HiiL SME Empowerment Innovation Challenge 2016 for SMEs & Startups across Africa (80.000 EURO PRIZE)

Application Deadline: June 30th 2016

HiiL Justice Accelerator, together with the Ford Foundation, runs the SME Empowerment Challenge to promote justice solutions that empower SMEs across Africa. HiiL launched the SME Empowerment Challenge in 2015, resulting in 3 most promising initiatives that are currently being scaled. With the success of last year’s challenge, we continue our strong partnership with the Ford Foundation with the view to increase our impact in addressing challenges facing SMEs and emerging startups in Africa.

 The challenge process includes shortlisting, online campaigning, wildcard-selection, crowdfunding and pitching in front of an international audience.



In 2016 we welcome innovations that have a clear link with access to justice within the SME sector. Examples of innovations we seek include, but are not limited to:

  • Solutions that provide equality of opportunities for entrepreneurs to start a business

  • Services that secure better and affordable intellectual property rights for SMEs

  • Fraud- and corruption fighting tools that apply to businesses

  • Contract-enforcement mechanisms for businesses

  • Solutions that empower labour rights within the (informal) SME sector

  • Platforms that provide cost- effective and customized legal services for businesses (i.e. registration, legal advice, compliance, contracts, IP protection)

  • Data- and information sharing tools geared at legal needs of SMEs

  • Projects that promote enabling legislation, regulations and policies applying to SMEs

This year HiiL want to focus on expanding to more countries and regions.

  • Applications from these countries in Africa are very much encouraged: Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa. 


  • The winners of the challenge will receive acceleration support and an investment of up to 80.000EUR in total.
  • The best innovations will be featured on this website and receive global recognition. Through the Challenges you can win seed investments and further support.
  • The winners of the Challenges are announced at the Innovating Justice Forum in December 2016 in the Peace Palace in The Hague.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the HiiL SME Empowerment Challenge 2016 


  1. I digest these opportunities for Africa with fervour, it is a new platform for brilliant African entrepreneur to tap innovations necessary for sustainable economy in this era of diversification.


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