Five African startups are among the nine startups in Africa and Asia that have been selected to receive grant funding from the GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion.
The GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion was launched in April 2020 with support from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the GSMA and its members.
The objective of the fund was to open up opportunities for innovative start-ups and SMEs to address the key barriers of accessibility, affordability, digital skills, and safety and security that prevent many from connecting to mobile internet.
The GSMA received a total of 598 applications from startups and SMEs in 44 countries in response to the call for applications. After a rigorous evaluation process followed by a selection from an independent panel of experts, nine startups were selected to receive the grant funding.
- Africa 118| Ethiopia | Digital marketing service provider for African SMEs
- Ensibuuko| Uganda | Technology solutions provider to community-based savings and loans organisations
- ScholarX| Nigeria | Digital learning provider
- WidEnergy Africa Ltd| Zambia | One stop shop for community energy, water and connectivity
- Zonful Energy| Zimbabwe | Pay-As-You-Go solar energy systems provider
- Knowledge Platform| Pakistan | Digital learning provider
- Navana Tech| India | Conversational AI provider for low-literate, vernacular speaking, mobile-first internet users
- The Orenda Project| Pakistan | Digital learning provider
- Vceela| Pakistan | Online platform for artisans in Pakistan
“The new Innovation Fund will help us to identify innovative approaches to addressing the barriers to mobile internet adoption and usage. It will help us to test business models with the greatest potential for growth and impact in Asia and Africa. Along with this, it will provide lessons and examples on the ways in which mobile is driving positive socio-economic change.” said a statement from GSMA.
The GSMA will be working with the grantees over the next 18 months, supporting them to realize their full socio-economic and commercial potential through promoting partnerships, providing technical assistance, tools, templates and specialist advisory support, support with scalability and sustainability planning; and opportunities to promote and showcase the work.