The GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion has chosen five African startups from nine startups from Africa and Asia to receive grant funding.
With funding from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the GSMA, and its members, the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion was launched in April 2020.
The fund’s goal was to provide funding to innovative start-ups and small businesses that are working to overcome challenges to mobile internet adoption, such as accessibility, affordability, digital skills, and safety and security.
Its mission is to help entrepreneurs or small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with creative new products, services, or business models that can overcome key barriers to mobile internet adoption and usage, driving digital inclusion for those who are currently digitally excluded, including women, with grants ranging from GBP100,000 (US$137,000) to GBP250,000 (US$344,000).
In response to the request for applications, the GSMA received 598 applications from startups and SMEs in 44 countries. Nine startups were chosen to obtain grant funding after a comprehensive assessment process that included a recommendation from an independent panel of experts.
The five African startups are as follows:
- Ethiopia – (Africa 118: A Digital marketing service provider for African SMEs)
- Uganda- ( Ensibuuko: A Technology solutions provider to community-based savings and loans organisations)
- Nigeria- (ScholarX: A Digital learning provider)
- Zambia – (WidEnergy Africa Ltd: A One stop shop for community energy, water and connectivity)
- Zimbabwe – (Zonful: Energy A Pay-As-You-Go solar energy systems provider)
“Now, more than ever, we understand the importance of being connected. Over the last five years, telecom providers have spent nearly $1 trillion in network infrastructure, giving mobile internet access to 91% of the world’s population. Despite this, 3.3 billion people do not use mobile internet services,” said John Giusti, the GSMA’s chief regulatory officer.
“The new Innovation Fund will assist us in identifying novel approaches to overcoming obstacles to mobile internet adoption and usage.” It will assist us in testing business models that have the greatest potential for growth and influence in Asia and Africa. Along with this, it will include lessons and examples of how mobile is driving positive socioeconomic change,” according to GSMA.
Read More more on Tech Gist Africa: