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

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

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?

The GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion aims to support innovative solutions to increasing mobile internet adoption and use for those currently not using mobile internet services.

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

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About Global System For Mobile Communications (GSMA)

The GSMA was formed in 1995 as the 'GSM MoU Association' as a body to support and promote mobile operators using the GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) standard for cellular networks. It traces its history back to an memorandum of understanding signed in 1987 by 13 operators in 12 countries that committed to deploying GSM for mobile services The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and inter... read more


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GSMA Innovation Fund


Aim and Benefits of GSMA Innovation Fund

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


Requirements for GSMA Innovation Fund Qualification

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

  1. Have active users and revenue in at least one eligible low- or middle-income market (see 3)
  2. Use or be planning to use mobile technology strategically
  3. Have the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators
  4. Have clear and measurable socio-economic impact, in particular: serving low-income citizens, rural populations, women and/or youth (see 3)
  5. Demonstrate how they will advance the SDGs
  6. 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).
  7. Be fully compliant with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other relevant regulations in all countries of operation
  8. 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
  9. 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:

  1. Adequate financial systems to report regularly to the Fund and, if required, undergo an external audit.
  2. Adequate internal human resource capability to implement the proposed project within the planned timeframe.
  3. 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):

  1. 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)
  2. Female founders, and start-ups with good representation of women at all levels of the organisation.
  3. 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 Accessibility, Affordability, Digital Skills and Safety and Security, and will look to demonstrate commercially sustainable models that can be scaled and replicated in similar environments.


Checkout: How To Write A Scholarship Essay - Scholarship Essay Examples

Application Deadline

May 22, 2020


How to Apply

Interested and qualified? Go to Global System For Mobile Communications (GSMA) on gsma.forms.fm to apply

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].

For more details, visit GSMA website



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