The GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund provides selected start-ups in Africa and Asia Pacific with equity-free 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.
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 to low-income citizens.
• Test business models with the greatest potential for growth and impact in Asia-Pacific and Africa.
• Provide lessons and examples on the ways in which mobile is driving positive socio-economic
The Fund is sector-agnostic and open to post-revenue start-ups using mobile technology to solve local challenges and who are registered and operating in Asia-Pacific and Africa (see 3). Available grants will fund projects for 9 to 12 months. See infographic. To be eligible to apply, start-ups must meet the following criteria:
• Use or be planning to use mobile technology strategically.
• Have clear and measurable socio-economic impact, in particular: targeting low-income citizens, rural populations, women and/or youth (see 4).
• Have the potential and appetite to form strategic partnerships with mobile operators.
• Have active users and revenue in at least one market.
• Be registered and operating in the country of project implementation. The start-up must also
be registered in the country where they will receive the grant money (if not the same as the
implementation country). Be fully compliant with relevant business licensing, taxation, employee and other regulations in all countries of operation.
• Be compliant with all applicable laws including upholding/adhering to fundamental human rights, UK Modern Slavery Acts, Gender Equality Act, Child Protection Policies ( here) and all international labour standards.
• Have 50% matching funding for the total grant amount
The support package includes:
• Grant funding between GBP 100,000 and GBP250,000 (AUD180,000 and AUD450,000).
• Mentoring on the use of mobile technology.
• Facilitation of relationships with mobile operators.
• Bootcamp (a programme of expert-led sessions and targeted networking) and regular offline clinics led by subject-matter experts.
Beyond this 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 with the programme’s stakeholders.