Apply for the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund 2017 for Startups across Africa

The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund provides selected start-ups in Africa and Asia with grant funding, technical assistance, and the opportunity to partner with mobile operators in their markets to help scale their products and services into sustainable businesses with positive socio-economic impact.

Round 2 of the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund opened on 1 June 2017 and all pitches are due by 16 July 2017 at 11.59pm GMT.


The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund (“the Fund”) supports innovative start-ups in emerging markets to achieve sustainable growth and improved socio-economic impact. The objectives of the Fund are to:
• Establish partnerships between mobile operators and start-ups in order to increase the reach of innovative mobile services.
• Test business models with the greatest potential for growth and impact.
• Provide lessons and examples on the ways in which mobile is driving positive socio-economic
The Fund is supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the GSMA and its members.

The Fund is open to projects from start-ups registered and operating in Africa and Asia-Pacific.
Africa: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Dem Rep., Congo Rep., Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria,
Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Swaziland, São Tomé and Principe, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam.
Pacific: Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pitcairn Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu.

For the second round, the Fund will be supporting start-ups operating in the Sharing Economy, and/or developing services for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The Fund will run a number of rounds between 2017 and 2020. For each round there will be specific areas of focus. During the second round (‘Round 2’), these are:
1. Sharing economy: defined as any mobile-based platform, product or service which enables low-income citizens in emerging markets to generate income from ‘underutilised assets’ through sharing those assets with their peers.
2. Services for SMEs: defined as any mobile-based solution, product or service designed for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) – formal or informal – in emerging markets which unlock improved productivity and growth.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for funding, start-ups must meet the following criteria:
• Be registered and operating in the country of project implementation (whether domestic or foreign owned) in compliance with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other relevant regulations.
• Be aligned with one or both of the current Round’s focus areas.
• Be in satisfactory financial health and have adequate financial systems to report regularly to the Fund and, if required, undergo an external audit.
• Have adequate internal human resource capability to implement the proposed project within the proposed timeframe.
• Have already demonstrated success and launched a product or service that has active users and generates revenue in at least one market.
• Have the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators where relevant.
• Be compliant with fundamental human rights, UK Modern Slavery Act and Gender Equality Act, Child Protection Policies (here) and international labour standards.


The support package includes:
• Funding
• Mentoring on the use of mobile technology.
• Facilitation of relationships with mobile operators.
Beyond these areas of support, the selected start-ups will also benefit from enhanced visibility through the programme’s insight publications, learnings through exchange with other portfolio start-ups and networking opportunities through the programme’s contacts.

Applicants are expected to submit and justify their requirements for the project to be funded, as well as
funding amount and duration:
• The amount can be between £100,000 and £250,000.
• The funding requires a certain level of matching from the applicant (see 8).
• The Fund will not be taking any equity against the funding; it will however control the monetary usage of the grant and only disburse funding based on milestones achievements. Incremental fund payments will be dependent on the start-up delivering proof that mutually agreed milestones/targets have been completed/achieved.
• The duration of the project can be between 9 and 15 months.

Application Deadline: 16 July 2017 at 11.59pm GMT.

How to Apply:

If you are interested in this opportunity, follow this link to apply

Click here to apply for the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund 2017

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