GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion 2020 for SMEs & Start-ups in Africa and Asia

We’re delighted to announce the launch of the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion.

Application Deadline: 22nd May 2020 at 11.59pm GMT.

Eligible Countries: Countries in Africa and Asia Pacific

  • Africa: Preference will be given to the following list of countries but high quality proposals will be considered from across Sub-Saharan Africa: Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Asia: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
  • Note: Additional due diligence checks may be required for some markets

About the Award: Are you a start-up or SME in Sub-Saharan Africa or Asia? Are you helping people get online for the first time using mobile internet?

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You could be eligible to apply for an equity-free grant of between £100,000 and £250,000 to scale your innovation over a 15- to 18-month period. Find out more below.

Type: Entrepreneurship

Eligibility: To be eligible to apply, start-ups or SMEs must meet the following criteria:

  • Have active users and revenue in at least one eligible low- or middle-income market (see 3)
  • Use or be planning to use mobile technology strategically
  • Have the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators
  • Have clear and measurable socio-economic impact, in particular: serving low-income citizens, rural populations, women and/or youth (see 3)
  • Demonstrate how they will advance the SDGs
  • Be registered and operating in the country of project implementation. The applicant must also be registered in the country where they will receive the grant money (if not the same as the implementation country).
  • Be fully compliant with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other relevant regulations in all countries of operation
  • Be compliant with all applicable laws including upholding/adhering to fundamental human rights, UK Modern Slavery Acts, Gender Equality Act, Child Protection Policies and all international labour standards
  • Have 50% matching funding for the total grant amount ‘in cash’ and/or ‘in kind (see 7)

During the selection process, we will also ensure start-ups have:

  • Adequate financial systems to report regularly to the Fund and, if required, undergo an external audit.
  • Adequate internal human resource capability to implement the proposed project within the planned timeframe.
  • Applicants may need to demonstrate how they are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations

We particular encourage the following start-ups to apply (see infographic):

  • Applicants must proactively demonstrate that they have taken steps to ensure their solution reaches women as well as men,
    in addition to people with disabilities and/or have solutions that disproportionately reach women (or have the potential to)
  • Female founders, and start-ups with good representation of women at all levels of the organisation.
  • Local founders supporting local talent.

Selection Criteria: Funded projects will focus on innovations that overcome a number of the barriers to mobile internet adoption including AccessibilityAffordabilityDigital Skills and Safety and Security, and will look to demonstrate commercially sustainable models that can be scaled and replicated in similar environments.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: An equity-free grant of between £100,000 and £250,000 to scale your innovation over a 15- to 18-month period.

How to Apply: Apply Here

Please download the terms and conditions document which contains details on the eligibility criteria and application process.

You can find answers to Frequently Asked Questions here. If you have any additional questions about the GSMA Innovation Fund, please email [email protected].

Visit the Program Webpage for Details

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