GSMA launches innovation fund to support African startups, calls for applications


GSMA, a trade group that represents network operators using GSM technology for their networks, has announced the launch of an innovation fund to support innovative African startups and those from other emerging markets.

Known as the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund, it will help identify startups with the greatest potential for growth and provide them with funding, and mobile-focused mentoring and technical assistance.

The Fund will run several rounds between 2016 and 2020, with each round having specific areas of focus.

The first funding round seeks startups that use mobile technology and are aligned with the round’s focus areas – Sharing Economy and Mobile services for SMEs.

In this round, a total sum of £2 million will be distributed to 10 to 15 startups that successfully scale the pitch and proposal stage of the round. The prizes will be disbursed in January 2017.

Interested startups can apply to get a share of the prize by September 18, 2016. They will be required to complete an online questionnaire providing an overview of their product or service.

“The launch of the Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund is an exciting opportunity for the mobile industry to work with entrepreneurs in developing markets to create services that will deliver important socio-economic benefits to their communities. I anticipate that we will see some incredible applications and I look forward to seeing the first selected start-up businesses flourish,” said Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA.

The Fund, launched at the ongoing Mobile 360 Series – Africa in Tanzania, is backed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and supported by the GSMA and its members.

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