GSMA innovation fund

The GSMA Innovation Fund for Accelerated Growth has selected three African startups to receive grants and technical assistance, propelling their efforts to bridge the digital divide and empower communities across the continent.

Launched in January 2024, the Fund specifically targets alumni of the GSMA Innovation Fund, focusing on innovative ventures in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs). This initiative aims to address the recent decline in venture capital funding in LMICs, hindering the growth of promising startups. By providing financial and technical support, the GSMA helps these organizations scale their solutions, reach new audiences, and create a lasting impact.

Out of seven chosen startups globally, three hail from Africa. Let’s delve into their unique solutions and how the GSMA grant will fuel their expansion:

  • Africa 118 (Ethiopia): This digital job platform bridges the gap between skilled workers and employers. Previous GSMA grants enabled them to develop services that support low-income job seekers and SMEs. The new project expands their reach beyond Addis Ababa, encompassing three additional cities and impacting over 1.5 million people. They’ll introduce “Taskcenter,” a feature offering tools for service providers, and “Taskcredit,” providing credit based on user history. This expansion aims to empower workers and enhance service adoption.

  • Ensibuuko (Uganda): Ensibuuko leverages technology to empower Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs). Prior GSMA funding helped them develop a USSD mobile banking platform and training programs, impacting millions. With the new grant, they’ll expand their platform to include an Android app, introduce features like bill payments and overdraft loans, and establish their own USSD code. This comprehensive approach aims to reach 45,000 new users and achieve platform sustainability.

  • Freetown Waste Transformers (FWT) (Sierra Leone): This organization tackles waste management through innovative solutions. A previous GSMA grant enabled them to launch the “DortiBox App,” enhancing waste collection efficiency. The new project focuses on accessibility by making DortiBox available via USSD codes with voice guidance in local languages. This initiative aims to expand waste management services to more low-income households and promote environmental sustainability.

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The GSMA’s support extends beyond financial aid. Selected startups benefit from:

  • Tailored Technical Assistance: Experts provide guidance and support to optimize project execution.
  • Knowledge Exchange: Collaboration opportunities with other grantees foster knowledge sharing and innovation.
  • Networking Opportunities: Access to a network of influential stakeholders can unlock new partnerships and growth opportunities.
  • Facilitated Connections: The GSMA connects grantees with mobile operators and relevant public sector organizations, potentially leading to impactful collaborations.
  • Enhanced Visibility: Grantees receive support in raising their profile, attracting investors, and forging valuable partnerships.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation: GSMA provides support in tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and conducting scalability surveys to measure project impact and future growth potential.

This GSMA initiative empowers African startups to address critical challenges in their communities. By fostering innovation and scalability, the program paves the way for a more inclusive and prosperous future across the continent.

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Nigel Jr.
As a tech enthusiast and expert, Nigel Jr. is dedicated to providing in-depth and insightful content on all things technology. With a background in online journalism, product reviewing, and tech creation, Nigel has become a trusted source for all things tech.

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