money from this new ability to connect with millions of people around the world. This is when online marketplaces come into action and truly believes that selling services online will be their best route out of poverty. Matt Barrie, CEO of added:

“The most transformational force for the good in the developing world will be proliferation of low cost access to the Internet. With access to the Internet, no matter where someone lives and no matter what their socio-economic background is, they can access the wealth of human knowledge, free education and now, through, the ability to generate an income online by finding work through our global marketplace.

Our long term mission at Freelancer is to beneficially change one billion people’s lives by giving them a job. This week we reached the milestone of seven million jobs having been posted on our platform, and while we are only a small step along the way of achieving our mission, we’re honoured to have touched so many lives in the developing world.” has more than 14.2 million registered users – the largest such site in the world – with seven million projects completed and more people are jumping on to get anything from software development, writing, data entry and design right through to engineering, the sciences, sales and marketing, accounting and legal services done.

Never before has it been easier to find work and also to increase the ability for businesses to get work done without large budgets. Freelancers in countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have benefited greatly by being able to earn more than $10 an hour vs. subsisting on $10 a day. In many cases this means that people build very successful businesses as well. In a recent contest where Freelancers were asked to say how had changed their life, over 360 users submitted stories and photos. One particular freelancer, Rehan, submitted a really heartfelt and touching story:

“I joined Freelancer on the 7th September 2013, when I had no work and no job. I was struggling on all aspects of my life. I then googled and found Freelancer. I joined straight away, passed US exam in $5, 9th September 2013, and was awarded my first project by a great Canadian employer. After that I never looked back. Before joining Freelance, I had no money. I have 3 kids, wife, a family, so all the way it was hard to survive. BUT after joining Freelancer my life changed from nothing to being a successful Freelancer. I am now ranked No. 1 in Excel, Data Entry and Copy Typing. I was also able to purchase my own home, have a good life without any money trouble, and some investments. My kids are studying in the best schools, they have the best medical care and its all due to Freelancer. I am very happy with my life.”

Everyday lives are changed on With more people having access to the Internet in the coming years we will see a smarter and more connected world where everyone has the chance to earn more than just a living wage and create a prosperous economy.